"Letter for you sir."
Zelgadiss looked upwards from his map to glance in the direction of the innkeeper. The dwarfish man, with eyes like a river and hair like the sun was smiling at him broadly, waving a scroll in his direction. Zelgadiss took a moment to recall that he had informed the man that he might receive a letter or two and please keep a special lookout. Giving a half smile to the man in question, Zelgadiss set his map on the small table and took the scroll from the impish man gratefully, he made sure to give him a tip as well. The man much pleased with Zelgadiss' generosity made way to the back room leaving him in peace.
"How she manages each time…" Zelgadiss smiled secretly to himself and pulled the ribbon unfurling the scroll into his hands.
How are you? I received your last letter yesterday, thank you for keeping in touch like you promised. I'm sorry to see that your recent endeavor ended empty-handed, but I am glad to know that your spirits are still high. Papa sends his best regards in your adventure, and says you are welcome here any time. I told him that you already knew, but he insisted I tell you anyhow. You know how he is. Lina-san and Gourry-san stopped by last week, just passing through, it was good to see them, I rather miss them…and you. There's still so much to do before Papa's birthday. I do hope you will be able to attend; it wouldn't be the same without you. Lina-san and Gourry-san promised they would be there, but I rather think it's because free food is involved. Oh! Don't tell them I said that! Well, please write me again soon, and please stay safe.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun.
Zelgadiss rolled the scroll closed once more, the contents still circulating in his head. Prince Phil's birthday, Amelia's last letter had mentioned it as well, she was planning to host a huge party in celebration of Prince Phil turning…well he couldn't remember what age…did Amelia even mention that? Probably not. He hoped he would be able to attend but this current lead was just too good to pass up; he had to see this one through to the end. Amelia would understand if he couldn't make it.
Setting the scroll down he turned to his map once more all thoughts of parties and princesses taken over by mountains and routes.
Amelia sighed as she gazed into the endless sky. What a beautiful day, the birds were singing happily and the gently wafting scent of the flowers caught on the slight breeze tickled her nose. The garden was becoming her favorite spot to sit and reflect and she smiled happily; read Zelgadiss' letters. She gazed at the newest letter fondly as she read it for the first time.
I was surprised to hear that Lina hadn't managed to cause any trouble on her short stay. Though, knowing Lina I am sure she'll manage to make-up for that later. You may tell Prince Phil that I appreciate his generosity and that I will always keep that in mind. Nothing worth mentioning has happened lately. I've been doing lots of research but have not come up with anything promising so far. I wish I could promise you that I will be at Prince Phil's celebration in two weeks but I just don't know yet. I will try, that's all I can give you right now. Amelia…there's been something I've been meaning to tell you…but it can wait. Now is not that time or place for this. Until next time.
Amelia clutched the scroll to her chest, trying to push the disappointed feeling away. She had hoped that this letter would be letting her know of his arrival, but it was the opposite. She shouldn't be angry with him, but she was. She knew how important his cure was to him, but she had thought that she shared in that importance too. Now it seemed she had been wrong about that as well. What had he wanted to tell her? Why had he refrained himself from doing so…maybe she was being too pushy...but she had thought after everything that had recently happened that they were finally taking a step forward in their relationship. Maybe there was no relationship; maybe she was wrong about that too.
Zelgadiss fought back the yawn as his eyes strained over the small script of the book. The lack of light wasn't making reading it any easier and he decided that perhaps it was time to take a break from deciphering codes. He leaned back against the stone pillar, one of the only things left standing in the ruin. These were old, very old, and very old ruins tended to have very old books and scrolls. Most of which had been ruined by whatever caused the destruction of what Zelgadiss thought to be a library of sorts.
Shuffling to his side, he pulled a letter from his sack that he had received yesterday, he had almost completely forgotten about it, he had been caught up in that book. He rolled the scroll open.
