I woke up with a smile as I felt Leo pressed up against me, his chest slowly rising and falling with every breath he took. The warmth emanating from his body made me feel safe.
My smile quickly faded as the memories of yesterday came flooding back to me. I stretched out my arm experimentally and winced from the pain but noted that it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been. I sat up on the bed and slowly moved Leo's head onto my lap. Running my fingers through his hair, I said, "I'm sorry, Leo. This is all my fault. If I were stronger, you wouldn't be in this position."
I let out a long sigh and let my feelings flow out of me.
"You risked your life to save me without a second thought. Every human I have ever met looks out for only themselves. You, on the other hand, put me first, and I don't know why. I can't understand why you do so much for me, and it bothers me that I can't figure you out."
"I guess I really shouldn't be putting too much time into figuring you out, though. You are one interesting human, and honestly, I'm surprised you can still smile after what you went through. All that pain and suffering through your whole life. I don't understand how you can just put it behind you."
"One thing that's been on the back of my mind since we visited your 'home' was how different everything was. From the tool that you called a syringe to the walls of the buildings. We haven't seen anything like that again. You commented that it wasn't supposed to exist, but it's like it really doesn't. This frustrates me so much because I can't figure it out."
My thoughts were disturbed when I heard Leo let out a soft whimper. I slowly rubbed his cheek and said, "I'm sorry. I'm still getting used to us being linked. I always forget that if I get upset, you can feel it, too. I'll try my best to stay positive so you can rest easy."
Almost immediately, his whimper stopped, and his breathing went back to normal.
"It seems like you really do just want to keep me safe, and I can't thank you enough for that. Think of it from my perspective. I get summoned to a whole 'nother world, and I am suddenly alone. I knew no one or how this world functioned."
I let out a deep breath, trying to keep my emotions in check. With a sad smile, I said, "Honestly, I act like I don't care because the truth is: I'm so damn scared. Being with you makes that feeling go away, so please come back to me.
A knock on the door interrupted my confession, and I growled out, "What do you want?" There was a brief pause, then I heard the muffled voice of the Princess say, "I am here to check on his condition." I gently moved Leo's head off of my lap and quickly swung the door open.
I looked the Princess over for the first time and was quickly reminded of how weak humans were. I stepped to the side, allowing her entrance, and roughly slammed the door in the soldiers' faces as they tried to follow her in.
I followed her every movement as she slowly walked towards Leo. She took a deep breath, and her hands had the familiar faint glow to them. Slowly moving them over Leo's body, she turned to me and said, "He is doing much better. He may look the same, but his condition has drastically improved. There is no doubt in my mind that he will survive. Now it's just a matter of time."
The Princess kept talking, but I stopped paying attention. Her words echoed through my head: Leo would survive.
I felt my emotions begin to well up, but my pride wouldn't allow me to cry in front of the Princess. Keeping a straight face, I heard the Princess say, "So the rest is up to you. Would you like me to stay with you two, or would you like to be alone?" I took a deep breath and croaked out, "Alone." The Princess nodded and replied, "I will leave a few guards outside. If you need anything at all, you can ask them, and I will come running."
The Princess was about to leave when I called out, "What is your name, human?" She paused as if surprised by my question, then replied with a smile, "Beyla." With that, she exited the room, leaving Leo and I alone again.
As soon as the door closed, I began to cry from relief. Leo was going to make it. I didn't have to be alone. I slowly walked towards Leo's bed and was happy to watch him sleep. As if sensing my happiness, he had a slight smile on his face.
Now that I knew that Leo was going to be okay, I thought about my next step. I had no idea if he was going to wake up in an hour or a month. While I didn't mind staying with him, the idea seemed a bit monotonous. I had recently escaped the boredom of the cave. I wanted to explore.
Eventually, I decided that I would sneak out and see what the town had to offer. With a smile, I turned to Leo and said, "I think I am going to see if I can find something to eat. I know what you would say, so I promise to keep a low profile. Besides, think of it this way. I want to do this, and you want to keep me happy. So in a way, I'm doing this for you."
Giggling at my own logic, I began to scan the room for something to wear. My cloak was hanging on for dear life after the fight, and I imagined I wasn't looking like someone who would blend in at all. After I searched the room, the only thing I found was some sort of dress. With no other options, I shredded my tattered cloak and squeezed my way into the dress.
I couldn't help but be annoyed with how tight this dress was. There was no way I could fight adequately in something like this. I swore that this was going to be the only time that I would wear such ridiculous clothing.
Finally dressed, I walked over to the door and paused for a moment. While I did want to explore, there was no way I was going to leave Leo unattended.
An idea hit me, and I quickly walked towards the door. Pausing right next to the door, I called out, "Guards! I am going to be taking a nap. If anyone enters our room without my permission, they will be killed slowly."
I figured that would do the trick, but for good measure, I reached out with both hands and bent the door handle until it was no longer usable.
Happy that Leo was now taken care of, I gave him a quick kiss on the forehead then leaped out the window.