The Tale of a Mage (part 22)

The rest of the day was uneventful. Nyx and Livia made the most of the remaining time they were not required to feign affection for each other, taking off in opposite directions to explore the city. Izzy and Cassandra returned to their quarters at the castle to spend some much needed downtime together. In the evening, they dined with King Horrik and bid him farewell before retiring for an early night. Unlike the previous night, Nyx was provided with her own bedroom which proved a welcome relief given she was going to need to spend an enormous amount of time with Livia in the following days.

They all rose early and made their way to the kitchens to scavenge up some breakfast. After they had eaten their fill of the castle’s plentiful meats and breads the cook helped them pack fruit and meats of the dried variety for their journey. They thanked her, bidding all the kitchen staff goodbye, before heading down to the docks. Drucilla was waiting for them when they arrived.

“Good morning!” Drucilla beamed at them. “This way she gestured in the direction of a small sail boat.

“Nice ship,” Livia smirked.

“Well, I could hardly sail my warship with a crew of five.” Drucilla climbed into the boat and indicated the others should follow her.

“So, you still have the warship?” Livia sounded sceptical.

“Of course” Drucilla shook her head as if she found the mere suggestion things might be otherwise absurd. “You can put your things in the cabin. She stated once everyone was on board.

Nyx groaned inwardly at the statement. Cabin in the singular. That meant they would all have to share it. There would be no option for Livia and herself to sleep on opposite sides of their room at night. This whole couple thing was going to have to continue for the entire time they were on the boat even when they were sleeping. Livia appeared equally displeased.

“Don’t fret” Drucilla noted their discomfort “You can still have alone time when you want it. Just let me know if you need the use of the cabin during the day and I’ll make sure you’re not disturbed.” Drucilla winked at Nyx. Livia blushed profusely.

“Uh.. thanks.” Nyx mumbled.

Drucilla busied herself preparing the boat for departure and Livia begrudgingly helped her. Izzy and Cassandra took everyone’s belongings to the cabin. Nyx sat down with a sigh. She knew nothing about boats so there was little she could do to assist. Izzy and Cassandra had remained in the cabin presumably taking advantage of Drucilla’s offer of alone time. For the moment Nyx was left with her thoughts. Would she and Livia have to cuddle at night? She wondered. She certainly hoped not.

It was not long before they were underway. Drucilla took up a position at the helm and Livia came to sit beside Nyx. Nyx grimaced for a moment before plastering on a sickly sweet smile. Livia, noting Drucilla’s eyes upon them, reached for Nyx’s hand and gave it a light squeeze. Nyx couldn’t quite mask her frown. Drucilla regarded them quizzically for a moment and Livia squeezed her hand harder in warning.

“Come over here for a moment, dear.” Drucilla gestured for Nyx to approach her. Nyx leapt up eager for an opportunity to distance herself from Livia.  Catching herself, she took a moment to pat Livia on the shoulder in a manner she hoped conveyed affection before crossing the deck towards Drucilla keeping her movement to a moderate pace. Upon reaching Drucilla she fixed her with an expectant stare.

“You’re uncomfortable” Drucilla fixed her with a penetrating gaze.

“I… n-no… uh…” Nyx stuttered “Just a bit sea sick is all.”

“No, you’re not.” Drucilla brushed her fingers down Nyx’s arm in reassurance. “It’s okay. You have nothing to worry about.”

“I don’t?” Nyx inquired.

“Your jealousy is unnecessary.”   Drucilla continued to stroke her arm.

“Jealousy?” Nyx choked.

“It might appear from Livia’s behaviour that she still has feelings for me but I assure you that is not the case. Livia cares only for her pride and I’m afraid I have wounded it deeply.” Drucilla explained, “I pose no threat to your relationship.”

“Um… That’s a relief.” Nyx congratulated herself on restraining an eye roll.

“You sound uncertain” Drucilla rested her hand on Nyx’s shoulder “Please, do not see me as a rival. I would very much like to be friends.”

“Friends sounds nice.” Nyx grinned.

“Wonderful!” Drucilla gave Nyx’s shoulder a squeeze. “Would you like me to teach you how to steer the boat.”

“I would love that!” Nyx squealed, her Livia related woes momentarily forgotten.

Livia watched them with a deepening scowl. This development was not good. Drucilla and Nyx as friends was a truly terrifying prospect. Nyx, as much as she infuriated her, was rarely successful in her plots and shenanigans. Drucilla, on the other hand, was somewhat… competent. She didn’t think Drucilla would be willing to participate in Nyx’s ongoing plot to kill her. That at least was a relief. However, the friendship was sure to result in endless trouble. Not to mention the closer they got the more likely Nyx would be to let slip that their relationship was a ruse. Livia felt a shiver of dread creep down her spine.

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