The other exiles

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Revolted by the words of Constantin, Hitomi returned to the palace with an angry step. Meeting a servant, she asked him where were the apartments of Van.
The man indicated the first floor but couldn't add a word, the young woman already climbed the stairs, furiously.

Arrived on the floor, she crossed the main hallway and, pasting her own apartment, noticed, at the end of the corridor, a door guarded by two sentries. She rushed.

"This is the King's room?" Hitomi asked.
"Yes, Miss! One of the soldiers replied. But ..."
"Let me in!" She yelled, jostling them.
"Miss, please, wait until to be announced. Miss ..."

Fear of hurting her and thus incurring the wrath of the King, they resigned themselves to let her pass up.
Suddenly opening the door, the young woman went into a hall and shouted.

"Van, it's true what is said about you and Merle?"

A few seconds later, Van appeared on the threshold of a door, wearing a jacket wide open, looking visibly sleepy. It's odds on that he was even dozing a moment before.
The sentinels apologized as they could for the brutal intrusion. The Sovereign waved them to go away before speaking to Hitomi.

"What are you talking about?" He asked, a little annoyed by the previous argument.
"Don't play this game with me! You know what I mean!"

Van turned brutally his gaze and sighed before regaining his senses.

"Merle, left the place, I prefer."

After several seconds seemed surprisingly long, the young cat-woman appeared behind him, ashamed. She walked around Van and went out of the room running, head down, avoiding the icy stare of the one who was, until then, her friend.

When the door closed, Hitomi's anger exploded.

"So, it's true?" She noticed, indignantly.
"We haven't been totally honest ..." Van conceded, shaking his head.
"You disgust me! When I think back to your big speech about waiting ..."

Taken of a violent fit of rage, Hitomi approached Van.

"Liar!" She yelled, slapping him with all her strength.

The impact resounded into the room. Van had almost lost his balance under the violence of the gesture.

Then, a silence terribly heavy followed. Hitomi was struggling to recover. Eyes fixed on the ground, she wanted to cry but controlled herself to stay worthy.

For his part, Van had taken the blow, keeping his composure.

"Know now that you're back, Merle remains just to sleep with me as we do since twenty years. There we had dinner and we were soon to ..."
"Stop, that's enough!" Hitomi interrupted angrily. "Don't start with justifications! Merle is like a sister for you and you're having an affair with her! This is ... incest! With the fact that ... She is a cat-woman ..."

Annoyed, the Sovereign looked at the ceiling. The atmosphere was explosive, it became difficult to control himself.

"Many persons have had the same discourse on my father, human, and my mother, descendant of the people of the Dragon God ... And of what I know, we are far from be the only in this case ...
Concerning our relationship, I understand your trouble, but between Merle and me, I don't have words to describe what connects us. Yes, she's as my little sister without being ..."

Listening to him, he seemed almost nonchalant, Hitomi was disconcerted. Such way of thinking defeated her principles and her conception of morality ...

"I don't understand! How did you come to that?" How did you both come to that ..."
"Try to calm down and listen to me!"

Face to the tense and sharp tone he employed, the young woman didn't reply. For his part, Van sat on the nearest chair.
Trying to stifle his resentment, he breathed deeply, looking for words to explain his actions.

"Hitomi, when we met, I was just fifteen years old. Be realistic, I was a puny boy ... I didn't look my age. But the years have passed, I've changed. I grew up, I became a man, and then I started to feel a lack ... physical which being stronger and stronger ..."

Understanding the allusion, Hitomi became tense, embarrassed.

"In my head, Van continued, it was clear that you will come back, I didn't want to betray you ... Time passed, you didn't return, you didn't answer me ...
Merle has always been with me. Her presence, her support helped me to go on, to fulfill my duties as Sovereign. But more importantly, I had someone considerate to confide myself.
Merle also grew ... See a woman so close to me, overflowing with affection to me... I had fallen in this trap without being able to stop this ... But that is the past"

After a brief pause, he concludes:

"Hitomi, the only thing I can swear to you, is that it's finished!"

The person concerned doesn't respond as absent. Too many conflicting emotions jostled in her mind.

Giving him a last look, empty, she walked away in silence and left the room.

Once alone, Van dropped his head in his hands. The last seven years were caught him up.

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