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❝ ǫᴜᴇsᴛɪᴏɴs ❞

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The once thick forest began to thin as they rode through, the sounds of distant gurgling waters filling Aiya's ears. The setting sun above poured down on them like a blanket of warmth. It was the last few warm rays of autumn, as winter was quickly approaching the four kingdoms. 

Her sides began to feel sore as they rode, not because of the riding but because she couldn't keep herself from being tense. Being this close to Kinnon... it made her very nervous. Her in sides twisted into knots that threatened to become tighter and tighter.

The warmth of his body heat made her breathe quicker than she had been, though she tried to keep it as calm as she could; being this close to him, she knew that he could feel her breathing. Having Aiya this close didn't seem to bother Kinnon as much as it did her. Perhaps it was because he'd had many others ride with him before. He was a bounty hunter, after all. He'd probably had many strangers ride with him. Probably.

Through the last line of trees she could see a river lying ahead, its waters flowing by and down the stream. 

Kinnon pulled back on the reigns, his horse coming to a slow stop, stomping its foot on the ground once. He dismounted and then walked ahead towards the bank of the river.

Was she supposed to follow? Was he just scouting?

He's a bounty hunter, Aiya, he doesn't scout things for the safety of a princess.

She breathed out a heavy breath and slipped down off of the horse. Either way, standing on her own two feet after a long while of riding was refreshing; even if it was only for a few minutes. 

"We'll have to cross the river," Kinnon said as he looked back to her.

She swallowed her, a tremble running down her arms. 

He walked back to her and took the reigns of his horse and led him to the bank of the river. The horse backed away, clearly frightened by the flowing waters. "That's what I figured." Kinnon said.

Aiya stepped near the edge of the bank. "Is it safe enough to walk across?"

Kinnon looked up, "Unless your some sort of god, there isn't going to be any walking across. Its too deep." He unbridled the horse and tossed it aside, then moved to the saddle and began unstrapping it. "The River of Tilgar is no place for you," he rubbed his hand down the muzzle of the horse.

"You're certainly not suggesting that we swim across, are you?" Aiya asked.

"No, I'm not suggesting it. I'm telling you that its the only way to cross." He answered.

"But..." She couldn't even think of what to say.

"Listen," he stopped unstrapping the horse and turned to face her. "I get that you're some princess who's lived in a castle all of her life. A princess who doesn't wish to get her dress wet and ruin it. But you'll have to get over it if you wish to get to Falenor."

She bit her lip, not even nearly annoyed by his assumption about her as she was terrified of getting into the water. "No, its not like that."

"Then what is it?"

She stayed silent for a moment, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. "I can't swim."

"You can't swim?" His voice sounded just as surprised as the look on his face.

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