The Gods of Dragons (Vol 1)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Play it Cool, Stay In School - Brenda Holloway, 1995

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Play it Cool, Stay In School

Submitted: May 15, 2018

Reads: 69

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Submitted: May 15, 2018

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Shon didn’t sleep that night. The kiss with Lily playing in repeating circles in his mind. Looking back now it had all been so fast, but at the time he swore it had been hours. He reported to watch after the celebration had already been winding down for a while, the villagers all retreating to their wagons and tents just outside the fortress walls to sleep off the holiday and start the return trek home the following afternoon.

By the time the sky began to lighten, and the stars began to fade Shon was sure an entire orc army could have scaled the walls screaming for blood, and he wouldn’t have noticed. His mind wouldn’t stop showing him visions of the lead up to the kiss, how things could have gone differently, how they could have gone worse, or better… then it would remind him of his oath and the rules of the temple and the vague plans for the next few years of his life that made repeating the incident impossible, or at least cruel. It was all a jumbled mess of conflicting images, ideas and words, that caused him to hardly notice when the sun began to show on the horizon, and the paladin on duty came to relieve him.

Shon saluted sharply to the paladin, a little nervous that the man may have noticed his distraction. He needn't have worried. The paladin returned the salute lazily then gave a huge yawn and a tired apology before taking up his position on the wall. Shon was trying to decide what, if anything, he would say to Lily at breakfast when a familiar laugh reached him from across the empty courtyard. “Better late than not at all though right?” Shon spun quickly on his heel to face the voice and immediately started for the gate.

“Master!” he called and picked up his pace as Master Veon-Zih turned away from the gate watchman with a smile and a wave to his old student. Shon stopped just short and bowed low, left fist in right palm, the monk returned the gesture still smiling. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see you 'til spring.” he never wanted to talk to the man so much in his life. Between his worries over Hieroneous and the incident with Lily he desperately needed his master's advice.

Veon-Zih just shook his head with another laugh, “I was afraid of the same thing. But luckily I ran into an old friend in Halakon, and she managed to pull some strings with the mages guild to get us here faster, if not on time.”

Shon was so focused on his master that he hadn’t noticed the other visitor at first, but as Veon-Zih stepped aside and gestured Shon turned and bowed again. The woman was slightly shorter than him with a shaved head and plain loose fitting clothes under a heavy winter cape, similar to Master Veon-Zih. She had a long string of reddish looking beads wrapped around her right arm and hand, and held a quarterstaff in the other, with a small curved sword strapped lengthwise across the back of her hips.

She returned his bow with one of her own and a soft smile, “You must be the infamous student Shon. It is a pleasure to meet you.” she said as they both stood straight again.

“Master Velona is a monk of the Kensai school, Shon, and an old companion of a few adventures.” Veon-Zih finished the introductions, and Shon bowed again, not really sure what else to do and not wanting to be rude to a Master monk and friend of his teacher.

“Hey Shon!” the gate guard shouted over “why don’t you show our guests inside? It’s bloody cold out here!” the paladin laughed a little to himself as he turned to face outward again and resume his watch.

Shon blinked for a moment before shaking his head to clear it, “Oh, sorry. Please, this way.” gesturing towards the fortress Shon stepped aside and walked with the two monks towards the mess hall. Veon-Zih was snickering. Shon was embarrassed, he didn’t usually forget that others would be uncomfortable in the winter weather, it was just further evidence of his foggy brain.

They made it all the way inside, kicking the snow from their boots as they entered the fortress before Shon said quietly, “I’m glad you’re here master, I’ve been wanting to talk to you…” he shot a sideways glance at the monks as they removed the winter capes and exchanged some looks of their own that had him furrowing his brow curiously.

“Of course Shon,” Veon-Zih said, quietly “though first, we have something we need to ask you.” Shon turned to them and arched a black eyebrow waiting for more, “Did that young lady you were telling me about last time come here? It seems she left the mages guild…”

Shon went back to looking concerned, furrowing his brow and looking between the two monks. “Lily said she passed her sorcerers exam.”

