Rydia and Edge Part 3
Back to part 2
Part 3 With a little help from the friends
At the brink of morning, as soon as the first rays of the sun
touched the world, a small airship landed on the beach. From it,
a big group of worried friends hurried. By then Edge's fever had
gotten better, so Rosa concluded that they without any problems
could bring him on board the airship and take him to Baron
castle. Cecil and Yang carried the stretcher, and Rydia walked
beside it every single step.
She stayed by Edge all the time on the trip, not noticing the
warm glances that her friends exchanged.
They brought the king of Eblan downstairs, to the castle's
healing quarters. Rosa and the nurses then pushed the many
anxious friends out of the room. Rydia could stay, though. Nobody
dreamed about asking her to leave.
Lying in a proper bed, Edge's body seemed to give a sigh and
managed to fall into a healthy sleep without nightmares.
"You should rest a little too," Rosa kindly said,
"there's nothing more anyone can do for him."
"I want to be there when he awakes," Rydia explained,
Rosa just smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The caller turned to
Edge again, holding his hand between her smaller palms. She was
so relieved that he was recovering now, that it finally was
obvious that he would survive...
Half an hour later she fell asleep after eating some soup, still
sitting on the chair. Rosa had left, knowing she wasn't needed
and unwilling to disturb. Instead a couple of the nurses
carefully moved Rydia over to the bed closest to Edge's.
Two hours later the king of Eblan awoke.
"How are you, Majesty?" one of the nurses kindly asked
as soon as she noticed that his eyes looked around, slightly
confused, "You are in Baron castle."
Another one of the women in white clothes hurried up the stairs
to tell the good news.
"I'm pretty fine," Edge concluded after carefully
sitting up in the bed, "just a little shaky..."
He turned his head and looked at Rydia, frowning.
"Fell asleep, the poor, stubborn thing," the nurse
kindly explained, "I heard she kept awake through the whole
night, watching you, Your Majesty."
Edge tried to remember what had happened. The poison, the
fever... Rydia... the nightmares... she had stayed with him all
She looked so calm now, but he recalled her anxiety. A tidal wave
of tenderness built up inside of Edge as he watched her. He
wanted to get out of the bed, walk over to her, awake her, thank
her for all that she had done as he had been helpless. But to
break her peace... no, he could wait. It was worth it. She
deserved to rest now, and waiting a while would only make the
thanking sweeter and give him some time to think of what he could
say. And this time, he wouldn't allow his tongue to slip and
"Do you want to eat a little, Your Majesty?"
A nurse offered him a soup plate. Edge smiled, grateful. He
noticed that his hands shook a little as he took the plate. Now
as he thought about it, he hadn't eaten in a whole day and night.
The antidote didn't count. No wonder he felt weakened...
"Has she eaten anything?" he asked, nodding at Rydia.
"Yes, Your Majesty. Nothing to worry about."
Edge nodded and then began to eat the soup, forcing himself to do
He remembered that he had asked her to take care of Eblan. It had
startled her, for sure. But he had felt forced to do so, somebody
had to do it if he wasn't there anymore to do it himself. And she
was really the only one he trusted to compete with the hard work
and had the same kind of strong will as him. His poor country did
certainly not need a war over the throne.
All the soup was gone. Edge placed the plate on the table beside
the bed and then laid down again, his eyes resting upon Rydia.
It had been long ago that he had watched her sleep. During the
journeys a few weeks earlier, everyone had been sleeping beside
each other since there seldom had been much space to spare. Edge
smiled as he recalled all the times Rydia had warned him to try
something, and then calmly laid down to sleep just beside him...
She had embraced him to keep him warm.
Edge's eyebrows twitched.
Rydia had embraced him. Laid beside him and held him tightly to
protect him against the shivers.
How he had dreamed of such a thing... and the fever had made him
so absent that he hardly had noticed it. Even if it only had been
to save his life and not true emotions...
He watched Rydia.
I love you.
"Powers of healing, I bid of thee to lend me thy
powers," a voice suddenly chanted, softly, "send deep,
Warmly purple threads danced above Rydia's head for a moment,
before disappearing as suddenly as they had come. She mumbled
something and kept sleeping. The nurses nodded at their king and
left the room as he kindly pointed at the door.
"Hello, Cecil," Edge said, not allowing any sign of
irritation to show.
The king of Baron had interrupted the king of Eblan's thoughts
and viewing of Rydia, but he had done so as a worried friend.
"Just thought you wanted some privacy," Cecil said and
nodded at Rydia, "or rather, I wanted it to be so."
Edge's eyebrows went up.
"Feeling any better?" Cecil asked and sat down on a
chair between the beds.
"Yes, thank you."
"Everyone wanted to rush down and see you," he said,
"but I waved most violently with my sword, so here I
They grinned at each other. Then Cecil cleared his throat.
"Say, Edge," he carefully said, "want to talk
"What about her?" Edge innocently said, "she's a
good friend, just like you and Rosa."
"Oh, cut it out," Cecil sighed, "everybody knows
that you two love each other."
