[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat He grinned at her as she teased and pulled away, slipping out the bed once more and securing the blanket about her.[+royalblue “You know some women like a man chained up in bed. You're always welcome to visit.”] When she turned back and motioned for him to get off her bed, he sighed and obliged her. Bare feet feeling the warm rug beneath the bed, he was not looking forward to cold stone and wood to get back. Still he followed obediently to the door.
Her warning to be ensure the escape was not discovered was met with a wry smile.[+royalblue “Yes dear, I will be fine. My friend will come tuck me in before the guards return.”] Moving up to the door he placed a hand to the handle, leaning close to the wood to listen for any sounds outside. All he heard was he muted goodbye and he looked back to see her outlined by the candle, a veritable halo around her head. Again, for perhaps the tenth time that night, he thought of just taking hold of her and kissing her. Yet again, he fought back that urge and only nodded.[+royalblue “Sleep well, Florence.”] The handle turned in his hand and he slipped out the door without a further word, back into the hallway and immediately darting across to a safe hiding spot to begin his route back.
It took a little longer to go back than it did getting to her room. He did not linger, like she worried he would, but rather he was much more careful as his distraction had been used now. Thankfully once back to his room he found nothing amiss or anything out of place. Taking a lit torch from a sconce on the wall, he lit the light near to his room to signify he was now back in his room to his contact. Back in the room he sighed as the tension released and he returned to his bed. It was odd but he noticed the quality was not as good as Florence's and he tutted to himself before laying down, doing his best to position himself toward the middle. A few hours later he would be found asleep by his contact and with no hassle at all was shackled tightly to the bed once more. He only woke for a moment to confirm it was who he suspected and he nodded his thanks.[+royalblue “Tell the doctor I am fine, and I do not require his services this morning. But I need you to keep a close watch on Adrian. He's saying things and I want to know what that is.”] He settled back into the bed with a deep sigh.[+royalblue “Good work tonight. You can go.”] And with that the other man took his leave, not too long before the guards returned.
He brought up the point that most things he had to ask would take time and she nodded. It made sense; everything was complicated at the moment. And that meant any worthwhile explanations would take time. And so rather than force herself into exhaustion, they would wait for a later date, if there was one. Nicolai seemed to have an unbridled confidence that there would be. As he mentioned it, his hand came to her face. His touch was light and far more intimate than it had any right to be. Paired with the compliment, she could feel her cheeks warm. Though something as minor as that did little to hinder her initial reaction, which was to eye him suspiciously. Just as Florence was wondering if she really was going to have to hit him again, Nicolai stopped short. [+mediumseagreen "Awfully bold words for someone who is about to go chain himself back to a bed."] She was only half teasing.
Taking this chance, she pulled away from him. The warmth of his hand lingering where his fingers had been. Pushing the thought from her head, she stood back up and motioned for the elf to do the same. [+mediumseagreen "I expect you to make it look like you were never gone to begin with."] She really did not want to have to explain to anyone why she had not called the guards to drag him back where he belonged when he infiltrated her room.
Walking with him to her door, she used the excuse of formality to make sure that he actually left her quarters. Florence was not particularly fearful that he would continue to creep about, but she could very well see him making joke of it. This would help to avoid that entirely. Stopping a few paces before the door, she let him continue to the threshold on his own. [+mediumseagreen "Good night, Nicolai."] Her words were slow and heavy, as though she needed to yawn again but was holding it back.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai could quite imagine what 'few things' she had reason to dislike, notably the fact that prisoner of Astoria was currently free and sat in her bed so close to her. Her compliment however was the surprising part as he could not truly recall another time she had done so. She was not cruel or mean, that was not what he took from it. Only that she was overly cautious with her words. Whereas he would say what came to mind, with only minimal censorship, every single word was carefully curated by herself. Which is why the compliment was all the more surprising.
He returned the smile though it was a little in sadness as this moment was now winding to an inevitable end.[+royalblue “I am glad to surprise you Florence, fingers crossed I will continue to do so. In a positive manner of course.”] She was eager to return to sleep however and offered him one last chance to question her for now. Again there was much to ask, but most of it not appropriate to the tune of their talk. So instead he looked at her with a gentle smile and soft eyes.
