“So it comes to this.”
Fen was surrounded. Outnumbered, overpowered. Weapons were drawn from all sides, all pointed at him. There was no denying that he had walked into a trap. And the color and the marks of their armor – none other than La Riiz’s.
And if they were from La Riiz, there could only be one person who led him to this trap.
She steps out into the open, and he greets her.
“I thought they would send someone else for this part of the plan. La Riiz must be really struggling to keep their elites.”
Melia’s face betrays no emotion. Fen always liked to think she learned to perfect it from him. But given the current situation, perhaps it isn’t so.
“You’re surrounded,” she says.
“I see that.” Fen smiles. The lips he once kissed presses into a thin line. She tightens her grip on her weapon.
“You won’t come quietly,” she observes. Fen raises his eyebrows at that.
“Oh, is a live catch preferable? But of course, you’ve had plenty of chances to kill. I do have to wonder, for what great plans of La Riiz must I be captured alive?”
Fen takes a step forward. His lover stays still. The others flinch, but do not move from where they stand. Awaiting orders, no doubt. They won’t move without Melia’s word.
“How many nights have we had now? I’m impressed with your patience. Being with your enemy, having to pretend for so long. Forcing yourself to smile, to laugh, to cry. Such effort.”
Don’t let it sink in, he tells himself. He’s merely using the situation to his advantage. It’s the best way to disrupt the enemy formation– to create distrust of the leader. That’s what he’s doing, and nothing more.
“Help me understand, Melia. Was it for La Riiz at all?”
Fen wonders if he’s fooling himself.
“Each time you chose not to draw your weapon, each time you chose not to dispose of La Riiz’s enemy… was that really part of your orders? To let me live and do about as I pleased?”
He should be looking for an opening amongst the soldiers that now exchange glances with each other. But he’s walking towards her, each step steady and unwavering. Even now she looks so lovely, and it tears him apart.
Of course, it couldn’t have been real.
Melia’s right in front of him now. He meets her eye. She says nothing. It’s probably wise of her.
“I’d like to know, Melia.” I need to know, he thinks. A part of him is screaming at him to attack, to run. She betrayed you, it says. You are a fool and she will kill you.
He finds himself responding, then so be it.
The eerie silence of the battlefield is deafening. On a whim, perhaps for the last time, Fen raises his hand and brushes his fingers against Melia’s cheek.
“What will you do now, love?”