Chapter 31

Chapter 31

Alan tried to read what she might be feeling on her face, in her eyes. “I…,” he began. He opened and shut his mouth. He decided to be honest. “No,” he said, “I can’t live without you. I can’t bear it.”

Alan didn’t know if he was being greedy in saying that, but it was an honest answer. He couldn’t let her go. Death would be more merciful than that. Alan didn’t know if Siana would let go of his hands, but he wouldn’t let go first.

Siana’s face softened a little. Her eyes fixed on him. And only kindness was there. “Alan,” she said gently, “I can understand your worry. Maybe I don’t know everything about how you might be suffering but I can understand. I know it might be difficult to fix it and I can see you are afraid. It is alright.” She squeezed his hands in hers. “It’s alright. But you don’t need to suffer alone. Don’t push me away. There must be a way. There is always a way, no matter how difficult. Let’s find it, okay? Together.”

Alan was silent. Then he nodded. “Alright,” he said, although uneasiness gnawed at his heart. He could try everything if it meant not losing her.

* * *

After talking about it at length, they decided to consult a priest. Siana thought that if it was to do with magic and curses, nobody would know better about it than wizards. It wasn’t common to find them in the continent though, they never stayed in one place for very long. But priests used to be wizards themselves, so Siana thought that a priest would be able to help with the conflict they faced.

Siana and Alan went back to their room after requesting for a priest to visit their residence. They waited. They didn’t say a word to each other. Alan was exhausted, she could see. He was trying to fend off the sleepiness. He was trying very hard to stay awake. Siana didn’t know what to say.

I wish he could take a nap till the priest arrives, she thought. But Alan wouldn’t listen, she knew it, so she didn’t suggest it.

Alan was not going to sleep. He was even more anxious with Siana by his side. And he knew he would have nightmares if he tried to sleep. But Siana won’t leave him to suffer alone too. He was grateful for it.

So, they waited for the priest in silence. Alan, fighting his sleep and Siana, trying very hard to calm herself. I don’t think he had the problem a day before our wedding, she thought. She blushed thinking about that night, but she had to ask.

She looked at him. He looked haggard and completely exhausted. She hesitated. But she decided that it would be better to just ask since they promised to be honest with each other.

“Alan,” she said, “Can I ask something?” Alan looked at her with tired eyes and nodded.

“Do you remember the first time I was here?” she asked.

“How could I forget?” he said with a devious smile.

Siana blushed. “Did you sleep well that night?” she asked, “And for god’s sake, be honest and tell me the whole truth.”

“I did sleep that night,” he recalled.

“Did you have nightmares?” she asked.

Alan thought about it with his brows furrowed. Siana waited for his answer with mounting nervousness. After a silence that seemed to stretch to infinity, he shook his head. “Now when I think about it,” he said, “I didn’t have any nightmares that night.” She wondered if there might be a solution to their problem after all. She didn’t say anything more.

“It’s strange,” he said, then looked at her, “Why do you ask though?”

“Um, nothing,” she said, embarrassed. “I was just trying to figure out when the nightmares started.” She was shy to voice out her thoughts aloud because she didn’t even know if what she thought would even work or not.

If Alan was in his normal state, he would have noticed she was hiding something and urged her to speak her mind and eventually found out the truth. But he was so tired that his eyes kept drooping lower and lower as he tried to will himself not to fall asleep.

After a while, the priest arrived. The man had neatly tied hair and a crisp white suit done up to the collar. He smiled kindly. He asked Siana if she would mind leaving them to have a conversation so he could diagnose Alan. Siana thanked the priest for coming all the way and told them both that she would be right outside if she was needed.

Primo approached her after a while and suggested that she wait in the living room so that he could bring her some tea to calm her nerves. Siana shook her head. “Thank you, Primo,” she said, “But I am fine. They will be done soon.”

Besides, she needed to ask the priest about her own theory. She stood there and minutes ticked by. Her legs started to get sore from all the standing and pacing. Maybe Primo is right, I should wait in the living room. But she didn’t move from outside that door. She didn’t want to leave until she made sure Alan was alright. How long has it been?

The door finally opened, and the priest stepped out. “How is he?” Siana blurted out.

“Oh, Madam,” said the priest, surprised. “Have you been here all this time?”

“Yes,” she said, “I just wanted to know if Alan is well and I wanted to talk to you about his condition.’

“Of course!” said the priest. “He is sleeping now. He fell asleep right after he was imbued with magic. He will probably sleep for a long time seeing how sleep deprived he seems to be.”

“Shall we go to the living room?” Siana offered. “Would you like some tea?”

“That would indeed be very great. Thank you,” said the priest as he followed Siana to the living room.

Siana offered for the priest to take a seat and rang for the maid for some tea. The maid brought the tea in shortly and left them. Siana poured a cup of tea for the priest and took her seat with a cup nestled in her hands.

“As you might already know by now,” said the priest, sipping his tea, “Lord Legarde is under a curse.”