[+royalblue “I don't have any more questions that would not lead to a longer discussion, but,”] he paused and lifted his hand up to push back some loose strands of hair that had fallen when she shook her head,[+royalblue “I love the new look, ponytail and all.”] His warm hand brushed along and cupped her cheek gently as he leaned in a touch closer, violet gaze flitting between her own emerald eyes and those soft looking lips.[+royalblue “I'll get that kiss.. one day..”] He grinned in his self-assuredness though it was in line with how most of this conversation had gone, in a well humoured if serious manner.
Initially, she was worried by the notion that he would not be able to accept her feelings, if that was what they did come to be. But he quickly laid that to bed by making a distinction between been acceptance and respect. That while he would listen to her, he might never actually give up hope. It was sad, or at least it would be. Florence liked to think that if this did not pan out for him he might be able to finally move on and settle down with someone else instead of pining after her. However that did not seem to be a possibility for him, at least not in his current mindset. Well maybe, he did mention leaving them be, but it did not sound like his heart was in it. Nicolai was still difficult for her to read in times like this.
After that, Nicolai entered full que sera sera mode. He was just going to let the cards fall wherever they may and then deal with it accordingly. Although, Florence thought he was underestimating Augustine’s partiality. She was certain if he could sway his opinion in the beginning that would be all it took. There was no way he would be tossed to the side just because they had made their goal. Though, looking into the future like that, she found she was also guilty of not having a plan for herself. The woman had no idea if she would stay in Wistina with her son or return to her home with the rest of her family. It was a difficult choice, one she would pass off to her future self as long as she could.
As he finished up, she nodded her tired head along with him. [+mediumseagreen “From what I have seen these last couple of days, save a few things,”] those being him stealing into her room in the middle of the night and a few other choice comments. [+mediumseagreen “I would have to agree. You are not the same and I think it might be for the better.”] Smiling softly, there was a small hope in her chest that she might get to see more of him and he would have a chance to prove it to her.
Letting things settle back down for the moment, Florence shifted back into wrapping up their meeting. [+mediumseagreen “For once it looks like you have sufficiently answered my question. What a marvelous occasion.”] She returned to that light tone they had before, knowing he had been hesitant to leave it behind. [+mediumseagreen “Now, I would like to stay true to my word. Any last queries from you before I can finally go back to sleep?”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “Although I would be happy to accept your gentle hand on my face, in what I am sure would be a loving touch, I am under orders from my doctor to refrain from rough play.”] His joviality had not died over the years and he pulled his hand to rest back to rest on his leg as he remained turned to face her. He had tried to lure her in but even when half asleep she stuck hard fast to her principles. It was respectable to know she was not loose with those lips.
Nicolai nodded for her to ask her question, anything to prolong an otherwise short visit. Although he had been somewhat keen to continue their humorous tone and end closer to a higher and lighter note, her question was quite hard hitting and struck at a concern he had had also. The smile was swept away and his brow furrowed slightly as he considered just where he would stand with that question. But in truth, he knew his answer.[+royalblue “I thought about that quite a lot over the last few years. Could I overcome my desire for you and just help Augustine?”] He asked rhetorically and his free hand, the one not propping him up, ran up and around his neck in an uncomfortable manner.
[+royalblue “To answer the first part; I don't think I would accept it, no. But that does not mean I won't respect it.”] A careful distinction lay between the two.[+royalblue “I would respect you enough to understand you did not love me, but in my heart I would not accept it. And I mean that in the sense I would not be able to accept that you never could love me. I never thought I would have the chance to see you again, to hold your hand or look into your eyes again.”] It was a sweet sentiment but he would not push on with that direction.[+royalblue “But that links back to your second question; I want to go home. My home. To save it from Vincent and Ulrich and the Taken. I did not come to Astoria expecting you to give me a second chance or to talk to me at all but to find a way of getting Augustine to bring me with him and help him.”] His hand continued to massage his neck, moving up and brushing just below the markings on the side of his head, never touching directly.
[+royalblue “If he decides to bring me, and you decide it will be only as a man who can help you, then so be it. If I die the first day there, so be it. And if I make it to the end, my work is done, he is back on his throne and my services are not required, then so be it.”] His eyes had drifted past her, to stare beyond her at some ethereal form behind her and he nodded before pulling his gaze back to hers.[+royalblue “Seven years ago I was a General, a Duke, a man who was nothing but those titles. And when I lost that, I was nothing but a man wanting you to love him. Now, with the way my life has gone since then, I am not so narrow minded. If I am not wanted, or needed, or welcome – I will just move on. I won't force either of you to accept me.”]
