I caught Leo before he could fall and gently laid him down on the castle's wall. His body had reverted back into his human form, but he showed no signs of regaining consciousness. A pool of blood slowly formed around his still body, and I felt helpless. Again, someone was going to be taken from me because I was too weak. I couldn't hold my emotions back any longer. Between the pain from my burns and my fear of Leo dying, I began to cry.
I have no idea how long I cried for, but eventually, I heard feet marching towards us.
I looked up through watery eyes and saw multiple archers surrounding Leo and I with bows drawn. I let out a low growl and covered Leo's body with my own. There was no way that I could win this fight, but I'd be damned if I let any human get close to him.
The archers and I stared at each other until someone shoved their way to the front. A human woman stood in front of me, panting, trying to catch her breath. My first impression of her was that she looked incredibly weak. She was lucky I was so injured, or I would have attacked her just for having the nerve to approach Leo.
I stared at this woman, then eventually asked with disdain heavy in my voice, "What do you want, human? Just know that while I may be injured, I can still kill all of you here before I die." The human quickly put her hands up and replied weakly, "I am not trying to fight. I don't want to see you kill any of my soldiers. I know you are with the Prince, so if he calls off the attack, I will agree to marry him."
From her words, I realized that this was the Princess, but I couldn't care less at the moment.
With venom in my voice, I spat out, "That is no Prince of mine. We only traveled with him because we are looking for answers. Because of my weakness and overconfidence, the only man that I care about is about to die, and I can't do anything to help him."
The Princess seemed to notice Leo for the first time and tried to move to his side. I instantly blocked her path. There was no way I would let her near him. The Princess took a step back out of fear but replied, "If we don't do anything, he is going to die." I stared at her skeptically and asked, "And why should I trust a lowly human like yourself?" She took a deep breath and replied, "Because you have no other option."
I felt like Leo would work something out with the Princess that would benefit them both, but I wasn't him. I knew looking this woman over that I could get what I wanted immediately. I stepped forward until I was inches from her face and hissed out, "How is this for an option? You save him, or I give you to the Prince and help him attack your little town and castle." The Princess seemed taken aback by my ultimatum and asked, "Why would you do that? You just said you aren't with the Prince."
My only reply was, "Heal him, and we won't have a problem. If you can't do that, then what good are you to me?" The Princess let out an audible gulp and nodded her head in understanding. She squatted down next to Leo and studied his body for a moment. She slowly ran her fingers over his body as if somehow trying to diagnose him. After what felt like an eternity, she looked up at me and stated, "We need to get him inside immediately. I've never seen anything like this before. Then I will be able to let you know if we can save him."
I nodded my head in understanding and said, "I don't care what you have to do, but understand that I won't leave his side. It may make things difficult, but that's how it's going to be." The Princess only nodded her head towards the archers and called out, "They may have breached our walls, but they all stopped and backed off to watch the fight. With this woman no longer against us, we should have no problem defending ourselves. Make sure not a single one gets through." The archers let out a yell of allegiance and took their positions.
I leaned down and slowly picked Leo up with a grunt of pain as his body pressed against my burnt arm. The Princess looked like she would try to help, but a quick glare made sure she kept her distance.
Every step was a struggle, and it felt like the Princess was leading me through a damn maze. Eventually, she stopped in front of a door and entered a dimly lit room. I gently laid Leo on the bed, then collapsed on the floor from exhaustion. The Princess ran to my side, trying to help me up, but I pushed her away. Through pained pants, I demanded, "Ignore me, heal him first. I'm fine."
The Princess only shook her head, having learned better than to try to challenge me, and turned back to Leo.
The room we were in was extremely crowded, and I was beginning to get frustrated with how many humans were near Leo. I was about to yell when the Princess let out an exasperated sigh and called out, "All of you out! Now! You are in my way, and I need to concentrate." Everyone was silent, then a soldier said, "Your highness, we can't leave you alone with her." I felt my blood begin to boil as this man talked about me like I wasn't even in the room. The Princess turned to the soldier and said, "I appreciate your worry, but I can look after myself. Now I need everyone to leave; that is an order."
All the soldiers hung their heads and slowly shuffled out of the room. As soon as the door closed, the Princess said, "I am sorry about that. Now can you tell me what happened to this man? I need to know what I am working with here." I was hesitant to explain anything to this woman about Leo. Still, eventually, I replied, "I am honestly not sure, but these wounds are self-inflicted." Hearing my words, the Princess snapped her head to look at me and asked, "Why the hell would someone do this to their own body? I can't imagine the amount of pain he went through."
I didn't want to respond to the Princess. This was all my fault, and it would be too painful to admit. The Princess seemed to realize this, and thankfully she didn't press. Turning back to Leo, she stated, "I won't ask you for any more information, but just know that the more you can tell me, the better my chances are of saving him." Her hands suddenly had a faint white aura around them as she pressed them against Leo's chest. He let out a whimper from her touch, and I tried to get to my feet to stop her, but I was too exhausted and fell back down.
The Princess noticed my movement and said, "It's okay. This is how I can heal him. He may feel a bit of discomfort, but I have no choice as I try to feel out what's wrong." I couldn't stand to see Leo like this, so I said quietly, "As you have seen, I am a demon. I can change from my demon form to this human form freely. He is a human who can change to look like a demon, but it is excruciatingly painful." Without taking her eyes off Leo, the Princess asked, "And why would he choose to put himself in this state?" I let out a deep breath and said quietly, "Because I'm not strong enough. He did this to himself to keep me alive."
The Princess only nodded her head. I was thankful that she focused on Leo and didn't make me admit to anything else. I watched as the Princess slid her hands all over Leo's body. I had to bite my tongue, hearing the whimpers escape from Leo's lips.
After what felt like an eternity, the Princess let out an exhausted sigh and slumped onto the floor next to Leo's bed. I could see beads of sweat on her body from her efforts. I only stared at her, waiting for her to get back up and continue.
The Princess didn't get back up, and I thought about yelling at her, but she said, "I am sorry, but this is all that I can do today. I did all that I could, but we will have to wait and see. I'm going to go rest. I will be back tomorrow morning to continue the treatment. All we can do is let him rest."
With that, she got to her feet, and I was suddenly alone. All I could do was slowly crawl into bed and press myself gently into Leo's side as sleep and guilt overcame me.