Chapter 24:

Epilogue: At the Monastery

The Knight of the Golden Rose

After a couple of days back home, I decided to pay Lawrence a visit in the monastery. For some reason, I felt that he would always be there, waiting for me.

I woke up bright and early to help my mother finish her sewing and weaving and all that so I did not feel as bad when I left to go to the monastery in the middle of the day. My mother simply waved and told me not to get lost on my way back.

Once again, I knocked on the heavy wooden doors and out popped a rat-headed boy who was not small but actually quite tall. His hair had grown a bit longer at the edges, and his features had sharpened. His robes were a bit more frayed. I wondered if he was still learning about Original Sin and Grace and Augustine. When he saw me, he froze.

"Cecilia!" he exclaimed with a smile. "I knew you weren't dead!"

"Yes, you know me!" I said.

"Come in, come in," he ushered me forward.

And then we were in that room I was so intimately familiar with — the dark room with the books and the shelves and the dim candles. I marvelled at its stubborn resistance to the passage of time.

"I was so worried when you stopped coming!" he said once we sat down at a dingy little table.

I sheepishly hid my face. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I couldn't tell anyone."

"You're back now, and that's all that matters." He pulled out an armful of books and planted them on the table. "While you were gone, I picked out some more stories I thought you'd like. Take a look."

I flipped through the first couple of pages of all of them. "These look good. Thank you, Lawrence."

He beamed, then his face gave way to a more modest smile. "I'm just really, really happy you're alive. I thought about you a lot."

"I thought about you too," I said truthfully.

His ears turned bright red, but he continued talking. "So did you find it? The magic we lost?"

"Not quite," I said. "It turns out a lot of the stuff in those books weren't real."

Lawrence frowned and covered his face with his palms. "The shame!"

"But it's okay. They are still good stories." I gave a slight shrug. "I still enjoy reading them."

"I want to hear about your adventures," he said with so much eagerness it was like he had been waiting to ask this question the entire time.

I laughed and once more recounted the tales of my journey with Anselm with all its excitement and troubles. It was a story that would eventually fade away just like the millions of other stories that once graced our lives but now lay forgotten in the sands of time.

Lawrence leaned back and exhaled. "That sounds like a lot of fun," he said.

Even if I could never love the legends in the same way, I realized that I was glad to have gone through all those experiences. The emotions have stayed with me to this day, even if the details have slipped from my mind.

"Yes," I said after a pause. "It was really fun."

I flipped through more pages of the book in front of me. I couldn't understand more than half of it. "I never finished studying Latin," I said. "May we continue?"

Lawrence nearly jumped out of his seat. "Yes, it would be my pleasure!" He left and immediately returned with some quills and paper.

And so we spend the rest of the afternoon in happy contemplation.

Fuzzy Rabid Usagi