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21 Part IV

 Orion decided to stop by Artemis's room immediately when he got back. It was something he hadn't done in a while and the two hardly saw each other ever since he'd gotten close to Anna.

"What are you doing?" He asked as soon as he swung her room door open without knocking.

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm playing with my toys" She waved a wooden pony and a stuffed doll in in annoyance.

"Why are you checking on me?" She raised a brow, surprised by his unusual move.

"I was hoping you were dead, unfortunately, you're still alive" He was about to leave when Artemis raised another question.

"So you have a girlfriend now?"

He squeezed the door handle before turning around to look at her "I said i hate that concept. A human and a beastman. That's ridiculous!"

"Then why do you do you like spending time with her?"

"Stay out of other people's affairs!" He slammed the door then stormed to his room. Artemis shrugged as she switched her attention back to the toys she got from being acquainted with Orion. As long as it wasn't affecting Orion in any way, there was no problem.

The matter died down at Artemis's side, but the Foxman couldn't rest after what she said.

He laid in his bed, contemplating everything regardless of the sleep that pooled in his eyelids. He forced himself to stay awake as he tried to answer everyone of the questions his mind had to ask about the issue of love. Something he found so feeble.

The wooden building on top of the mountain was filled with the soft sounds of people sleeping, and Orion was the only one still fighting the need to sleep.

"I don't love..." He repeated to himself as his eyes blinked without warning. Once he could no longer battle it, the uninvited sleep fell on him like an axe.

****

A nudge to his ribs made him jerk awake to see Artemis's smiling face. He started to wonder how long he was out. He hoped it wasn't too long because he had plans, and he needed time to be on his side.

"I only woke you up to tell you about the parade, I want to watch."

"Parade?" He questioned as Artemis opened up the windows to watch where the crowd was heading. She knew it was a fine day because of The baby blue sky with just a few stratus clouds making their unhurried route towards the sea. The sun was already a friendly ball of yellow above, promising more heat as the day advanced.

"Today is RD day. You don't have to come because it's not about your Star god" She leaped out of the window and landed securely on her feet.

Orion took as much time as necessary to wave off the leftovers of his sleep before rising up to prepare.

Clean clothes were dropped off for him in front of his room door and since it was a festive day, a grand outfit made by the best tailor in town was given to him.

All the while, his mind was lost in thoughts about Anna. Once he was done dressing up, he quickly went down the accustomed road leading to her home.

He knocked on the door and waited for a reply. He attempted to open it, but he figured out it was locked. She probably must've gone to watch the so-called RD day parade. He was certain he'd see her somewhere in town. A part of him felt like she was avoiding him.

Meanwhile, A stage was set up for performers of every kind. Jugglers, mime artists, actors, and dancers from Virsa and other close towns

The air tasted so heavenly with the chefs alongside the parade, and the streets were spotless, lively and bustling with people.

Anna loved the festival more than her own birthday because to her, it was a day of unrestrained joy.A day she could luxuriate in the music filled air, and let the bubbly beats lift her soul.

The costumes of the performers lit up the day. A riot of colours sequin, maroon, cyan and emerald green, sparkling in the splendid afternoon sun.

It was a time to celebrate the Raindrop God and the life he brought to the world, praise the marvels of creation and be unified with the community.

Artemis' eyes gobbled up the scenes. Her face was an epic picture of pure excitement. She'd never observed a celebration so dynamic. The ones at home were brief and not all that pleasant. Virsa was without a doubt loaded with surprises.

She sat before a long oak table laid with delicacies. It was everything Artemis could think of, and things she had never dreamed of. Whole roasted cows and pigs, tremendous platters of fowl loaded with savoury fruit and nuts, root vegetables, rich sauces with garden herbs and the most elite fresh tomatoes.

The sight of the treats made her mouth water. Virsa was certainly not a mistake. The girl glanced at the vacant seat next to her that was still vacant. It was meant for Orion. The High table was only for her, the Chief, his son, and Orion. Everyone else had to stand or carry stools from their homes.