“So she is here?” the female monk interjected, and Shon lifted his chin not sure if he really wanted to answer but also knowing there would be no hiding it.

“She isn’t in trouble Shon,” Veon-Zih reassured him, “they are just concerned. She doesn’t have any travel papers or real world experience and didn’t tell any of them when she left or where she was going.”

Shon looked from the female to his master and sighed. How could he suspect anything bad from Veon-Zih? “I’m sorry master. Yes, Lily got here a few days ago. She should be in the mess hall now…” waiting for him… he stared down the hall towards the dining room and ran his hand through his hair, it really needed to be cut…

“Oh…” Veon-Zih looked his student up and down and after waving Master Velona ahead stood beside him, also facing the dining hall. They began walking together, following the female monk who seemed to be giving them some space on purpose, “I take it,” he said quietly, “that she is one of the things you want to talk about?”

Shon sighed, at a bit of a loss and trying to find the right words, “Yes... no. I know what’s going to happen, what needs to happen.” but he had taken too long to speak and they were already in the mess hall. Master Velona had stepped aside and was waiting for them by the door when the men entered. Shon’s eyes immediately found Lily sitting at the far end of the squire's table, stabbing absentmindedly at her food like she did when she was thinking. His breath caught for a moment.

Veon-Zih followed Shon’s eyes towards Lily and nodded. “We can talk this afternoon. After I’ve met with Daunas and Davies.”

Shon took a stealing breath and gave one sharp nod before gathering his food and moving to sit across from Lily. Her hair was down, spilling over her left shoulder leaving her cheek stripes that came together and trailed down her neck fully exposed. She was chewing on her bottom lip until he set his plate down and she looked up with the most radiant smile. “Good morning. Sleep well?” he couldn’t help but return her smile even as he shook his head in an honest answer to her question.

***

The two monks had gotten their food and taken their seats at the officer's table before Velona leaned over to Veon-Zih and said, “He’s doomed.” with an evil smile on her face.

Veon-Zih looked at his student sitting across from the golden-haired girl and sighed. Shon was smiling, a rare sight indeed, and had gestured towards the officer's table and presumably them. The girl, Lily he said her name was, turned in her seat and making brief eye contact waved happily before turning back to continue talking to Shon.

Weapon master Daunas slid into his seat on the other side of Veon-Zih and laughing added, “Completely. Did you know she got him to dance last night?” Veon-Zih choked a little on that, and Daunas laughed louder smacking him on the back, “It won’t be easy being a paladin, but at least he didn’t take the monk path right old man?”

The monk in question glared at his old companion, while beside him Velona gave a small snort. Not all monks took the same vows. “Watch who you call an old man, old man.” Veon-Zih said managing a smile, “At least I still get out and about.” which just made Daunas laugh harder.

Shaking his head and taking a bite out of his breakfast roll Daunas asked, loud enough for her to hear, “So, who’s your friend?”

Veon-Zih leaned far back in his seat so Velona could lean a little forward to see the weapon master on his other side. Giving a little half bow, she introduced herself, “My name is Master Velona of the Kensei Monks.” she smiled warmly, ignoring Veon-Zih who was still leaning far back but trying to reach under their eyesight to grab his own bread, “And you must be weapon master Daunas Mung. Veon-Zih told me about you.”

Daunas clapped a hand on Veon-Zih's back again sending him forward into the table. Velona leaned back so she could still see the weapon master from behind the now forward monk, “More like warned you about me!” he took another bite of roll and shoving it into the side of his cheek said, “He’s a good man but don’t let his horror stories scare you. They're all highly exaggerated.” all three of them had a good laugh at that and ate in companionable silence for a while. Veon-Zih kept half an eye on Shon the whole time, and he was sure Velona was doing the same with the strange girl Lily.

It was still hard to believe everything Mage Vevi had told them. He was no expert on ancient lore, let alone something specific like dragons and their different types. So he had no choice but to take the word of the young mage when she had told them that Lily could potentially be the most dangerous beast they had faced in centuries. But the light in Shon's eyes as the pair got up and exited the mess hall together had him second guessing everything again.

