CASeries #1: KNIGHT
Chapter Forty-Eight: Trouble in Sight
Corvan climbed up to his room after the Gathering. He didn’t want to show everyone how stressing the little act of playing the knight-in-shining-armor was. Trying to conjure fire while being submerged in water wasn’t easy at all. It took a lot of his strength and weakened him to an extent where he couldn’t even lift a finger.
He sighed. Feeling the urge to suddenly collapse on his bed and drift off into a deep slumber. He never felt so weak his entire life. It was a surprise he even managed to climb the stairs, and even then he was struggling to lift his feet to take another step.
He felt worn, but also more disgruntled than anything.
His clothes felt tight. He loosened the cravat around his neck, tugging it off. He started to unbutton the vest he wore that left him in his long-sleeved, cotton shirt. He threw the clothes he took off on his bed before he started to remove his top.
He slid off his shirt, exposing his lithe torso and muscular arms. Just as he jerked off his sleeve, a series of knocks landed on his door. He turned and eyed the knob, not stopping from his undressing.
“Come in,” he said.
The knob clicked and, slowly, it opened. Valeriana peeked through the gap before widely opening the door and turning her gaze to Corvan.
“Hey, Corvan, I—” She stopped short when she saw his undressed state.
Corvan, with a straight face, continued removing his top.
A shade of red branded Valeriana’s neck and cheeks. She went so red up to her ears that she resembled a ripe apple. She bit her lip and turned her back on Corvan, staring at her shoes as if they were the most interesting things in the world.
“Put some clothes on!”
Corvan said nothing in response.
“Good god!” she exclaimed, putting her hands on her cheek.
“It’s not my fault you came in while I’m changing my clothes,” he answered smugly.
Valeriana covered her face in embarrassment.
He ignored her, casually padding towards his walk-in closet. He entered and came out a few minutes later, dressed in more comfortable and loose clothes. He found Valeriana still standing in the doorway, back facing him.
“Are you dressed?” she asked him.
“You better not be lying or I’ll freaking kill you.”
He huffed at her empty threat. “Like you can.”
“Oh, yes I can,” she said as she turned and faced him.
“What’s your business?” he asked.
Valeriana sighed. The blush wasn’t as worse as before, but still evident on her fair skin. “Look, I’m really sorry for pushing you and calling you a pervert after you saved me.”
“It’s about time you thanked me,” he said, settling on an armchair. “What are you waiting for? Don’t just stand there.”
She looked at him inquisitively as though hearing that from him was as rare as a blue moon.
“I don’t want to be told inhospitable by someone who already called me a pervert,” he added.
“Thank you, but no,” she answered. “I’m perfectly fine standing. Besides, I just came here to give you something.”
He quirked a brow. “Where is it?”
“I left it by the door before I knocked. I didn’t want to drop it really,” she replied. “It seems I made a good decision. If I had been holding it, I would’ve thrown it at you.”
He grinned at her annoyed expression as she spun and walked out of the room. She bent down on the floor and picked up something, carefully lifting it from the ground. Corvan eyed her questioningly, watching as she carried a tray towards him. She set it carefully down on the table that stood beside his chair, letting him catch a whiff of a familiar scent.
“I noticed that . . .” She paused. “It was hard trying to use your fire when underwater, right? I’m sorry for getting you in trouble. It’s alright if you tell me off for being so reckless.”
“I don’t need your permission to tell you off, I’ll do it when I want to.”
Valeriana glared at him. “Jerk. You have no right.”
“This is your second encounter with a demon, isn’t it?” he asked, reaching for the cup and sipping it. He felt the effects of the drink immediately. His strength was slowly returning.
Valeriana eyed him questioningly, perhaps wondering how he could drink the horridly tasting beverage with a straight face. The girl’s expressions were so blatant, she was like an open book.
“Yeah,” she answered as he began swirling the contents of the cup between his hands.
“Do you now know how truly dangerous this world is, Valeriana?” he asked. “You’re only being kept safe since a barrier is intact. But when it comes off, chaos will break out.”
She gulped at his statement.
“There are many more kinds of demons out there, all with horrible forms,” he said. “A few have very pleasant appearances, but they are all the same when it comes to being rotten and malicious.”
“I know. I read books.”
“Books don’t do justice when you encounter them in real life. You know that.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “They strike fear into you and feed on it.” He sighed. “But it’s not like you have to worry about it. After all, these problems won’t be yours to mind when you go back home, right?”
“That’s . . .” she trailed off.
He didn’t prod the issue any further and decided to keep silent, wordlessly drinking until he finished the whole thing. He set the cup back down on the tray and stood, padding across the room until he reached his bed. He sat on the duvet before lying down comfortably, setting his head down on the soft pillows.
“You can leave,” he told her with a deep sigh. “I prefer to have my sleep in peace. Unless, of course, you intend to join me.” His tone had been sarcastic, but the look in his eyes made Valeriana shiver.
“Damn jerk. Who would want to?” she bit back, and with that, she came stomping out of his room.