"Edge, for all the gods' sake..." Cecil said, rolling
his eyes, "it's only the two of you who refuses to see
Edge shook his head.
"No, that's not true," he slowly said, "I know I
love her. But I doubt that Rydia feels the same."
He was pushed into a corner. Anyhow, he had longed for telling
someone the truth. He felt much better as his wishes and doubts
had been partly released, even though it wasn't that much.
"I don't," Cecil said.
He leaned back.
"You know, I know Rosa since fifteen years. About ten of
those she used to tell me she loved me. But it seemed like I
never understood what she was saying before Golbez kidnapped her.
It's a wonder that Kain never caved my thick head in for my own
"I wonder where he is now," Edge hurriedly said.
Cecil shook his head.
"No changing subjects, my friend," he said, "what
I'm saying is the truth. It's obvious."
"No, it's not," Edge said, "I might be in love,
but I'm certain that Rydia is left in friendship."
"Now you listen to me," the king of Baron said,
frowning, "I and all the others want you two to be happy.
But this might be the only chance you've got to finally admit
what you feel for each other. Are you aware that Rydia very well
might return to the land of Espers permanently if nobody doesn't
tie her to our world?"
Edge stared at his friend.
"What!? But the time flow..." he choked.
Cecil nodded, gravely.
"Yes, I know. It's her decision, but... she don't have any
real strong bonds in this world, you know. We are her friends,
but she grew up among the espers."
The king of Baron was crossing his fingers, holding the hand on
the other side of his legs where Edge couldn't see it. Cecil was
well aware that Leviathan could change the time stream for
Rydia's sake, but lying to the ninja king might be the only way
to make him think clearly.
"Well, I can't force her," he said.
"Look, it's not like I'm her babysitter. She's an adult and
have the right to decide herself, I don't want to push her into
something. I wouldn't do that to her."
Cecil sighed, imitating his friend.
"No, I'm not going to press her, even though I don't want
her to leave," Edge resolutely said.
"Well, I guess I can't make it through to you," Cecil
said and stood up, "but I believe that you're the only one
who can ask her to stay. You should at least think about
Cecil walked out of the room and up the stairs, leaving Edge to
his new troubled thoughts.
Everyone living in the castle waited in the throne room. Cecil
knew it, so he went there to leave his report. The crowd split
into two to allow him to reach the thrones, where everyone could
Rosa stood up there already.
"Well?" she worriedly said, speaking everyone's
Cecil sighed and shook his head.
"The fool is afraid to lure her into a hasty decision. I
could have strangled him..."
There was a lot of sighing in the room. Rosa finished her
depressed breathing and then looked at Cecil.
"I'm sure it'll be alright," she said, "I doubt he
can compete with the risk of loosing her 'forever'."
"Yeah, I guess..." Cecil said, but he wasn't very sure
Edge was such a stubborn idiot at times...
The guards, servants, kings and others in the room fell into
'They want to be together,' Cecil thought, frowning, 'what does
it take for them to see that? What should I do...?'
"Why is there a crowd here, Cecil?" a voice suddenly
A lot of heads snapped up, and many people spun around. Everyone
stared. Especially the one who had been called.
"K-k-k-k..." Cecil stupidly stuttered.
"Kain!" Rosa exclaimed.
"Missed the wedding, didn't we?" the dragoon said with
an excusing smile, "I'm sorry about that. We traveled here
as fast as possible..."
He wore his armor, as always. But he smiled, and that was unlike
him. Behind him stood a figure in a brown robe, with a hood that
hid the person's face.
Cecil rushed down the room and grabbed his friend's armored
"You're back!" the king said with a broad smile.
"Seems so, doesn't it?" Kain replied and thumped
Cecil's back, "and you're the king now, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am," Cecil nodded, "and Rosa's the
Kain smiled and dropped his helmet on the floor.
His eyes were slightly different than Cecil remembered. They were
still the same, but... there had always been a small bitterness
hiding deep inside before. Now that was completely gone.
Rosa hurried over to the dragoon and hugged him despite his
"We've missed to have you around," she smiled.
"I'm sorry about that."
She took a closer look.
"You look... happy, Kain," she said.
"I do?" he smiled.
"Yeah, where have you dropped your depression?" Cid
grinned, approaching with Yang just one step behind.
"I buried it somewhere..." Kain said with a chuckle,
"with a little help."
His friends finally caught up with a detail.
"'We traveled here'?" Cecil said, puzzled.
He turned his head.
"Oh, who's your friend?"
Kain turned around with a warm smile and held up a hand. The
robed figure put a fine hand in his gloved palm, stepping closer
"This might surprise you," Kain softly said, "but
this is the woman I love."
Several slightly surprised "congratulations" got stuck
in several throats as the hood was pushed backwards, revealing a
beautiful face and a stream of thick, blond hair.
"What the..." Cecil gasped.
"... Heck?" Yang ended the sentence, most
"Hello," the woman carefully said, as if ready to run.
"Don't even think about it," Kain warned, stepping in
between his company and the surprised people.
"Val... Valvalis?!" Cecil, Rosa, Yang and Cid choked.
