An Easter to Remember
Disclaimer: The characters featured in this story from Trinity Blood do not belong to me. I am merely borrowing them for my own story as I love them so much :D This is an Ion x Esther story celebrating their first Easter together [wink
Esther Blanchett, the Queen of Albion was confused and tired. She had been woken very early this morning. It was so early that it was still dark outside and even a few stars were still glittering in the sky. Before Esther knew it, her lady-in-waiting had her out of bed and getting dressed for what seemed like another day to her. Some maids started coming into the room to make her bed and tidy up.
"Huh?" Esther mumbled, feeling as though she was going to pass out any moment, "What time is it Lucy?"
"Four in the morning Your Majesty," Lucy her lady-in-waiting answered.
"…" Esther was not certain if she heard right. Did she just say four? As in, four in the morning? Why did she need to be up so early? She didn't have any extra work to finish which was urgent did she? Esther was trying to think back to last night but her mind was just blank. All she wanted to do was sleep.
"Your Majesty," Lucy started, "Do you remember what today is?"
"Huh? This isn't an April Fools joke is it?" Esther answered while yawning.
"No, today is Easter. You were going to host an Easter Hunt this morning for orphans while arrange other festivities afterwards for charity. Volunteers from the Vatican and other churches were going to help you organise the events."
"Oh? That was today?" Was all Esther could manage to say. She could feel her hair being brushed now which felt soothing. Esther had been looking forward to this day as it would give her a chance to catch up with her friends from the Vatican. Esther usually saw them every now and then, but the person she wanted to see most was Ion. It had been five years since she last saw him. They didn't get to keep in contact much as the both of them had other commitments to attend to. Still, with this holiday, she hoped they could spend some time together. She had sent a letter requesting his assistance for this Easter event a month ago but she never got a reply back. Esther assumed this meant he couldn't come.
Lucy noticed the saddened look on the Queen's face and patted her on the back, "Whatever is the matter Your Majesty?"
"Did we… Ever receive a letter from the Count of Memphis?" Esther was almost too frightened to ask. She didn't want to hear a 'no' or 'not yet', she had been receiving those replies for the past month as she kept asking every day about it. The last thing she did want to hear was a 'yes, but he declined' statement. Although, now thinking about it, knowing he at least went through the effort to reply was better than nothing. At least she could just go on with the festivities without having that thought in the back of her mind, wondering if he was going to come. Had she perhaps done something to offend him? Did he even celebrate Easter? Was that it? Esther started to worry now. He probably had no idea what she was asking and thought it a big joke.
Lucy noticed how tense Esther seemed to be getting. She looked in the mirror and noticed the young Queen looked somewhat depressed. Her lady-in-waiting kept silent for a moment but smiled to herself as she walked in front of her. While Lucy started powdering Esther's face she answered, "No, no letter was received."
Esther couldn't help but sigh, she should have expected that but she couldn't help but hope that she would receive some good news on the day where it really mattered. She prayed each night, hoping Ion would send her a letter advising he would spend Easter with her. And when he visited, she hoped to catch up on the five years which had gone by without having any contact at all. But now, it seems that was all but a hopeful dream on her end.
"However," Lucy paused for a moment, "There was going to be someone coming in order to give you his reply." Esther's eyes suddenly widened in response to that. She didn't feel tired anymore after hearing that statement. Even if someone were arriving from the Empire to give her a negative response, anything was better than nothing. With someone here to give her, her long overdue reply, it may mean there was more to Ion's response than could be said in a letter. Esther was starting to have some hope again.
"Do you know who it is? When will they be arriving?" Esther asked excitedly, unable to hide it.
"Hmmm," Lucy pondered, "So I was told by one of the maids, he was a young man which looked around your age, blonde hair, beautiful red eyes. I was told he looked quite handsome as well."
Esther's heart skipped a beat, the way Lucy described him sounded just like…
"Oh, and this young man is actually here."
"Wait, what!? They're here!? Right this moment!?" Esther turned to face her lady-in-waiting as she shook her by the shoulders, "Where is he!?" If this was who Esther thought it was; she wouldn't know what to do once she saw them. She tried remaining as calm as possible, but the thrill and impatience she had in wanting to see Ion again started taking her over.
Lucy looked at her and noticed how excited Esther looked at this moment. She spent a lot of time with Esther and knew she'd be ecstatic to hear this. Esther was always constantly asking if the Count's reply had been received but when she always replied with the same negative answer, Esther always looked so disappointed. Seeing her now unable to contain her excitement made her so happy. The Queen hadn't looked this happy in years.
"He's in the Audience Chamber, waiting for you."
The moment she said that, Esther suddenly rushed out of her bedroom, too excited to walk out more gracefully.
"Your Majesty! You forgot your footwear and your dress isn't done up yet!" Her lady-in-waiting called out as she quickly picked up the Queen's heeled shoes and ran after her. She knew Esther would do something like this. She should have waited to tell her that little detail AFTER Esther was ready.
Esther stopped by the entrance of the Audience Chambers and noticed a few of her maids peeking inside through the crack in the two doors. They were whispering and giggling to each other, obviously showing their interest in whoever was in there. It gave her a tinge of jealousy, as Esther expected it to be her Methuselah friend, although there seemed to be more to her jealousy than she expected.
"Ahem…" Esther cleared her throat so her voice could be heard.
The maids jumped with surprise, not expecting to be caught so soon. When they noticed the Queen was standing beside them they suddenly backed away from the double doors, bowed and apologised numerous times before hurrying away. Esther didn't mind all that much, she was too excited to care really but Esther was still the Queen, and she needed to keep her loyal subjects in line. But she'll deal with them later.
Esther stood by the double doors and suddenly felt very nervous. Her heart was racing a mile an hour. She had to remind herself that it may not be who she thinks. Lucy didn't specifically say it was the Count, so it may not be him. But deep down, Esther felt it had to be. She wouldn't be feeling like this if it wasn't him.
"Your Majesty!" Lucy called out as she caught up to her, "My Queen! Please don't run like that again, especially when you aren't dressed properly!"
Esther blinked in confusion at first, until she realised her feet felt cold against the marble floor. That and she could feel a cold breeze against her back. Esther blushed with embarrassment then. She could almost imagine the strange look she'd receive from her guest if she went in there looking like this.
Lucy made her put on her heeled shoes and started fixing up her dress again. While she was doing this, Esther bent down a little and tried looking through the crack in the doors to see if she could get a sneak peek of their visitor. They had their back to her, and looked to be gazing out the window. Esther couldn't see much of them as they were wearing a black cape which had a hood and flowed down their back. All she could tell was that they were taller than her, and their broad shoulders indicated it was a man but she still couldn't tell who it was.