When Lily and Shon left the room, Velona leaned forward in her chair placing her elbows on the table and lacing her fingers together in front of her mouth. “Copper for your thoughts m’lady?” Daunas asked, leaning on the back two legs of his chair and lacing his own fingers behind his head.

Velona arched a questioning eyebrow at Veon-Zih who shrugged and nodded. Daunas Mung was gruff but good-natured and could be trusted with secrets, so long as they didn’t directly endanger his charges or the province. “What do you think of the girl? Lily?”

The weapon master rocked in his chair humming at the ceiling for a moment before answering, “She’s a good girl if a bit naive. She has a way of making each of the boys feel special in their own way and shows a genuine interest in learning new things even from them.” he shrugged and let the chair fall back onto all four legs turning in it to face the monks, “She can be a bit emotional but it's usually in defense of someone else.” resting his arm on the back of his chair he leaned his head on his fist and continued to look into the distance rather than focusing on those in front of him, like he was picturing specific examples and trying to find the words, “she's possessive of friends, including all the squires.” he laughed and focused at the two again with a wink, “woe be to the fool who hurts her boys in front of her.”

Veon-Zih looked to Velona who met his eyes with another curious expression. It was a very similar story to the one mage Vevi had told them. Turning and leaning on the table Veon-Zih crossed his arms and asked his friend the real question, knowing he would get an honest answer, “Do you think we could get her back to the mages guild?”

Much to both monks' surprise Daunas laughed out loud at the question, “Not a chance old man.” he stood stretching, “She told us when she got here that she wasn’t going back. Said that she was tired of being poked and prodded all the time.” Velona stood as well, her face concerned as she exchanged another look with Veon-Zih. Daunas caught the look then said seriously, “I wouldn’t try if I were you. She has the right to her freedom, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she was willing to shed blood to keep it.” he leaned forward dropping his voice to a loud whisper, “That old hermit Ivelm, suspects she was the cause of the tower fire that killed all those warlocks.” he leaned back, and his voice returned to its normal booming volume, “Then again he also thinks she’s a dragon, so he’s probably crazy.”

***

Veon-Zih and Velona didn’t tell the general any of the more outlandish details mage Vevi had requested they keep quiet about Lily. He would be duty bound as a paladin of the sword to inform his superiors, and such news had the potential for creating more problems than they solved concerning the wayward dragon girl. They did ask him similar questions as they had the weapon master and received similar answers. It seemed Lily was curious, kind, a bit naive at times and occasionally fiery, both literally and figuratively, over the happiness of her squires.

The problem was that they still didn’t know how to approach her to get her to return to the mages guild. The paladins couldn’t help because she wasn’t breaking any laws. With her sorcerer's clearance to practice magic, she was free to go where she wanted within the Clearhelm province. But if she tried to leave Clearhelm for one of the other provinces, she could very quickly run into issues. Lily didn’t have any travel papers or sponsors that would allow her to travel freely between the provinces, and if someone tried to stop her, no one was really sure what her reaction would be.

There was still one person they had not talked to yet and stepping out into the afternoon winter air Veon-Zih and Velona made their way around the villagers, packing up the celebration pavilion and empty supply crates, to look for Shon and Lily herself.

The monks found the pair in one of the larger sparing rings. Heading towards them Veon-Zih saw Lily arch her back into a smooth back bend, both palms and feet on the ground before she kicked up bringing her feet over her head then back to the ground in a slow-motion backflip. Shon was shaking his head but they were still too far away to hear his words. As they got closer, Shon took up a position similar to Lily's while the girl stood by and did his own black flip, much fasters and not as elegant. Veon-Zih was finally able to hear their voices as Lily said, “yeah, it's easier faster but you have enough strength you could totally do it slow if you practiced.”

Veon-Zih chose that time to make their presence known by saying “But Shon isn’t quite as flexible as you are. Not anymore anyway.” Shon turned to see his master, his eyes lighting up even if a standard bystander wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the smile, “When he was younger I would have agreed with you, now he needs to stretch more to get some of that flexibility back.”

