How to Survive as the Wife of the Monster Duke - Chapter 119
“Was it a good future?” he asked.
“No,” Ilyin said quietly. She grabbed his hand, and hers was colder than his for once. Holding his hand tightly, she managed a weak smile. “But it was good enough.”
She took his other hand, still touching her forehead. Bringing it to her cheek, she closed her eyes.
“Elo will be ok,” she whispered. In her dream, Elo’s Wall of Light hadn’t broken when she woke up. It would hold. It would all hold. This she believed. “The Wall still stood when Delrose arrived.”
So, she hadn’t seen the end, Aden thought. She hadn’t actually foreseen victory. Still, Aden had no dread. This was the winter region – his region – after all.
“I’m afraid your dreams might trouble you.”
That was only one thing he feared in all the winter region – where he shouldn’t be afraid of anything. What he wished for, more than anything, was for her dreams to end. He didn’t like the dreams, the visions, that left her so disturbed, that robbed her of sleep.
“Sometimes they do. That’s the nature of them,” she replied.
Her cheek was still warm. She rubbed it with the back of his hand. “But I still like dreaming.”
Aden only listened, surrendering his hands to hers.
“I like being able to see the future for you and for Delrose,” she continued.
Once, she had found her ability to foresee frightening. She’d resented it. Now she felt no fear in it. What she saw in a dream might scare her – her mother’s death had, of course – but she would never trade the gift of her dreams just to be free of those fearful sights when they came.
His grip on her hands tightened.
“Den?” she asked, eying him carefully. “Are you hurt?”
She remembered the pain of using divine power, as he has this morning. But Aden shook his head.
“I’m uninjured,” he said, but his lips pursed tightly.
Unhurt, but uncomfortable. And anxious, more than that. He didn’t like leaving the mansion again. Didn’t like that so many things kept pulling him from her side.
“Then?” she asked. She caressed his hand gently. Relaxing at the touch, he seemed to speak almost unconsciously.
“I feel… uneasy.”
He hesitated, as though uncharacteristically stumbling over his thoughts.
“Leaving you alone in the mansion.”
“I’m not alone,” she smiled, gesturing toward the door, toward the many Delrose people carrying on beyond it. But Aden’s grip on her hand didn’t ease.
“Den,” she said pointedly. Her voice cut through the fog of worry, pulling him back.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Think hard about how the mansion was when you weren’t here.”
He understood her order – not to imagine the building without him, but how it had run while he had been away. How she had managed so many things – and especially how she had engineered and prepared the information from Elo’s territory. Her, the Mistress of Delrose. Even when he wasn’t at Biflten, the mansion was never empty – not while it was in her hands.
“Believe in me as much as I believe in you.”
Me, and the people of Delrose who keep the mansion.
She kissed his hand.
“Go on,” she said.
Just as he didn’t want to worry about the one he was leaving behind, the one who backed him so strongly, she wanted him to know that, just like the Duke of Winter himself, Delrose and she were not weak.
Though she could stand to increase her stamina, she thought, smiling despite herself as she remembered Delrose’s divine object. Aden stayed in her eyes another moment, then nodded and began to rise.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
The Delrose knights could see nothing ahead of them. Used to the cold and the storms of winter, but this was too much.
“Your Majesty, the storm is terrible,” Idith said looking up at the sky – though there was no more point looking up than anywhere else. “Only Yesters could move properly in this weather.”
What Idith said was the plain truth. It hadn’t been long since they’d left the mansion and already the blizzard was getting worse. Aden lifted his hand, the blue light of divine power glowing brightly.
But the light seemed to barely penetrate the swirling snow around them. Breathing deeply, Aden pushed his power a little more, and the blizzard in front of them weakened considerably. The strong wind faltered.
“Are you alright?” Idith asked worriedly. This was strenuous use of the power, he knew. Aden nodded.
“We march on.”
Ilyin said the Wall of Light would hold until they arrived. That didn’t mean that Delrose had the luxury of going slowly.
Would the Elo’s knights reinforce them? That question filled Aden’s mind as he pushed through the lingering storm and his own strain. The news of another attack on Elo had reached the mansion – what about Elo’s secret stronghold.? Would they come to help?
They didn’t last time. If they failed to appear this time, what excuse would they give?
Aden’s face was as hard as the northern wind.
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