Kain opened his mouth to speak, but Valvalis moved past him and
faced her former enemies.
"Yes, it's me," she said, "but I am no longer the
fiend of Air. I was purified on mount Ordeals, just as you once
were, king Cecil."
"She was used by Zemus," Kain grimly said, "he
deceived her mind like mine and Golbez'."
"But... but... but... err?" Cid stupidly said.
"You were rather dying last time I saw you," Cecil
"I was," Valvalis nodded, "but Rubicant saved me
by teleporting me out of the giant of Bab-Il. That fooled you to
believe that I dissolved like a dying monster do."
Kain draped his arm around her shoulders, careful since he still
wore the armor.
"You don't know her like I do, that's all," he said,
"if you did, you'd trust her."
"Look at me," he said, "I've been together with
her for two months, ever since I met her on mount Ordeals after I
left you in Mysidia. And I'm feeling better than ever before,
certainly not because she's used some magic to turn my head
Valvalis stepped backwards so that her back touched Kain's chest
plate. Not too wrongfully she felt that the dragoon's friends
definitely didn't trust her to have left his mind alone.
Kain frowned and wrapped his arms around her, protecting.
"Wait, calm down," Rosa said.
She walked closer and reached out a hand. Her fingertips touched
"Holy powers of the world, I bid of thee to send me thy
blessings," she chanted, "if there is darkness within,
then drive it out of this man..."
Kain didn't even blink as a ray of light left Rosa's hand and
went straight through his head without leaving a scratch. The
queen turned to Valvalis. The holy force could not harm her
"They are telling the truth," Rosa said and smiled
carefully, "I'm sorry I didn't believe you at first."
"I understand why," Valvalis said.
"Actually I was prepared for that you wouldn't accept her,
and then we would have left again," Kain said and smiled at
Cecil, "but if you do, well... I'm at your service, my
friend and liege."
Cecil reached out and put his hand on Kain's shoulder.
"Hey, don't call me your liege, it gives me the
creeps," the king smiled, "welcome back, my friend. And
you are also welcome, Valvalis."
"Thank you so much..." the old fiend of Air mumbled.
Kain kissed her hair, and she smiled warmly at him.
"We'll get you an armor soon enough, love," Kain said.
"You see," she said to the others in the room,
"before I was captured by Milon and brought to Zemus, I was
a dragon warrior; nowadays it's called a dragoon. Do you have any
room in the castle for another one?"
"Of course," Cecil smiled.
"Well then, back to my question," Kain said,
"what's going on here?"
"We are assembling for pondering a problem together,"
"So it is," Edward said, "we have without luck
sought a way to combine the hearts of fair Rydia and king Edge.
So far there have been flowers exchanged, as well as poison and
high fever at work. However the fear to hurt and stubbornness
within still manage to fight back the two doves' love for each
"String the harp, bro," Palom grinned, "that'll be
a nice song."
And for once his sister didn't hit him for opening his mouth.
"Edge didn't want to listen," Cecil sighed, "he
thought that he shouldn't try to fret Rydia in any way. "
Kain and Valvalis exchanged glances, smiling.
"They don't get it, is that the problem?" Kain
"Exactly," his friends nodded with deep sighs.
"Have you tried locking them up in a room in the middle of
the night, all alone with each other?" Valvalis said with a
Suddenly, Cecil began to grin.
"Valvalis," he said, "you are a genius!"
"Actually, it was a joke..." she said, eyebrows rising.
"Would not that be a bit cruel?" Yang said, but his
grin gave away that Cecil had his full support.
"I'm ready to try anything by now," the king of Baron
"Just because you bet a trading contract to Edge's
chancellor that you'd get the king married?" Rosa said and
rolled her eyes, laughing.
"Not only that," Cid grinned before Cecil had time to
answer, "he told me that if he didn't succeed, he'd name his
first son after me!"
"Cecil!" Rosa gasped.
But then she laughed. So did everyone else in the room. Edge and
Rydia were happily unaware what was planned behind their backs,
still down in the healing quarters.
Rydia yawned and stretched her whole body. Then she opened her
"Welcome back, sweetness," Edge said with a careful
She blinked, all memories rushing back to her.
"Edge, are you alright?"
She more or less fell out of the bed and leaped over to his side.
He gave a short laugh.
"As you're acting, one could believe that you really was
"Don't be silly, of course I was!" she said, almost
furious, "I thought you were going to die..."
The mockery glistening in Edge's eyes disappeared immediately.
"Hey, don't attack me," he said with an unusually soft
voice, "I know you were."
Rydia's frustration melted away, and she smiled carefully back.
Then suddenly she froze, and her face became a little darker than
it usually was.
"Say Edge," she hesitantly said, "do you remember
Edge understood, and pretended as if he didn't notice her blush.
"Not much," he lied, "my memory is just a black
hole where what happened after the antidote should be."
If she wanted to go to the espers, he wouldn't be a spider web
that captured her own wishes. He had to tell himself that pretty
roughly now that he heard her voice and looked into her eyes
Her blush ceased, relieved.