Lily was tilting her head back and forth humming in thought, “Yeah I suppose.” she finally said then stepped eagerly forward holding her hand out to the monk, “My name is Lily! It’s nice to finally meet you Master Veon-Zih.”

Velona chuckled beside him at the girl's eager rush through introductions and Veon-Zih reached his hand out to shake hers. Her skin was unusually warm, almost hot in the cool winter air, “It's my pleasure Lily,” he followed the handshake with a bow that had her tilting her head again. It made her look like a kitten, “and this is Master Velona, she is also a monk though from a different school,” he gestured to Velona who also bowed. Lily shifted her head to the other side then looked down at her hands and mimicked the gesture, bowing at the waist.

“It's a pleasure to meet you, Lily, I’ve heard quite a bit about you from my niece, Mage Vevi…” Velona was watching the girl carefully, not sure how she would react to the mention of the mages considering her insistence on not going back.

To their surprise, her smile returned and she seemed genuinely happy, “Oh you’re related to Vevi? She is one of my favorites at the guild. Is she doing well?” she said ‘my favorites’ like someone talking about their personal doll collection and Veon-Zih realized what the others had meant when they had said she seemed possessive of her friends.

Beside him Velona returned the girls smile, “She is well. Though worried about you. They didn’t know you had left.” to his continued surprise, Lily answered that with a nonchalant shrug.

“They probably would've stopped me, so I thought it was best to just go rather then start an argument.” beside her Shon ran his hand through his hair like he always did when he was feeling stressed or exasperated. The sight softened Veon-Zih’s smile and he remembered Velona and Daunas’s declarations that the boy was completely doomed.

“Is that your staff? I thought Monks didn’t use weapons.” Lily asked pointing to Velona’s quarterstaff.

Velona looked from her staff to Lily, who was tilting her head again, then to Veon-Zih with a smile and a nod. Stepping forward she answered, “Not all monks are the same, I study the Kensai school of training.” she motioned with her staff towards the center of the sparring ring, “Would you like to see a few of my staff forms? Weapon master Daunas told us you were learning some quarterstaff techniques from the squires.”

Lily looked like she could barely contain her desire to hop up and down and clap her hands. Her dark blue eyes were as wide as saucers and she had leaned forward on the balls of her feet, “Could you! That would be so wonderful!” Velona laughed and placing a hand gently on Lily’s upper arm guided her to the center of the ring away from the men.

Veon-Zih cleared his throat to get Shon’s attention, he had turned with the women and was watching them walk away, running his hand through his hair again. At the sound from his master Shon turned back quickly and the monk could see a bit of pink rising in his students pale cheeks. "you had some things you wanted to talk about I believe?” he arched an eyebrow at Shon, who sighed heavily and started walking towards a bench against the parapet wall.

He sat down heavily and crossed his arms, his eyes back on the ladies in the middle of the ring. Veon-Zih took a seat next to him, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees also watching the women. Lily was holding Velonas staff and going through one of her forms, occasionally the monk would stop her and adjust something explaining something they couldn't hear too the eagerly nodding Lily. “She seems like a nice girl. Even master Daunas and general Davies think so…” Veon-Zih broke the silence looking out the corner of his eye at his student.

Shon sighed again and leaned his head back to stare at the sky, “I kissed her.” was all he said.

Veon-Zih leaned back against the wall with his student, “and?” he asked, knowing Shon wouldn’t give more considering the obvious conflict going on in his mind.

The squire looked down again and groaned as he ran his fingers through his jet hair yet again, “I don’t know.” his voice was almost a whine, “she asked me to and I just… UGH,” he leaned forward as Veon-Zih had before, with his elbows resting on his knees. “I know nothing can happen,” his voice was quiet, “I still have a year here and I don’t know where they will send me after…” he had been looking at his hands as he spoke but looked up to watch the girls again at that point, his voice dropping further into a whisper, “I can’t ask her to wait for me…” Shon turned his head to look at Veon-Zih directly, “she could have anyone.”

