Counting Stars


It seems like every other night for her.

She was alone and only the sound of the night creatures echo amidst the emptiness of what she felt at that moment. Her eyes searched across the twinkling stars against the black velvety sky and the light occupying the village across the stream. She let out a tired sigh as she stretched her body in an ardour manner.

“I didn’t know that you spend your nights here, Lythe.”

She whipped her head around hastily and gasped in surprise. “You scared me!”

Piercing blue eyes stared back at her expectantly and a small smirk etched itself across his face. “What are you doing out in this time of the night?”

“I can ask you the same thing, Hans.” She retorted back with a lazy drawl. “Or rather, who are you expecting to show up for your usual midnight romps?”

“Romps?” He gave out a chuckle. “You amuse me.”

She huffed and lay down on the soft plush ground. Dew had drenched the back of her dress but the feeling of the cold against her heated skin was a welcome to her weary state. She felt his presence rest itself beside her and she let out an irate sigh.

“What are you still doing here?” She asked him through half-lidded eyes. His body heat beside her was distracting… and admittedly, rather soothing.

“I’m here to keep you company, my fair lady,” he replied back cheekily. He stretched out his right arm and rested his head against it. “Or would you rather I head back to the village?”

“The latter sounds nice.” She murmured under her breath.

The heat of his body spread across her side and she peeked at him curiously as he plopped himself on his elbow. He looked at her with a lazy smirk on his lips and reached out to touch her cheek softly. She winced and moved her head away from his touch.

A frown rested on his lips. “Lythe…”

“I’m tired,” she cut him off. “I’m going back now. Stay for as long as you would like, Hans, don’t mind me.”

She started to stand up when she felt a calloused hand encircle and tug at her wrist deliberately. “It is uncharacteristic of me to suddenly touch you so intimately, Lythe, my lady. I apologize for such abrupt behaviour from my part.”

She strained a smile and tugged her hand lightly for him to give back her wrist. “It’s no trouble at all, Hans.” She lied through gritted teeth. “But I do request for you to let go of my wrist.”

He smiled and released his hold on her. “As my lady wishes.”

She raised a brow at him inquiringly at his choice of words. However, she ditheringly shrugged the subject of and started to strut down the steep hill and fairly stopped at the side of the stream. She looked for the small intersection that helped her get to the other side and scowled in annoyance at the deficiency of bridges.

“In need of help, Lady Lythe?” A smug voice reached her ears as she looked back at him with creased brows.

“Where’s the log that was present a few minutes ago?” She asked him with an irate edge of tone.

“I wonder as well,” he mused aloud. “It seems to have vanished coincidentally.”

“The absence of the only source of a bridge is highly thought-provoking, Hans,” she dryly muttered. “Now could you please try and find the bloody log?”

“For my lady,” the upper part of his body bent in a half bow but his head kept up with his eyes locked with hers, a hint of mischief sparkled in them. “Anything.”

A shiver ran down her spine. It was wrong in so many different levels for the both of them. She was a large taboo for the young man but it didn’t seem to bother him too much that she was in his bloodline. In the earlier centuries, from what they heard of from their deceased father, royalty married from their own blood but it was absolutely unacceptable.

She knew of it and he knew of it but why was he still pursuing her?

He busied himself at the task of the retrieval of the log but his eyes strayed on the path to his right and a small smile replaced the serious expression on his face. He turned to face her with his usual smile gracing his lips.

“The watercourse can possibly be crossed if we walk a little to the east and look for the present bridge near the woods.” He told her calmly. “The log was probably been swept away by the current.”

Current? She asked herself inwardly with a small frown playing about on her lips. The river’s course was calm and tame, it was impossible for it to be swept away. Her doubt was quickly forgotten, however, when he gave her a rare smile she often saw from him and a twinkle of his eye appeared in the darkness of the night.

“Are you coming, Lady Lythe?” He asked her amusedly and a crinkle of his eye told her he was trying hard not to smile.

She gave out a soft sigh and nodded her head. “Of course.”

They trotted along the dimly lit woods with only the moonlight and stars to guide their way. Frightened of the night’s cold and menacing aura that night, Lythe grasped blindly for Hans’s arm and took a hold of it tightly. A chuckle rose from his chest and vibrated through her palm to her arm that gave her goose-bumps. She weakly glared at him through narrowed eyes.

“And what is so funny?” She inquired crossly.

“Nothing, my lady,” he grinned at her. “Nothing at all.”

She huffily stomped her feet, her white dainty shoes tainted with the mud under her feet but she didn’t mind. “Tell me, Hans,” she pouted. “Or would you rather I stop coming over your room?”