'Good that he doesn't remember...' she thought, 'I wouldn't like
to explain why I held him like that... of course it was to help
him, but what if he had... I don't know...'
'I'm getting sick and tired of you,' the hidden part of her
'Oh, pipe down.'
'If it was only to help him, why would you blush like that?
Didn't you feel anything more?'
"They told me you kept awake all through the night just
because you wanted to check on me," Edge said, and his
fingers touched her hand, "I wanted to thank you."
Rydia looked down at his brief touch and couldn't stop her hand
from wrapping itself around his.
"You're welcome," she mumbled, "of course I
watched you. You got into that whole thing because of me."
"It was worth it," Edge gravely said, "and I'd do
His other hand placed itself over their held hands. Then it
suddenly moved back again, as if he didn't want or dare to touch
her too much.
'No, keep away,' he told himself, 'it's not like she belongs to
me. She's got her own life...'
It felt as if he was pushing a dagger into his own chest. But it
was true. Asking Rydia to follow not her own heart, but someone
Haven't you ever heard of suggestions?
She's got no other bonds than friends here, the espers are...
well, they took care of her!
I said suggest, you moron!
Rydia has the right to decide alone!
"I'm glad you're alright," Rydia said with a smile.
Edge carefully smiled back. Then a nurse came in between.
"You seem fully restored, Your Majesty," she kindly
said, "I think that you can get out of the bed now."
Just as Edge stood up, Cecil and Rosa came down the stair.
"Better?" the queen asked with a smile.
"Yes," Edge said, avoiding looking at Cecil, "I
actually feel as if nothing happened."
"Good to hear. Oh, and we've got great news; Kain has
"He has?" Rydia and Edge said simultaneously.
Cecil nodded, smiling. He turned his head and waved with a hand.
With his armor making a terrible noise, Kain came down the stair.
"Hi, you two," he smiled.
"Kain! I was worried about you!" Rydia grinned and gave
him a quick hug.
"What, don't you think I can take care of myself?" he
Rydia only smiled at that.
She moved aside, and Edge watched the dragoon. Kain calmly looked
Ever since the event in the Sealed cave, when the dragoon had
followed Golbez' command, Edge didn't really trust him. For a
moment nobody moved.
"Come on, Edge," Rydia finally said, "don't be so
"Well... I guess you're right," Edge sighed and held
forth a hand, "good to see you again, Kain."
"And the same to you."
The dragoon took Edge's hand after taking off his metallic glove.
"So, what have you been doing after running away and leaving
us in Mysidia back there?" the king of Eblan said, making it
absolutely clear that he was determined to follow Rydia's advice.
"I've got myself a fiancée," Kain said with a smile.
"You never said you were engaged," Cecil pointed out,
raising his eyebrows.
"Well, I'm actually just believing we are," the dragoon
smiled and turned around, looking up the stair, "love, are
"Do you really have to ask me that, Kain?" Valvalis
warmly said, entering the room still dressed in the robe.
Edge and Rydia certainly didn't act different than the others had
done. The four people who knew the story hurriedly explained
everything before something was thrown or Bahamut was bothered
"But you still haven't told us how it came to love between
you two," Cecil said to Kain and Valvalis as Rydia and Edge
had calmed down.
"Let's talk over dinner," Kain said and winked with one
eye, chuckling, "it's a terribly long story."
So they ended up eating together, all of the friends from the
journeys. From Cecil to Edward and everything in between. Kain
and Valvalis told their story about how they slowly and
staggering had grown to love each other as the dragoon had
suffered Golbez' tries to control him. It was a fascinating
story, but Rydia only listened with a half ear.
She thought about Edge and herself. Soon, in only two days, he
would leave to head back to Eblan. And she? It was time to decide
now. Espers or humans? It wasn't easy, even though she knew where
she had a home.
She didn't know what to do...
And there was something else. The thought of Edge getting married
made her stomach freeze. No matter how much she tried to push the
thought away, it kept coming back.
She risked a quick glance at him. He was idly pushing a piece of
tomato around on his plate, using his fork. Rydia wondered what
he thought about.
Edge thought about her, even though he tried not to.
What if they'd never see each other again? If she went back to
the espers... no, she couldn't disappear like that, she just
couldn't do it! Yet... she could. It made him feel sick. But it
wasn't his business. He might wish like mad it had been, but it
As he was back in his room, alone, the thoughts kept troubling
A pencil in his absentminded grip went knocking like a woodpecker
at the table.
To never see Rydia again... the mere thought made him want to
scream. Of course it wasn't certain, but... what if that was how
it would be? The pencil snapped in two between his fingers. Edge
growled and threw the pieces out of the open window. Then he
He was frustrated to the border of madness. If he lost Rydia, he
felt it would be very, very hard to go on. Eblan didn't seem
important to him anymore. He only cared for that green-haired
Breaking stuff in the room wouldn't help. Neither would just
sitting there with the head filled with bitter thoughts. But he
didn't know what to do. He didn't want to press Rydia, but he
definitely didn't want her to leave the human world forever.
