Amelia was embarrassed. But there wasn’t much that she wouldn’t do for Zelgadis. She read the lines in the journal again, the words that comprised the cure for her friend.
You must find a woman pure of heart and soul, who is in the service of Cepheid. At the full moon during the time when her powers are most weak, should she bless you with the gentleness of light, the hatred of Shabranigdo shall fall to the higher power of love.
She knew to what Rezo was
referring, but was pretty certain that Zelgadis didn’t. Which made it all
the worse. How could she explain this…? Her gaze flickered up from the
page, and she looked across the book to see him standing uneasily nearby,
doing everything but look at her.
“I think we can do this, Mister Zelgadis… but we’ll have to wait a week or two…” she started hesitantly.
He spun to look at her. “Wait? Why?” The words, of course, were out of his mouth before he thought.
He blushed, she sighed. He turned away, brilliant scarlet imprinting itself across his cheeks and ears. “Never mind, I’m sorry. I didn’t think.”
She closed the journal and slipped off of her chair. “It’s… it’s okay, Mister Zelgadis. I know how important this is to you.” She put the journal in the seat behind her. “But there’s no use rushing things… and a few more days won’t be long.” She walked up beside him and stopped, looking forwards, towards the door. “Why don’t we go have some lunch and enjoy the rest of the day?”
Although Zelgadis had feared
otherwise, lunch with Amelia was a quiet little affair with just the two
of them out in the courtyard. After lunch, Amelia had talked him into a
rigorous game that involved a small ball that you batted back and forth
across a net.
He vaguely recalled Lina having to play something akin to this while in search of the Claire Bible, and while it sounded absolutely ridiculous, it was rather invigorating. Amelia was considerably better at it than he was, and he spent a good deal of the time chasing after the damn ball that had sailed past him, despite his best efforts to whack it back.
At the end of the game, he’d been thoroughly trounced, and yet, he found it oddly amusing. In any other circumstance, he’d have stalked off and sulked at the general injustice of the world… but he’d found something that even his heightened abilities had found to be challenging. He liked it.
After cleaning up, for he discovered that he’d worked up quite a sweat, he decided to show Amelia a game that he preferred: a game that involved moving different colored pieces in pre-set movements across a gameboard. At first, she’d had difficulty understanding how each piece moved, and made some fairly obvious moves, but she caught on soon after.
It was late when they each said goodnight, and Zelgadis found himself strangely at peace as he fell asleep.
The next week went similarly,
except for the times that duty called Amelia away. A few of those times,
he witnessed Amelia’s gentleness as she dealt with the people of Saillune,
but for the most part, he kept away from the formal events.
He was, therefore, surprised when she bounced into the drawing room after a grueling evening session with the city’s lawmakers. He’d expected her to be tired and irritable, but she’d instead grabbed his hand and dragged him out into the courtyard, and then on past towards the Water Temple of Cepheid.
“What’s going on, Amelia?” He asked, trying to keep up with the bouncing princess, and wondering what on earth had possessed her to act like this. She’d been so… normal this past week…
One hand firmly gripping his wrist, she kept her pace as she entered the temple. “When I got up this morning, I couldn’t even cast a fireball.”
The words sank into his mind as she stopped in the center of a vast open chamber with a rippling reflecting pool. As she turned to him, he began to put things together.
The moonlight trickled into the room from the open ceiling above as she blushed slightly and rose on tiptoe. “It’s time…”
He hadn’t known what would happen, and he for certain did not expect her to kiss him. But kiss him she did, and the Water God answered the moonlight.
For while Shabranigdo was a creature of darkness and twisted hate, Cepheid was a being of light and love. And ever so softly, as Amelia kissed Zelgadis, a gentle woman’s voice was heard.
And even as the night is darkness, the blessed moon shines brightly to remind that Cepheid has not forgotten. Be blessed, children of Cepheid.
As Amelia stepped away from Zelgadis, the light of the moon became a spell, weaving around her startled companion, bathing him in a silvery shimmer that even to Amelia’s dampened senses felt like the kind of blessings that one could only receive from the gods.
It felt like every part of him had been asleep for a very long time. He tingled all over, like his foot had once when he’d sat upon it for an hour. And when he looked to give his hand an experimental shake, he found that he couldn’t shake it. He was too busy looking at it.
His fingers were a decidedly soft shade of pink. Rezo’s words had been right. A cure. Liquid blue eyes met his, and he could see how she wanted to throw herself at him in delight. He extended the pink(!) hand to her, and she gave a delighted cry and leapt at him.
As he caught her, he sent his thoughts out to whomever may have been listening at the time. I forgive you, Rezo.
Free at last, a spirit unbound
by mortal error flew freely into the arms of Cepheid.