Categories > Original > Romance > Saintism

Chapter 4 - Rosalin

by _DoubleS0ft_ 0 reviews

In which Rosalin meets the second male lead.

Category: Romance - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Fantasy,Romance - Published: 2022-05-16 - 2493 words

(Three days later)

The wind rustles the branches above my head and a few stray leaves fall, twirling in the sunlight before landing on the dirt road. I twist my back then bend to stretch beside the stopped carriage. We’re about ten minutes out now from the capital and the horses are taking a drink from the lake nearby. Its glittering blue surface looks cool and inviting, making me want to go for a swim. The summer heat combined with the humidity has me covered in sweat, but I ignore it and focus on my stretching.

“Have you ever been to the spire james?” I ask and lean against the closed carriage door, the raised rope like design on it digging into my back.

“No, I’ve never gone but I’ve heard plenty about it from the archon. He’s been more than anyone else in the village. The branch of the order here is a lot more formal than it is in Lindenval.”

“Hmm..” I murmured and looked at the canopy of trees above “and I suppose I’ll have more rules than anyone else, considering my station..”

“Did you say something saintess?” He stood and turned in my direction after taking a drink of water.

“Nothing at all. I’m just eager to see what Altargia looks like. I’ve never seen a castle before.” I blurted “I’m done stretching now, I’m gonna get back in the carriage.”

Shortly after I settled into the carriage and became engrossed in another book I felt the carriage shift as we set off again. I felt a jolt of anxiety knot my stomach, but I shook it off. I’d learned long ago the best thing to do when nervous about a new environment is to cling to the positives of it with dear life. There’s no need to feed into it, I’m gonna be fine. The scenery is gorgeous in the forest alone, I’m sure this city will be even more beautiful. And maybe I’ll make more friends here so I won’t be lonely for long. That and I’ll get to see a real life castle! Plus a fairytale hero. Plenty to look forward to.

Soon enough the forest fell away and we were surrounded by buildings. Colorful banners hung over the paved road and the streets were packed with people. We passed through what looked to be a market with stalls lining both sides of the street. Sellers hawked their wares underneath colorful canopies, some sold jewelry and others sold produce. There were several fruits and vegetables I’d never seen before, and even stranger fish with a kaleidoscope of eyes and iridescent scales. While I pondered what something that alien looking would taste like, the carriage suddenly stopped and I fell forward onto the opposite seat.

“Sorry your holiness, there’s a bit of a jam.” James called out and leaning out the window I could see sure enough their was a line of other carriages in front of us.

Of course there’s traffic in another world. I mentally chuckled to myself then settled back onto my seat. From then on we continued at a snail’s pace, and after a few minutes had passed I impulsively opened the door and got out.

“I’m going to get out and walk around for awhile, I’ll meet you there.” I called to James then raised my hood on my cloak and set off.

“Wait a minute! I’m supposed to take you straight there!” I could hear the panic in his voice but I quickened my stride and blended in to the crowd.

Out on the street and not in the nondescript carriage, I caught some attention and plenty of the people I passed did a double take. My stomach growled painfully, and I slightly regretted my urge to get out. But if I could prolong the inevitable even a tiny bit longer to steel my nerves then it would be worth it. The signs on the buildings were mainly symbols and pictures with barely any writing. I assumed the reason being that the poorer class couldn’t read, and the thought depressed me. The sights though were still amazing. The cobblestones beneath my short heeled boots were worn smooth and even after years of use. Many of the cream colored brick store fronts had ivy and roses growing up their sides. The streets were lined with baskets full of flowers, and at my slower pace I could see the multicolored banners above had Illarwyn embroidered on them in thick silver thread. I was still looking up at the banners when I walked into someone.

I rubbed my chin painfully and looked up into the face of the man towering above me. His wide body blocked out the street in front of him, and I was surprised to see his skin was covered in orange and black striped fur. A beast man! I internally gasped. He had dark leather pants covering half of his odd long legs and a completely bare chest. His feline face wore an approximation of a frown, his fangs poking out under his top lip.

“I’m sorry!” I finally managed to say and took a step out of his way.

“humans.” He huffed and walked off, his large tail flicking in annoyance.

A talking tiger! On two legs! I know I read that book but I didn’t expect to meet a beast person so soon. He looked really fluffy… i really shouldn’t have openly stared though..

My stomach growled again full force and I absentmindedly rubbed it while walking. A hanging sign engraved with an image of bread and wheat stalks caught my eye and when I stood below it the sweet smell of baking pastry wafted past my nose. I stood off to one side, debating if my three gold coins was enough for anything. I don’t want to go in and embarrass myself but I’m so hungry. This is my karma for wandering off and being a coward. I guess I should wait till I get back..

“Hungry?” A voice chuckled behind me and I quickly turned around. This male stranger wasn’t furry at all from what I could tell. He had spring green eyes and, from what I could see of it under his hood, long golden blonde hair. His face was both angelic and yet masculine and I had a hard time looking away from those eyes. Looking him over I noticed he was dressed simply, white shirt and dark trousers with shiny black boots. His dark cloak immediately struck me as suspicious but I shook it off considering I too am wearing a cloak. Although..mine is religious. For all I know he could be a thief that preys on tourists.

“Are you always this distracted?” He laughed again, somehow he was closer to me than before and I shivered. Something about him seemed oddly familiar and comfortable even though logically I knew to be cautious of strangers.

“No. Well maybe sometimes.I’m not hungry.” I flushed and took a step back to put some distance between us.

“Are you sure?” he raised one golden brow and leaned towards me.