"Your Majesty, you're dressed properly now." Lucy whispered in her ear, "Time to make your entrance."
Esther went wide eyed at that statement, "No wait, I'm not ready!"
"Her Majesty, the Queen of Albion has arrived!" Lucy called out loudly, ignoring Esther's protest as she swung the doors open and stepped inside, bowing her head as she did so. She moved off to the side so she was standing beside one of the doors and kept her head bowed in respect for their guest and of course the Queen. Esther wanted so badly to smack Lucy behind the head, she wasn't ready to approach their guest yet, she had no time to prepare! She was still standing outside the doors as though frozen in place. Earlier she couldn't wait to see who was here, but now she wished the ground would open up and make her disappear.
The moment the doors opened, the visitor had turned their head to see who it was. When it appeared to be who they were waiting for, they turned their body completely so they were standing opposite Esther. The visitor then removed the hood from their face, allowing their silky blonde bangs to fall freely over their face while their bright ruby eyes met Esther's sapphire ones. A charming smile graced their lips which made Esther want to faint in response. There, standing before her was the man she had been waiting to see again for five years. It was none other than Ion Fortuna, the Count of Memphis from the Empire.
"Your Majesty." Ion greeted as he brought his right hand over his chest and bowed, showing his respects to the Queen of Albion, "Please forgive me for intruding on you so early in the morning."
Esther was speechless; did he always have such a warm gentle voice? She knew it had been a while since they last spoke. He really didn't sound all that different from what she could remember. It was probably because she had been eager to hear his voice for so long that no matter what he said, it made her feel as though she died and went up to heaven. And his looks, when did he become so, masculine? He still had that same beautiful face but while he was taller than her now, he looked to have quite a build as well. He didn't look overly muscled but his body definitely went under some heavy development since the last time she saw him. He'd probably have quite a body now, if only he wasn't wearing those elegant clothes she'd, 'W-Wait! W-Why am I thinking such things about my friend? I've finally been able to see him after all these years; I should be taking the pleasure in talking to him, not wishing he'd take his top off!' Esther cursed herself so having such thoughts.
Ion's smile suddenly widened which had her heart leap to her throat in response. He didn't just read her thoughts did he? Surely he couldn't, Methuselah didn't have such abilities, did they? Esther felt the temperature in her face go up, regardless of whether or not he knew what she was thinking.
Lucy made an effort to go over to Ion then, "May I please take your cape for you sir?" Ion nodded his thanks and removed the long material from his shoulders, not once shifting his gaze from Esther. The red head was glad she was wearing a long dress as she could feel her knees shaking as a result of his intense stare; she was more convinced now that he had read her mind.
Once her lady-in-waiting received his cape, Lucy bowed to both Ion and Esther and made her way out the chamber, making sure to close the doors behind her as she left. Esther wished Lucy had stayed; she wasn't sure now about being left alone in the same room as Ion. She had missed him dearly and wanted so much to talk to him yet butterflies were dancing in her stomach while her heart was being a million miles an hour. Esther felt as though she'd pass out if she made so much as a step towards him.
Ion continued looking at her, still smiling as sweetly as he was and started walking up to her. They had been standing on the other side of the room from each other so now that they were alone; he wanted to speak to her on a more personal note. However, the closer he got to her, the louder Esther's heart beats became. She was afraid he might hear them as they seemed to echo in her mind like a drum.
"Esther," Ion said as he stood in front of her, being a bit more informal, "I'm sorry I didn't send my reply sooner. I was so excited about seeing you that I thought I'd surprise you by giving you my answer in person. I hope you can forgive my tardiness."
Esther blinked, then blinked again and slowly opened her mouth to finally say her first words to him in five years, "You're hot…"
Ion blinked in confusion, "Pardon?"
'And you're an idiot Esther!' Esther mentally kicked herself, "I-I mean, it's so nice to see you. I've missed you."
Ion smiled, "I've missed you as well. And I thank you for inviting me to this special um, Easter event you plan on holding."
Esther raised an eyebrow at him, feeling a bit more relaxed now, "What was the 'um' for Count? Am I assuming you don't know what Easter is?"
Ion rubbed the back of his head as he looked to the side in embarrassment, "I admit one reason it took me a while to reply to your letter was because I didn't know what Easter was. We don't celebrate it back at the Empire. Although, when I did mention it to the Empress, she wanted me to report back on it as she may consider having us celebrate it back home."
Esther smiled, "That would be wonderful. Many people here love to celebrate it, especially children as chocolate is involved in Easter hehe."
"I see, I'll be looking forward to it then," Ion smiled again. When he did, Esther felt she could melt from that smile. She felt so tempted to ask for a hug but she wasn't sure how he'd feel about it. With her self being royalty and Ion from nobility, they could only go so much as shaking hands right? Usually that sort of thing didn't matter to her, but with being a Queen now, she really had to watch how she spoke and behaved. Even if it was with friends, who knows who'd be watching.
Ion watched her for a moment and asked, "What's on your mind Esther?" Again, seeming to imply he could read her mind, which was starting to make Esther all nervous again.
"N-Nothing," Esther replied, blushing a bit. "We better go if we want to um, to err, to…"
"… Organise the Easter Hunt?" Ion finished for her, "That was first on the agenda right?"
"Oh umm, yes right!" Esther smiled, "You seem to know more about this than I do and I'm the one that wanted to organise it haha!" She turned her back on him and started heading for the door, "We better go now before the sun comes out. After all, that's when the orphans will be comi-"
Esther was stopped mid sentence when she felt arms wrap around her stomach. Her face went red as she felt her back pressed against Ion's body. He was so warm, or maybe it was just her body temperature gradually rising which made it feel warm.
They stayed like that for a moment, Esther was unable to say or do anything in response. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, Ion let her go and walked by her, "Sorry, I had wanted to do that since I saw you." He kept walking and brought a hand up to his face, wanting to hide the pink tinge in his cheeks.
Esther watched him walk away for a moment and felt her face go beet red. Her head was dizzy; she felt she could have passed out in his arms if he held her any longer. But now that he let go, she suddenly felt cold and wanted to feel his body against hers again.
'My god Esther, listen to your self! Snap out of it! He is just a friend! Nothing more, nothing less!'
Ion and Esther were inside a carriage on their way to a nearby park which was going to be where the Easter Hunt and other festivities would carry on throughout the day. From the distance, Esther could see preparations were already being made with so many carriages and horses on site. Tents were in the process of going up while many boxes were being carried to different places. She was starting to get excited; this was going to be the first major event she got to host with Ion present. Esther hoped everything would go especially well with him sharing his first Easter experience with her.
