Chapter 26: Dancing With The Mind

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Meathil walked down the frozen hallways, there was nothing happening tonight, she was free for once. A dagger was pressed up against her thigh, if the queen was really trying to assassinate her, she couldn't be too careful. Her body was getting used to the cold hallways and moonlit nights. They only had to survive ten more days, ten more days and then the queen would keep word and come to the Queen's Meeting. She was more worried about Eglanor, he was acting weird lately, and she had not the slightest idea why. Also, what she saw the other night was playing in her head over and over again. What was Deigil doing with the princess? And more importantly how long had that been going on? They seemed to be familiar with each other, had Deigil been a spy for the queen this whole time? She had a thousand questions and no answers. She needed to find out though because if that last question deemed true, then she needed to take care of her, before she took care of them. Deigil. She didn't seem like a spy, but that was what spies were good at, being not what they seem. There was always something about Deigil that seemed off though, like how she was Shadowmount. Meathil didn't like to discriminate, but no Shadowmount would risk being against their queen. Maybe she had been brought over to the Capital before she was old enough to pick a side.

But, right now she needed to focus on the main objective, getting through this month. She wondered why the queen picked her instead of Camaeneth for this, why not her sister? It was an honor yes, but she still wondered. She couldn't believe it, all the things this trip had put her through. Now she was suspecting her own bracket members of being spies! What would be next? That's when she saw a shadow, a figure. It was tall and broad shouldered, Meathil pressed herself to the nearest wall, waiting for it to advance into the light. Her instinct was telling her it was okay, but she just couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. She clenched her dagger so hard the skin around her knuckles turned white. Then the moon lite hit the figure and her heart rate calmed, it was just Eglanor. Now was the perfect chance to ask him.

"Hey Nor, what are you doing out this late?" He seemed startled by her presence, she noticed that he took a step back. What was wrong with him? It was just her. "Are you okay?" He nodded and walked past her, not even glancing her way. Something was definitely up, and she was getting pretty damn annoyed with all the secrets. "What is wrong?! Why can't you talk to me? Or touch me? Or even flash me a smile? Huh? What's wrong?" He stopped, maybe she'd won? Maybe he would tell her all she needs to know, or he wouldn't. Either way, she would get something.

"I-I need to say away from you." Her heart sank.

"What?" She felt her pulse double by the second, every muscle in her body was not working. Every one except for her heart, which felt like it was being ground into little bits of ashes.

"I-I have to stay away from you, for your sake."

"What do you mean for your sake?! Why can't you talk to me? What is going on Eglanor?" She heard her voice, but it wasn't her normal voice. It wasn't her normal, confident, stern voice. It was the voice of a broken doll.

"I just can't. I-I don't want you to get hurt." He turned and she saw tears in his eyes. What? Wha-what did he mean get hurt? She felt her heart sink into her chest, refusing to calm down. Because when she looked at him, he looked back, and all she saw in his eyes, were pain. "Please."

"Please, just give me a chance Eglanor, look at me." He didn't move his eyes from the ground, she couldn't take it, why? Why! "Look at me!" Her yelling filled the hall, and finally he looked.

"Mea-"

"Just come with me," Meathil muttered, and before he could refuse she took his hand. She guided him, he didn't take his eyes off her as she guided him to a room. To a room where she knew it would bring life to his eyes. To the ballroom.

The minute they stepped past the threshold and into the room, she saw a wonder our spark in him. Eglanor loved to dance, he was the one who taught her. Meathil dragged him onto the dance floor and moved his hand to her waist.

"Mea-"

"Just, dance." It was all she had left. She placed her right hand in his left, and felt the warmth of his touch. She stifled the tears that were burning in her eyes. What was happening to them? What was this palace, this queen doing? All she could process was the movement of his feet, into the waltz. It was a old dance, one that was documented before the queens. Only a select few knew how to dance it, and many had forgotten about the dance entirely. But, this was their signature dance, the first dance he taught her. Their feet moved together as they glided across the ballroom floor, she felt his hand push against her back and inched them closer. Meathil gripped his hand as she swirled around the room. The cool air brushed against her skin, but the warmth from his body was keeping her awake, alive. It was just like back then, as if they had never left the dance in all these years. Their movement was swift, and they became one with the music that played between both their heads. The waltzing music, beautiful tones from flutes and harps. The never faulting violins and horns that played in her head. Meathil's auburn hair whipped around her as they sped up. Their feet moved quickly and brushed the floor as if it were a cloud. Feeling the air brush on her face made her feel those days again, the days when they bother were so young and naive. They were only six when he taught her, the days before she had to use every ounce of her time to train. And every time she danced, she could feel a smile, a genuine smile, tug on her lips. And she knew, just knew, that Eglanor had felt the same thing.

They gently swept into another dance, it was called Alissix, it was a royal dance. He knew it and taught it to her when she was eight for the queens birthday celebration. This was a dance where the partners held hands the entire time, and were supposed to sense the movement of the other and follow. They were supposed to flow together, it was not complicated. The reason being the only rule was you needed to keep your hands connected the entire time, other than that, you just moved to the music. Every dance of Alissix was different and unique, it was dependent on mood, music, feeling, and the general energy of the partners. Eglanor gently linked both of their hands together, and guided her closer to him. They were inches apart, she could feel his breath lingering with her's. She heard the horns blazing this time and the flute playing a light melody. They never let go of each other, their hands stayed intertwined, as they danced. It was light and energetic, every once and a while he pulled her extremely close and Meathil felt her cheeks warm. She saw a glimpse of a smile on his face as he danced the night away. His movements guided her's, they were light and jumpy, making her use her toes to move around. Even though her feet ached because of the heels she wore, Meathil kept dancing, not wanting to ruin the moment.

Quietly they glided into Diya, a dance that they had made up together. It consisted of a bunch of mistakes she'd made when he was teaching her, a mix of all dances. She remembered when they made it, they were ten, it was the last time they danced. It was a piano, that is the music that appeared in her head, and it guided them. The first section was mistakes made when learning the waltz, lots of opposite steps, each time making Eglanor grin a little. He was remembering how much fun they had when making it, occasionally she added in a few accidental steps to the foot, he remembered those too. She let out a soft laugh as they moved onto other dances. Rosei, Freyi, Idinaq, Poissa, then they reached Alissix. Boy it took her a while to understand this one, it took her a while to figure out how to let their energies merge. She always would contradict him, so basically for the Diya, it was basically a bunch of messed up steps. They both laughed quietly throughout the dance as they spun, and kicked, and slid across the room.

But, she noticed something after a while, something that caught her attention. He was beginning to become stiff, his body was not a fluid as it was earlier. And before long she saw sweat marks on his forehead, he wasn't tired, she knew he wasn't. His face looked like he was in pain, like something was wrong. She felt his hands tighten around her's, and his breathing scatter. And then he stopped, he stopped and she stopped. The abrupt movement sending her falling to the floor, she looked up at him, and he was frozen. As if he couldn't move a muscle, or a bone. And right before her eyes, he fell, fell to the floor, his eyes blank, and barely breathing. He didn't move, barely breathed, and just stared. Meathil wrapped her arms around his body and sobbed, before checking. Checking for a pulse.

It wasn't there.

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