If nothing else, Florence was glad that he added the stipulation that it was their happiest interaction. In that case, she had to agree. It was the best they ever got along, but that was also before he came forth with how he felt. In the moment, she had thought he was just naturally handsy, but looking back there were ulterior motives abound.
His reminiscing started out romanticized, though it quickly turned to humor. As it turned out, Gregory did intervene. That was before he switched sides and attempted to bolster Nicolai’s confidence and cajole him into confessing. He was such a nosy old man, and with a passion for match making to boot. Thinking of him, she chuckled lightly.
Her eyes snapped back up to his bright lilac one’s as he suggested he might try his luck with a kiss. [+mediumseagreen “Go ahead and give it a try if you would like me to punch you again.”] She was not in the mindset to mess around, nor to let herself get swept away in his games and get attached to him when there was a possibility that he might be permanently imprisoned, or worse, in the near future. This meant she would also forgo taking his hand, even after just looking back so fondly on a similar scene.
Suppressing a yawn, her hand came up to cover her mouth just in case. When the urge passed, she pushed back some loose strands of hair and turned her attention back to the man sitting beside her. [+mediumseagreen “I’ll give you time for a final question if you will answer one last thing for me… Or I can just banish you back to where you belong...”] Seeing a small glint in his eye, she took it as a sign that he wanted more time with her and she continued. Her current question was more serious, so she very much hoped he would not come to regret it. [+mediumseagreen “Given everything works out for you and you walk out of Astoria a free man, if at some point I decide that I do not love you and I never will, do you think you will be able to accept that? Will you be able to continue to work along side Augustine for the betterment of Wistina?”] Technically it was two questions, but they really boiled down to the same thing, could they depend upon him no matter what?
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her point about negotiations was valid. But he would leave that for another time, perhaps when Augustus or Eugene brought it up. He would have to fathom some kind of appropriate response to it. Something to put pity on the rebels. Again, for another time. Right now he was focused on her, sat closer and more observant of her nuances and small movements. The smile never left, though it diminished a little as he listened to her and he took returned to those memories.
[+royalblue “No, I have to say they were still my happiest moments with you. Away from the politics, the drama, the fears about living. Able to talk to you like we are now.”] He looked across at her, seeing her looking at her hands, the flicker of the waning candle like the glow from the fire back then.[+royalblue “I remember it now very well. Just me and you by the fire. Holding hands. Looking into one another's eyes as we talked. Though, I do recall a certain dwarven father stopping me before I could kiss you last time.”] He laughed a little, remembering how Gregory had swooped in like a protective guardian and pushed Nicolai off and away from his little girl. It was funny with hindsight.[+royalblue “Well, I don't see him here to stop me now..”] Though Nicolai insinuated, and not at all subtly, he did not move forward right then and there. However, in their own style now, he turned his hand over on the bed, palm up and beside her if she wished to take it.
[+mediumseagreen “The same could be said of you, if you truly wanted a chance to negotiate, a message should have been sent first and foremost. And I do not mean slaughtering a mill full of people. Soldiers or not, starting with an act of aggression will only cause the other side to take a defensive stance. Because quite frankly when the average person hears of a tragedy like that, they do not react with: wow we should really sit down and talk with these people.”] From what she had heard, in the very beginning before she had even left Wistina and when the agitation first started, her brother did reach out to Malidek’s leadership. But nothing at all productive came from it. The suggestion was to build walls and add more guards near the ports. All things to add a sense of safety, but not actually fix the problem. In the end, it fell on both leaders’ heads. The Baron should have been willing to listen to his people and see their needs as opposed to ignoring them for the chance to make profit, but her brother should have been more assertive when he knew such small gestures would not work. Florence hoped this would be an experience he would learn and grow from. She wanted to see him succeed as a leader and that was a part of it. [+mediumseagreen “Either way, there is no mistaking that poor choices were made on both sides.”] At least, she hoped that he was able to see that.
He took a playful tone after she tried to encourage him. [+mediumseagreen “A rarity, I know, but even I cannot be hard hearted every moment of every day.”] It was funny that she say that in the middle of the night, as though she was normally one to sleep through such spurts of niceness.