It was getting dark outside. This was the second last night he'd
stay in Baron. After tomorrow night he'd leave for Eblan on an
airship. Leave for Eblan and all pressure. Pressure about finding
His hands turned into shaking fists.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
"Yes?" he called, trying to relax a little not to let
his voice give away his concerned mind.
One of the guards of the castle opened the door.
"Excuse me, Your Majesty, but caller Rydia wishes to speak
with you," he said.
Edge could have jumped through the roof, but he pulled himself
"Then let her in," he said.
"Alright, Your Majesty," the guard nodded, "I'll
tell her she can come."
He closed the door, chewing on his lower lip to keep from
"Calm down!" the other man by the door hissed.
"Yes, Your Majesty," the real guard mumbled, "but
this is hideous!"
"Hurry!" Cecil smiled and pushed the helmet downwards
so that it would hide his eyes better.
If Rydia should recognize him the whole thing would be devasted,
but Cecil just had to handle it by himself. He didn't dare to
give anyone else the responsibility.
The guard rushed down the hall, watching the floor. He feared
that if he looked up and exchanged glances with any of his fellow
guards, he wouldn't be able to keep from laughing. The other men
in the corridor had the same problem to keep calm.
Rydia had just changed to her deeply green nightgown when there
was a knock on the door. She hurriedly put on the cream colored
dressing gown that she had got with the room. Then she rushed to
open the door.
It was a guard, his uniform gave it away. (Poor guards and
servants... they play an important role in so many stories, but
what do they get? The right to remain anonymous whether they like
it or not... or get snapped at, killed or saves the princess...
well, let's not get caught in such things. Now, where were
"Good evening, miss," the guard said, "excuse me
for bothering you, but His Majesty of Eblan wishes to see
"Edge?" Rydia blankly said.
She didn't even think about changing clothes, just hurried out of
her room and down the corridor. There were not that many steps
that brought her to Edge's door, but she had time to think a lot
in that time.
She wondered what he could want, and by this time of the day.
Well, it wasn't that late, but anyhow...
And her thoughts drifted away to that thing that had bothered her
ever since he had told her about it. His wife. Rydia didn't want
to think about that.
As long as there wasn't anyone that would protest, she could find
an excuse for visiting him. Leviathan would gladly bring her to
the human world and anywhere she wanted to go fast enough. But...
the woman that eventually would stand by Edge's side...
She fought back a shudder and looked at the door that a guard
politely had opened for her as she had approached. With her head
spinning with thoughts, Rydia didn't bother to look at the man.
Which was lucky.
Everyone in the corridor held their breath as she stepped inside
of the room. The guard that had fetched her nearly stumbled and
fell into the door, so concentrated on the young woman that he
almost forgot how to walk.
"You wanted to see me?" two voices said in unison, and
after a heartbeat continued, blankly; "what, you?"
Cecil slammed the door shut and turned the key.
"Hey! What are you doing!?" Edge and Rydia shouted on
the other side of the wood.
"Oh dear!" the fetching guard (oh, let's just call him
Thomas) gasped, managing to sound really shocked considering the
circumstances, "the lock went shut by itself again! Don't
worry, Majesty and miss, I'll get the key immediately! Now who's
got it again? Damn..."
Cecil grinned and closed his fist around the key, almost causing
the whole corridor's population to break down laughing.
Two fists hit the door from the inside.
"Cecil!" Edge roared, "I know it's you!
Open this door or I'll break it!"
"No, no, Your Majesty!" Thomas gasped, "don't
panic, I'll get the key..."
"I'm not panicking, I'm going berserk!"
"Please keep calm, it'll only be a few minutes..."
"Ha!" Edge growled, "Cecil, I swear that I will
kill you for this!"
"But His Majesty isn't present, Your Majesty," Thomas
assured, somehow able to sound really helpless.
"I'll be damned if he isn't!"
"Edge, calm down!" Rydia snapped, "would Cecil
really pull such a stunt?"
"In the name of Rubicant he would, trust me!" Edge
"I'll get the key right away," Thomas said, crossing
his fingers, "please make His Majesty calm down, miss."
Then Thomas hurried off, at least pretending to leave for the
key. But at the end of the corridor he stopped and buried his
face in his hands to silence the laughter as much as possible.
Cecil had to step away from the door and chew on a finger to keep
calm. Those of the guards that knew they wouldn't be able to keep
it quiet sneaked away from the corridor to laugh. They had to, or
they would explode.
Inside of the room Rydia was moving in between the door and Edge
to stop him from doing anything hasty.
"Look, Edge," she said, "I don't think that Cecil
"Oh yeah?" he interrupted, "then who would have
planned this stupid joke? Don't tell me you weren't fooled to
"Well, I was told that you wanted to see me," she gave
in, "but if it was Cecil, why would he do such a
"Haven't he spoken with you?" Edge asked, "or
"No, about what?" Rydia wondered, frowning.
Edge opened his mouth, but closed it again. What could he say?
Good grief, was she only wearing a evening gown and a morning
coat over that? Her usual clothing was much more enticing, but
there was something even...
