"What?" Alissanda shot Lisana a surprised look.
"I wish to resign." Though she was quite hesitant on saying it, the moment she did, she no longer had any reservations of doing so. She made sure to articulate herself clearly.
"Then why?" He quickly regained his calm without taking the letter, merely looking at her. Given how weird her behavior was over the past few days was, she probably didn't think this through before making up her mind. So, he hoped he would be able to talk her out of it.
He didn't want her to leave him, of course. She was caring, attentive and loyal, qualities he appreciated quite a lot. The rapport they had with each other was also quite rare. There was no better guard than her.
That was why he opted to try to convince her to stay.
"It's all in the letter…"
She knew that if she said any more, she would not be able to bring herself to leave.
He took the letter, gave the two pages a brief glance, before he tore it all up with a smile and a shake of his head.
Her face reddened. She didn't know why he would do something like that. Was her trying to humiliate her? Even so, she didn't feel angry about it at all. After all, she deserved all of it. She had expected too much.
"Well then, the letter is no more. Can you tell me your reason now? I'd like to hear it," he said as he closed the door.
Now that it was only the two of them, she felt much more relaxed. She shot him a wistful and complicated glance.
Alissanda decided to go softer on her.
He pressed his hands on her shoulders and said, "The way I see it, you're a really capable subordinate. I have much need of your help. If there's anything I did wrong, please tell me. I can change. At least, I don't want to lose such a magnificent guard like you."
"Am I… just a guard to you?" she muttered.
He paused, before he smiled and said, "Of course, you're my friend as well."
"Guard… friend…" she repeated self mockingly, "Looks like that's all I am to you…"
"What did you say?" He didn't hear her through the mumbling.
Unable to take it any longer, she looked up and yelled, "I said… Friend! Guard! Is that all you see me as? Is that all I am to you?"
"Apart from that… what else do you want to become?"
"You know it! You know everything!" She didn't hold back in the slightest and looked up at the dreamily handsome man she couldn't shake out of her mind. "But you don't ever say anything! Since you don't, I won't either! Because I know if I make it clear, I'd just end up nothing but a joke!"
Still feigning ignorance, he scratched his head. "I really don't know what you're getting at. I'm really curious about the reason for your resignation, though."
"The reason for my resignation?" Her face paled considerably as she shot him a smile of resignation. "I think that I'm not qualified to be your guard given my abilities now."
"But I don't think so. The way I see it, it's thanks to having you by my side that I'm able to rest well over the past few years," he said with a sigh, "I really don't understand how you came to the conclusion that you're not qualified."
She grit her teeth and croaked, "Because… because I can't protect you at all!"
"Because I'm not stronger than you, and neither am I capable enough to lead troops. I'm better than you at nothing! I'm always someone you can do without. If I don't find another reason to stay, leaving is the most logical choice. I'm nothing but a useless piece of junk that nobody needs anyway."
"So, you're leaving because you're not needed?" he said.
"Yes. If I'm not of any worth to you, I'll no longer have a reason for staying. It's not that you're doing anything wrong. The reason is personal to me. I wasn't able to live up to your expectations, so I want to resign."
"Expectations, huh… Do you know what expectations I have for you?"
"I don't. But, at least, you'll have expectations for those of use to you. Since I'm not, I'm resigning."
"Is that the whole reason? You're resigning because you think you're useless to me?"
"Yes," she said with a candid nod. "That's how I feel."
"So you're resigning because you feel you can't take care of me anymore…"
"Then I'll accept your resignation."
It was Lisana's turn to fall silent. Just like the time before the surprise attack on the fort, she had considered all possible scenarios and mentally prepared herself for each one.
When she knocked on his door, she was already ready for any outcome. However, she still didn't think he would agree to her resignation so readily. It was as if he had no lingering dependence on her at all. Didn't he say she was his best guard? Why would he be so willing to let his best guard go?
She didn't know what went through his mind, but of one thing she was certain: Alissanda had no interest in her. He merely treated her as a guard that could take hits for him. Apart from that, she was no different than the other knights of Goldeagle.
She could only grimace at this cruel reality.
"Is that your response?"
"Yes. Since you made this choice because you firmly believe in your reasons, I cannot object. I have no way of counselling you and must let you sort yourself out. The only one that can bring you out of this rut is you. I hope you remember this."
"I… I shall…"
She nodded and prepared to leave.
"What other orders do you have, Your Highness?" She spoke stiffly and even sounded a little hostile, having practically been rejected by him.
"I only said I would let you resign as my guard. Now, it's time for us to discuss what comes next: a new arrangement."
"What does Your Highness have in mind?" She felt completely dejected. She had no hope for anything else. Yet, hope always did come at the brink of despair.
"What I meant is… your resignation might not necessarily be a bad thing. You can still be by my side, though as something other than my guard. If you prefer to not, then you can wait for me in Melindor."
"What do you mean?"
He took a deep breath.
"I mean… I've fought for all there years because I want to protect my kingdom and spare our people the suffering of war. Now that we have chased the southerners out of the empire, I have achieved my first goal. But I can only achieve my second goal once the war is over. However, I can use my privilege to spare the pain from those I care about. So, go back to Melindor!"
"I was going to go back in the first place."
"You want to go back as a retired veteran, but I want you to go back as my fiancee."Previous Chapter Next Chapter