Lesaric slumped back into his bed and lowered his gaze. He could feel the fatigue settle in and he knew that he was terribly tired. Vichen and Vachen both smiled as they reached for the papers at Lesaric’s bedside and began marking them.
“You’re almost fully recovered,” Vichen said. “I’ll show you to the room you’re actually supposed to be in. This one is actually Miss Delmore’s room. She placed you here to avoid spies and the intelligence bureau from meddling in your recovery.”
He walked over to the door and Lesaric followed him out, his steps steady and firm.
As they walked out of the room, they passed by Delmore who was waiting to see how she could gather documents from her room. When she saw Lesaric, she avoided his eyes and played with her fingers nervously.
Lesaric ignored her and followed Vichen and Vachen. He didn’t care for her at all. He must not.
* * *
Lesaric stayed in the room they gave him for a few days. They didn’t stop him from doing anything, but, as he realized eventually, it wasn’t like there was a role for him to assume in the first place. He didn’t have anything to do, and he found that strange. He was of the bloodline of the first Soul, Lemsa Horn, and that had always meant something. Except for now.
He also couldn’t believe how much effort they put into giving him a nice room. It was a luxury he had never been afforded in the past, especially considering how he wasn’t really doing much anymore.
The National Research Center was not a place he had visited before. He had been on the battlefield for 14 years, and he hadn’t had much time to do anything other than fight. However, he did know that the first Soul was born here. It was in the Research Center that King Baliha had gathered his research team to turn the knights into the beings called Souls.
The king had found a way to activate the flow of mana in the body. By doing so, the knights had stronger limbs and healed faster than any other human being. With them, Terossa could win any war that they fought.
However, as Lesaric looked out the window of the Research Center, he felt indifferent to whatever history it held.
The garden near the institute was unkempt, with grass growing as tall as men and dried leaves scattered all over the place. It was all hidden behind a high wall that blocked it from anyone else’s view.
The room Lesaric was given was on the highest floor of the research lab, so he had a good view of everything outside. Most of the rooms on the sixth floor were laboratories where most of the research was done. It was hard to enter those rooms, you would need a lot of permits just to step foot inside.
“It’s just to avoid unwanted attention,” Yelkan had said when he came to visit. “They won’t want to come here for unnecessary reasons if they know that it’ll take too much work.” He had handed Lesaric some books that Lesaric had simply piled on the floor, not really caring to read them. “Miss Delmore is very busy right now. Everyone’s on her for bringing you in and she’s had to work with all the other departments to settle things. She also needs multiple devices to protect you.”
Lesaric had frowned. “I don’t need protection.”
But Yelkan had simply shaken his head. “The director thinks it’s necessary, so I have to follow her word—it’s what I get paid for. Anyway, you can roam freely on the fifth and sixth floors.”
That was two days ago, yet Lesaric had not really wanted to leave his room. Sometimes, he flipped through the books they had given him mainly out of boredom. Sometimes, Vichen and Vachen would come in to monitor his condition, but they would leave eventually.
As he drifted through his thoughts, he heard footsteps from the hallway stop at his door. There was a knock.
Lesaric looked up, nearly forgetting where he was.
“Pardon me,” Yelkan said as he stepped inside. “How have you been? I’ve been all over the place lately, I haven’t had the chance to check up on you.” He rubbed the back of his neck and yawned, unable to hide his weariness. “I said you could walk around the sixth floor, but you haven’t gone out at all. This is a sunny room, but doesn’t it get a little stuffy?”
“It’s okay,” Lesaric said.
Yelkan broke out into a grin. “You always say that! You sound exactly like someone I know.” He sighed. “Our princess collapses every day and claims that it’s all okay, that she’s not tired.”
An image flashed through Lesaric’s head: a pale face with a slender body. Dazzling blond hair. The princess. That woman.