I completely understand if you are unable to attend Papa's celebration. I would never ask you to abandon your hope of a cure. I will be sad not to see you but there are things in life out of our control. Your flowers are still blooming beautifully; I make sure they are watered and well cared for. Where are you now I wonder? Sitting in a dusty old tomb perhaps? Everything has been rather boring here as well. Still waiting on word from Martina-san on whether she will be attending, I know she will, she won't pass up a chance to outshine Lina-san. Oh and Sylphiel-san returned from her pilgrimage today. She is in high spirits, she says hello. Well I'm afraid it's time to meet with the council, speak to you again soon.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun
Zelgadiss looked to the ground with a sigh. He could read the disappointment in her words. Just because she understood didn't mean she had to like his decision. Her letter seemed rather sad in a whole, had something happened at home that she felt she couldn't share he wondered? There was no indicator that something was amiss, she had said it had been boring. Zelgadiss stood with another sigh, he would think about it some more later, he had to finish deciphering that book.
"No, that ribbon needs to go a little higher, more to the left. No that's too far…wait! Perfect!" Amelia smiled and clapped as the ribbon fell into place. Just six more days until Papa's birthday and Amelia had her hands full with preparations of the decorations and the menu. Not to mention coordinating events and writing a proper guest list for the door attendant. She wondered if she would make it in time.
"Thanks for your hard work everyone! Why don't you all take a short break"
The staff bowed and said their thanks as they each went off on their own leaving Amelia in the huge ballroom alone. Silently she opened the scroll a guard had handed her earlier in the day. Another letter from Zelgadiss-san.
You were close, it was actually a library, about three hundred years old and not a dusty tomb. Glad Sylphiel returned safely, at least now you won't be so lonely with someone else there.. Amelia, it seems like something is bothering you, are you okay? I understand if you feel you can't share, but I will always listen to what you have to say if you ever feel the need to tell me. Right now I'm about a day from an abandoned village called Ashmeren, it's about the only clue I have left. I'm not sure what I will find there, if I find anything at all, depending on what the circumstance is regarding the village I may be there for a while. For now you can send letters to the town of Gushain Port, it's about a day's journey from Ashmeren so you may not hear from me too often. I hope you are okay. I'm sorry about the party…but…well…you know.
Your Concerned Friend
Amelia dropped her hand to the side and looked down. Don't cry. Don't cry Amelia, you knew this would happen, you can't get upset about it now. Her thoughts screamed at her, but it didn't work, her tears fell anyway. If he was so smart to see that, something was wrong then why was he so dumb to figure out why. How many times would it take before he finally realized that all she wanted was him by her side. Just the way he was now. Maybe he just didn't want her.
This was it. The end. All of his research, his searching, all of it had lead him here. Ashmeren. An abandoned village forgotten about. Left to wither and decay into rubble and dust. He had spent the past two days searching through everything, everything that was left standing anyhow and he had finally found it, some spell, a spell that could be his answer to everything, but to cast it he would need some ingredients, ingredients he feared no longer existed in this world. He sipped his coffee glancing around the patrons of the Gushain Port inn. Not a care in their world, just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives, he envied them. He set the cup down in favor for the letter he found waiting for him and read it silently.
Three hundred years old? That's amazing! I'm glad you finally found some information, I hope it turns out to be fruitful for you. Thank you for inquiring about my well-being, but everything is fine! Perfect in fact! Papa's celebration is coming along nicely, it's going to be wonderful! Lina-san and Gourry-san will be arriving in two days so I may not have time to write until after Papa's birthday. I guess you're going to be at Ashmeren for a while, but you don't have to worry about me. You really don't. Everything is great! Well, I'll write you soon as I can! Good luck Zelgadiss-san.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun
Zelgadiss frowned as he read the letter, then read the letter again, and then read it once more to be sure. She had been crying when she wrote this, he could faintly see the little droplets that met with the ink, her writing was more exuberant she was trying too hard to pretend like she fine when she obviously wasn't. His heart fell at the thought that something could be seriously wrong with her, so wrong that she couldn't tell him. He did not like seeing her that way, he had enough gloominess for the both of them without her having to be too. In fact, that's what had drawn him to her, her happy and carefree personality, he needed that to balance him out. He needed her.
