Only one

A… king?

It had already been a few months since Faye had joined the Deliverance alongside Alm. Of course, he had always been the king of her heart, if she might say so. But when the knights had started talking about him taking the throne, when the soldiers had started chanting his very name as a rallying cry and when he had somehow given up and given in, it had come off as a shock. Not that it was shocking in itself: Alm had always been a thornless rose blooming in a desert. His heart was as golden as the royal treasure; he could very well become a king. But… Faye had not expected her bells to toll so soon.

A king…

A king was noble. Of course, Alm did not lack inner nobility at all. But to think he would become a noble… She glanced over at Clair. The blond-haired pegasus knight was tending to her mount with a satisfied look on her face. Mixed feelings stirred inside Faye’s heart. Yes, this woman had grown awfully close to Alm. No, she could not say it did not bother her. But did she hate her? No, not really. In the end, Clair would only fall short, just like herself. Perhaps she wasn’t aware of it yet, but it would eventually happen. She could not find it in herself to resent her. But Clair, lady Clair, was a noble. With a doting noble brother and a rich noble family. Whenever she flew right over her head, she illuminated the battlefield. She was radiant. Free. Headstrong, yet feminine. Someone who knew how to fit in society. Someone who could; someone who belonged.

Where did Faye belong?

Of course, she belonged by Alm’s side, right?

Life had taken strange turns and a few weird twists, really. But most of it, she’d known from the start how if would unfold. She rested her chestnut eyes on Gray and Tobin for a brief instant, in the middle of a friendly quarrel, just like it had always been. Alm, Gray, Tobin, and herself. They were childhood friends. They had always gotten along, as far as she could remember. It warmed her heart to see them like this, still close despite the war and despite every hardship. She had gotten used to their brawls and arguments, had found it normal. But someone unintentionally reminded her, some weeks ago, that girls like her should have had female friends instead. Looking back, she’d never really gotten along other girls in the village. The rare times she had tried to talk to them, she’d felt so lost. So confused in all those words leaving their mouth. If only they had taken just a few minutes to get to know her and harmonize their feelings with this candid newcomer… But it was easier to conclude that Faye’s rightful place was with her beloved male friends and especially with her oh so adored Alm; after all, both the girls and Faye herself could find an agreement with such an obvious ending. She found them superficial and they found her too blunt. The outcome did not surprise, nor disappoint.

Yet, she remained a mere girl in a mere village. Faye’smother had often told her that finding a man was essential to any woman — but she had to find a better man than hers, for real! Noble women had it easy, her mother used to sigh, but us villagers cannot afford to be so greedy. Faye did not really understand, but she tried her best. And her best was Alm. Kind and strong. She felt he was special — sadly, she was not the only one who thought so, as she would soon realize. But she still had to try, so she did. She lacked on both ends: as a village girl, she was but confused and scared, far from any womanly restraint or elegance required of her, yet she would never dream of taking the reins of her own fate in her own hands as would have done the village boys she called her friends.

Faye heaved a small sigh. She felt thankful to Silque for having been so patient with her. She had treated her horribly; fear of the unknown really turned people into coldhearted monsters, did it not? She had been afraid of talking with another woman. It was laughable, really. Saying it did not interest her — and truly believing it — in order to hide the gaping void in her heart. It was easier; it always had been. Just letting things be and refusing to engage against any kind of momentums, including the ones she had brought upon herself. She had chosen to devote her whole life to Alm; what else could she have done? And now that things had come to this, how could she deviate from her own path of soft emptiness and meaningless efforts?

Even Alm’s absence felt warm and dear to her heart. She was as void as he was precious to the world. She had to find a man, and a good one at that, she’d been told; nobody had told her how nor when to give up, though. Men were praised as courageous when they defeated their enemies; but it was too much for Faye to kill her beloved’s enemies? Girls were praised as delicate flowers when they lovingly devoted their time and reveries to a man; but it was too much for Faye to write about her beloved’s prowess in her letters to her family? She often felt at a loss. Her family seemed to lament her lack of life outside of her love life, but they had never showed any concern of the kind before the day she had left the village. All they had ever wanted was to find her a nice suitor; how was this any different? What else was there for her? She was but a simple village girl. She was as powerful as a confident lioness and as enamoured as a tiny lovebird. She had been a villager, a rebel, a soldier. Still, nothing had changed. She would never become a noble either. Was she even allowed to hope for change?

And so, Faye clung onto her life’s only ray of hope. Even if she knew the fall would only be harder, it was alright. She would take any blow, as long as it could prevent one from landing on Alm. She would remain a village girl and he would be a king.

Just as it should be, right?

May the Mother bless you… Celica.