As he shifted on the bed, so did the mood. He asked if she missed him, but this time he seemed to really mean it. Knowing he wanted a serious answer, Florence took a moment to think about it. [+mediumseagreen “I think there were times that I did... I would look back to that night and regret that I could not have said things just a little bit differently… Though, I think that regret was more for Augustine’s sake than my own.”] From experience, she knew that was not what he wanted to hear, however she was not finished. [+mediumseagreen “But every once in a while, I do catch myself thinking back to those times we talked by the fire. If nothing else, those were nice.”] Nicolai always spoke straightly with her and she appreciated it... most of the time.
Looking down to her hands folded neatly in her lap, just talking about it now was bringing back memories. [+mediumseagreen “You once said that those were your happiest moments.”] He might have been exaggerating to garner her affections, but she remembered him saying it all the same. [+mediumseagreen “I do hope that that is not the case anymore. You have had the chance to travel and meet new people, so I am sure something much less mundane has taken its place.”] She smiled, trying to convey that she did not mean it to be a negative comment or one of pity.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled at her warning that Augustus would outrank him in her life and her priorities should it come down to a blunt decision.[+royalblue “Oh yes, right now he does. But it gives me a good goal to aim for to be seen at that level in your life.”] If he wanted to be a part of her life, to become her friend, her partner or more, then from what everyone and herself were saying he would need to bide his time. Yet he was only honest that his hope was to be held in such high regard and thought as Augustus.
Her report about false news being brought up from Wistina was as much as he expected. Nothing he ever heard made any sense and did not seem likely, even from a character like Vincent and his allies of ill-repute. So that was not a complete surprise to him, though he did let out a small sigh when she made note of delaying their departure due to his actions as 'Ulrich'.[+royalblue “You know what I always found odd; in the eighteen months I was out there, not once did anyone send a vassal or an envoy or a diplomat to talk to us. I made it quite clear we would not harm civilians when we left the builders alive so as to facilitate talks, but no-one was ever sent or a message relayed to us to come to talks.”] He shrugged his shoulders, a curious thought he had had over the months previously. It would be a good thing to mention to Augustus when his trial or hearing came about. That was on the hope and chance that he got one. Perhaps he would still throw aside his information and just hang him. He looked like a man with a mean streak in him.
When she offered him a little morsel of kindness, encouraging him to think in the positive, he smiled and moved forward.[+royalblue “Doth my elven ears deceive me or is that the sound of Lady Florence being genuinely kind to me?”] The bed was not outlandishly large, so with a little movement he brought himself up the bed to sit beside her, body turned to face her directly. He refrained from taking her hand, though did allow his own to rest near her side on the bed.[+royalblue “Be honest; did you miss me? I don't even mean in a romantic or loving way, just.. even as an acquaintance.”] His head rest against one hand that propped him up from the bed board, voice dropping just enough to show he was moving away from his childlike joking.
Raising a brow at the commentary concerning himself and Augustus, he moved to give his sorry before she could say anything, but that did not stop her. [+mediumseagreen “Word to the wise. I would not compare yourself to Augustus so easily. If it ever came down to you or him, he would win every time.”] Florence still did not know the extent of what he had learned about her. If it was just what she had said in the past or if he had gone snooping about on his own, but if he wanted to have any chance at success, he would do best not to try and beat out her other established relationships, friendship or otherwise.
Conversation circling back around to Wistina, her hair bounced about as she shook her head. [+mediumseagreen “I tried to keep track at first as well, but I began to start hearing conflicting accounts. I believe misinformation is being purposely sent up North so that I cannot be sure of anything.”] That also meant that they knew that they were planning to return at some point. She just hoped that they did not know when. They very much needed the ability to roam freely in the beginning. [+mediumseagreen “We actually had planned to leave much sooner, but when Ulrich supposedly started popping up, we thought better of it.”] She gave him a look that conveyed the fact that she one hundred percent blamed him for that, but it was not particularly angry about it. It allowed them more time to use the resources they had here before being on their own in the wilds.
As much as she wanted to tell Nicolai that it was his own fault and that he was the one who got himself into this mess, she could pretty much see his spirit dampening already. [+mediumseagreen “Come now, it is not all that dismal… given the way Augustus has been agonizing over it, I would say there is some hope for you yet.”] Especially if Eugene was part of the mix, he was a softy at heart and given he had spent so much time with Augustine, he was bound to know just how fond his nephew was of the man.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat She always rolled her eyes at his minor immature moments. He was never sure if she was truly put off and annoyed by it or if that was more akin to a sigh of exasperation. Before he could ask she was explaining how Gregory had six grandchildren and he kept himself from making a remark along the lines of them making that seven. His time with the rebellion had made him more relaxed but a little too much at times.
