Even at night I have always thought there was something entrancing about adamas. Especially right when the colors change from such a vibrant light green to a vivid purple and vice versa. Right now, it has just switched to a purple glow signifying night fall on the village we’re in.
As a member of Ignatus I’ve been working hard to restore peace throughout the land since king Delzaine’s death. With no one on the throne things have gotten worse but my comrades and I have been hard at work. Currently with the team I’m working with we have successfully settled a dispute between two lords that came to a head in bloodshed at a village bordering their territories. For now, things have calmed down and along with my fellow Ignatus members we can focus on helping the villagers fix things up.
My group is one of many in Ignatus spread out in Endora to help out where we can however we can. Preferably with the least amount of bloodshed. It’s been difficult with only eight members and none of us can use a warp relic but if our leader can make due then so can we.
Speaking of our leader Demetrio has been off with the main members working on things at the capital. If I had a warp relic I suppose I’d be there too. That new girl, Mischa I think, slotted right into their group right as she joined probably because she has one. There’s also rumors about her having special training, being a noble, or being an assassin but it’s hard to say what’s true. I just wish I could be there with them as well.
I let out a sigh and look down at my hands. If only I was more useful…
“Ah! Y/N there you are.” A voice calls from behind me. I turn around to be faced with my comrade Evan.
“Are you finished with the inventory?” he asks coming to a stop in front of me. I’d been taking stock of this village’s food reserves, so we can figure out if we’ll need to do a bit of hunting and gathering for this town before we leave for the next.
“Yeah. There really isn’t much. A lot of what was here got destroyed by the two opposing sides in an attempt to prevent the other side from taking it.” I sigh and turn to look at the few stacked boxes in their storeroom. “We’ll definitely need to go out and gather what we can from the forest before moving on.”
“I thought so.” He replies. “Well we should wait until the morning. For now, let’s continue treating the injured and rebuilding what we can.
“Agreed.” I respond and we both make our way out of the storeroom.
As soon as daylight comes the next day myself along with Evan and another colleague head into the nearby forest. A few of the villagers come along but they’ve been instructed to only help with the gathering of mushrooms, herbs, fruit, etc. while they leave the hunting for the three of us.
Once we catch some animals and the villagers’ baskets are all full we make our way back towards the village. However, upon arriving we can tell something is different. It doesn’t take much observation to figure out why. It turns out Demetrio along with the main force that was in the capital are passing through. Apparently, things have gone well at the capital.
I keep my head down as I help the villagers with sorting the new food we’ve gotten. He looks fine just from a few glances. From what I can tell he hasn’t been terribly injured which is a relief. But also, a reminder that Demetrio is on a whole different level.
“Ah thank you so much for helping us replenish our food reserves!” one of the village elders comes to thank us.
“Don’t worry about it. We all have to help each other out in this time of need. Consider it thanks for allowing us to rest and recuperate in your village. We’ve been doing so much traveling we haven’t really had time to properly rest.” Evan says.
It’s true. We’ve been running from one fire to another lately. I can’t remember the last time I slept in a bed before last night.
“Still you’ve done so much for us.” The elder responds. “We won’t forget all you’ve done to help us and your generosity.”
“Thank you.” Evan replies.
We move to begin rationing out as well as storing what we brought back from the forest. Evan as our group leader greets Demetrio and updates him on everything as well as receives info on what’s been going on all around Endora.
“Hmm. What should we do?” I overhear one of the village women ask another.
“I’m not really sure.” Responds the other.
“Is something wrong?” I ask moving away from watching Demetrio and the others.
“Ah nothing serious it’s just as embarrassing as it is to admit this is such a small village and we’ve never had so much meat we need to store before. We aren’t sure what to do to make sure it doesn’t go bad too quickly.” One woman explains.
“I see. I can take care of it for you if you’d like?” I offer.
“Really?” She inquires.
“Yes. We travel a lot and sometimes we go weeks without any contact from others. We’ve all learned how best to keep rations and ways to properly store meat to ensure it lasts as long as possible.” I explain.
They both smile in return and thank me for my help. We move a clean table outside next to the animals we’ve caught to make it easier to skin and prep the meat. I observe Demetrio as he moves to interact with some of the villagers and a few members from my group. He seems happy. I hope that means everything is going well.
Just as expected Felix is right at his side as usual but so is that girl Mischa. I guess she’s grown attached. Too bad she’s so young. She’d probably have a better chance with him if they were closer in age. She’s a cute girl and will no doubt only get more beautiful as she grows. She looks the type. I let out a sigh as I focus back on my work moving as efficiently as possible.
This is pathetic. I can’t even talk to the guy I have a crush on. I know I don’t have a chance especially since I’m a guy. Plus, he already has someone like Louise by his side all the time. It’s only a matter of time before those two get together. I should just stick to admiring from afar. I finish cutting and prepping the meat that isn’t going to be immediately used, for storage and begin moving boxes into the storehouse.
