Livia regains her consciousness slowly. She trudges forward to wakefulness groggily. Her eyes blearily open to bright sunny light. She squints against it, and groans, shaking her head to clear away the fog. Her thoughts straighten, memories rush back, and suddenly she is wide awake.
She bolts up in the bed she in. Faintly, she registers the body next to her, that she was in a room and that her savior must have taken her to his home. She notices that though all her aches and pains are gone she feels like a towel that has been wrung out. There was a bone-deep tiredness that she thought she could never chase off. A hollow emptiness in her chest that feels gaping and wide. She takes note of all of this, but her main priority is her baby.
Livia's hand quickly seeks out her stomach with a pounding heart and shaking fingers. She strokes over the swell and she senses her protections spells soon enough. The stone of dread that had been weighing her down even as she slept finally lifted, and she laughs in relief even as tears threaten to swell at the corner of her eyes.
You are safe...She thinks to herself as she gently caresses her belly, staring down at it with a soft look of budding motherly love. It was a strange feeling, tentative and so very new. After nearly being scared to death at the prospect of losing her baby, Livia was filled to the brim with a fierce protectiveness.
I almost lost my child because of my foolish actions; Livia thinks and the very thought makes her sick. In a bid to gain all of her memories and therefore more power, unconscious or not, Livia had put the life of her child at risk. If the spells had not been in place...
Livia closes her eyes.
She couldn’t even think it.
To get her mind off she focuses on repairing the spells around her belly and starts to study them. Out of the five she had placed in layers, the outermost had completely faded while the third and fourth had weakened significantly but were still in place. She tries to call up her magic to restore them, but she ends up curling up and clutching at her heart as she gasps for breath.
“Oh,” Livia says in a strained voice, blinking tears of pain from her eyes, “I must have depleted myself.”
That explained the hollowness.
It also explained why she had a chokehold grip on a masculine wrist that she refused to relinquish even when she awoke. The contact brought a measured stream of magic from him to her, and likely the sole source of her own wakefulness. If she was to break the connection, she knew she would instantly fall back into a deep sleep.
As if to negate this her grips tighten almost possessively around the wrist, causing the body next to her to stir and mutter. Livia's eyes flicker over to the other occupant of the bed.
It was her savior.
She takes him in. He was handsome, beautiful even with his tawny hair, long eyelashes, and thin lips but Livia’s heart was unmoved. She reaches out to tuck a long lock of blond hair behind an ear to she could better see them. They were long and pointy as she had suspected they would be. They confirm the identity of the one next to her.
Phineas Thaddeus Silvan.
It was the name of the former Crown Prince. She never met him officially, and only saw him in passing once, but there was no denying his familiar features. In him, she saw a shadow of Rodale. Her nose wrinkles and she flicks at a perfectly straight nose. Phineas only frowns a bit, so she does it again.
When the elf begins to stir, Livia shuffles away and looks around the room.
They were in some sort of cottage. The scenery outside the small window showed the top of trees, a small bridge of a shallow stream and a stone path. The room was a bit messy, with scrolls, books, and clothes thrown about in some unknown order. She was just reading the title on the spine of a book when a clear voice speaks next to her.
“It seems sleeping beauty has finally awakened,” Phineas says as he sits up. He pauses at the death grip Livia has on him, blinking slowly, before turning to her with a smile that lights up his face.
Livia straightens her back, raises her chin, and looks back at him coolly. She keeps a pointed distance between them as she bows her head a bit, “Thank you for saving me,” She tells him sincerely but tonelessly.
Phineas smile falters but only by a fraction, “It was no trouble, Miss Livia.” He carefully eyes her reaction at the use of her name. Her expression remains blank, but her hand clenches into the fabric of the bedding, and she has to resist the urge to spring away.
“I’m the type to jump into action when I see a pretty girl in trouble,” Phineas continues.
“Well, it was a good thing you were nearby,” Livia says simply after she unclenches her tense jaw.
She did not want to be here.
She was grateful for Phineas for saving her, but he was a capture target. Not only that, but he remembers who she was. It should be no surprise given that he was the former Crown Prince, but Livia had never interacted with him, and only got engaged to Rodale after he left. Phineas always came off as someone who knew more then he let on, but she hadn’t known it was to this extent. But now certain things were starting to make sense as well.
Either way, he was a potential threat and she wanted to put distance between her and him as soon as possible. After the mess she got tangled up with Sen, Livia had learned her lesson the hard way. She would not be foolish to tempt fate again.
She glances down at the circle on her wrist, the one that Phineas shares.
That was going to be a problem.
Phineas notices and comments, “It is to help replenish your magic. Normally, it is a task that can be done with sleep, but your magic level had been drained to a very dangerous level.”
“For how long?” Livia asks briskly.
