When he heard my answer, his expression changed.
“Did anything unusual happen”
I could tell that Ravis thought my experience might be related to whatever he was searching for, but there wasn’t much more I could tell him.
“Other than the strange feeling, nothing much else happened.”
“That’s a relief,” Ravis said, taking a deep breath.
“Do I need to be careful” He had me concerned.
Ravis hesitated for a moment, as if to choose the right words.
With a slightly gloomy look, he warned me, “Iona, if you encounter anyone who makes you feel that way, run.
Don’t look back, just run away.
If you are trapped, scream for his His Majesty or me.
If we can, we’ll come right away.”
“Is it a dangerous person” Ravis was scaring me.
“Extremely.” He didn’t offer any more information than that, but his warning was direct.
“Iona, you can’t cope with this person alone.
Above all, your safety is the most important thing, so please don’t do anything reckless.”
All I could do was nod to Ravis.
There was no amusement on his face.
This was not some sort of vicious prank to get back at me for joking about his relationship status.
He was seriously concerned.
He didn’t need to worry, though.
If I were to meet someone who made me feel the way Ravis described, I would have no choice but to instinctively run away.
I wondered if this had something to do with the emperor but, even though his power was dark, it was softer and more profound.
It wasn’t the feeling of pure evil I had felt that night, as if something was hunting and I was its prey.
I shook my head to clear out the fear that was growing.
“You need to run away no matter what,” Ravis repeated.
“I’ll definitely do that,” I promised.
He smiled to let me know he was satisfied with my answer.
He seemed to relax as he went back to observing the crowd.
“His Majesty must be very busy,” He further commented.
“It’s a pity that His Majesty can’t get out of work, even on days like this.”
“That’s because he has the sole responsibility of everything in the empire.
He needs to find someone who can help share the burden.
That would make it better.”
“Who would ever want to share such a burden” I asked.
“I always thought that Eris, the hostess, could ease the burden on the emperor,” Ravis said.
I had met Eris before.
I remembered how she was towards the emperor. Is there actually romance between the two I thought.
“It’s boring to wait like this.
Shall we dance” I asked Ravis.
Ravis, looked at me, smiled softly and reached out his hand.
I took his hand and he led me to the dance floor.
It was at that moment that I remembered I had almost fallen from stepping on the emperor’s foot the last time I danced.
“Ravis, I might step on your foot.
I accidentally stepped on His Majesty’s foot earlier this evening.”
“Well, you did a great job,” He laughed.
“Nothing, don’t worry about it.
I’ll avoid your feet, as much as possible.
If we don’t dance now, when will I ever get the chance again to dance with the beautiful Iona”
“Make sure you do avoid them.
It will hurt a lot if I step on your feet.”
“Even if you step on them, I can heal.
Don’t worry about that.”
I had no more reason to refuse.
I looked into his blue eyes, covered by the white mask, then took his hands covered in pure white gloves.
Having been reassured, I said, “I’m getting used to the dance steps, so just one song.”
Ravis danced surprisingly well, considering he was a priest who didn’t attend events like this often.
He had enough skill to transition to the next move whenever I made a mistake.
Thanks to that, I didn’t step on Ravis’ feet and even danced for two songs.
After the two songs of non-stop dancing, I was exhausted.
We sat down at a table to rest.
“Is ballroom dancing a basic skill for a priest of this kingdom You danced like a trained professional.” I asked, amazed at his talent.
He handed me a handkerchief to wipe my brow, as he smiled at the compliment.
I refused the offer and took my own handkerchief out.
Ravis looked a little hurt that I refused his gentlemanly offer.
“You say it’s only been a fortnight since you first learned dancing I’m surprised.
You are very good at it”.
“If you hadn’t led me so well, I would have fallen five times.
Seriously, how are you so good at dancing, Ravis Are you really a priest”
“Well, when I was young, I received special training from my Holy Father.
And being able to lead a partner, even you, is one of the first things I learned.”
I sighed while wiping the sweat from my brow.
Ravis looked like he could have gone seven more dances with no effort.
How was it that no one seemed to break a sweat when doing these activities I realized my throat was parched, as well.
“I’m thirsty,” I mentioned, absent-mindedly.
Instinctively, I reached to take hold of a glass of liquid from the tray of a passing server.
I realized that what I had been given was alcohol.
Ravis noticed my hesitation.
“I’ll go get you some water,” he said.
“You just stay here and relax.”