CHAPTER 15 - Of a New Mission

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"Do you want to come in for a bit? You look tired." Serena asked Una as our carriage halted in front of the gate of Libra embassy. I had downed the entire flask of water by the time we reached and revived normalcy. 

"I think, I should clean up a bit or my mother will bury my living body," Una said and jumped out from the driver seat.

"Aren't you supposed to be one of the mightiest Defensors in all the Four Realms?" I raised a playful brow at Una.

She punched me lightly on the arm, "Clearly, you haven't met my mother."

We sneaked into our chamber and heard Rosa's snores before finding her sleeping deeply on her bed. The three of us sighed at the same time, staring at her.

"I wish I could curl up on my bed too. But if I sleep now, I will surely wake up with tomorrow's sun," Serena said holding in a yawn.

"I have practice in about an hour." Una shook her head and swept her gaze around our cozy warm chamber. I pointed the lavatory's door to her, and she walked in.

"Do you think we'll get in trouble if Violette or Landon finds out, that we have a Defensor in here?" Serena hissed in my ear as we sat on my bed.

"If anything, I think they'll make her sit for some tea and ask her questions about her dragon."

"Spikes."

"Spikes, yes." I laughed.

As she laughed with me, I couldn't help but feel at home. I remembered how she had jumped in front of me, when I had displayed a full version of my powers in front of the two, apparently, strange royals. Serena was deeply involved in my mess and she had no idea how risky it was.

"Serena, thank you, for being with me. I...I'd be lost without you."

She stopped laughing but a faint smile still lingered on her pretty face; she took my hand in hers. "Eleni, you know... you remind me of my younger sister. She was a Vacant, too. I... I wasn't there for her when she needed me the most," she loosened a breath, "I couldn't understand her and I regret that. But I am here for you, whenever you need me." Her dark cocoa-tinted eyes shone. The haze of the golden hour complemented Serena's light brown hair, in that moment. 

I wanted to ask her more about the sister - was it her white dress that I was wearing? But this wasn't the time or place, so I only managed to say, "I am here for you, too."

The loud creaking noise of the door being opened, made us revert back from the emotional daze.

"I will put on the kettle," Serena chirped and got up.

"No sugar for me," Una prompted.

I noticed a scroll peeping out from the inside pocket of Una's overcoat, as she sat opposite to me on Serena's bed, patting her face dry with a towel.

"What's that? I hope you didn't get it wet." I asked pointing to it.

She bent her head to look at it and groaned loudly. "Damn, I forgot all about these two missions," she held it in her hands and uncurled it, "The High-Council of Autumn Realm has put me and Nigel on a mission. The other Realms have put their people on this, as well, since it's a high-priority operation. Nigel doesn't seem to care much, but my mother will lose her mind if I don't either."

Before I could ask further, I saw Rosa turning around in her bed. I put a finger to my lips, gesturing Una to stay silent. We stayed hushed until we heard her regular breathing resume. Serena brought over three steaming cups of tea, in a platter and the aroma hit us like sunshine after a heavy rain.

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