The monk hummed in thought, this wasn’t exactly the kind of thing he had any experience with, “But she asked you.” looking to his anguished student he added, “You don’t have to ask her to wait. All you can do is wait yourself and see.” Shon scrunched his face in question and Veon-Zih resumed his leaning position, bringing himself closer to Shon, “You are oath-bound to the Order of the Sword, and that does make things a little more difficult. But not impossible,” he gave a small smile to Shon, “if she asked you and is as adventurous as she seems there is a good chance she will find you wherever you go.” Shon looked back to the females, Velona was now demonstrating some move or other while Lily watched intently.

“It could always be worse,” Veon-Zih said, causing Shon to look back at him again, “you could have come to the monastery and taken the monk oath." He continued, but Shon still looked confused. The monk sighed and turned to watch the ladies for a while without speaking. It looked like Lily was showing Velona something she had cupped in her hands. “The Temple of Heironeous requires that its paladins file an official request to court someone and then again to properly marry a potential partner.” Shon was already nodding, of course, he would know this already, “But some monk schools require a vow of celibacy to access the advanced teachings of the monastery.” the boy turned a surprised face on his master who stood without looking at him.

“Master?” Shon asked, also standing and still looking at him as though he had just announced his imminent death.

Veon-Zih just shook his head still smiling, though sadly, and pat Shon on the shoulder, “it could always be worse.” Velona was gesturing to the men to come and join them with a rather curious look on her face while Lily glanced between the two monks and Shon with a literal curious look, “It seems the ladies are requesting our presence.” He said, motioning for Shon to come with him before he walked forward to join the women.

***

Lily liked the monk Velona. She had been very helpful with little tips and tricks while Lily was showing her some of her staff forms and even looked impressed when Lily had shown her some of her fire tricks. But when Velona had announced that she had an idea and proceeded to wave the boys towards them, she was at a complete loss.

“Master Veon-Zih,” Velona said as they drew closer, “I have an idea but I want your opinion.” she was looking Lily up and down, from her feet to her head and back with a different glint in her eye than she had before. It seemed more appraising.

Shon stood next to Lily, between her and his master and she leaned over to brush his shoulder with hers whispering, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.”

Velona it seemed had finished her silent appraisal and said, “how would you like to come with me on pilgrimage?” Lily looked at the female monk questioningly and her curiosity only intensified when she glanced at Veon-Zih and saw his eyebrows lift and face light up at the words.

“That is an idea.” he spoke to Velona exclusively leaving Lily and Shon to exchange curious looks and shrugs, “Do you think the guild would give her travel papers?”

“I don’t see why not. I’m sure Vevi would sign them for sure.” Lily continued to swivel her head back and forth from one monk to the other when Velona finally turned back to them smiling softly and said, “As a monk of Kensai I have decided it's time for me to go on pilgrimage. That means I will be traveling throughout all ten provinces in the kingdom to visit all the shrines to the Honorable Kensai and pay my respects.” she nodded at Lily who tilted her head, “if you would like to, you may come with me.”

Lily just blinked at her. It seemed a little too good to be true, and her mind was being surprisingly slow at digesting the information, “So… you mean I could go to all of the provinces?” both the monks nodded, and Lily looked to Shon again, though he didn’t have any answers for her either, “You mean I don’t have to go back to the mages guild to be poked and prodded and drained of all my bodily fluids?” Shon turned his face to look curiously at her at that but Lily was back to watching the monks.

It was Veon-Zih who answered. “You will have to go to the mages guild in Smilnda to request travel papers with your sorcerers clearance and a guild voucher.” he rested a hand on Velonas shoulder who continued to smile at her, “with an ally of the guild and master of the Taolu Monastery accompanying you, I don’t see why you would have any trouble clearing the province checkpoints and traveling freely.”

That was a lot of information for Lily to take in. She didn’t know what he meant by province checkpoints or travel papers or why she wouldn't be able to travel freely on her own. But what she did know was that these two were offering to help her, and she would be able to see the entire kingdom much sooner than she thought possible. “Would…” she focused on Velona who lifted her eyebrows at Lily, “would you teach me more staff techniques? On the road I mean?”