If only I were stronger or even more useful maybe I could ask to go with them. Sadly, I’d just get in the way if I did that now. No, it’s better if only the best surround Demetrio. He’ll be a lot safer that way, but I can’t help but wish to be by his side. I’ll have to make due with supporting him as a member of Ignatus I remind myself for probably the thousandth time.
After I move the last box into the storehouse I close the door and lock it. It’s a simple bar lock just for keeping wild animals out. Just as I turn around to go back to helping I come face to face with Demetrio himself.
I’m not expecting him, and I didn’t even hear any footsteps of someone approaching. In shock as I turn around I back into the door behind me hard and hit my head. Great. One of the few times I’m alone with the guy and this is the side of me I show him.
“Hahaha, sorry about that Y/N I didn’t mean to startle you.” He apologizes.
“It’s fine. I’m alright.” I respond while rubbing at the now sore pot on the back of my head. “Wait.” I look up at him in surprise. “You know my name?” I ask while fighting the blush trying to work its way to my face.
“Of course, I do. What kind of leader would I be if I didn’t know the name of all my subordinates?” he replies.
“Oh right… I didn’t mean to assume—”
“I’m joking. It’s fine.” He hastily interrupts me. “This isn’t the way this conversation was supposed to go. How about we start over?” he suggests.
“Um ok” I agree.
“Yo Y/N. I couldn’t help but notice you working earlier. You’re really handy with a knife.” He compliments.
“Ah I’m nothing special. I just have a lot of practice since I use throwing knives.” I try to explain. Something tells me I’ve lost the battle with my blush.
“No need to be so modest.” He tries to assure me. “I know skill when I see it.”
“Um… thank you sir”
“I’m sorry did I misspeak? Is there something else I should call you?” I hasten to apologize.
“Demetrio is fine. Sir just makes me feel old.” He says with a laugh.
“I see…” I reply. So just use his name. Is that really ok? It’s going to be hard. I’ve been calling him sir or leader since I joined. Not that we’ve had many one on one conversations. It also makes him seem not as far out of my reach.
I didn’t realize I’d gotten lost in my thoughts. Until I zone back in to find Demetrio much closer than before and full on staring at me. I don’t really have room to move considering the storage room door behind me. So, as I feel my face heat up even more I ask, “Um is there something wrong?”
He blinks slowly and seems to only now realize how close he is and steps back. “Oh, my bad. No, you’re just really cute when you blush.”
And with that he leaves with a smile while I stand there reevaluating my entire life until this moment. When he’s no longer in sight I lean on and slide down the storage door bringing my knees in to rest my arms on and bury my face into. “What is that supposed to mean?” I voice my question to no one in particular.
Preparations to rebuild what was destroyed in the village have gone well especially with the arrival of Demetrio and the others. The villagers have also had their fields ransacked so we’ve been clearing those out and plan to start replanting tomorrow. Demetrio and the others are also leaving tomorrow in the afternoon. Which means I probably won’t get to see him again for months unless our forces are all called together for some reason. Oh well that’s life I suppose.
Laughter from inside the village’s biggest building drifts my way. They’re having a nice welcoming/celebratory dinner for everyone inside. Although there is only so much space, so some people are scattered about outside including myself.
There’s a couple of small fires going, and I’ve taken a seat at the one farthest away from the main building. People have been moving in and out getting food and drinks or just talking to people, so I’m currently seated alone at the fire. It’s best I don’t do anything to get even more attached. He’s leaving tomorrow after all. I sip my drink and let out a sigh allowing my gaze drift to the fire in front of me.
“Something troubling you?” Someone asks from behind me as they take a seat beside me. One glance confirms who it is after all I’d recognize his voice anywhere.
I do better this time to cover up my surprise than before. He’s alone. Two one on one conversations in one day. What god do I need to thank?
“No… I mean it’s nothing important.” I answer.
“Hmm.” He hums and turns to look at me. “Even if it’s nothing big. It still helps to get your problems off your chest. And who knows I might be able to help.”
“You have a point but… this is something I have to tackle on my own.” I tell him. Besides unless he agrees to start a relationship with me then there’s nothing to be done on his end. Not really. I just need to get over this myself.
“I see. A personal obstacle.” He surmises. I just nod and take another sip of my drink.
It goes quiet as we both sit and watch the fire. We probably won’t go undisturbed for long. I should… say something. Who knows when the next time I’ll be able to speak with him one on one like this will be.
“Hey.” He calls out to get my attention. When I face him he asks, “want to take a walk?”
“Yep.” He confirms with a smile.
“…alright.” I agree. What else was I supposed to say? No? Ha! Like I’d refuse him anything.
And that’s how I find myself finishing the last of my drink and heading off towards the forest to go on a walk with the leader of Ignatus who I just so happen to be in love with. I’m putting today down as a weird day. The planets must all be in alignment or something. No way I have this kind of luck.
