While they played a lively drinking song, the rest danced, switching partners every once in a while. Kasmira had so much fun, but when it became time for her to dance with Orlando, everything seemed to slow down. Dancing with him made her feel weightless, and with his strong yet soft arms around her, she felt safe and warm. He looked her in the eyes, and as they spun, Kasmira forget everything that was wrong in her world because she had found something so right.
Their moment ended when Anthony tapped Orlando’s shoulder and told him, “It’s our turn to dance!” Orlando and Kasmira reluctantly broke apart. Kasmira expected to dance with Anthony, but Anthony started dancing with Orlando! Orlando rolled his eyes but went with it. Kasmira laughed and began dancing with Joseph. When she caught Mac’s eyes, he gave her a knowing wink. Kasmira briefly wondered what kind of dumbstruck expression she must’ve had with Orlando, but she pushed it aside because she was having so much fun.
After they finished dancing, they sat down at the table, and Holly and Mac served them some pheasant for dinner. After their meal, they drank some more honey mead. With a slight slur, Ivan told everyone, “I feel so good right now, I could just kick King Davidson in the crotch! You know, I think I will!” He stood up, and everyone laughed merrily as Svetlana sat him down.
Joseph related, “I had a dream that i was in an I.W.T.S. and Preston rescued us by killing the bastard king!”
Holly commented, “Hmm…only way he could do that at his age would be magic, and he hasn’t shown any sign of having powers yet, but it’s a wonderful thought!”
“Here, here!” a few of them said.
Anthony conversed, “Speaking of good dreams…”
Amberline groaned. “No! I don’t want to hear your sexual fantasies again!”
“What?” Anthony said as he drank, “Everyone has those dreams!”
“I don’t,” Kasmira refuted.
Anthony raised an eyebrow. “I don’t believe that. I bet you’ve had at least one dream about sneaking off into the woods with Orlando and just do some passionate-”
Kasmira interrupted him, “I don’t dream about things like that. If I wanted to fornicate with Orlando, I wouldn’t dream about it-I would just do it!”
The boys all said, “Woah!” and Kasmira realized what she just said and flushed. She remedied her embarrassment by drinking some more. Orlando laughed, “Careful, if you keep talking like that, I may just have to marry you!”
Svetlana asked, “Are you allowed to marry one of us lowly dregs?”
Orlando shrugged, “Probably not, but I’m not allowed to help the Rebellion either, but here we are!” Everyone laughed.
At the end of the night, everyone started to fall asleep on the floor while they watched the embers from the fireplace fade out. Orlando got up, and upon noticing this, Kasmira followed him outside. It wasn’t snowing, but there was a chilly wind. As he walked away, Kasmira told him, “I still feel like I owe you.”
Orlando stopped but didn’t turn around. “You don’t owe me anything.”
Kasmira stepped closer to him, “How can I ever thank you? There must be something I can do!”
He hung his head. “The only thing I want I’ll probably never get.” He looked at her sadly. “I know you’ll never let yourself get close to anyone because of the curse. But no one has ever given me so much…never mind. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be here early tomorrow to teach you sword combat.”
He started to leave, but Kasmira stopped him by crying out, “I’m not worth it!” He looked at her incredulously. “I’ve never cared about anyone as much as I care about you, which is why you should never have me. Any man who enters into our family is truly doomed! And with the Blood Warriors around you, you would probably fall victim to the most unimaginable death. I can’t bear the thought of you getting tortured or killed! I couldn’t live with myself if I was so selfish that I let Velorica lose their rightful king-their brave, strong, kind king! Your kingdom needs you! It’s better if you marry someone else-any girl would feel like the luckiest girl on Earth to have you! It’s better if you left me alone! I feel too deeply for you to let you get mixed up with the likes of me! I’m not worth dying for!”
Kasmira had tears rolling down her cheek. Before Orlando could say anything, they heard growling coming from the woods. They looked and saw a pack of oversized wolves! Orlando put himself in front of Kasmira and drew his sword. The wolves lunged, and he fought them off. kasmira saw some trying to attack from behind, and she too fought using her magic. When they finally managed to kill the wolves, they heard a Blood Warrior calling for the pack. Kasmira grabbed Orlando’s hand, and they ran into the woods. They could hear a couple of Blood Warriors chasing them. They came to a pair of trees with ivy growing like a curtain, and they hid behind between the trees with the ivy cloaking them. When the Blood Warriors were close by, they could see them looking around. When they got close enough, Orlando cut the tendons in their ankles. When they were hunched over in pain, Kasmira used her powers to throw them into the nearby river, which quickly took them away.
After the moment of danger was gone and they knew they’d be okay, Kasmira began to rant, “See? It’s a sign! We can’t…It’s not…”
Orlando put a finger on her lips. Kasmira couldn’t look at him, but he gently lifted her head and said, “Look at me.” Kasmira, still in tears, looked at him, and the passion in his eyes told her that she didn’t need to cry anymore. For a moment, all she could think of was how much she felt for him, but she felt nervous about what he was going to say. She stared at him, worried and hopeful. He brushed some hair off her face, and her heart beat wildly. His eyes met hers, and he lovingly told her, “You are worth it!” Their hearts both seem to cry out in a golden happiness as Orlando leaned in and softly kissed her on the lips. He broke away for a second, and Kasmira threw her arms around him while they kissed each other passionately.
For a moment, they seemed to be in paradise, and the only thing that existed was each other. Reality came crashing back when they heard a voice call out…