Chapter Thirteen

Leah remained underneath one of the many large oak trees that surrounded the lake. Though she was rather bitter about staying put after vomiting the vile sickness from within her, the silver-robed man insisted so if she wished to get back to the royal family. Which was really quite important, because Tilbert was the only way she could find a path back to the Benitan village—and, of course, to finish the adventure she had started.

There wasn't very much to do there; the most she figured she could do was to enjoy the scenery of a nature so splendid, she was sure that her grandfather had never encountered such a place. Grass that sparkled like emeralds sprung against her ankles slightly, and the calmest blue and white made the sky. Mother Nature had seemed to given the best dowries to accompany the lake—of course, with the exception of the towering white walls that surrounded the area.

The silver-robed man had gone to the other side of the lake as Leah rested. She could see—or could assume—that he was busily away with picking leaves from one of the trees. He was quite a remarkable sight from where she watched; the silver flanks of his elegant robe, the luminous white hair that made the top of his head—and his especially his snow-like skin—seemed to contrast far too greatly against the monotone colors of the barks and greenery around him. The outline of his body glowed, Leah thought, like the North Star.

Leah peered around her. For a moment, she bit the side of her cheek in thought. Her nose crinkled slightly, and her arm stretched out so she could touch the petals of a few red flowers that spotted the grass. She also reached for the yellow, and the blue—and the lavender flower, which she thought was much more enjoyable than the darkest shade of purple.

"These should help with your ingestion," the man said after making way back to the large oak tree. His blue eyes ticked to the count of herbs within his hands. Squatting at the left of her, he sniffled. "Alright. Now eat these."

Leah grinned like the childish young girl within her; she gave a quick turn to her right, where she seemed to gather a few things, and returned to the questioning grimace. "Here! For you." She held out her hands to him.

In them were the flowers she had preoccupied herself with, bundled together in a mockery of a bouquet. The man curved his white eyebrows. "Well, you've certainly slew those poor things." He grasped for the flowers and placed them beside him. He paused as Leah gave a similar grimace. "I thank you anyhow. Though, they were mine to begin with. Now. Will you please eat these?"

The young woman shrugged. She wasn't hoping for a positive remark, though she did enjoy interacting with the people she deemed as fictional before her journey. She took the herbs and bit on the tips first—and they were quite bitter (something she assumed the man hadn't mentioned on purpose). The leaves he had picked tasted slightly better—the faint traces of mint eased her dry mouth.

"What's your name?" Leah asked, chewing away at the stems.

The man leaned against the large trunk of the oak tree and picked the flowers from their graves. "Silas." For a moment, he inspected the colorful petals, embracing their velvety texture with his fingertips.

The young woman repeated the name to herself, attempting to strike the correct dialect. "My name is Leah." she smiled to him, though he was busily away with tying the stems of the flowers together. "You probably know already. How is it that you visited me in my dream before?"

Silas twitched his head to her then, his white eyebrows furrowed in question. "Visited you in a dream? I never did such a thing, nor am I capable of it." His fingers dug into the grass and scraped for a short while. "I'm only the court's physician."

Leah could hardly believe that he was only a physician. The way the man glowed and the way he seemed to manipulate the water within the lake spoke differently. "But I saw you in a dream before I rescued Tilbert."

"So now you're on first-name basis with the prince? Children," Silas mocked, placing the bundle of flowers into the small hole he had dug. His hands cupped round the dirt for a long moment as he spoke. "Whoever you saw isn't the one you see now. If I had the ability to communicate through dreams, that would be heaven to me. But you see—" He paused, eyeing the colorful petals. "…you see, I rarely sleep. Whatever rare slumber that chances upon me, it lasts only for a short while. The last time I rested was a few years ago."

The herbs and leaves were done with and rid of, and Leah eyed the pale hands that had covered the stems and dirt. She might have been eager in such a new land for adventures, but she was still in check with her manners. The topic seemed to have bothered Silas greatly; it occurred to her that anyone who hasn't slept in years would be very grumpy about it—she certainly would have been. The white strands fell unkemptly over the top of Silas' brow as he muttered a few strange words. Slowly, he lifted his hands away from the bundle of flowers.

"There. No more pulling out the things I grow, understood?" Turning his blue eyes to Leah for the first time in quite a while, he sniffled.

The young woman grinned. "You can always bring them back to life if I do it again."

Silas' snow skin seemed to become paler for the long while he stared at her. A long grimace bore on his face, and at last he turned his head away and stood from where he sat. He touched the trunk of the oak tree and diverted his eyes towards the lake. A sigh left his nostrils, and he began stepping away.

"Come on. Now that you're better, you should visit the king and the princes," he called out.

Leah stood and dusted strands of grass from her clothes. A frown grew on her lips and she followed his tracks. "Are you going to be there with me?"

No one could have not noticed the quavering fear in her voice. After all, though she was a lively young woman, she still was only a lost child in another land. Silas made no effort to turn around; rather, he continued ahead of her silently for a while.

At last, he replied: "I am the one who healed you. Why wouldn't I be there?"