“Yes im sure. Excuse me.” I said primly and turned to leave. My stomach protested fiercely and I felt my face get even warmer.

“Come on,” he smiled and walked past me. He held the door open and waved me inside “My treat.”

I narrowed my eyes at his gesture and asked warily “Why? I don’t know you. And I can’t pay you back for it.”

“Just humor me. I’m in a good mood from such a chance meeting.” He said in a vague tone, still holding the door open.

He didn’t appear to intend on elaborating, and a line was forming, so I entered the threshold with him following behind me.

The inside was that of an elegant café. The pink flowery wallpaper and shiny pale wooden floors matched nicely with the white linen tables. The room was packed with well dressed people and many of them stopped their conversations to stare. I felt the urge to turn around and walk back out, clearly we were in somewhere way more expensive than probably this stranger could even afford. I felt his hands on my shoulders and again I got a feeling of familiarity while he steered me to a table. He pulled out my chair for me, and I plopped down in it in a daze. It feels like I’m forgetting something. Something’s hovering at the edge of my memory and the more I try to focus on it the more my head hurts. I shake myself out of my stupor as he seats himself and I lower my hood, hoping to give less of a negative impression to the other patrons. I lean toward him and wave for him to get closer. He leans forward, hood still firmly on, turning his head to the side with an amused expression.

“Are you sure we can eat here? It seems awfully fancy. I really can’t pay you back whatever this would be worth.”  I whisper, hiding my mouth with on hand.

“I’m sure. Order whatever you want.” He grinned and leaned back into his seat with a smug look. My heart raced and I looked down at the lacy menu written in cursive. All he’s doing is looking at me, why am I so nervous? Focus on food. Um..Apple tart, strawberry short cake, earl grey macarons..

When the extremely well dressed waiter comes to our table, turning up his nose at my lunch companion, I realize we must look like the worst kind of ruffians. He speaks to me, turning his back towards the man across from me “Are you ready to order my lady?”

“Oh um yes, just the Lemon poppyseed shortbread with lavender ice cream please.” I manage, and mentally I congratulate myself on saying it normally despite my nervousness. He takes my order down then sighs and turns towards the other side of the table.

“A slice of coffee cake for me, and mango ceylon tea for both of us.” The stranger says in a bored tone before the waiter could say anything. The waiter walks off in a huff and I observe my companion again. Just like outside I have a hard time looking away from his eyes, something about them calms my nerves.

“Do we really look that bad? He seemed to not want to help us.” I wonder and play with my hands in my lap.

“It’s not you. It’s me. The horns, you know?” He grimaces and gestures to the horned shaped parts on his hood. They’re long on either side of his head, sticking straight up.

“Ah. I didn’t want to be rude and stare at them. You’re a beast person?” I ask. I wonder if it hurt to grow horns like that.

“You could say that. I’d rather not get into it, but they don’t care for beast folk here.” He hedges, reaching out and grabbing the curly end of one of my braids.

“What’s wrong with beast folk? I’ve loosely met one today and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. Just grumpy.” I say and my eyes are drawn to his hand, my hair twirling between his fingers.

“They don’t like anything non-human in human cities.” He replies pensively, and I glance up to see he’s also watching his hand playing with my hair. “They think we’re less than, worse than monsters, because of the blight.”

“The blight? It doesn’t make sense to hate beast folk because of that sickness..” I trail off when he raises his hand towards his lips and kisses my hair. “Who are you anyway? It’s still strange you want to buy me lunch when we don’t know each other.”

“I haven’t introduced myself, my apologies. I’ve been..distracted..after meeting you. I am Luciel.” He smiled and let go of my braid right as our respective dishes arrived.

“I’m Rosalin. Well I suppose we know each other now. Thank you so much for lunch.” I smiled and tucked my hair behind my ear preparing to devour my sweets.     

An hour later and we were back on the street, walking uphill side by side. I told Luciel during the meal I’d needed to head to the spire and he offered to walk me there. I was quickly out of breath, and my thighs burned with each step. This is embarrassing, please kill me now.

“Would you like me to carry you?” Luciel asked when we stopped for me to take a break.

“Could you?” I gasped, bent over beside a tree. I was past the point of pride, and over the course of lunch I’d begun to feel like I’d known him forever.

I figured he would give me a piggyback ride when I accepted his offer but he lifted me in his arms and carried me bridal style.  

“We’re almost there, don’t worry.” He said and true to his word five minutes later we cleared the hill.

The glittering white building across the street was painfully bright in the sunlight, and I noticed the colorful stained glass windows. The version of anara depicted in the windows had dark brown skin and fluffy curly hair adorned with golden butterflies. In one of them she towered over the pale humans, with what was most likely Illarwyn behind her, handing them a golden fruit.

Luciel put me back on my feet gently, his hands lingering on my waist.

“Ah um thank you. You can let go now.” I blushed and fought the urge to lean into him.

“If I want to meet you again, would you come see me?” He asked, pulling me closer to him. I was rooted to spot, lost in his eyes unintentionally.

“Yes, of course. You’d want to see me again?” I breathed and looked longingly at his lips in a daze.

“If you keep staring, I’m going to kiss you.” He replied, his face inches away from mine. My whole body flushed warm and the depth with which I ached with need shook me from my stupor. I wriggled out of his arms and took a few steps back, breathing heavily.

Luciel laughed, turned away and disappeared into thin air. I looked around wildly but he was nowhere to be seen.

“We’ll meet again, Rosalin.” I heard him directly next to my ear and I put a hand over it, looking around again. All that was left of him was his rich laughter carrying on the wind.  
Sign up to rate and review this story