But his cure…if he could cure himself, then he could give Amelia anything and everything. He could give her a life she was worthy of…but that would mean more traveling and he wasn't sure how long he would be this time…would she wait that long for him? Could he make her wait that long for him? No..that was selfish. Amelia deserved much more then to grow old waiting for a man that may never return. Zelgadiss pulled a spare parchment and quill with ink from his pack. It was time to end it.
Amelia excused herself from the conversation as a guard beckoned her over. She wondered what could have happened this time, but she assumed if the guard was calling her over it must be important. Prince Phil laughed and slapped the back of a rather scrawny man in response to something the man had said. At least Papa was having a good time at his party.
"Yes, what is it?" Amelia addressed the guard.
"Sorry princess, but you had said that whenever you received a letter to inform you immediately…" The guard tailed off handing the letter to the princess' open hands.
"Of course! Thank you Darren-san, you may return to your duties."
The guard straightened and bowed.
"By your leave." He spoke and then left to his post once more.
Amelia made her way out the doors and headed towards the garden. Even at night, this was still her favorite spot. She stopped a moment to admire the flowers and then opened the scroll. She was rather surprised by this letter, she had thought that he wouldn't have wrote her any time soon, she stared at his familiar handwriting.
It seems that I have caused you great grief over these years we've known each other. For that, I am sorry. I can't bear to see you hurt anymore, you should not love a man such as I as you do. You deserve someone that will be there for you when you need them to be. Someone wise and happy and wonderful like you. Not a man that takes off on search of false hopes and whispered rumors. I want you to be happy and to forget about me, let me fade into a memory. Please, forgive me.
Amelia stared at the letter in complete shock and disbelief. Her hands trembled as she felt new tears threatening to fall. He didn't….he wouldn't….
"Sorry I'm late..."
Amelia's breath caught in her throat. She froze afraid to turn or move, afraid to speak. Had her mind just imagined his voice? He couldn't be here…he was in Ashmeren…days away, she had only just received his letter. It was impossible she tried to reason, but she felt herself turning around anyway.
"Z—zelgadiss-san…but how did…but your letter….but you said…"Amelia gasped, her eyes wide.
Zelgadiss closed the distance between himself and the petite princess, who he noticed was wearing a rather revealing blue dress that made him blush in spite of himself.
"You…you look amazing by the way…" Zelgadiss blushed taking her full beauty in. He smiled, at her as she looked towards the ground shyly, he grabbed her face forcing her to look at him.
"I found a spell that may cure me…"Amelia went to speak but he silenced her with a finger to her lips."Just…just listen…it may cure me, but the ingredients, they're so old and ancient…some of them may no longer exist, it would mean me being away for a long time, months, years…"
"Go…Zelgadiss-san. If it's a chance then you have to take it right? That's the best lead you've ever had, how can you not take this chance? I'll be okay…I'll wait—"
"No…no Amelia…no more waiting. Amelia you have a waited a very long time, more than one should ever have to wait for anybody…"
"I don't mind it, really, it's not that bad, I have Papa and Sylph—"
Zelgadiss couldn't listen to the pain in her voice anymore, he couldn't look at the forced smile she was splashing across her face in an attempt to assure him that she would be fine. He couldn't help himself anymore, so he kissed her.
He felt her jump in surprise, but then her body relaxed and fell into him as she returned the kiss. A kiss she had been waiting for, for a very long time. Zelgadiss gently pulled away from her lips and hovered near her face, breathing heavily, remembering her taste and the way she felt against him. He stared into her big eyes, eyes that were alive with passion, and love and utter confusion. In that moment he knew that, he had made the right choice.
"This time…my cure can wait."