He wants her to do something. He wants her to give her titles to him, he wants to exchange her titles for his.

She nods slowly as she sees the question in his eyes.

He leans in and kisses her gently on the forehead, staying there. She reaches for his wrists and holds on to them, unwilling to let them go. Their foreheads touch, and they lean against one another. They hold eye contact, and he smiles slightly, his eyes still breaking.

Pain begins to rip through her body as she cries out. Shame threatens to creep once again into her, but she fights against the condemnation and allows him to see her. He is stripping her of her false titles; he is taking away the words that destroy her. But she has buried them deep within, and to reach them he has to peel away the layers, peel away the hurtful words, circumstances, the nights spent crying.

He begins to cry with her as she allows him to see the deeply etched pain that resides within. His sweat turns to blood, dripping from his forehead to cover hers, then to the red cloak that surrounds her. He reaches into her deepest core, where no one but she has seen. He reaches in, and lights a candle.

A piece of him lies within her soul, a piece of the man that will not be removed.

The girl’s painful tears soon too to joyful laughter. She smiles brightly, her eyes shining through the now tears of freedom. For the first time since she can remember, she is alive. The man’s eyes are dancing; he pulls her into his arms and holds her tightly. For the first time in her life, she feels at home. She feels safe in those arms, she knows who she is.

He pulls away and his eyes look to the ground, but even when he pulls away she knows who she is. It has been engrained into her soul, he has told her who she truly is, the kingdom title that has been given to her. His eyes go to the ground, begging her to see what he sees. The cloak that was once drenched with her blood, then his, is now white as the snow beneath them. She looks to her arms, where blood once flowed, but they have been turned to scars. The scars will remain, reminders of the past she is resolute to never return to. 

The girl looks to the man, gratitude shining from within. He stands, then leans over and picks her up. He begins to carry her away, then whispers into her ear, a broad smile on her face.

She laughs like an innocent child. He carries her away from the wood, never to return.

But her laugh carries to another section of the wood, another lonely, dark section of the wood.

There is a man named Unsuccessful there. 

The End

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