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Home > God Rising: Battle of Atela

26 Part III

 As soon as Anna woke up, her eyes met with the back of an unidentified figure. After rubbing her eyes, she figured out it was Orion, and all that happened wasn't a dream.

He bit his lip, suppressing his unexpected wail. Vikckson finally discovered his reason for quitting his job at the front lines.

It was because of the injury at the base of his midsection. He strived to keep it a secret, but it seemed like his efforts were a vain attempt.

He was a wreck. Clothes wet with his blood, and that of his foes.

He didn't have enough magic to heal himself, the little he had could only freeze the blood that was seeping. The rest, he'd used it to heal Anna and purify the water he found deep in the cave.

"Rowan!!!" Orion turned to see the girl running towards him with tears running down her cheeks.

"I'm glad you're awake" she wrapped her arms around him, and he did the same.

"You should be resting. You just recovered" he suggested but her face showed unwillingness to do so.

"What about you? Have you healed your wounds?"

"Yeah..." Before he could say more, his words were cut short by a sudden wince and it hurt Anna to see him in pain.

"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine." He was lying. He wasn't sure if he was going to survive the unknown poison that was slowly killing him.

"There's water for you a little deep in the cave. That's all I have for now. If there's anything else you need, I will try my best to provide." The cave would be their hiding place until his vital stats recovered fully.

In the blackness of the hollow, he provided light and warmth with the little flames that were close to the arched walls of the ovoid cavern somewhere in a random mountain.

Her hand met with the wall as as she progressed into the profound cave to trace where she could find water and quench her thirst before dehydration would get the best of her.

She finally came across the pool of clear water in the deep ground. Her face weakly beamed because of her exhaustion. She dropped on her knees and jabbed the water, upsetting its tranquility with her fingers.

She pulled her hand out and watched the transparent drops fall back in the excavation, distorting the water, and leaving halos that spread across.

Anna savored the liquid that traced its way into her mouth, wetting her cracked lips and throat. It was the refreshment she sought for almost two days.

An idea soon popped up in her head. She began to tear from her skirt's hem skirt and stopped above her knees. She put her cupped hand inside the pool and drew water out to get the fabric wet.

Her hands weren't properly clean, but it was better than putting her raggy piece inside.

Once it was wet enough, She steadily got back on her feet and  advanced back to Orion's corner in the cavern.

The worst case scenario surfed her mind when she found Orion lying on his side. She thought something awful had occurred, but he was just giving what his drooping eyelids called for.

"Rowan!!!"

He could sense the tone of panic in her voice, and it interrupted his frail attempt to sleep "I'm fine, I'm just trying to sleep."

A sigh of relief escaped from her lips, and she walked to his side, before kneeling with the damp cloth in her grasp.

"Please, let me help you get the blood stains off. It might not be enough, but it would make a difference" She required his consent before she could continue. The second he gestured, she took the time necessary that was needed to clean the blood droplets.

The fact that he still had cuts on his body was troubling.  She was liberated from potential scars, and it was all because of him. He was a Beastman, but he was nothing like the one that set her village ablaze.

"If it's not much to ask...can you take your shirt off, so I can clean the injuries there aswell" This time she didn't get the response she wanted and her head lowered.

"I'm sorry, but I can't let you see my present state."

"I understand" she constrained a grin, and he stroked her cheeks with his fingers "It's been so long since we've had a proper conversation. I miss~ old times" His voice faltered in response to the abrupt tumult the poison caused.

"I'm so sorry for the way I reacted that day"

"Don't cry." If she did, it'll make him sad as well "it was what you were bound to do. I deceived you. I hurt you didn't I?" She tried to stiffle her sobs and stop crying but it wasn't because of sadness alone. Different emotions swirled in her heart. Happiness, sadness, relief, guilt, but nothing was related to anger.

"Thank you for saving me" Orion smiled "I would never leave you in the hands of the enemy. It's my fault, I was too careless. I thought I had the chief's assurance that he'd protect you."

She had a brief flashback of Zayn "I'm sure he wanted to help, but I was drunk and Zayn was killed."