It wasn't long before Orion joined them. Greetings were exchanged as the play was about to start.

It was the same story. The folklore about the Atela.

Well, that's what Artemis thought. The new concept surprised her. It was about contestant 99.

The Crowd booed at the notice of her title, and the kid acting as her behaved in a stupid manner. She started to wonder if that's how they really saw her.

Orion was too occupied with his search for Anna while the exhausting and long play was going on. Once the actors were done, they left the stage for the dancers.

Artemis had lost the delight and intrigue she had for the celebration. She decided to leave right after she'd tasted the food on the table.

The dancers strutted in, feeling proud and confident. The person who stood out was Bianca. Her beauty couldn't be contrasted with the girls around her.

She smiled a golden smile which was almost blinding. Her blonde curls flowed as she twirled to the abrupt beat of a drum

Her movements flowed with a dazzling grace that took away the breath of every person in her audience, but Orion was not amused.

Anna watched and silently wished she was  part of the dancers, but the public would detest her presence there. So she didn't even bother to audition to spare herself from the humiliation. Regardless of everything, she always rehearsed in private, and twirled constantly before her invincible crowd.

Bianca flicked her white blonde hair to one side consciously to show the diamonds set in white gold dangling from her perfect lobes. They cost more than what Anna saved in two months.

Bianca was pretty and all, but a more lovely sight awaited Orion. He finally spotted Anna at her hiding place. Somewhere the crowd wouldn't notice easily. His eyes met green ones that shone like emeralds under the sun's highlight, and they widened briefly as soon as they connected with his.

She quickly turned away and ran as fast as she could. Orion got up to pursue her. He was unable to comprehend why she was avoiding him all of a sudden. He hadn't done anything wrong...Yet.

Anna fell to the ground after tripping over a box in the way. "I wasn't so good at running anyway" She accepted defeat as the sound of footsteps echoed in the alley she found herself in.

"Are you okay?" Her body squirms just a little as her muscles relax. There was something in particular about that gaze of his she'll never discover in another man. His eyes were different in moments that needed it. The menacing man is gone and what's left behind it the eyes of someone who cared.

"I'm okay, it's just a scratch" Orion helped her get up, and she quickly distanced herself from him.

"Anna, what's wrong? Did I do anything wrong?" She shook her head.

"It's not that. You've never done anything wrong to me. It's just that...you being around me will carry misfortune to you. I don't want people to say bad things about you Sir."

Orion cupped her cheeks "So, this is how you decided to tackle problem? By avoiding me?"

She went quiet as her gaze shifted to the ground "You're not going to be with me forever Rowan. Something must've brought you here and who knows whether you've accomplished it. I'm not asking you to pity me or anything of that sort, but I want you to reason why I decided to stay away from you."

Orion knew it went beyond the fact he won't stay in Virsa forever. The boundaries between their race was the major reason for the difficulties of their relationship, but she had no clue about that. So he assumed spell casters were a small percentage of humans that had some sort of magical abilities.

If that was the case, It doesn't justify why they're hiding. There has to be something else about them that no one knows. If they could rival Beastmen, they would've attempted, but something definitely was an impasse to their path.

"You're so good to someone like me. You've given the hope I've lost so many times, and you do so with your heart. I can't resist the urge to Love you Rowan. I love you!!!"

She took hold of his shirt urgently "What I need right now is a decent life. A life I can spend with you somewhere faraway from this place. Somewhere we can discover harmony, you and I...maybe your companion as well. We can be a couple...but, you don't love me back. I'm not begging you to force feelings for me. You don't have to. At this point, I'm tired of hiding how I feel about you. I just wanted you to know. That's all to it. The truth remains that I can't be with you. You're a busy person and I'm a slut..."

"Don't say  what you're not!" Orion had to discard his thoughts about spell casters. He had something more important to worry about.

Her pensive expression of sadness switched to a mediocre one as she turned away from him.

"Goodbye spell caster."