While staring out the window, Esther turned her gaze to Ion for a moment and noticed he seemed to be staring out the window as well. They had the curtain open so some of the fresh early morning air would flow in around them. The sun still had yet to rise but off in the distance, you could see some of the darkness turning a lighter blue. Some stars were still present in the sky but were gradually fading.
The wind made Ion's blonde hair flutter about his face; his gaze was soft as though he looked at peace right now. Esther wished she could freeze this moment and just simply stare at him forever and ever. Why did he have that effect on her? She felt it was more than just her missing him. Esther felt she had longed for him ever since they parted ways at the Empire. She missed him deeply, more than she seemed to be aware of. Esther felt that if he left her again, she'd fall apart and never come out of the depression she'd feel. The thought of it scared her. Ion was only here for Easter, which meant he'd leave later today, if not tomorrow morning at the latest. So what would happen between them then? Would it be another five years until they saw each other again? What if it was more this time?
"Esther?" Ion looked at her with concern, "What's wrong?"
Esther brought herself out of her thoughts and looked at him, "Huh? What is it? What happened?" She looked around, wondering if she had missed something.
Ion stared at her for a moment before leaning in and bringing her hand within his, hoping to sooth her. Esther felt what seemed like electricity shoot down her back at his sudden touch. She didn't know if she could look at him right now, knowing if she did, she'd probably spill out every feeling and thought she had towards him. 'Don't ever leave me! Stay with me forever! I don't know what I'd do if you left me again! I've never felt happier than I do now with you here! No one could ever make me feel as much as you make me do! I don't know what it is that you do to me, but this feeling, it's something I wish will never go away! Ion…' "…I love you…" Esther said, finishing her sentence out loud.
Realising what she had just done, Esther went wide eyed with shock as she brought her free hand over her mouth, not believing what she had just said. Ion was very surprised himself, not expecting her to say anything like that. 'Oh no! What have you done!? It hasn't even been an hour and you are already saying such ridiculous things!' Esther panicked in her mind.
Ion seemed to have recovered quicker than her and looked about ready to say something but she cut him off and said a bit loudly, "I love how you always show such great concern! You are such a kind and caring man Count! At times I wonder what I'd do if you weren't around! Hahaha!" She didn't know if she sounded like an idiot just now, but judging from Ion's blank expression, she assumed she did. She was too afraid to hear what Ion may say towards such a confession. She didn't even know why she said it in the first place but it had to be a mistake. She didn't really feel that way, did she?
"Um… Driver!" Esther called out through the window, "Please stop here! I'd like to walk the rest of the way!"
When the carriage stopped, Esther reached out for the door but felt Ion's hand tighten around hers, as he was still holding it from earlier. He looked at her with his gentle ruby gaze and asked, "Are you sure Esther? It's still a little distance away. It may be best if we just go by carriage." 'Thank god he dropped that earlier topic', was all Esther could think right now.
"Oh don't be like that! It's not that far! Besides, a little exercise will do me good haha!" Esther opened the door and made her way out with the help of the driver taking her hand. Ion just sighed but got out of the carriage as well.
"Count, you don't need to come with me." Esther replied, "I'll be fine on my own."
Ion shot her a glance which immediately silenced her. He looked a bit angry and hurt from that remark. She wasn't trying to upset him, she just felt really uncomfortable around him right now. She didn't know why, she had wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. But with her unexpected confession, it made her suddenly too embarrassed to be in his presence.
"I'm not about to sit in the Queen's carriage on my own while the Queen herself walks. Either we ride by carriage together, or we walk together. Either way, I am staying by your side." Esther felt her heart skip a beat when she heard him say that. She couldn't expect anything less from Ion. He was always so noble and considerate.
His words had sent a new wave of energy run through her as she raised her fist in the air in triumph, "All right! Let's get walking!" Ion smiled and nodded in response as they started doing so. The driver was a bit confused by their actions but shrugged as he got back in front of the carriage and rode on towards the park.
Esther now wished she stayed in the carriage. She forgot she wasn't wearing the most comfortable walking shoes. Actually, she didn't even OWN comfortable walking shoes. All her footwear and dresses were so elegant and expensive that they were only things she should show off and not wear out like normal clothes or shoes. She was now worried that the bottom of her dress would be getting dirty as it dragged across the dirt road. Was this why Ion wanted her to stay in the carriage in the first place?
"You're limping," Ion said out of the blue.
"I-I'm fine. Just a bit tired."
"You're limping," Ion repeated.
"I'm not li-"
"Don't lie to me!" Ion said as Esther stopped where she was. The young Count walked up to her and kneeled by her feet. "Show me." Esther obeyed, not wanting to argue with him.
Ion took one of her shoes off and started examining the abuse her feet received as a result of improper foot wear. Esther felt really uncomfortable with this; she hoped her feet didn't smell from the walking. This would have been one of the last things she wanted Ion doing for her. She should have listened to him earlier, that way they wouldn't be in this embarrassing moment. It probably didn't bother Ion as he was only focused on helping her, so technically it was just herself getting way too self conscious about things.
Before she knew it, Esther felt herself suddenly swept off her feet as Ion started carrying her in the way grooms carry their brides as he headed towards the park. Esther's face went bright red as she looked at Ion with surprise, "C-Count! You don't have to do this!"
"Trust me Esther, I do. I doubt you could take another step in those shoes."
"B-But, I'm heavy!"
He looked at her and smiled, "Don't forget what I am. I'm a Methuselah and our strength greatly surpasses that of a Terran's. Besides," he leaned his head closer to hers as he whispered, "Even if I was a Terran, I'd still consider you very light to carry."
There was no question now; Esther could see now why her heart-beat so rapidly in Ion's presence. Why she was always so nervous and self conscious. How she felt so happy whenever he was around and lonely when he wasn't. She loved him. Esther Blanchett was in love with Ion Fortuna. She wasn't sure for how long or when these feelings started to develop but what did it matter? Esther was aware of them now, and she felt so ready to take him in her arms and smother him with hugs and kisses but she didn't act on the thought.
Instead, she began wondering what she planned on doing with this new discovery. Could she find the courage to tell Ion how she felt?
"Eh?" A silver haired priest blinked as he watched Ion approach with Esther in his arms. He was a bit confused by the sight, especially since Esther's carriage had arrived some time ago before them.
Tres was with him as well. When he saw the two approach them, he asked, "Status report."
"I-I'm fine." Esther replied sheepishly, "I felt like walking and as a result, I hurt my feet because of my shoes."
"Oh dear," Abel replied, "Lucky you had Ion with you." He smiled as he looked to the Count, "It's been a while."
"Yes it has," Ion replied smiling, "Nice to see you are doing well Father."
