Supreme Magus

Chapter 2933 First Step (Part 1)

Chapter 2933 First Step (Part 1)

Acala might have suspected it was a trap, if the note didn't contain details about him that only Dawn could know.

Also, his presence was requested, not demanded, and the mysterious messenger said that he had no obligation to come and if Acala decided to stand them up, they would understand.

The former Ranger was almost sure that it was really Dawn which caused him a mix of fear and anticipation. Anticipation because he was eager to close that chapter of his life once and for all and move forward.

Fear because he was afraid that all his self-reflection and determination would crumble the moment he saw her. Their relationship had started badly, developed weirdly, and ended abruptly.

That and the atrocities they had committed together had left Acala in a very bad place. He looked around the wide single room that comprised the tavern, his eyes lingering once again on the bar counter.

Several Dragon-shaped taps decorated the east wall and by pulling a small lever, they seemed to breathe beer instead of Origin Flames. After naming the establishment, the owner had gone all-out on the brand.

An unwritten law of the Empire stated that all Dragons' reproductions had to depict either a single scale or the full body. Mounting a Dragon's head or claw to a wall, no matter if fake, was akin to going around and begging for the beating of a lifetime.

Hence the taps were only the final part of the Dragon-shaped device that brought the ale up from the barrels hidden behind the counter. Acala found them to be beyond tacky, but more than one new client had gasped at the ingenious visual effect.

The flow of beer was intense and took the bartender skill to fill a mug without making a mess of the floor.

A sudden creaking noise announced the opening of the front door, making Acala and the bored patrons turn around to take a look at the newcomer. It was a woman in her mid-twenties with the pale skin of the people of the Empire.

She had blonde hair, blue eyes, and features so plain that they weren't worth a second look. She wore a heavy mantle with a large hood that she removed just for the time necessary for everyone to take a good look at her and make sure she wasn't a wanted criminal.

Only the hairy and unkept foreigner seemed entranced by her appearance. The moment she politely asked him if the seat in from of him was free and sat down at his table, everyone wished him luck and went back to their business.

"How did you find me?" Even with a different host, even with the undead woman using Body Sculpting to look like the average Gorgoner, Acala could recognize Dawn anywhere.

"I've looked into your memories for a clue about where you might be and left messages at your favorite spots in the Desert, the Empire, and the Kingdom. Yet the alarms I've set never activated so I assumed you hadn't found any."

"I didn't." The Dawn-woman blushed in embarrassment, bringing a cute shade of pink to her pallor. "I've been avoiding all the places where we've been together. Too many memories.

"As for your question, I cheated. You still wear my equipment, remember? Among its enchantments, there is a tracking spell that allows me to know your position at all times." She took a brief pause before adding: "And your health."

"How fitting." He said with a sigh while gesturing to the waiter to take the order of his guest. "You split us up without my consent and dropped me in the Empire before I could recover from the shock of the separation.

"Now, after months of me trying and failing to reach you, you set the date and place of our reunion. It seems that our relationship keeps moving at your pace and with utter disregard for what I want."

Dawn flinched back like she had been slapped, knowing that Acala was right. On the one hand, she could hear the bitterness of his voice and the well-concealed anger behind it.

On the other, the fact that he was inviting her to order food instead of yelling his answer in her face and walking out of the Barrel Dragon was a good sign.

'If he wanted to get rid of me quickly, he wouldn't bother having a meal together.' She thought as Zepho ordered for himself first since he had only drinks while waiting.

Acala had pork shank with a side of roasted potatoes while Dawn asked for mutton stew, onion rings, and a steak.

"We'll order dessert later." She said with a smile that left both men shocked.

The waiter because he couldn't understand how a woman so thin could eat that much and Acala because he knew that undead were incapable of eating food. From Dawn's memories, whenever she needed to blend in, she'd have her host order a soup and store each spoonful inside her pocket dimension instead of swallowing it.

Otherwise she would have soon to find a safe place where to puke it out without drawing attention.

"I'm sorry." She said as soon as the waiter was out of hearing range. "I know that it was cruel of me, but try to understand. I knew that you had become too dependent on me to accept to be separated from me.

"I left you in the Empire, that's true, but in a safe place and only because I wanted to give you space. Both emotionally and physically. If I stayed there, you would have either begged me to bond again or called me every name in the book, saying many awful but true things that would have made this moment even more awkward.

"I'm also sorry for avoiding you for so long. I just wanted to make sure to give you the time you needed to make up your mind. I wanted to visit you every day, but I knew that if you sent me away asking for more time, it would have broken my heart.

"I'm not trying to justify my actions. What I did is inexcusable but I still need to explain my reasons to you. For what is worth, I apologize for the pain that I caused you. All of it.

"From the moment we bonded until now."

"A bulk apology. How very convenient." Acala clicked his tongue, his voice colder than winter in the Empire.

Dawn whimpered, hiding her face deep under the hood to not make him see her eyes turn watery and think that she was attempting to manipulate his emotions.

'It's fair. He has every right to be angry at me. He has to be. It means that I still matter something to him. Were Zepho indifferent, it would mean that it's really over between us.' She thought.

"Apology accepted." He said after the silence between them lasted until the waiter came with the plates and left. "But not because I've forgiven you. Only because you are right."

"I beg your pardon?" Dawn raised her head after wiping her tears with water magic.

Acala's voice wasn't cold anymore, carrying an emotion that she couldn't define.

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