For heaven's sake, pull yourself together!
Edge tried to assemble his thoughts and come up with something to
"How can Cecil do this?" he finally grumbled and went
over to an armchair.
He heavily sat down. Rydia took the armchair which stood beside
his, still frowning.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
Edge figured that he had no escape.
'Damn you, Cecil...'
"He is... they are..."
Edge looked at Rydia, and the dam of troubles broke as he watched
her questioning, worried eyes. He didn't want to talk about it,
but he could no longer keep the pain from flooding over.
"Are you going back to the espers?" he asked, much
harsher than he'd ever planned.
His rough tone startled her, and Edge immediately regretted
opening his mouth.
"The espers?" Rydia said after a moment, "I
haven't decided yet..."
"Look, I didn't mean to be that harsh," Edge hurriedly
said, feeling like an idiot, "it's just that... Cecil spoke
with me and... we understand that you feel like home there,
but... we feel that we would all miss you terribly."
He felt even more like an idiot. And a rude one, too. Rydia
watched him carefully, understandably slightly confused about his
"That's... nice of you," she finally said.
They watched each other.
'Don't be such a fool!' something inside of Edge screamed, 'don't
you see that she'll be lost forever if you don't use this single
opportunity? Will you live with that loss for the rest of your
He bit his lower lip. Rydia had never seen him do something like
that. He had never shown worries in such a manner. But something
was really tormenting him, a blind could see that. And she didn't
like to see him troubled. If Edge was troubled, then she wanted
to help him. What kind of friend would she be if she didn't?
'Friiieeend...!' that irritating part of her moaned.
She ignored it.
"Hey Edge," she warily said, "what's bothering
He looked at her, and his eyes were filled with a twister of
troubled emotions wrestling each other. Suddenly his fingers
touched her hand, which laid on the armchair's elbow rest. Both
his and Rydia's eyes went to the hands.
Edge fell silent, and she looked up to met his eyes. He looked
away and then tried again.
"I was wondering if... if you don't feel like you have a
home anywhere in this world, won't you... come to Eblan?"
Rydia stared at him, suddenly feeling as if she could fly.
"To... to Eblan?" she finally managed to say, with a
Edge still didn't dare to look at her.
"Yeah, I... I..."
He forced himself to turn his head.
"I'm sure you really could help out and... and I'd really be
glad to have you around."
Rydia's hand closed around his fingers, and she was smiling
warmly, straight into his soul. Edge felt his own lips move into
a warm smile. His heart felt as if it could grow wings and
"You would?" she softly said.
"I really would," Edge warmly nodded.
Rydia looked at him, smiling. But then a cold, rough thought sent
a dagger through her heart, and the smile on her lips faded. Edge
was alarmed immediately.
"Rydia, what's the matter?" he asked.
'If I stay with him,' Rydia thought, 'what if I become so fond of
him that it'll hurt even more when he... he... damn, I don't want
him to get married!'
But she couldn't say such a thing, of course.
When she didn't answer, Edge rose from his armchair and stood in
front of her, bowing down so that their faces were at the same
"Rydia, whatever it is, you can tell me," he gravely
said, "we're friends, aren't we?"
She looked into those deep, grey-blue eyes and saw his worries
for her. It hurt to see, she didn't want to make him even more
"Yes, we are..."
Gods, those eyes... she couldn't hide anything for him, he
deserved the truth...
"We're friends, Edge," she said, hoping that she didn't
shock him to much with what she had to say, "and I love
that! But when you get married, what will happen to our
He just stared at her. His mind had turned completely blank, but
Rydia couldn't know that. She stood up and rushed past him,
trying to hide the pain in her eyes.
"I'd only be a problem in the end, and I'd have to leave for
your sake," she muttered, "it's better that I don't
"Now just a darn minute!"
Edge walked around her and resolutely faced Rydia.
"You'd never ever be a problem to me," he said, a bit
hoarse, "you're the only one who can understand me like only
you can do!"
He figured that hadn't made sense at all, but at least the
message was clear.
They stared at each other.
"Edge," Rydia finally bitterly said, "you know
what I mean. You need a queen, you told me that yourself. Eblan
needs that. And we don't have the kind of friendship that would
"To the hell with Eblan and all that!" Edge said and
put his hands on her shoulders, "nothing of it would mean
anything at all to me if I couldn't hear you snapping and teasing
once in a while, Rydia!"
She stared into his eyes, jaw dropped. Edge felt just as shocked,
surprised over that his mind had decided that it couldn't carry
the unspoken troubles anymore.
'He'll get married,' some devilish part of her shouted, 'you'll
be in their way!'
'Shut up!' the hidden part growled.
'He'll have an Eblanian woman!' the shouting inside of her
snapped, 'he's born to marry a noble woman of his own people!
What do you think you are trying to make up here?'
She looked away.
"Edge, I... can't do that to you."
It was rubbish, but it was the best she could come up with.
But Edge was an intelligent man, no matter what names she had
surpassed him during their playful argues. His hand came to her
cheek, carefully forcing her to turn her head at him.