After a bit of catching up between the Methuselah and the Crusnik, Lucy had arrived shortly after them in another carriage and arranged to have Esther change in a private tent which was set up just for her. Her lady-in-waiting scolded Esther like a mother would when they were alone. The young Queen deserved it after what had happened to her dress which was now dirty and what she had brought upon her feet in the process.
"Really now Your Majesty! You know better than this!" Lucy said as she dressed Esther into a more casual dress, one which didn't matter if it got dirty or not but still looked quite nice all the same. It was sky blue in colour and went up to her knees in length.
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry Lucy," Esther replied, feeling guilty about what happened. Her lady-in-waiting didn't say anything more on it. She knew Esther didn't do these types of things on a regular basis. It was a result of the Count's visit that had Esther behaving strangely. Still, she decided not to say anything about it, things happen after all.
Walking over to a large chest which held some of the Queen's belongings, Lucy opened it and got out something which she thought the Queen could benefit from. Esther didn't know what she was getting at the time until her lady-in-waiting started putting them on her. She noticed they were a pair of white boots which resembled what she used to wear when she was with the Vatican. While they looked elegant, they also felt quite comfortable. Esther got to her feet and walked around the tent, experimenting with the feel of them. They already felt better than anything she had worn in a very long time.
"Oh thank you Lucy! What would I do without you!?"
"Yes, what would you do?" Her lady-in-waiting sighed but smiled, "Better hurry along now. There is much to do and there isn't a lot of time."
Once Esther said her thanks, she rushed outside to where Ion, Abel and Tres were waiting. Ion smiled when he saw her approach and asked, "How are your feet now?"
"Fine now thank you," Esther smiled and bowed her head to him, "And thank you for helping me also."
Ion smiled back, "It was my pleasure."
They both continued smiling at each other until Esther turned her gaze away first, feeling her cheeks go red again with sudden embarrassment. Abel just smiled at them while Tres kept that same stern expression he always did.
"Well let's get to work shall we?" Abel said as he got everyone's attention, "We are in charge of the Easter Hunt! The best job here I think haha! We need to go hide these eggs in the little forest over there," Abel pointed, "But don't hide the chocolates in very hard to find places. Not to mention in places like the top of a tree. We don't want the children hurting themselves. After the hunt when all the eggs are found, we will make sure the Easter eggs are distributed evenly so there are no arguments. The hunt works best if the kids work together, the more eggs they find, the better it benefits them all!"
Abel held out large baskets full of Easter eggs and handed a basket to Ion, Esther then Tres. Having one left for himself, Abel cheered excitedly and said, "Well, what are you all waiting for!? Let's go hide the eggs!" Abel started skipping off towards the forest singing to himself while Tres said, "Mission: Hide Easter Eggs acknowledged, commencing mission now." He turned his back on the Count and Queen and started walking towards the forest himself but towards a different area from Abel.
Esther smiled excitedly as she looked towards Ion and blinked when she noticed him staring at one of the eggs quizzically. He looked over the pretty wrapper and brought the egg to his ear and shook, expecting something inside. He then brought it to his nose and smelled, getting a whiff of a sweet cocoa smell. Was this what 'chocolate' smelt like?
Esther couldn't help but giggle at his curiosity. The sight made her think of a young kid.
Ion looked at her, "What's so funny?"
"Hehe, just you."
"Me? What did I do?"
She shook her head, "Nothing, just you playing with that egg looked cute that's all."
"O-Oh," Ion stuttered as he turned his head away a bit. Esther watched him and couldn't help but giggle a bit more, noticing he was a bit embarrassed by her remark.
"This is one of the traditions we hold on Easter. Children love to find Easter eggs which the Easter Bunny leaves for them to find."
"Easter Bunny?" Ion asked, not understanding the concept as he didn't think rabbits even liked chocolate. He thought they usually ate vegetables.
"He's one of the symbols of Easter," Esther explained, "We plan on having him here to greet the children as well. When they arrive that is."
"He greets? Meaning he actually talks too?" Ion asked, amazed that such a bunny even exists.
Esther couldn't help but laugh again, making Ion even more uncomfortable now. He couldn't understand what he was saying which was so funny but he couldn't help but smile a bit as he watched her, "This is the first time I've seen you laugh so much."
Esther stopped laughing a bit when she heard that statement, "Huh? Really? Haven't I laughed around you before?"
Ion shook his head, "You should do it more often." Esther went red when he said that. Must he say such embarrassing things so openly?
"Well," Ion started as he looked to the forest, "It's almost dawn. We better start hiding these eggs before the orphans arrive."
Esther and Ion hid the eggs in obvious places. As the children were quiet young, they weren't going to hide eggs under rocks or anything. They hid them so that they were easy to see, but still required looking around as some were hidden behind objects, so if you didn't check the area properly you'd miss them.
Once the last eggs were hidden, Esther looked around the area proudly, thinking they did a pretty good job. It had been a while since she had done something for herself like this. Ever since she had become Queen, she always had servants doing things for her. No matter how much she wanted to do something herself, it always resulted in the job already being done for her or the moment she started the task, it would be taken from her straight away to be done by a servant as it's not fitting for a Queen to do.
It was then that she noticed she was alone; Ion wasn't anywhere to be seen. Had he wandered off to hide some eggs else where? Esther decided to go look for him, as she didn't want to leave the forest without him. She began to worry a little even though she shouldn't. No one can get lost in this forest, if you kept walking straight in any direction, you'd find yourself out of the forest eventually. There weren't any dangerous animals in this forest either, only birds and squirrels.
"Where are you Ion…?" Esther said to herself as she looked around. She was tempted to call out to him now; hopefully he'd hear her, where ever he was. Bringing her hands to her mouth, Esther was about to call him when suddenly she felt someone's hands over her eyes. At first it shocked her to the point of screaming as she thought someone was going to kidnap her or something.
"Esther, please calm down! It's just me!"
"C-Count!?" Esther stuttered, not sure if she should be embarrassed or angry at his little prank on sneaking up on her. She turned around only to find Ion hanging upside down on a branch. He smiled to her, "You should relax, no one would harm you here with so many people around."
Esther rested her hands on her hips as she said in her defence, "Anything can happen at any time, no matter the situation. You should know in my position I can't afford to relax and feel at ease."
"That's true, it's the same for me too as I will someday take my grandmother's place as Head of the Imperial Secret Council." Ion swung on the branch and flipped backwards, landing on his feet gracefully as he stood before Esther again, "But even knowing this, I know life isn't much fun living if you keep worrying about everything that may or may not happen. Yes your position is very important and no matter where you are, there are always risks involved in your movements. But there will always be someone with you, someone who will help protect you no matter where you are."