Siana nodded. “So, it really is a curse,” she said, “Is there anything we can do to lift it?”

“He must be imbued with magic often,” said the priest.

“That will lift the curse?” asked Siana, sipping her tea.

“Not… exactly,” said the priest, “That will only hold off the curse to a certain extent so that it won’t hamper his daily life.”

“So, even if he is imbued with magic, the curse will still remain?” asked Siana.

“Unfortunately, yes,” said the priest.

“Does Alan know of this?” she asked, worried.

“I had to tell him, since he is directly involved.”

“But there must be a way to lift the curse!” said Siana, “Isn’t there?”

“As of now, there is no distinct way,” said the priest kindly.

Siana fell silent. How can there be no way at all? She was concerned how Alan might have reacted to this news. Siana looked so crestfallen that the priest felt sorry for her.

“There is… a way to improve his condition,” said the priest, “It is not a widely accepted theory, but it has worked on several people.”

“Really?” said Siana, “What must be done?”

“Ah,” said the priest, looking uncomfortable, “You must understand that it is mostly considered a rumour, untested and with no definite proof whatsoever.”

“I don’t care,” said Siana, “Please tell me.”

“That…,” the priest struggled with his words, “This might be very embarrassing to say and hear.”

Why can’t he just get on with it? Siana thought impatiently. “It’s alright,” she said, “This will remain confidential.”

“You have to fornicate,” said the priest.

Siana blinked, confused. “F-fornicate?”

“Yes, Madam,” said the priest, “It’s because I sense magic from you. Although I am not sure why it has not manifested….” He cleared his throat. “Maybe the sacred magic is very deep in your essence, but I can sense that you do have magical power. It is rare but not unheard of. You can help him that way. By fornication, your magic will imbue him. His condition might improve until the curse is gone forever.”

Siana was shocked. Although she had her own theory and had meant to talk to the priest about it, coming from the priest, it still felt shocking and surreal. The priest did say that she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to. It was embarrassing enough as it was. Besides, Alan could seek regular treatment from the priest since it had worked this time. The priest stood up and thanked her for the tea and took his leave. Siana saw him to his carriage, all the while thinking about what he had said.

If I really did have magic, why didn’t Alan sense it on our first night? She wondered as she walked back to their bedroom. Siana had made a point of meeting with Primo and discussing household management but she made an exception today. She wanted to stay by Alan’s side.

Siana grabbed a book to read and a chair. She sat near the bed. She tried not to make so much noise, but she didn’t have to worry. Alan was fast asleep. She watched him as he slept. He looked so peaceful. I wish he could sleep this way every day, she thought. She ruffled his blond hair. Although he looked like how he always was, she could see the bags under his eyes and the exhaustion in his features.

Siana felt sad to see him suffer like this. It was already evening, and soon it will be nightfall. If he wakes up in the middle of the night, he will be hungry, she thought. She went down to the kitchen to prepare some food that Alan could eat later if he woke up hungry.


Siana was groggy with sleep. She had apparently leaned forward and fallen asleep with her head on the bed while still being seated on the chair. She felt someone stroking her hair. She lifted up her head to see Alan’s hand on her head and him staring down at her fondly.

“Alan!” she said, sitting up straight. “When did you wake up?”

“Just now,” he said. He had apparently washed his face because he looked very neat. He might have been up for a while.

“How are you?” she asked, sitting at the edge of the bed, facing him. “Are you feeling better?”

“I feel spectacular,” he said.

“You fell asleep right after whatever the priest did,” she told him.

“Yeah, I think so,” he said.

“How was it?” she asked, “Was it effective? Did you have any more nightmares?”

“I definitely had a good nightmare-free sleep,” he said, smiling.

“I am glad,” she said and felt genuinely happy.

“Well, I guess I slept for more than ten hours,” he said, “So, it would be more of a problem if I wasn’t feeling okay after having done that.”

Siana felt relieved. “I am so happy you feel better!”

“I am sorry for worrying you,” said Alan, “I thought you would break your neck having slept like that.”

“Nonsense,” she said, “I am so fit that I could pick a fight with you and still win.”

“Really?” said Alan, “It doesn’t hurt? It looked painful.”

“I am a bit stiff, now that you mention it.”

“Do you want a massage?” he asked, “I can do a killer massage, trust me.”

“No, thank you,” she said, “I am fine.” She stretched and shook her head. The stiffness wasn’t very bad.

“If I had known you would be sleeping so uncomfortably,” said Alan, “I would have used the sofa.”

“No,” she said, “It’s alright, really. I wasn’t planning to sleep. I was just looking over you. You slept well; I could see. You must be starving.”

“I am a little hungry,” he said. It was the middle of the night. “But I can wait. Everyone must be fast asleep.”

“You don’t need to wait to eat,” she said, “I brought up some food. I knew this would happen.”

She stood up from the edge of the bed. She shifted a small table with the food near the bed and sternly told Alan to stay where he was. She had brought some bread, jam and ham.



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