Two young boys and no-one else? And she still would not consider letting him join them? He frowned a little as she then went on to say how the young girl would most likely join them if she so chose and she advised she would leave the elf.[+royalblue “Bah, you need said elf. You're just too stubborn to ever say it as simply as that, just like at the pass..”] He muttered the last part to himself, a little of the old Nicolai still there though he quickly shook it off, nodding for her to continue on.
Hearing how she only married Germaine to force her brother and Astoria to open it's borders to the world at large did cut at Nicolai just a little. To have his kingdom used for the most minute of bonuses for her brother and his kingdom – and then to go on and fake an heir to cement it all – did not sit well with a man who felt pride in being a part of the most powerful southern empire, as she put it. But she had valid reason for doing what she did once she was already married and he would not resent her for that. So Nicolai put on a knowing smile and shook his head lightly.[+royalblue “Ten years huh? See, if you can fall back to old ways with a man like that, then to accept me back must be a walk in the part.”] The sarcasm dripped from his words but again he held up his hands in feigned surrender before she got a word out, apologising but without having to say so verbally, only giving her a smile in return.
[+royalblue “Speaking of Wistina, have you heard any news of what has happened there? I tried to keep up to date the first year but I could not exactly go back nor could I ask openly about it, not with being declared a criminal and with Ulrich out there somewhere.”] He gave a moments thought to the man who's name and identity he had taken. It was a little surprising that he had not come out to investigate who was stealing his very being, though no doubt he had his eyes and ears everywhere.[+royalblue “Depending on how your Eugene and Augustus take the next few days, I may never get to go back.”] And that was a most depressing thought.
Liking that she finally had a chance to turn the tables, Florence smiled. This was likely to be her only chance to get revenge in such a way, so it was a little sad that the moment moved on so quickly and without the chance for her to toy with him.
The wink was unexpected; she rolled her eyes at the man before continuing the conversation as though it had not happened. [+mediumseagreen “Oh, he spends plenty of his time bothering the pair, so worry not. He just has to divide his time between all of his grandchildren now. There are six of them.”] She still could not believe Eugene and Abigail managed to have so many. Florence would have gone mad; sure she probably could have had one more back when she was younger, but five was entirely too many.
Nodding, she confirmed that Augustine’s wish remained unchanged. [+mediumseagreen “As far as I have heard, it will be the two of us and his friend Marko, but that is not to say that they are not plotting something on their own. Flora has been known to do as she pleases.”] It was not something her son had mentioned to her, but Florence was fairly certain they had plans. [+mediumseagreen “As for rewards, I would say I got everything I planned to get out of going to Wistina… though I may be returning said elf.”] She shook her head at his projected vanity. [+mediumseagreen “It is not easy to build relations with other countries when your boarders have been shut for fifty years. You sort of have to force their hands, and I would say marrying into the royal family of what is arguable the most powerful empire in the southern lands did just that.”] That was the true and honest motivation she had behind marrying Germaine. [+mediumseagreen “I made my little brother’s life just a little bit easier, and that was all I want it. Augustine was a bonus… but you are right Augustus will be angry. He was furious when I accepted Germaine’s proposal. Did you know he never returned a single one of my letters the whole ten years I was gone?”] It was so rude. But upon returning and talking with Julia, she knew he read them even if he never wrote back.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Violet eyes narrowed on Florence when she mentioned Adrian had said something whilst awake. Much like she often eyed him suspiciously, unsure if he was telling the truth, it was not her turn to tease and titillate and he did not like it. What had he said? Was it about him? Maybe she was lying and just trying to get him to confess what he had told Augustus? He kept tight lipped, even when she mentioned his link to the doctor. She did not seem to know why the doctor was helping him with however, so he was grateful this Kingdom had so many trustworthy people.