Esther stared down at the ground, feeling a little disappointed to tell him this but felt she must, "I don't really have anyone like that. I do have guards at the palace, not to mention some which accompanied us on the way here. The AX are also here to help protect me if needed but even so…" She trailed off with her sentence, knowing nothing much else needed to be said.
Ion stepped up to her and slowly brought his hand to her cheek. He caressed gently as Esther's eyes softened at his touch. Her cheeks were burning again, she could feel it. She couldn't help but shake a little in nervousness as well. What was Ion doing? Did she have something on her face? Why was she getting so nervous? Before she could think any more on this, Esther noticed Ion's face moving closer to hers. The closer he got, the faster Esther's heart began to beat. She felt her heart would jump out her chest with how fast it was beating.
Ion had his lips close to her ear; she could feel his warm breath tickling her earlobe. He started whispering, "Esther, there is someone who would be willing to stay by your side. All you have to do is ask."
"R-Really?" Esther stuttered, feeling herself go weak in the knees. Ion didn't say anything further. Instead, he pulled his head back slightly so he could stare over her face. Esther's gaze was wandering around their surroundings, looking at anything but Ion. She didn't know if she could look at him right now, she felt too embarrassed to.
"Esther… Look at me…" Ion asked softly as he brought his other hand to her face. Esther closed her eyes for a moment, praying for some courage to face whatever Ion planned on doing to her. The young Queen's eyes opened slowly as sapphire met ruby. She knew Ion had beautiful eyes, but being able to gaze at them this closely made her notice things she had never seen before. They were deep in colour and seemed to have this effect of drawing anyone in who stared at them for too long. Was this a power of the Methuselah? She wasn't certain, but at the same time, it didn't matter either. She felt she could drown in those deep red eyes, and just by staring into them, she felt she could read something in them. Was he trying to tell her something? Right now, all she could tell was that he was very happy. But there was something else. Something else was mixed with that feeling of happiness. But what was it?
It was then that Ion's face started moving closer and closer to hers. His hands were guiding Esther's head closer to him as well. She felt their bodies come together as Ion's eyes closed. What was happening? What was going on? Esther's eyes were starting to close as well, she was confused but at the same time, she had no intention of stopping what was about to happen. Their lips were that close to each other that Esther could feel Ion's breath on her, as he'd probably feel hers. It made her lips quiver a little as she could feel that tingly sensation spread throughout her body.
Just before they could go any further, they heard a loud crash as someone gasped and landed in a bush a little distance away. The sound made both Esther and Ion jump with surprise.
"Esther! Are you alright!?" Abel called out as he picked himself up from the bush. "I heard your scream! I was worried so I came to check up on you!" He had started walking towards them but his robe caught on a few branches which caused him to fall face first onto the ground.
Tres had appeared as well and looked to be scanning the area, "Threat to the Queen of Albion unconfirmed. No suspicious persons detected." He looked to Esther then and noticed how close Ion seemed to be to her. "Threat to the Queen of Albion confirmed. Ion Fortuna, Count of Memphis, vampire from the Empire." Tres drew his guns then while Esther and Ion went wide eyed.
"Tres wait! The Count didn't do anything to me!" Esther said as she stood in front of Ion with her arms out, "My scream earlier was a false alarm. A squirrel startled me!"
"Squirrel?" Tres scanned the area and detected one a little distance away, "New mission objective: Eliminate the squirrel threat to the Queen of Albion." He started walking in the direction of the squirrel.
Esther started to panic as she watched him walk off, "No no, please Father Iqus! Please don't harm any of the creatures here!" Esther ran after him while Ion just sighed at the poor timing both the priests had. He started blushing slightly at his earlier actions and brought his fingers to his lips. He smiled a bit to himself but decided he'd better find Esther and help her stop Tres from doing anything too drastic. Before he was about to go, he jumped when he felt something grab onto his leg. Looking down at the ground, he saw the clumsy silver haired priest stare up at him sheepishly, "Count, may I please have your assistance? Haha…"
It wasn't long till orphans from various churches had arrived with nuns being their escorts. Some looked tired while others looked really excited. Esther smiled as she watched them come, knowing whoever was tired now definitely wouldn't be once they started their Easter Hunt.
"Wow, there are so many of them," Ion commented as he watched all the children, "Do we really have enough eggs to share around?"
Esther nodded, "I made sure they would all get a few each. We will be sure that all of them get an equal share. If there ends up being any problems, we do have other eggs on backup."
"Ah, nice to know the Queen is well prepared," Ion smiled while Esther smiled back. Noticing his delightful smile, Esther's eyes trailed down to his lips and the scene in the forest started playing in her mind again. Her face went bright red as she brought her hands to her cheeks to settle herself down.
'Calm down Esther, calm down.' She had been blushing a lot lately. Normally she was quite a confident person. She had to be as she was Queen of Albion. Yet any confidence she had would diminish the moment she was in the company of Ion. Only Ion could make her feel like this, which definitely wasn't a bad thing.
Ion watched her for a moment, wondering if she was alright when Tres suddenly approached them. He startled them both at his sudden appearance but what surprised them even more were the bunny ears he had on his head.
"Um, Father Iqus?" Esther questioned as she looked at the ears quizzically. Since Tres was always so stern and serious, the bunny ears mixed with that type of personality didn't suit at all. She wasn't sure if he may scare the children with that on.
Tres said nothing about it but held out two more pairs of bunny ears, "Father Nightroad has ordered that the Queen and Count wear these."
Esther took one set while Ion took the other. She put it the ears on and giggled a bit at the thought of them on her. This got people more in the spirit of Easter, just like wearing Santa hats on Christmas.
Staring out at the horizon, Esther noticed the sun was slowly making its appearance. The once dark night was now clearing way to an orangey pink coloured sky. She smiled, knowing that they were running on schedule in terms of planning for this festival. The plan was to set the Easter Hunt up before dawn so the eggs wouldn't melt from the heat which the day might bring. Still, even though the Easter Hunt preparations went by smoothly, she hoped the rest of the day went by just as well without any serious problems.
"I hope everyone enjoys themselves," Esther said as she brought her hands together in prayer, "I used to love Easter when I was a child, especially the Easter Hunts. I never got to hunt for eggs in a place like this but I still enjoyed finding eggs in small gardens hehe."
Ion looked at her, "I'm sure everything will be fine. You are doing a great job. The Hunt hasn't even started yet and I can tell these children are looking forward to it." Esther smiled then giggled a bit at the sight of him in bunny ears. Ion noticed her gaze on his rabbit ears and couldn't help but poke his tongue out at her in defence. That action only caused her to laugh more. Since when did the Count ever poke his tongue out a people? It was a childish gesture which she never thought he'd do with being nobility and all. He must be loosening up from the festivities. It was nice to see.