His eyes widened slightly and his brows rose. “You wouldn’t dare.”

She smugly crossed her arms across her chest and with a slight nod of her head, she smirked. “I would.”

He frowned. “You’re such a child.”

You’re the child!” She sputtered with a small laugh. “You still like listening to my stories.”

“And how is that a bad thing?” He asked with a quirk of his lips.

“Those kinds of stories are for children!” She giggled and let her arms fall to her sides as she gently prodded his chest with her pointed digit. “Therefore, you are a child mentally.”

“That is an inaccurate accusation, Lythe,” he frowned but a playful edged of his tone had given him away. “You owe me a lengthy story for tonight.”

“What?” Her eyes widened disbelievingly and her jaw dropped slightly. “That—that is absolutely unrighteous!”

“So is being accused of having a child’s mentality.” He retorted back, fully entertained of their bicker. “Now let’s get back quickly so you can start.”

“You—” She trailed off. “You are such a child.”

“So I’ve heard from you many times before,” he calmly replied.

She scowled and stomped angrily before him with an air of annoyance around her. He followed her with a lazy smile and he bit his cheeks to keeping himself from laughing out loud at her antics. He watched her walk in front of him with a gentle sway of her hips and her arms gracefully swung by her sides. At one point, her fingers laced together at her back and she faced him with a scowl on her face.

He raised a brow at her. “What’s the matter now, Lady Lythe?”

“You keep calling me ‘Lady Lythe’ and you know fairly well that you have much authority than I have,” she pointed out wryly.

“I’m aware,” he bobbed his head in understanding. “However, I do wish you remember our little agreement a fortnight before. You were barely kept awake by my hums.”

“And that was?” She asked him as she stood at the heels of her feet playfully. “I seem to can’t recall anything from that point in time.”

“I noticed,” he smiled. “I promised you I would serve you like the princess that you are. You agreed.”

“I did?” She questioned, confused. “That’s a bit silly,” she added to herself quietly.

“Without a doubt,” he took languid steps toward her, her last words fell unto deaf ears. “I would never lie to you.”

She felt her breath hitched as he neared her, his heat had again distracted her with its comforting ambiance. His smell wafted to her nose and she suddenly felt the sudden need to bury her self in his embrace and drink in his essence. She loved the unique attributes he had; he gave her a sense of tranquility.

A hit of realization had struck her as he gave her a look she had seen him give other women, however, and she glared at him. Taken aback, he frowned and asked her what was wrong. Her glare was undeterred as she answered back, “You didn’t answer my earlier question.”

It was his turn to be confused as a befuddled expression rested itself on his face. “What question?”

“You aren’t with any of your women tonight,” she said softly but her glare still imminent. “Why?”

“The answer to that is indubitably obvious,” he said, entirely serious. “You know of my response well, Lady Lythe.”

“Do I?” She rested her right cheek on the upside of her palm. “Please, enlighten me.”

“You would like that, wouldn’t you?” He muttered under his breath as he ran his fingers through his thick black hair, much like her own. “As the sibling of the corrupted, I tell you now to take back what you have asked.”

She giggled and shook her head, her light blue eyes glittering in the night. “I feel the need to hear from you every now and then.”

“For the torture it gives me?” He asked dryly.

She beamed at him. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“You are such a twisted young lady,” he sighed tiredly. “I don’t even know why I love you this much.”

She felt her smile falter. “I don’t know why either.”

He looked at her oddly but let out a sigh as he wrapped his arms around her frail figure, tightly crushed her against him. “It’s not your fault.”

“I feel that I have some sort of responsibility for your feelings towards me, Hans,” she choked out. “This is not right.”

“You are a wonderful woman, Lythe,” he murmured against the crook of her neck as he tightened his hold on her. “The man you will choose to love would be very lucky.”

“Thank you,” she shyly replied as tears prickled her eyes. “I love you, Hans.”

“You know that I love you too,” he whole-heartedly responded with a smile. “I always will.”

She smiled back. “Promise me something, Hans…”


“In our next lifetime,” she breathed as she encircled her arms around his waist tightly. “When you’re not my brother anymore,” she felt his arms go rigid against her backside as she continued. “You’ll marry me.”

Silence reigned between them as he basked in the loveliness of the night unfolding. He smiled as he pulled back and kissed the top of her forehead lovingly. Because love knew no boundaries, he would grant her wish. Because he knew he would die if he didn’t have her, he obliged. And just because she was her, he would give her the world.

Through counting stars, he would spend his lifetime wishing the next would be what he promised her.


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