“It’s hard to tell right off the bat. If I had to estimate I would say a week. Maybe two or three to be saf-”
“No.” Livia cuts in.
Phineas quirks an eyebrow, bemused, “...no?”
“I cannot wait that long.”
“Miss Livia, magical burn out isn’t something you can recover from overnight. It will take time,” Phineas explains patiently.
Before Livia can say anything, he continues, “How are you feeling? I managed to heal all of your wounds, but it isn’t unusual to feel drained and tired with your magic level so low.”
“I feel fine,” Livia lies.
Phineas raises an eyebrow, “Is that so?”
“Yes,” She says firmly. There was no point in telling him that she felt like she could drop off into unconsciousness at any minute. There was nothing he could do about it, and his means in replenishing her magic was slow and drawn out. Livia would have to come up with another method. She eyes the circle imprinted on her wrist, thinking.
“...make sure. If it is alright with you?” Phineas says, and Livia blinks up at him, only catching the end.
“What?” She asks, well snap, really.
Phineas smile widens, and Livia bristles a bit. Why the hell was he always smiling?
“I said, that I had wished to check up on your unborn child. To make sure that everything was alright with the little one. There were spells in place that I couldn’t breakthrough. Ones I have never seen before...where you the one who cast them?”
Green eyes settle on her with pinpoint focus.
“No, I was not,” Livia says coolly, “And that would be unnecessary. My child is fine.” Livia wasn’t lying. As long as the fifth, and last protection spell was still in place, he or she really was.
“I do not recommend that Miss Livia. It would be in you and your baby's best interest that I check on them. From what I can tell, you were without oxygen for a dangerously long time. That could have some effect on the baby. I just want to make sure that your baby is safe.” Phineas says. He wasn’t smiling anymore, but his expression was still kind and open.
“No thank you,” Livia says, and looks to the door.
Sen burst through it a second later, and the kitten on his shoulders hops down and makes a beeline for the bed. Livia gladly accepts the soft worried licks of the kitten on the palm of her hand right over the red faded mark of the blood pack, while Sen scans over her.
“You're up,” He says, and somehow it sounds like an accusation. When Livia looks up, Sen is glaring at Phineas who smiles almost tauntingly back.
“So, it seems I am,” Livia says lightly. Sen walks forward but stops short at the edge of the bed. He looks to Phineas then Livia with a frown.
“I’m fine,” Livia says, and the words are tiresome to say.
“It's fine as well. The protection charms you put on them likely helped saved their lives,” Livia tells Sen and doesn’t really know why she did so. Her expression morphs into one of gratefulness all the same.
Sen blinks owlishly at her while Phineas perks up, “You were the one behind it?”
“As I told you, she had asked for help,” Sen says slowly as if Phineas was particularly dumb. Yellow eyes cut to meet purple, and they hold the contact for only a second, but it was enough time to exchange a handful of silent cues.
Phineas' eyes narrow, “Then why had you not lifted the spells when I told you I could not check the state of the babe while there were still in place? Why had you not said anything until now?”
The kitten gently scales Livia until it curls around her shoulders. She tucks it close, and shifts slightly.
Sen shrugs carelessly, “I did not think it mattered. The spells held true in the end.”
“But why did they fade along with Miss Livia? How could they unless-”
“How were you able to sense the magic? I didn’t notice anything different when Sen cast the spell,” Livia cuts in, and stares wide eye at Phineas. She knew why Sen could, but Phineas should not have been able. Not unless. Her eyes flicker to his pointed ears. He was only half-elf...but maybe...
Phineas' eyebrows crease, “What? How could you not sense it? It's subtle, I would admit, but there is no denying the powerful working.” He pauses. “Now that I think about it, Khy hadn’t sense anything. Why couldn’t he-”
Livia suddenly digs sharp nails into Phineas' wrist, drawing blood, and pulls. The circle flare to life on both their wrist, turning honey-gold before deepening to an almost poisonous purple. Phineas yelps in surprise, and tries to yank his wrist free while staring at Livia as if she grew a second head.
“What are you doing!?” He asks, calling magic to his unoccupied hand. A blue arrow shoots across the room and pins Phineas' long sleeve to the headboard of the bed.
A blond head whips in the direction of Sen, green eyes looking betrayed for only a split second before anger sparks in them, “Sen, what the hell do you think you ar-” He cuts off in a groan of pain. He had managed to wrench his arm free of Livia, causing her to sway but Sen darted across the room in a blur of motion and now pinned Phineas down as Livia grasped his wrist and started muttering to herself, her face pale.
“He doesn’t need to be conscious for this,” Livia says with gritted teeth to Sen as Phineas heaves under them.
Sen doesn’t need to be told twice. His knuckles crack across Phineas' face, knocking him out cold in one blow.