"Queen of Albion," Tres said as he held out a microphone to her, "Please commence with the opening speech of today's Easter events." Esther nodded and took the microphone. Even though she gave so many public speeches, they always made her nervous before she started. This should be one of the easier ones as she didn't have to spend hours preparing for it, not to mention it wouldn't go for long anyway as she's sure the children would want to start having fun. But even knowing all of that, it was still nerve racking.
Esther made her way up to the stage and stared out at the crowd. This stage was going to be used for live performances and musical entertainment later which should be exciting.
As she gazed out at her surroundings, Esther was pleased to see everything was running smoothly. Everyone also looked to be in high spirits, even after all the effort of getting up early and working to set things up as quickly as possible. She had no idea how she could repay them for this. No matter how much she thanked them, it wouldn't add up to the effort they had put into this festival. She'd have to think of something nice she could offer them all later.
"First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have taken the time to help prepare for this special Easter day. We all had to get up very early for this so I thank you very much for your efforts. As you all know, this festival was setup to raise money for the orphanages and churches which take care of our orphans and other people in need. We will be hosting many rides and games with other entertainment facilities, not to mention food stalls and of course Easter themed foods and souvenirs to raise money.
I hope everyone enjoys themselves today. This is a special day dedicated to all. Our first event today will be a special event just for the children where the Easter Bunny has arranged an Easter Hunt for them. Will all of you please gather around one of his helpers so we can give you more information," Esther waved her hand towards Tres and Ion then turned back to the crowd to finish her speech off, "Have a wonderful time everyone and Happy Easter to all!"
Everyone applauded as Esther made her way off the stage, thankful the speech was over. There would be other ones she would have to make during the day but at least one was done and out of the way.
Once she made her way to the large group of children, Esther couldn't help but smile when she noticed them grouped around the two clueless men. Tres was just standing there while the kids were trying to talk to him. Ion had no idea what to do or say to them while they threw a million questions at him in regards to the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs. But finally the bunny in demand made his appearance.
"Happy Easter children!" A tall grey bunny appeared out from a tent which seemed to be wearing a red and yellow suit with a top hat to match. The children suddenly rushed over to him excitedly. They charged at him so quickly that Esther thought he'd be run over as though a tidal wave hit him. "Haha, nice to see you all! Are you all ready to find my Easter eggs!?" All the orphans cheered with excitement.
Esther smiled at the display while Ion stared at the bunny in confusion. While he talked, his mouth wasn't moving and he hasn't blinked once since he made an appearance. His voice also sounded very familiar.
"Helpers! May I have baskets please!?" The Easter Bunny called out. Tres walked into one of the tents which had the baskets stored inside and began carrying them out. Esther and Ion helped him by distributing the baskets out to the kids. They didn't have enough baskets so the Easter Bunny said, "Please get into groups of two so each of you can share a basket! Once you have your partner, the Easter eggs are hidden just in there!" The Easter Bunny pointed to the forest and jumped up and down as he skipped to the forest with some of the kids who already had partners.
"… I think I understand now," Ion said as Esther looked at him, "The Easter Bunny I mean."
"Hehe, I knew you would eventually. His voice is a dead give away." Abel was the best choice for the Easter Bunny. The moment Esther had shared the Easter Hunt idea to the Vatican; they all automatically looked at Abel as the main organiser for it. There was also no argument as to who the Easter Bunny would be either. Abel seemed confused about what to do at first, but it seems he was enjoying himself enough.
"Esther…" Ion started as he watched her.
Esther glanced at him for a moment but quickly averted her gaze to the ground, "Um, yes Count?"
"About earlier…" Ion trailed off as his cheeks turned a little pink in colour.
Esther's heart skipped a beat when she thought back on the little incident in the forest again. The feeling she had when Ion's hands touched her face, the feel of his body against hers, the feeling when she felt his breath against her lips, she had never felt so many emotions sweep through her all at once like that. Ion made her feel things she had never felt before. These feelings made her uneasy as she didn't know how to respond without understanding them better. But what went through Ion's mind when he made these advances on her? Was he aware of how she felt? What did he feel? Would it seem strange asking?
"Your Highness!" A little voice came to her as Esther felt a tug on her dress. She was instantly brought out of her thoughts as the young Queen stared down at the little girl before her. The little girl had blonde hair and had it tied into a single pony tail which hung from the left side of her head. She had big brown eyes and wore a cute little cat badge on her shirt.
Esther smiled down at her as she kneeled down to the ground, "Hello, what's your name?"
"Eris Wurzmeier!" The little girl replied, "We have a bit of a problem!"
"Oh? What's the matter?" Esther asked in curiosity.
"There are three of us left but we each have a basket of our own!" Eris explained as the little girl and boy about her age stood behind her, "As we were supposed to split up into groups of two, we were wondering if we could pair up with each of you." Eris pointed at Esther, Ion then Tres. Esther blinked in surprise, not expecting to be included in the Easter Hunt. She looked over to Ion who looked back and simply nodded, not minding the idea. Tres looked to Esther as well and asked, "Mission status."
She smiled, 'How could she refuse?' "Alright! Let's split into teams and help find the eggs!" Eris had already chosen her partner. She automatically jumped towards Tres and hugged his leg as he held her basket, "Operation: Find Easter eggs commencing." He started walking towards the forest with Eris cheering excitedly as she still hung onto his leg. Esther watched them for a moment and wondered if they had met before. It was odd for a child to jump at Tres as he always looked angry about something. Not that it was his fault as he was a robot, but he wasn't exactly programmed to be nice to children. It would be something she'd like to find out later but right now, it was egg hunting time!
Taking the hand of the young girl with her, Esther started guiding her to the forest while Ion had to jog to keep up with the boy who was running towards it. Seemed the young boy didn't want to miss out on any of the eggs.
It was a while before all the children made their way out of the forest, assuming they had found all the eggs. When back in a group, Esther and the others started splitting up the eggs between them. She found that they needed to get some eggs from their backup supply as some children couldn't wait to eat them and had started while they were in the forest.
Most of the children started wandering off to do their own thing around the festival once they had their Easter eggs. They had nuns escorting them just to be safe and to keep them out of mischief. Esther had received a lot of thanks for her assistance with the Easter Hunt, although she thought most of the credit should go to the others, Abel in particular. He had made his true appearance after the hunt was over. He had quickly removed the bunny outfit when no one was looking and made sure to hide it in the tent where he had originally changed. Once he joined the group of children, he went to Eris first and received a scolding from her for not being around to help.