It’s peaceful. There’s silence between us but the sounds of the forest fill in the gap. I haven’t a clue why he wanted me to go walk with him but I’m not about to complain. This is probably the closest thing to a date with him that I’ll ever get.
Suddenly he comes to a stop and sighs. I stop next to him and wait since he seems like he has something to say.
“Y/N” he starts while he turns to face me with a serious look in his eye. I subconsciously stand up straighter under his gaze. “I’ve been trying to come up with a way to start this conversation but there’s nothing for it. So, I’m just going to dive right in. Feel free to stop me at any point if I'm wrong but I don’t think I am.” I nod to let him know I understand and for him to continue with what he wants to say.
“Well here goes nothing I guess. Y/N you like me, don’t you? Romantically I mean.” He pauses there I’m assuming to gauge my reaction. I’m surprised to say the least. How did he notice?
“I’m right aren’t I?” he asks.
I just look at the ground and nod, so he continues.
“And that’s not it is it? You’ve felt this way for a while. Most likely since you joined Ignatus a few years ago.” Of course, he knows that too.
“But you’ve done nothing about it. In fact, I’d say you’ve done your best to keep your distance.” I just fidget with my hands. It’s true he’s not wrong about any of it.
“This next part I’m not just saying to toot my own horn or anything. I’ve never been one to brag. But there are others like you. People who have joined because they like me for my looks or others who have supposedly fallen in love with me after joining. I’ve already been confessed to many times since Ignatus was formed by both men and women and I’ve turned them all down.” He explains.
“It’s ok. You don’t need to say anymore I understand.” I inform him as I do my best not to look hurt. I turn to leave but he stops me by grabbing my arm.
“No Y/N I don’t think you do.” He declares, and I turn back to face him as he lets go of my arm. “This isn’t me turning you down. I’m just explaining although I’m doing a terrible job it seems.”
“Explaining?” I question.
“I… I’m not good at this. Despite what you and others may think I don’t actually have much experience with romantic relationships. I was already young when I got the idea to start Ignatus and when I did I decided to make that my focus in life. Having a relationship would make things difficult and who knows what my enemies would do with that kind of information. That’s why I’ve turned everyone down… until now.”
“Wait ‘until now’ you don’t mean?”
“That’s exactly what I mean.”
“Y/N you’re different… in a good way. And I suppose I figured it’s about time I stopped holding myself back when it comes to romance. As the leader of Ignatus I pay attention to all of my subordinates. That includes you. I’ve overheard the way you talk about me several times. It’s rather humbling to hear your opinion of me and with the way you talk… you sound so in love.”
“Just because of that?” I ask surprised.
He steps closer and hesitantly raises one hand to my cheek. “It’s not just that. Y/N you don’t seem to realize how amazing you are and I’m not just talking about your fighting skills. It’s the things one does outside of battle once all the fighting is over that I pay more attention to. You’re hardworking and kind. You’re quick to take care of others and often put them before yourself. Earlier by the storehouse I realized I could easily fall for you.”
“Oh um… so does this mean…?”
“Yes. Though I suppose I should formally ask just so there is no confusion.” With that said he drops his hand from my cheek and instead takes both of my hands in his. “Y/N. Will you do me the honor of going out with me?”
My heart beats faster as I give him a breathless “yes” in response. This earns me a bright smile in return.
We decide to start heading back and talk some more along the way. I can’t believe this has actually happened. The next morning, he asks me if I want to go with him, but I decline. I already have prior obligations with my team. We’ve all been working hard together to bring some stability back to the area we’ve been assigned to. It’d leave a bad taste in my mouth to abandon all our hard work. No, it’s best I stay and finish things up and then go to meet up with him.
We’re discussing this just as I’ve come back from hunting and gathering in the forest for the morning. We’re alone in one of the shared rooms my group was given after our arrival and I’m putting things away after cleaning my weapons.
Demetrio comes up behind me as I finish explaining why I should stay and catch up with him later. He wraps his arms around me and pulls me to lean back against him. This is the closest we’ve ever been to each other and I can already feel my body heating up from the contact.
“And what if I said I want you by my side?” he whispers lowly in my ear.
“Um… well…” Who am I kidding? If he wants me to go with him I’d drop everything and go.
He chuckles deeply next to my ear and with the way I’m leaning against him I can feel the vibrations in his chest.
“Don’t worry I agree with you. You should continue on with your team.” He says and releases me. “However, considering we don’t know how long things will take.” He turns me to face him and places his hand on my shoulder. He leans in close and says, “stop me if it’s too soon.” Then gently places his lips to mine. It’s nowhere near too soon for me.
All too quickly we’re saying goodbye and wishing each other well. If anyone notices the looks Demetrio and I share they don’t say anything as the main group continues on their way while we resume helping the villagers. We’ll stay one more day and then be on our way ourselves.
I’ll be counting the days until we’re done, and I can see Demetrio again.