Listening to her tell him about Gregory he nodded softly, not much to say on her fathers declining eyesight in his waning years. It was like him to still be against their return, he had never expected less, yet Nicolai had come to respect the man and he would like a chance to talk to him – perhaps when this issue was dealt with and they could progress beyond the immediate past.[+royalblue “I am a little surprised myself; I expected Gregory and not you to be the one tormenting the young boy.”] He smiled across at her, a quick wink to tease her as she seemed to relax and ease more. A little like Augustine he felt that the initial dislike of him had waned. The years of building up their anger toward him had come against a man who was penitent for his follies and was willing to show him remorse. They clearly expected that should they see him again, he would be the same man.
[+royalblue “Yes, I know what you mean. You have to take every moment you can with them. Pretty soon things have changed and you're unsure where you stand.”] It was not precise whether he was trying to talk as if from her viewpoint, or his own. Though if his own, and by how he looked at her, he was speaking more about them most likely.[+royalblue “I take it he still wants to return to Wistina judging on Gregory's reaction, but if he does, will you bring Flora? I imagine a man like Augustus is adamant he will not let his daughter do what you did those years ago. Look what hassle it has brought you, and for what reward?”] He smiled lightly and pressed a hand to his own chest.[+royalblue “Apart from one very handsome elf.”]
Florence could not help but roll her eyes at him; he was just rubbing it in at this point. They both knew he wasn’t going to give any more information than he already had, though how he danced around it was almost masterful. [+mediumseagreen “He did have some interesting things to say while he was awake. I guess we will both have to wait and see where this all leads.”] She teased him back some with her own information, though he was liable to think she was bluffing.
Upon hearing that he originally wanted to finish off Adrian, she was glad that he chose to come here instead. It would have been damning and they would never get the answers she was looking for. [+mediumseagreen “That choice might have saved for life, so it is nice to see you have gained a sense of self-preservations.”] A coy smile played at her lips.
If she was the most hospitable, perhaps she had not hit him quite hard enough. Though judging by the discoloration of his face, she’d done just fine, even if that was partially from his previous battle. Shrugging, Florence showed no remorse for what she had done. [+mediumseagreen “That is surprising. I would have thought the doctor played that role, seeing as he has done more to help you than anyone else since your arrival.”] He had been fighting tooth and nail for the elf.
And then it was on to the others. [+mediumseagreen “They are fine. Well, my father’s sight is failing now more than ever, and he is still against us returning to Wistina, but he is taking it all in stride. And Augustine…”] She smiled, the fondness for her child showing as she thought about him. [+mediumseagreen “He was hesitant to get attached to anyone here at first, but Eugene got through to him. My brother is very good at that, he always has been.”] Her mind went to their childhood. It was not always happy, but there were parts she looked on fondly. Most of them included her little brother.
[+mediumseagreen “Now Augustine even has a couple of friends around his age… He is sweet on little miss Flora, and Augustus hates it to death.”] She could not help but chuckle at the man’s expense. [+mediumseagreen “I just think it is funny, since he was so opposed to the idea at first.”] There was a great family resemblance there that she chose to overlook. [+mediumseagreen “In fact he was glaring daggers at me just earlier today for interrupting their walk. Admittedly, I stuck around longer than I should have, but I feel like I need to take these chances to tease him while I still can.”] And she did it so seldom, that there really was nothing for him to complain about?
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat When she looked down perplexed at her own injury, but also that he would ask about it, he knew she did not want to confirm his suspicions. No doubt even in the absence of a relationship, she still considered the other man a close friend after so long together in Astoria. But she gave in, telling Nicolai that it was indeed Adrian who had done it before attempting to rationalise why he had done it, blaming his delirious state of being for that.
He bit his tongue from mentioning how he had been a little delirious after the pass.[+royalblue “I suspect him of a lot of things. Augustus' investigation will do more to validate my theories.”] He still played coy with the truth, dancing around what he knew as he saw her inspect the bruising.[+royalblue “I was intent on going to him tonight, to finish what I started in Malidek.”] When her gaze lifted to him he shook his head quickly.[+royalblue “I decided it was best not to. After hearing from the doctor and Augustine about his health and your relationship, I figured attacking him would only make me look bad. Or, well, worse than I already look.”] He smiled lightly, one of those pleasant smiles when trying to make the mood light and airy and a conversation more cordial and enjoyable.
[+royalblue “How has everyone been? Augustine said little but to berate me and Gregory does not seem keen to talk to me whatsoever. You've been my most hospitable visitor – which I did not expect really. Especially after you near broke my jaw.”] His hand rose to his cheek which was a healthy shade of purple itself.
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