The journey to Haldis was idyllic. Kalion’s trusty steed carried the duo effortlessly, its strength fortified by the diligent care its master had bestowed upon it. Villages they passed through were serene, the residents of Hessenguard no longer plagued by raids from rival kingdoms and having found reparations for the war’s toll. As they entered a quaint eatery for an early morning meal, the owner greeted them warmly, gesturing to a table near the window and commenting on the beauty of the day and the soothing breeze.
As they awaited their breakfast, a steady stream of patrons came and went, some rushing and others meandering. Erna and Kalion watched the comings and goings of the locals, taking in their quaint customs. Finally, their breakfast arrived, a simple spread of freshly baked bread, eggs, milk, and roasted tomatoes. The addition of the bacon they had ordered made for a satisfying meal. Erna meticulously placed the eggs on the slices of bread, ensuring the yolks remained unbroken, before topping it all off with a generous helping of bacon.
“How is it? Tastes good, right?” she asked with a grin on her face.
Kalion nodded in agreement. As he savored the simple breakfast, he couldn’t help but marvel at its unexpected deliciousness. The crunch of the crusty bread and the rich flavors of the eggs and bacon melded together in perfect harmony, and he couldn’t help but eat the entire slice in a single bite.
“Why is it so good?” he asked, surprised. He glanced over at Erna, who was also enjoying her meal, and couldn’t help but feel grateful to have her by his side. As they ate, they made small talk, savoring the moment and the simple joys of life.
* * *
The early morning saw two weary travelers embark on a journey that would take them to the city of Haldis. As the sun began to dip below the horizon, they finally arrived on a hill overlooking the sprawling city and its sparkling lake.
With a weary sigh, Erna dismounted her horse, opening her fan to cool herself in the warm evening air. Her body ached from the long ride, but the breathtaking view before her offered some solace.
But as she gazed out at the picturesque scene, she felt a sense of déjà vu. The city, the lake, the hills – it all looked familiar.
“Erna, what’s the matter?” Kalion asked, noticing her discomfort.
She kicked at the ground with her toes, lost in thought. “It’s just…this place reminds me of where we first met,” she said finally.
Kalion’s eyes lit up with recognition. “Ah, yes. When we were hunting monsters together.”
Once upon a time, two people, seeking to create an heir, fled to a distant land, driven by fear of a rumored monster that would appear when they faced each other again. But fate, it seems, has a way of bringing people together, and so it was that the two found themselves standing face to face once more.
Kalion gazed at Erna, marveling at how she had changed. Gone was the bug-eyed expression she used to have, replaced by a warm, loving smile. The sun was setting, casting an orange glow that tinted her hair a brilliant red. The cool wind from the nearby lake swept through, causing her hair to dance in the sky.
At that moment, Kalion reached out and took Erna’s hand. “Let’s go,” he said, and with a laugh, she took his hand in hers, as if she had been waiting for it all along.
And so, as the sun set on this land, they stood together, hand in hand, looking towards their future and all the adventures yet to come.