“What are you doing?” Sen asks, perfectly calm as if he didn’t just punch one of his allies. Phineas was no friend of his. He only saw the other man as a means to an end.
“I need his power to replenish myself. So, I am taking it,” Livia says.
“Don’t drain him too much,” Sen comments idly.
“I won’t. Plus, even if I did, he is stupidly powerful. He will have more than enough left over.”
Sen nods, and walks to the window to scan outside, “He is a half-elf. That is the reason why.”
“And what of Saer? That bastard doesn’t even use magic!” Livia snaps. She was almost finished. Her fatigue was rapidly fading, and the hollow feeling was quickly disappearing. Just a bit more.
Sen shrugs, “There are ways around that.”
Livia snorts, “Obviously.”
The circle on her wrist fades into nothing and she drops Phineas' wrist as if it was a hot potato. She eyes his unconscious forms and turns to Sen.
“I will need to erase his memory of us, but I would need to replace it with something else. When does Khy get back?”
Sen claws, tail and ears sprout out, “Now,” He says with a feral grin before opening the window and jumping out of it. A moment later, Livia hears a startled yell and the sound of metal hitting metal.
She sniffs, “Bloody show-off...”
Then she turns her attention to Phineas and places one hand over his head and closes his eyes.
Phineas was a master class healer and potion brewer. After he left the Kingdom of Wisteria behind, he took up a new identity and enrolled himself in a prestigious school. After he graduated, he moved close to the boarded of his home country in a small cottage in the middle of the woods. The heroine encounters him when she runs off in a fit and is nearly killed by a gaggle of monsters. Phineas saves her and takes her back to his cottage to heal her. After, Amelia would frequently sneak off to visit him to get away from it all.
Since it's been a whole year since Livia left, she calculated that even would be happening fairly soon.
In the meanwhile, she starts rewriting his memories carefully. Instead of stumbling on her while she was bathing (Her eyebrow twitches in irritation at this) he never noticed her and continued to gather herbs before returning home. She carefully crafts his new memories, making some things blurry and other things more detailed before moving away.
She rummages through Phineas' wardrobe and finds a pair of shoes that fit her. She slips them on before closing her eyes. Her hands come up and she restores the protection spells on her stomach and adds two more layers just to be cautious.
The kitten on her shoulder nuzzles into her neck, mewling softly, and she pets it idly. Outside, she could hear the distinct sound of a skirmish and frowns.
She hops off the bed with renewed energy and walks toward the single window in the room to peer outside. She sees Sen and Khy exchanging blows and huffs.
“Just knock him out already! You are wasting valuable time!” She calls out in annoyance.
Khy head whips up to her, and Sen drops kicks him in the head.
Livia climbs out of the window as Khy drops to the floor, unmoving. Sen flex his claws and scowls up at her, “What the hell are you doing?”
She smirks, “Catch me!”
Sen somehow manages to scowl harder, “No. Get back inside.”
She just laughs and jumps. Her body jostles only a bit when she flops into Sen arms.
Livia nods in approval, “Your strong, fast, and quick-witted. Maybe your self-impose infringement won’t be so bothersome after all.”
She tries to climb out of his arms after she said her piece, but he pulls her closer. She blinks and then frowns, “Let me down Sen. There is work to be done.” She gestures to the unconscious form of Khy.
“My name is Livia...”
“Why did you drown?” Sen says almost on top of her.
Livia's eyes flicker up to him before they move to the ground, “I had not meant too. It was a simple accident.”
“An accident,” Sen says flatly.
She pushes at his chest and he sets her on the ground, “Yes. It really was. I trigger some sort of spell when I got lost in my thoughts.” She turns her back to him and walks to Khy, kneeling down. “The next thing I knew I was waking up on the shore feeling weak and drained.”
Sen says nothing, but his presence behind her was like a swelling cloud of rain.
Livia sighs, “Trust me, it will not happen again.”
“You sure about that? It seems you aren’t as in control of your power as you think.”
“It won’t,” Livia says sharply, glaring back at him.
Sen crosses his arms, looking unconvinced but he remains silent.
Livia sighs again, before placing her hands over Khys head. She does the same thing she did with Phineas. She does not delete the memories completely, simply altering it, and erasing any appearance Sen and she made in them.
After a while, she stands back up. “Its’ done.”
Sen drags Khy into the cottage, and Livia picks up a fallen basket of herbs and follows after him. She puts the basket on the table as he arranged Khy on the stool. Once he is done, they both leave the cabin without looking back.
“When will they wake?” Sen asks minutes later as they trek off the path, and head in the direction of her cave.
Livia glance at him, “I suppose now is good enough,” And she snaps her fingers.
Sen eyes her, “Just like that?”
She smirks, “Yup.”