He’d never questioned it out loud to either his brother or any other confidant he might have had, of course. It would be disrespectful, wouldn’t it? But the curiosity was still there and quite a gripping factor in the young prince’s life. Maybe it was written on a scroll somewhere. Anyway, there was hardly any point worrying about it now. Their father was still very much alive and kicking and would remain so for a long time to come it seemed.
“I brought you some wine. You look like you could use it.” Livius offered the wine sack to his older brother who shook his head and let his eyes dart from one place to another across the dark plains they’d used as a place to set up their camp for the evening. Cyprianus definitely looked the part of a crazed man like this. Refusing wine? Any man refusing wine after a hard day’s work, there was most definitely something wrong there.
“We’re too out in the open here. We have to be wary...” Cyprianus voiced his reason for refusing the wine. Livius quirked a brow at the paranoia he detected in Cyprianus’s voice. Had his brother gone mad in the process of procuring the girl? Livius was certain of it when Livius saw Cyprianus shoot a nervous glance at the girl far behind them now by the fire her eyes simply locked onto the flames. How funny they were behaving the same way, his brother and the rescued priestess. Was it something in the water then?
“What is wrong with you, Cyprian? Ever since we left the temple you’ve been twitching like a beaten dog?” Livius asked, watching his brother with an almost horrified look on his face. Cyprianus offered Livius a concerned look, his brows knitting together between his eyes for a brief moment before his eyes, ever faithfully returned to the dark plains.
“I didn’t want to set up camp here.” Cyprianus reminded Livius as if something bad had already happened and he was just using the ‘I told you so’ saying in a different way. Livius sighed softly in exasperation. His brother had become like a child who would not sleep in the dark. Maybe Cyprianus was slowly but surely going mad?
“We were tired Cyprianus. As a Commander, I would have thought you’d have understood what your troops might need and require. Do you not think?” Livius was always trying to get his brother to lighten up on the army he commanded. Only the best and hardest fighters were permitted to join the army that was ruled over by the emperor’s son. He did think that the reasoning behind that was in order to make sure the Emperor’s sons were well protected while giving them the ability to go afield on certain missions. It kept the boys strong. This still didn’t mean that Cyprianus needed to run them like hounds.
“You’d rather sleep than be alive. Yes. I understand.” Cyprianus snapped at his astonished younger sibling. This particular mission had been easy though, despite how far away the temple had been in which the girl had been kept, the information they’d found out from a scout they’d sent ahead. The plan had been to start from the very spot where the girl had been taken and work from there retracing steps to the temple. Of course, that had started in another temple, on that paid homage to the great Athena, goddess of the warriors. The temple they retrieved the girl from was basically empty, which was quite rare. Temples were often,n made of the most beautiful marble stone hacked and molded by masters. If you were taken into the service of one, these temples became your home, your very life and the one thing in your life that you would give your life to protect. It was eerie to come to an abandoned temple but the soldiers had been grateful that obtaining the girl was such an easy task.
“Are you worried about how quiet it was back there in the temple?” Livius questioned quietly, just in case, Cyprianus thought that there was someone with an excellent ability to silently sneaking up on the unsuspecting soldiers. Maybe Cyprianus thought that someone had set a trap for them. Paranoid Cyprianus had only in the last couple of days become this frightened uncertain leader so it most definitely had to do with the temple. Cyprianus bit into his bottom lip for the longest time before answering: “The girl is frightened to death and she was almost grateful to be taken by us. She has no idea who we are. She still doesn’t. We could be some bandit group and she was still happy to see us. Livius, if she was happy to see her abductors, can you imagine whom we stole her from?”
Livius rolled his eyes and fixed an annoyed look at Cyprianus.
“That’s where your concerns lie? With some mumbling insane girl talking of monsters? We’re home free. Ignore the imagination you have right now and think about how we will be greeted upon our return home, brother.” Maybe there was a fear of being hunted down but with a group of twenty men behind them, each elite gladiators, Livius was overly certain that they could take on any army. Cyprianus fixed Livius with a worried look. However Cyprianus could not bring himself to scold his younger brother for the insolence of his words, but the meaning behind the worry in his eyes was there.
“That’s just it. I don’t think were alone. I feel it at night when I sleep, Livius. I feel them watching us.” Cyprianus’s eyes searched the immediate area once more. There was angst about his wild searching eyes.
His younger sibling gave a soft sigh in response to this behavior. It was not a normal thing for the man Livius saw as some kind of God’s child to behave in the manner a frightened deer would.
“When we return home, I think it’s best we take a trip to the healer,” Livius suggested with tenderness to his tone. “Before father locks you up with the other insane citizens.”