Esther watched as Eris hugged Abel and started chatting about random things which had them both laughing every now and then. So while Eris knew Tres, she also knew Abel? When did this happen? Was it after she had become queen? Turning her sapphire gaze to Tres who had just finished putting all the baskets away, she asked, "Father Iqus, how do you and Father Nightroad know Eris?"
Tres looked at her and replied, "From an incident which involved her E.S.P and the vampire terrorist group Fleurs du Mal. This was before you joined the AX, Queen of Albion."
Esther's eyes widened, she couldn't believe a girl as young as Eris had been involved with that terrorist group. No child her age should've been forced to suffer like that. As far as she was aware, the Fleurs du Mal group had been disbanded when most of them were caught for their crimes. So far, there hadn't been any more activity from them so hopefully it would stay that way. Looking towards Eris with Abel again, Esther watched and felt relieved knowing the experience didn't affect the way she carried on with her life. Watching her laugh and play like a normal child, you'd never think she had suffered like that, which was good to see. She'd known from her own experience that nothing but the present and future mattered, what happened in the past couldn't be changed. All you could do was learn from it, and remember it as you carry on with life.
Hearing a few giggles behind her, Esther turned to notice a few girls surrounding Ion. Some of them were the young orphans that just did the Easter Hunt while the others looked around their teenage years. Ion had been handed some flowers from one of the girls while another one had her arms around him. Esther's eyebrow twitched at the sight. With being twenty years old, Esther should be mature enough not to get jealous over children but she couldn't help it. She didn't have the courage to throw herself at Ion like that, and it annoyed her that complete strangers could do it! It wasn't fair!
Unknown to her, Abel and Eris had actually been watching her reaction to the group of girls surrounding Ion. They couldn't help but smile as it seemed obvious how she felt about him. Eris looked to the priest and started whispering to him while Abel at first nodded, then nodded again then shook his head suddenly, "No! That's not fair!" Eris glared and pulled at his ear as she whispered to him some more. Abel sighed and nodded, "Okay, okay… But you owe me alright?"
Eris held one of her Easter eggs up to him and smiled. Abel's mouth watered and went to grab the egg but Eris pulled her hand away, "After! Okay Father?" Abel whined like a little kid and tried taking the egg again but Eris hit him over the head. This time, Abel complied and nodded with agreement.
Eris made her way over to Esther and tugged at her dress for attention like she did last time. When Esther looked down at her, she was surprised to see the little girl weeping. "Eris! What happened?" Esther picked up the young girl and tried wiping away her tears with a handkerchief.
"Y-Your Highness…" Eris sobbed, "A boy from the orphanage was being mean to me. He-He tossed my Easter egg up in the really big tree in the centre of the forest. I can't reach it…"
Esther nodded in understanding and patted her over the head, "Okay, I'll get someone to-"
"No!" Eris cut in, surprising Esther at the sudden outburst. Eris shook her head and hugged her, "Please, I want you to help me…"
"I wish I could but… I'm not too good with heights. Not to mention I'm not dressed for tree climbing," Esther replied sadly. She knew if anyone caught her climbing a tree just for an Easter egg, she would get the scolding of a life time as it was a risk of getting seriously hurt. As annoying as it was, Esther had to comply as she was royalty now. "But don't worry Eris," Esther assured her, "We can still go there together to find your egg. I just think we should get someone else to-" Esther stopped mid sentence when Eris touched her on the forehead. Eris started using her E.S.P to command Esther's will. They stayed like that for a moment and Eris watched as Esther's expression went from surprised to emotionless, just like Tres.
Once Eris removed her fingers from Esther's forehead, the young Queen placed the little girl down on the ground and without a word, started walking into the forest. Eris watched; just to make sure she was doing the right thing and smiled when Esther had disappeared behind a row of trees. Eris looked to Abel and gave him the thumbs up, showing that Part A of the plan was complete. Now Part B…
Esther continued walking in a daze towards the tree positioned in the centre of the forest. She had no idea what she was doing or what was happening to her. It was just like sleep walking. Her blank gaze looked up at the tree she had to climb and noticed something shiny at the top. Grabbing onto a branch, Esther pulled herself up into the tree and started climbing towards the top.
Ion still had trouble trying to get away from the girls crowding him. He had no idea why they were paying him so much attention; he had never even SEEN them before today. It was very annoying, yet he couldn't voice out these thoughts aloud without hurting their feelings. He just wanted to be with Esther, she was the reason he came here in the first place. That and he had something he needed to tell her.
"Oh girls!" A loud bellow came behind Ion. The girls looked up and suddenly went wide eyed when they saw the Easter Bunny standing before them. The bunny jumped up and down excitedly as they leaned down and lifted Ion off the ground by wrapping their arms around him tightly. The bunny turned a couple of times in a circle before placing Ion back down on the ground behind him. Ion was confused by the bunny's strange actions but was thankful for the rescue. When the Bunny turned back to the girls, he clapped suddenly and asked, "Who wants to play chasey!?" He started chasing them then which got the girls screaming as they started running in the opposite direction, thinking whoever was in the suit was being a pervert. Ion watched them go and wondered at first if it was safe to let the Bunny chase them, but in the end it didn't concern him either way, he was free now.
As Ion looked around, he was confused when he couldn't see Esther anywhere. With his sharp vision, he could look over the entire festival without the need of physically walking around. But when he couldn't see her, he started to show concern. What had happened while those stupid girls were bugging him? Why did he allow himself to get distracted!? If anything happened to her, he wouldn't know what to do. He needed to look for her but where should he start looking?
"Mister!" A little girl called out as she ran over to Ion. The Count turned to look at her with annoyance; he didn't have time to play around but he made sure to keep his emotions in check as he replied, "I'm sorry little girl, but I am busy at the moment so-"
"It's her Majesty!" The young blonde cut in, causing Ion to focus all his attention on her now. "I saw her go into the forest where we had the Easter Hunt!"
The moment she finished that sentence, Ion suddenly sprinted towards the forest, faster than human eyes could follow. To Eris, it looked like he had just disappeared into thin air. She blinked and looked around, wondering where the Methuselah had disappeared off to and suddenly wondered if she even talked to him. When Abel rushed over, dressed back into his AX uniform he asked Eris, "Where did the Count go?"
"I don't know, he just disappeared," Eris said in confusion.
"Good, that means he's gone to save her."
Abel picked Eris up and started running towards the forest as well; wanting to make sure Esther and Ion would be alright and that their plan would work.
