Part 3 - Nightmare
Denar jumped as soon as the door opened and waited for Elian to come in.
“Where the hell have you been?”
“Hush!! Not so loud!”
“Do you even know how worried I was?, you half-assed Prince!”
Elian took a deep breath and started to get undressed.
“I just went for a walk. And imagine! Got lost.”
“You went looking for her!” he accused and Elian faced the Knight’s serious expression.
“I did. But couldn’t find her. Lidya brought me back. I really got lost. This palace is bigger than it looks.”
Denar laughed at his Prince’s miserable expression and sat on a chair, near the table, where a basket painted in gold had been placed, filled with fruits of all kinds.
“Really, Elian! Well, I do have to concede. Never thought they would believe that idiotic story about us being messengers from the South Kingdoms. They could even have suspected that we were spies from the North."
Elian smiled, shrugging proudly.
“Some things you’ll never understand, Denar. So it’s better if you don’t even try. It’s not worth it!”
“Of course! As Your Highness commands! I do bid you, my Lord and Prince, a very good night!” the Knight replied sarcastically, with a deep bow.
“Stop being annoying, will you? You know I hate that!”
“Yes, my Lord,” he answered, bowing once more with a mocking smile, and turned to leave, but not before pocketing a bunch of grapes.
The rooms where they were staying were interconnected by a wooden door and, right before closing it, Denar bowed once more, to which Elian answered with a grimace, controlling his desire to throw something hard at his head.
As soon as Denar disappeared Elian recalled the strange encounter he had had in the main hall. That scared, young face had remained engraved in his memory and he just couldn’t understand why. Almost as if something was preventing him from seeing what was right there, in front of him. Him, who had always been able to see more than anyone else, and always things that he wasn’t suppose to see.
He lay down on the wide, soft bed, having decided to get some rest after the long trip they’d endured since leaving Mithir, and tried to forget that expression that uncomfortably and persistently filled his mind.
It was already late when Elian woke up, startled as it happened every night. His heart pounded painfully, his face and hands were moist with cold sweat.
“Elian! Are you alright?” the Knight asked, rushing to his side, carrying a lamp that made the Prince shield his eyes.
“You’re so pale!” Denar stated, sitting by his side, and placed the lamp on the bedside table. “Heard you scream. That dream again?”
Elian nodded, his expression still a mask of grief, and Denar sighed, placing a comforting hand on his head as if he were just a small boy.
“Want to tell me about it?”
“I … can’t remember …”
Denar gently stroked his black hair and pushed him down, making him lay back once again.
“Rest now. It’s all over now,” he told him, covering him with the blankets, but Elian urgently held his hand, as if he’d forgotten something extremely important.
“Allana is alright.”
“No. She’ll wake up soon … scared and alone …!”
“Elian … Allana is in her room. And you can’t just go in there, like you used to when you were a child. Besides, she doesn’t even know you! How do think she’d react if a stranger invaded her bedchamber in the middle of the night?”
Elian took a deep breath allowing his head to rest on the soft pillow.
“Strange …” he mused facing Denar’s green eyes that seemed to have a life of their own, reflecting the flickering light of the lamp. “You’re right, of course … How silly of me …”
“Rest now. You’re tiered from the road and tomorrow is going to be a big day!”
“Or not …”
Denar leaned over his Prince, placing a light kiss on in his forehead as if were just an insecure boy. Then picked up his lamp and returned to his room. Elian followed him with his gaze, as the warm light faded away, leaving him surrounded by darkness again.
“Or not …” he whispered and fell asleep.