The female monk laughed, it sounded like bells and made her brown eyes shine like Shon’s when he smiled, “Of course, so long as you remain a willing and obedient student.” Lily had no way of knowing that those were the same words Veon-Zih had told Shon seven years ago, but she didn’t have to know to be happier then she had remembered being in a long time.

“Shon did you hear that!” Lily turned fully to him and hopped up and down in her excitement, “I”m going to learn more staff stuff! And see the WHOLE kingdom!” she was nearly shaking with happiness she couldn't contain and threw her arms around his neck in a tight hug. Shon hesitated for only a moment then wrapped his arms around her back, holding her loosely but still holding her.

“Oh wait.” Lily pulled away just as suddenly, though she kept her arms loosely around Shon’s neck. Looking at each of the monks again she asked, “Do I have to shave my head?”

***

Shon sat at his little desk, leaning over his journal but taping the charcoal pencil in place rather than using it to write or draw anything. It was late and he was dressed for bed in his loose, comfortable trousers and nothing else. He should have fallen asleep at least an hour ago but just like the night before he found his thoughts to busy to allow him to sleep. Lily would be leaving the next morning with the monk Velona while Veon-Zih would stay for a few more days of training and talk.

They wouldn’t be able to exchange letters as regularly this time, with Lily constantly on the move, though the two had vowed to try. Shon wasn’t going anywhere and Lily would just let him know her next few stops in advance so he could send his letters ahead. She would need to stop at each mages guild to report in and show her clearance anyway. There was also a good chance that she wouldn’t be able to make it back for next year’s winter solstice as the monk's pilgrimage often took over a year to complete.

He stared at the picture in his journal without actually seeing it. It was Lily in her solstice wear, her hair twisted up and looking out at the dance floor with a soft smile and eager glint in her eye. He knew Veon-Zih was right, that the only thing he could do was wait and see what happened. Maybe she would come see him wherever he was stationed, and maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she would come but they would just be friends like before, and maybe it would go further…

Sighing Shon let the pencil fall out of his hand and slid back from the desk. He always had a hard time reading Lily, she was touchy with him, but she seemed touchy with everyone. Some of the more subtle things were so subtle he didn’t know if she did them with the others or not. He was the only one she wrote too… but they had been friends first, that didn't necessarily mean there was more. She asked him to kiss her… she said she liked the feel of him, and even Shon's most disparaging inner voice couldn’t argue that she meant anyone but him, he was the only one that he knew of who was cold to the touch. ‘Refreshing’ she had said…

Shon leaned back in his chair covering his face with his hands. He could still feel her on his skin. The way she leaned into his palm, how she had pulled on his tunic, the way she moaned into his lips. Shon screamed into his hands, the sound muffled by his palms and the thick stone walls. He wasn’t supposed to feel this way. He was supposed to be focusing on his training, on continuing his communion with Heironeous…

He let his hands fall to his sides, his mind running in circles back to the beginning, and almost fell out of the chair when there came a knock on his door.

***

Lily was not prepared to see Shon in his sleepwear. She was standing in the hall looking either way down it, afraid she had woken someone else when he opened the door in only his loose slacks. She lost her words for a moment at the sight of him and had to shake herself and force her eyes to meet his when he said, “Lily? You’re not supposed to be in here…”

Shon stuck his head out the door and looked around the hall as she had done and Lily found her words, “I know. I just…” damn, the last thing she wanted was to get him in trouble again, “wanted to talk to you again… before tomorrow.” he was looking at her and she blushed, frustrated. This wasn’t the first time she had seen him shirtless, how had things changed so much in only a few days.

She held his eyes with her own until he said softly, “Why don’t we go for a walk.” Shon turned to grab a loose undertunic and slip on his boots without socks while Lily waited in the hallway going through what she planned to say again. The stupid words kept changing. They held the same meaning but the specifics all changed when she tried to play it out in her imagination again.

They waited until they reached the courtyard to speak again. All but the night watch paladins were sleeping by now, with only one window showing golden light through it. Lily wondered for a moment who the light belonged to but pushed it from her mind as she walked with Shon in the winter night. “I’m sorry. You were probably trying to get some sleep before returning to training tomorrow,” she said in an attempt to break the silence.