There was pain in his eyes now. Like back then, in the Sealed
cave. Of loss, and fear of more loss. Those eyes that were like a
thousand tiny crystals, which should be shining of joy and kind
mischief... like a boy, but yet controlled like a grown man.
Those eyes that should glisten with laughter and thoughtful
mocking as he tried to think of a quick answer. Those eyes that
belonged to Edge, and Edge only.
You didn't die. You kept your promise.
If only I dared to love you.
You didn't leave me. I don't want to leave you either.
How could I ever think of doing that to you?
'Finally...' the hidden part of her mind mumbled.
"Rydia," Edge said, and his voice a bit strangely
thick, "why do you turn away? What are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid," she whispered, hardly able to speak
Then suddenly she could hardly breathe, because his arms were
around her waist, pressing her smaller body against his. He
didn't utter a single word, just held her tightly for a moment
that didn't last longer than a heartbeat. Then he let go as
sudden as he had caught her in the embrace, and turned away. Like
she just had done. Like he had done in the throne-room an
"I'm sorry, Rydia," he bitterly muttered, "I don't
know what came over me."
Her heart was about to break through her chest, and it definitely
wasn't only because of the surprise. That feeling of being that
close to Edge, to even feel his heart beat, his warm arms... she
couldn't explain what she felt. Only that she wanted to be back
there again, that near him.
Seeing his back hurt her eyes.
'Is that so...?' she slowly thought, almost shivering, 'I do...
The hidden part of her only smiled warmly.
But he was... he wasn't going to... he wouldn't...
Oh, cut that silly hesitating out, you idiotic girl!
'She'll hate me for that,' Edge bitterly thought, 'too hasty
again. I blew it. Again and again and again... but holding her...
she looked so vulnerable...'
One thing that Rydia certainly wasn't was delicate. That was one
of the many things that put her aside from other women, that made
her so special. So seeing her unsure like that had made him panic
slightly for a second too long. He had driven her to that, he had
known it. So he had the responsibility for hurting her, and he
could not bear that. If he only could have reacted differently.
He'd give anything to embrace her again, to feel her chest
against his, her warmth. But not like that, not attacking! Idiot!
A hand on his shoulder. Edge was afraid, the feeling could not
carry another name. But he forced himself to face Rydia.
She was frowning, yes, but not angry.
Her voiced trailed off; she didn't know what to ask or to tell
He wanted to explain, to tell her that he wished that she would
want him to hold her carefully. But he couldn't, afraid to break
"I don't know..." he said, of all stupid things,
"I'm sorry, I couldn't stop myself. I don't know
His voice faded away, and he just looked at her with that
strangling sadness in his eyes.
Rydia moved around him. She took the few steps needed for
standing before him and then carefully, slowly, raised her arms
and placed them around his neck. Edge stared down at her, the
slightly confused, searching sparkle in her eyes reflected in his
"Like... like this?" Rydia mumbled, warily.
"I suppose..." Edge whispered, stuttering of the
His arms moved by themselves, one placing itself around her
waist, the other around her shoulders. He hardly knew how to
handle this situation, and she definitely didn't either. They
looked at each other again, unsure what to do about it. Edge was
well aware what he wanted to say, the words were burning inside
of his mind. But he still wasn't sure if he dared. He was weary
of the sparkling in Rydia's eyes, she looked away and then at him
again over and over. It wasn't hard to tell that she wasn't
certain about what she was doing there.
I love you, Rydia.
Would those words make her even more unconfident, even scare her?
But he wanted to speak them out so dearly...
'Why does he have to marry someone else?' Rydia thought as she
looked away again, 'can't he just... have... me?'
It was as if a rock tumbled out of her as she finally managed to
put that secret, subconscious wish into words.
It hurt, though. He could never...
She turned her head away, not only the eyes. Couldn't bear to
look at him.
"Rydia," he said in such a soft voice that it tickled
her ears but only made her want to move away to escape the
unreachable, "what are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid," she muttered once more.
She tried to let go of him, but then his grip only tightened. She
looked up at him.
Don't move away, his eyes pleaded, please don't do that to me.
"You are afraid," he said, "is it me?"
She bit her lower lip, but couldn't hold back anymore.
"I dread the woman you will love, Edge! Don't you see that?
The woman who will bring you away from me!"
She stared at him, waiting for him to snort and say that she was
out of her mind. But...
Why was he smiling like that? And what was his hands doing at the
back of her head?
"My compassion, sweetcheeks," he whispered,
"because then you fear yourself, and that is one weird
"Wh-what?" she stuttered.
'He loves... me?!'
"You're the one I love, Rydia, nobody else," Edge said
in a low, soft voice, "even though I must be forced to admit
'I said it? I did? Good gods, I said it!' he thought, nervously
awaiting her reaction.
Rydia just stared at him for a moment. Then she more or less
jumped, securing her grip around his neck and almost desperately
pressing her lips against his. For half a second he was stunned
by the surprise, then his arms around her tightened their grip,
Edge was a veteran flirter, of course. He had kissed women
before. But they hadn't meant this much to him, nothing like what
Rydia meant. She hadn't ever kissed anyone before him, but her
first try was so wonderful that he didn't even notice.
