The feud had gone on since the dawn of time, it was a fact of life that the Trosts and the Dengamors were enemies. That Silas and his family were liars and out to get him. Panto had been told this all his life.

So, how could they possibly be fated to fall in love?

The tangerine glow of the sky lit the path as Panto finally made his way home, hours late and still shaken by the unlikely reveal of his soulmate. Panto had tucked the singular green glove into the pocket of his cloak and collected both his and Silas' swords which were left sticking out of the dirt before he started his journey home. He had been walking so caught up in a stream of panic, he didn't notice Litzibitz calling his name until she caught his arm and pulled his attention back from his encounter with Panto.

"There you are. Father is all wound up looking for you." She looked at with the split second analyst of his emotions that only his older sister could manage. "What happened to you, Panto?"

"I got into a fight with a Dengamor," he answered, holding up the two swords as proof.

"That explains the blood," Litzibitz replied, frowning at his bloodied shirt cuff. "Did you win?"

"It was against Silas."

Litzibitz laughed. "Ah, so yes."

She grinned for a moment as they shared knowing looks. Silas was well-known as lacking the skills to win any fights. (It may have been lucky in hindsight, given that it led to Panto realising the truth.)

Suddenly, Litzibitz's smile faltered. "You have his weapon. Did you-"

"I let him go," Panto interrupted. He felt sick at the idea of hurting Silas - of hurting his soulmate. "With a warning about trespassing on our land of course."

"I knew you'd see my side of things," Litzibitz said victoriously. "That the feud between our families is pointless. Hurting the Dengamor's won't get us anywhere."

"Perhaps," Panto agreed with her for the first time since his sister had began hinting they should attempt ending the bad blood that ran between their families. If the feud was stopping him from being with his soulmate- he shook his head of the thought but it still lingered, taunting him with an unreachable happily ever after.

"Maybe we can talk to father together?" Litzibitz suggested. She was staring at him with worry after he didn't answer. "Panto, are you sure you are alright?"

"I would like to rest, that is all," he replied. "I have many things on his mind."

Despite the truth in the statement, all the thoughts were linked to just one - Silas .

-

Almost a month passed before Panto got the chance to see Silas again.

Their fight in the woods and - most importantly - the reveal that Silas was his soulmate was a constant distraction to Panto. He was becoming increasingly unfocused in scissor-sword training and withdrawn from even his sister. Panto spent his free time studying the soulmark on his hand in the privacy of his chambers and imagining holding Silas' hand to see them side-by-side. It seemed that no matter how hard he tried, Panto couldn't forget what he saw or about Silas. He became enamoured with the man who had once been his enemy.

Eventually, Panto got tired of being confined to mope on the grounds of the Trost farm and escaped to take a walk in the woods that were in the middle ground between Dengamor and Trost land; it was the only place where the feud wouldn't apply. It was a peaceful walk and the clear skies and cool air helped Panto to relax his mind and destress.

Keeping the fact that he was destined for the arms of a Dengamor a secret was difficult but Panto had no one in Inglenook or even Weindmoore to confess such a secret to. Even Litzibitz, who supported peace between their families, was a risk. If the news got to Silas, it was impossible to predict how he would react. Even if he had reputation as being kind and compassionate, the Dengamors were hostile. Even more troubling, Silas may seek him out and Panto knew any attempt at a relationship would never end well.

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