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Touch of Flame
Chapter 240 A Revival Of Rule (Part 1)

Nazneen held Ares tightly, feeling the warmth and solidity of his embrace, the reassurance that he was alive and well. She didn't let go for a long moment, just holding him as if he might slip away if she did. She finally pulled back and looked up at him, her eyes red from tears and her expression raw and vulnerable. Ares met her gaze steadily, understanding in his own eyes.

Without a word, Ares lifted a hand and brushed her hair back from her face, bringing comfort to her. She was still tense from the nightmare, her body trembling slightly. He drew her into his arms again and stroked her back gently. She wrapped her arms around his waist, keeping in mind that she was strong and couldn't hug him as tightly as she wanted.

"It was just a nightmare," he said softly, his voice a low rumble in the stillness of the room.

"It felt real. I saw you die and I couldn't prevent it."

He stiffened.

"It is dangerous for you here," she sobbed hating every selfish bone in her body that wanted to keep him.

"It is dangerous for me everywhere, Nazneen. We are at war. I am safe nowhere."

He was right. She would have to fight for peace or the war would continue. She only hoped he would survive the fight and they would see peace together.

"Teach me everything." She said. "I will do a good job." 𝘪𝑛𝓃𝒓𝐞𝙖d. ᴄ𝒐𝑚

"I know you will," he stroked her hair. "But you need to rest now."

She was unwilling to let go of him yet and he held her still until her breathing had slowed and her body had relaxed.

Ares pulled back a little and turned their bodies to lay her down. He supported her body with his arm around her still until her head sank into the pillow. Her long hair was like black ink around her golden honey skin. Her eyes were like the crackles of fire in the hearth. His eyes searched hers for any remaining fear or anxiety.

"I woke you up. You should sleep too." She said.

He lay down facing her both mesmerized by the eyes they were gazing into. "Why did you come here?" He asked holding back a smile.

"I was worried about your safety. You don't sleep with one eye open after all."

A smile tugged at his lips. "Maybe I knew you would come."

"So you trust me?"

His eyes glistened, a teal swirling in between the emerald. "I do," he admitted softly.

Her heart settled in a soft place inside her chest, pushing the fear and worry to the back of her mind.

"Sleep," he said pulling the covers over her. "As Queen, you will be busy from now on."

Nazneen nodded, already feeling the pull of sleep. She closed her eyes and let herself drift off, feeling calm with Ares by her side. He made her feel like all would be alright.

Ares had nightmares of his own and this was the second time he had this dream. He was a fish in his dream. A fish out of the water, dying slowly on land on a sunny summer day. He could hear the waves in the distance and see the ships sailing into the horizon. With his tail, he flopped around and thrashed in an attempt to get back into the water but gradually he became weaker and gave up, and as the day passed and the sunset, his dead body was buried in the sand.

When he woke up, his eyes were wet. The images he had seen were so beautiful yet so tragic. It was strange he felt that way when he was content with the life he had lived.

He sat up, looking to his left where Nazneen was still deeply asleep. He then looked outside through the window, at the snow-topped mountains against the sky. It was dawn, the sunrays barely peeking through the soft clouds.

Ares stepped out of bed and decided to take another tour around the royal house while he planned for the day. He appreciated good art and architecture and this place was impressively built.

As he walked around, he noticed a man standing outside the entrance as if waiting for someone. Curious, Ares approached up, pushing the door further open.

The man stood like a soldier, already giving him the impression of a warrior. His face was grim as he met his gaze.

"I am here to see Queen Nazneen." He said before Ares could ask.

"And who shall I say it is?"

"Who are you?"

"The Queen's right hand. Ares."

He surprised him by keeping the same expression. No questions in his eyes or a show of distaste or disapproval.

"I am Tenzin. Formal royal guard to King Shah. Nazneen's father. I left the service after her father died and wish to return now to serve her."


"Come inside," Ares said. There was something about the man that made a good impression.

Tenzin followed him in.

"Nazneen is sleeping. You are here early."

"I know. I don't mind waiting."

"I was meanwhile thinking of how to recruit court members." Ares began. "I have a few in mind but came up with a better idea. How about allowing everyone to apply and through certain tests pick out the best." He paused and turned to Tenzin. "What do you think?"

Tenzin's expression changed for the first time. "I..." he stuttered as if he was caught off guard. "I wouldn't know."

"That would upset some people."


"But others would find it fair?"

He became thoughtful. "Yes."

Both turned around when they sensed Nazneen's presence. She came down the stairs in the hall, still wrapped in a silken robe. Ares felt a strange sense of... possessiveness? It was one thing to wear her revealing traditional clothes but the robe felt private even if it covered more. A strange urge of wanting to cover her up or carry her back upstairs came over him.

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Touch of Flame Chapter 240 A Revival Of Rule (Part 1)