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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Then I shall be blunt, just for you Dante,” she sighed. “I have had many admirers
over the years, but around here they were predominately uncouth frontiersmen, interested
in only one thing. I rebuffed all advances and kept to myself, until I met you. Forgive me
for speaking of such things in front of your friends, I do not mean to embarrass you.”
“O h it's quite alright,” Nellise assured her a little too eagerly. “Just pretend we're not
“You know what would be better than that?” Colt asked in a restrained voice.
“Actually not being here. Why don't you try that?”
“Because this is more fun, Dante,” Pacian smirked.
“Nobody but Mona calls me that,” Colt growled, leaning in towards Pacian
threateningly. Mona sighed in exasperation.
“There it is again,” she remarked. “And you wonder why I didn't want to be with you
after the incident.”
“What, because I defended your honour?” Colt exclaimed, turning to face her again.
“I'm not a regular bloke, Mona. Sure, I'm a little rough around the edges, but don't ever
doubt that I love you.” The uncomfortable silence descended upon them again as Mona
locked eyes with Colt. By the look on his face, he couldn't believe he had just said it out
loud either.
“You're a special man, Dante,” she said quietly. “You can be quite endearing when
you want to. So much like a little boy in some ways, yet you can't obscure what you are
deep inside. You should look to your clerical friend for inspiration, for her courage to
stand before armed men with nothing but her faith is the sort of person you need to
become. More than once, you've proven yourself to be just as brutish as your
predecessors, and striking Armin just because he was being nice to me was primitive, and
so very human. I couldn't even voice how disappointed I was, Dante.”
“I never asked to be put on a pedestal, Mona,” Colt grated. “And I've never tried to
hide who I am. So I'm gonna ask you a question, and I want a straight answer. After that,
we'll know where we stand.”
“I'm listening,” she replied, a hint of anticipation in her voice.
“Do you love me enough to forgive me?” The question hung in the air for a long
moment as the attention of everyone present centred on the tall elf- maiden.
“I do forgive you,” she replied, causing Nellise to let out a tiny little sigh, and Colt to
flush with relief. “But... Armin has made his intentions to me clear, and I've started
seeing him on a regular basis over the past few weeks. I'm sorry Dante.” Colt nodded,
evidently not trusting himself to speak. Aiden saw the look in his eyes though, and could
see he was barely holding himself together.
“Armin is a kind, stable man,” she continued, “and frankly he's a little closer to my
age. I mean, when you think about it, you and I being together is almost like robbing the
cradle, right?”
“Yeah, makes perfect sense,” Colt replied unemotionally. “Well, I'm glad you're
happy, anyway. We should keep going though, if we want to make Ferrumgaard before
dark.” Mona flushed, and for the first time seemed to appear a little insecure.
“O h, of course. I apologise to the rest of you for that little display, but I think it
needed to be said.”