Beside her Shon shrugged, “Honestly, I couldn’t sleep.” he looked over at her and his face softened a little, “What about you? You have an early day ahead of you.”

Now it was her turn to shrug, they moved to the edge of the wall, walking beside it around the courtyard rather than through the middle, “I couldn’t sleep either.”

Shon gave a little chuckle, “well it’s really exciting, isn’t it? You finally get to go out into the world like you wanted.” Lily watched him as they walked. He seemed somehow more relaxed than usual and she wondered if it was because his master was here or if it was something else.

“I do want it,” Lily nodded looking ahead again, “but…” she didn’t know exactly what to say, which frustrated her more than anything. She always just said what she meant, if someone didn’t understand she could explain after.

She stopped walking and huffed her frustration. Shon took one more step then turned to look at her, an eyebrow arched and his blue eyes concerned, “What?” he asked simply, and for some reason, Lily felt herself blush again.

“I want to kiss you again,” she said finally, lifting her chin almost in defiance. Shon’s eyes widened and she continued quickly, “I understand if you don’t want to but I wanted to be honest...”

“Why,” Shon interrupted reaching forward and cupping her face as he had the night before. Her eyes closed against her will and she leaned into the cool skin of his hand, “do you keep saying I don’t want to?” he whispered bringing his face close to hers.

“I…” she opened her eyes, watching his face for a sign of… anything, “I might not be human.” she said, but his expression didn’t change. He continued to watch her, holding her in place with the ice in his eyes. “You have to understand.” even to herself it sounded like she was pleading and she shook her head in disgust, “I love you.” he blinked but she wasn’t done, “I love all of you. But you. You I love… different.”

Lily reached her hand up and brushed her fingertips up his arm and across his cheek, then lifted them higher to run through his hair. It had grown long, he would probably cut it soon. Shon closed his eyes at her touch tilting his head down so she could run her nails all the way down the back of his head. She left her hand resting on his neck and he opened his eyes to look at her again, “I want to kiss you again.” she repeated in a whisper.

Shon’s lips were colder than his skin. They felt smooth as melting ice under her lips and tongue and Lily breathed him in even as her hands wrapped around his neck and shoulders pulling him closer while he kissed her. Shon brought his free hand up and laced his fingers through her hair and shielding her head as she fell back against the stone wall.

They were not moving as slowly as the night before. She felt she couldn’t pull him close enough. Even as he pressed his body against hers and the wall she tried to pull him closer, opening her mouth to taste him again. It wasn’t supposed to be this good, she didn’t know if she would be able to find the resolve to stop. This was her life, the only thing in the world that mattered. She whined arching her back slightly to try and press even harder against Shon’s strong chest. He groaned against her lips and she nearly lost all of the resolve she had fought for.

It took a few heartbeats for her to find the strength and focus to bring her hands down from behind him to push gently on his shoulders. And like that he was gone. Shon let her go, moving his hands from her head and neck to the wall on either side of her. He stretched his arms out, stepping away from her but leaning forward and resting his head on her shoulder breathing hard. “I’m sorry…” he whispered between breaths.

Lily shook her head, bringing her hand back around to run through his hair again, “Shon,” she spoke between her own heavy breathing, and he turned his head into her neck, so his face was closer to hers. Though he still couldn’t see her at that angle, “I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your life as a paladin.” finally he lifted his head to look at her, searching her face even as she smiled at him. “But when you take your oath, and you join the paladins. I will find you.” Shon chuckled sliding a hand over to cup the back of her head again, resting his forehead on hers and still breathing deeply. “Just promise me one thing.” she said, and he nodded against her, “If you find someone else,” she spoke between slow calming breaths, “tell me.”

Shon chuckled again and shook his head against hers, making her giggle while birds and butterflies danced in her chest and stomach, “Only if you do the same.” he said, and Lily laughed.



© Copyright 2019 Shawn Cameron. All rights reserved.

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