"Edge, you moron..." Rydia whispered against his lips,
"you scared me so terribly! With the poison, the fever, the
mere idea of you finding a queen most of all!"
"I'm sorry about that," he mumbled, "but you
scared me too. The thought of you disappearing into the world of
Espers... don't do that, Rydia, don't leave me alone again."
"I won't, I won't, I promise..."
He had longed to firmly hold her for so long that it was very
hard for him to keep from trying to get even closer to Rydia. He
wanted her so terribly, but this was a bit too early yet... she
had just got to know his feeling and given her answers, and he
knew well that being too hasty could destroy what they both just
had found. No, he wouldn't be so foolish that he risked that.
Rydia's feet touched the floor again. They just held each other
tightly in warm silence for a moment.
Edge's breath tickled her hair, she could feel his strong heart
beat against her chest. This was where she wanted to be, and
nowhere else. As she looked up his lips covered hers again, as
she had wished that they would.
"I love you, Edge," she mumbled, and felt his lips move
into a soft smile.
"And you feared I'd find a queen in Eblan?" he
whispered, "when the one I wanted was right here before me
all along, and I just didn't dare to reach out for you? Yes,
you're right, I am a moron."
They removed their lips from each other and just smiled warmly.
Edge suddenly chuckled.
"Wait," he said, "I can do better than that."
He released her and took a step backwards, sitting down on one
"Will you marry me, fair Rydia?"
She almost made him fall as she threw her arms around him.
"I'll take that as a 'yes'," he smiled and kissed her
"You bet it was!" she said, even though it was hard to
hear what she said as her lips were occupied against his mouth.
There was a clinking sound, followed by the moaning of an opening
"We've found the key, Your Majesty and miss Rydia," a
voice softly said.
"Go and feed it to an imp, Cecil," Edge said without
"As you wish, my friend..."
"And check your bedding carefully before you go to sleep
from now on. I'm only warning you because you're such a good
Cecil chuckled and closed the door.
"You wouldn't put something in his bed for real, would
you?" Rydia smiled.
"One can never know when it comes to me," Edge grinned,
"especially not after this stunt."
Rydia laughed. She touched his nose with the tip of her finger.
"Now, now, don't be so hard on him. It was for a good
"Making me almost crack down of nervous tension?" Edge
Then he laughed.
"Well, I guess I could spare him if you ask me really
nicely," he said and winked with one eye.
As he bent down a little and kissed her neck Rydia felt a warm
stream of desire begin its flow inside of her, still only a small
pouring, but for every single touch of Edge's lips the surge
increased. She shivered a little and tightened her grip of him.
How she had longed for him, not daring to even understand what it
really was about! Asura had known; everybody had known... but
Rydia just hadn't been able to face it.
Edge, this teasing, hot-headed ninja that she loved so much...
No, wait. There's a time for everything, and this wasn't the
right moment. Not yet. That flame inside of her would have to
cease and rest for a little while longer.
Rydia freed an arm from her own grip of Edge's neck and moved in
a finger against his lips. He moved his head backwards and nodded
with a smile.
"I know," he softly said, "time turns gold into
"Interesting saying," Rydia smiled, "is it
"No, it's Edganian," he explained, making both of them
They stood up. Edge kept an arm over Rydia's shoulders as they
walked to the door; her arm rested around his waist.
"Good night, sweetcheeks," Edge smiled and kissed the
tip of her nose, playful.
It was hard enough not to kiss her mouth again and go even
further; he knew Rydia would have as hard as him fighting back
the same emotions that only wished to break free inside of him.
But all that had its own, special moment, and he had to keep his
emotions down a little longer no matter how hard it felt as Rydia
looked up at him with those warm, green eyes...
He suddenly realized it would take at least two weeks to get
Eblan ready for a royal wedding, and could hardly stop a groan
from leaving his chest. He would have to start as soon as
possible, and kick some of his advisors in the back if they
didn't work fast enough. They were actually good at what they
did, but they were also professional arguers and could start a
fight with their companions before one had time to blink.
Well, on the other hand the whole country had held its breath
waiting for him to pick his queen. Maybe the banners were sewed,
the cakes baked, the speeches written and the confetti ready to
be thrown already... he'd know soon enough.
"Sweet dreams, love," Rydia softly smiled.
"That won't be any problem at all, if I only can get to
sleep," he grinned.
She opened the door and stepped out, giving him one last smile
for the evening before she was gone behind the wood.
Edge smiled broadly as he heard her voice again.
"Cecil, I should really fry you, but I won't."
"You're welcome," the king of Baron grinned,
"well, finally I can go back to Rosa. Oh, right."
The door opened again.
"Hey Edge, I've given orders that an airship shall be ready
for departure to Eblan tomorrow after lunch," Cecil said
with a broad smile, "you'll both have time to pack. Do you
want a ticket?"
"Why you slippery..." Edge grinned.
"I figured you wanted to get home as soon as possible."
Cecil winked with one eye and closed the door.