Orion wasn't really bothered about anyone else but her and Artemis. Speaking of Artemis, he had to go to Sol. He was sure her trials would be on hold until he goes back to his world. That was the likely situation.

"Rowan?"

"Yes?" He lost concentration some seconds ago, but her silvery voice pulled him back to the conscious environment.

"I'm not sure of how long we're going to be staying here but I have a request"

"What is it?"

Her face was flushed red as she battled to state what she wanted "Can we get to know each other better? I want to know the real you."

"I will be honest with you. My name is Orion, I'm a forty-six-year old foxman. I apologize for not telling you sooner."

She took in a deep breath "it's okay. I will pose you more inquiries so please answer me."

He gestured for her to do so and she began.

"How come you were traveling with a human? Was she your slave?"

"That rascal would never agree to such. She was never my slave, and I've never had one. I don't fancy the idea. I'll tell you more about that girl once I find a way to summarize it."

"Okay, my next question..." she needed answers to a pressing question she'd wanted to ask "That man..."

"There was nothing between us" He knew what she was going to ask about him, but he was sure there was another question about his love life she wanted to ask.

"He also mentioned a woman..."

"Melissa?"

"Yeah! She was the previous demigod right?"

Orion gestured yes, and her eyes channeled with amazement "That's cool! I guess she must've been really strong, and pretty unlike me. I'm so weak, I couldn't even help you out in any way. I'm so useless" she toyed with her fingers, feeling oitose as they talked about a woman she pictured as an idol.

"You're not useless. You don't have to worry about being weak. I'm here for you."

She smiled "My last question. Can we make things right again?"

"Make things right?" Orion narrowed his brows. He wasn't so sure of what she meant by that.

"I mean...I don't know if we were in a relationship before, but I want us to be official. I want you in my life always" She silently prayed he'd agree to it no matter the obstacle that stands in their way.

"Look at me carefully. I'm not human"

"I know! That doesn't mean we can't be together...unless you would prefer not to be with me" her eyes went glossy, and a frown was welcomed along with it.

"There are consequences Anna. It's dangerous. I don't want to put your life at risk" he'd be broken if she suffered the same faith his sister did. Losing a woman he cared about, was a nightmare, and he didn't want to experience it again.

She was still trying to pursue him to agree "If we go faraway, it can work out. We can live with your companion as well..."

"Anna, when I recover...I have to take you somewhere safe." With her ownership mark still active, it was inevitable that her master would trace her. Especially if he hears she's no longer in Virsa.

"Where will you go?"

"To get Artemis. I need you both to look after one another."

"Won't you come back to me?" Her eyes shimmered as she waited for Orion to reply.

"I'm sorry." That was all he could say because he wasn't certain, and he didn't want to fill her with false hopes.

"Anna," he raised her head up by her chin, and both their eyes met  "I love you. I really do. That's why your well-being is always on my mind, and I'll do anything to achieve that, sacrifice a lot to make you happy."

If she asked him to forget about that girl he wanted to get, it would be a selfish thing to do. Talking about his love life was bad of her because it was just one woman that was mentioned, and she wanted to compare, but he wasn't doing the same. She had a lot of men in her life, but he never asked about one.

"Orion" it was the first time she called him by his real name, and she had to get used to it "I'm a horrible person" she wished she could bury her face in his chest like she used to, but she didn't know the exact spots the swords pierced, and she didn't want to cause him anymore pain.

"You're not. You're perfect in my eyes" he kissed her temple and brushed her back in long light strokes.

"When you were unconscious. I was worried about everything. About a life with you. I'm scared to imagine such. It could be something magical, filled with joy and wonders, but what if we were caught? What if we had children? We'll all die. Not even my position or reputation can bail us out from the consequences of a taboo."

Anna was aware, but she was still optimistic that they could lead a normal life, even if it's considered not normal in the eyes of the society.

"I want to settle down with you Anna, but I can't."

"I still believe I can have my happily ever after whether you're a beastman or not. I don't care about our race problems anymore. I just want to be with you."

She held his hand and placed it on her chest "So promise me we'll make our last days together worth it!"