"ESTHER!" Ion called out when he had entered the forest, "ESTHER!" He called out again. When there wasn't a response, Ion started running through the forest as quickly as he could. He knew from exploring this forest earlier that there weren't any wild animals which could harm her but what if someone had lured her in here? What if someone had kidnapped her or harmed her in someway? He'd never forgive himself if Esther got hurt.
"ESTHER!!" The Count called out again as he suddenly heard twigs snapping some distance away. He immediately ran in that direction and found a large tree standing before him. He looked around first, just to make sure no one was in the area and looked up to find who he had been looking for.
Esther was at the top of the tree and had just touched the egg when she heard someone call her name.
"ESTHER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING UP THERE!?"
"Huh?" Esther blinked with confusion, as she had just regained consciousness, "Count? Is that you?" She looked around at her surroundings, puzzled at first but once she looked down, noticing how far off the ground she was, her confusion changed instantly to fear.
"AHHH! WHAT AM I DOING UP HERE!?" Esther screamed.
Ion kept his eyes on her as he yelled back, "ESTHER! DON'T PANIC! STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! I'M COMING TO GET YOU DOWN!"
Esther was shaking in fear; she didn't know how she could keep calm at a time like this. She was in an old, unstable tree! Worse of all, she was on top of it of all places! Why would she climb up here!? The last thing she remembered was talking to Eris. How could she one moment be on solid ground at the festival then suddenly appear in a forest on top of a tree! It made no sense.
"You're doing fine Esther!" Ion called out, hoping his reassurance would help keep her calm, "I'll be up there shortly!"
"Please hurry!" Esther said as she held onto one branch with one hand while her other hand held the egg Eris had wanted her to get. She was also standing on top of another branch for balance. It seemed all well and good for the moment. That was until the branch she was standing on suddenly gave way to her weight and snapped beneath her.
"AHHHH!" Esther screamed as she almost fell but luckily she still had her right hand gripped firmly on the other branch she was holding onto. Even though this saved her, it didn't help settle her nerves at all, "COUNT! WHERE ARE YOU!?"
"Esther! I'm almost there!" Ion called out as he could see her dangling from a branch above him. Trying to climb up the tree a bit faster, Ion eventually got himself level with Esther. Looking towards her, Ion removed one of his arms from the tree and started reaching out to her, "Esther! Give me your hand!"
Unfortunately the hand she had free was the one which was facing away from him. She looked at him and noticed he was trying to reach her but he needed her help as well. Esther tried twisting her body so that she could reach out for him with her free hand but it was very awkward. She couldn't reach for him at all that way. If it was her other hand holding onto the branch, she knew that she would be able to reach him. Ion noticed this as well and said, "Keep trying! I'll try coming closer!"
It was then that both of them heard a long snapping sound. Ion looked at the branch she was holding onto suddenly panicked as he looked back at Esther. Before either of them could say anything, the branch snapped and Esther suddenly found herself falling from the tree. "IOOOOOOOON!!!!"
Esther suddenly saw her life flash before her eyes, the memories she shared with Mother Viter in Isvan, the moment she met Dietrich then Abel when he visited her town. The time she spent at the Vatican training as she became part of AX. The first mission she had when she was to protect Lady Sforza which then led to her meeting Ion for the first time. Everything from that moment on was just images of Ion from when they first met to when they were in the Empire, then to the short amount of time they spent here together today. She was glad she got to spend her last moments of life together with him again. It was all she could have hoped for before passing onto the next world.
"ESTHER!" She suddenly heard Ion call out her name. Esther didn't know how much time had passed since her little flashback, but it seemed to only be for a second as she was still falling from the tree and Ion was still there to save her. He had jumped off the tree so that he'd fall towards her. He then reached out and brought Esther within his arms tightly. They were falling into a lot of branches on the way down but Ion made sure to shield her from them as he took each hit directly to his back. He looked towards the ground and noticed they would make impact any second so as a last attempt to save them both, Ion reached out for any branch which made contact with his hand. When he felt one, he grasped it tightly as he felt them both stop still in midair for a moment but the branch gave way to the sudden force of their fall and snapped. This caused them to land on the ground with a small thud. Even though they still fell, Ion was able to break their fall enough so that they wouldn't be seriously injured.
Ion had landed back first into the ground which made him wince slightly. Esther had landed on top of him as the Count had kept her as close to him as possible. She looked around, noticing they were still alive and looked down at Ion teary eyed, "C-Count… You… Why did…" She felt Ion's index finger rest against her lips which silenced her. He gave her that same gentle smile he always did and said, "See? I told you someone would be there to protect you no matter where you were."
"You're… You're back? Is it…?" Esther was afraid to see how his back may have looked. Hearing the loud crunches of branches breaking under him sounded so painful. Yet he never cried out in pain once. All he was focused on was her safety. He had saved her.
"Its fine, it's already healing. I've endured worse than this, you know that." Ion said as he brushed his thumbs across her cheeks so he could wipe away her tears, "Esther, you called out to me using my name…"
"H-Huh?" Esther questioned as she brought her hands over his.
"You called me 'Ion' when you were falling. It's the first time you've said my name and not my title." He smiled, "I hope to hear it more from now on."
Esther was still crying a bit but she started smiling at his words, "Ion…?"
Esther smiled as she lowered her face towards Ion's. She looked over him for a moment, admiring his beautiful face before pressing her lips against his gently. She closed her eyes and felt Ion tense up at first from the unexpected kiss but it didn't take him long to respond. Esther felt Ion's hands move into her hair as he pressed his lips harder against hers, pulling her into a long deep passionate kiss. It was Esther's turn to tense up at that unexpected move as her face burned bright red in response. But Esther didn't mind, she had been longing for this for so long and she was certain Ion felt the same.
Hiding in some bushes a little distance away, Abel's mouth gapped at the scene before him as he quickly put his hands over Eris' eyes.
"Father! What are you doing!?" The little girl called out, wanting to see what was going on.
"Shhhh," Abel started talking in a soft voice, "Don't worry Eris, the knight saved the damsel in distress in the end." Although when he heard Esther's scream earlier, Abel felt he was going to have a heart attack. As this plan was supposed to bring Esther and Ion together, he didn't intend on their lives being gambled in the process. Lucky Ion wasn't human, or else he wouldn't have survived that fall. But in the end, Esther had been saved and seemed to be unharmed. Ion looked fine as well which was also good. At least now, Abel didn't have to worry about her so much now that she had someone who would never leave her side.
Author's Note: Oh my god… Look at how long this got! This is why I can never do short stories lol. I was tempted to split it up into chapters but I couldn't make myself do it. I wanted to do a one-shot fic for once, and I finally accomplished it :D Yay!
Anyway, if you enjoyed this, please look into the sequel which is "An Easter to Remember Always." Thank you for reading:-) Hope to see you again!