156 As the time goes by

7th May 1574

In the end, the weather allowed us to speed up through the calm waters of the Vistula river right to the Sandomir and all the way downstream to the capital. As there wasn't anything for us to do during the journey outside of occasional talks with Jan about the approach we would assume while talking with either king of one of his advisors, we spent the majority of our free time, making up for the time we were separated.

Yet with how this uncommon place right at the front of the boat's deck turned out to be so comfortable, placed right in the view of most of the sailors, we were forced to keep our interactions family-friendly!

But despite this what others would most likely consider a limitation, just being able to speak to my beloved one and learn more and more about her, how she perceived things, what was her outlook at the politics, economy, social matters or even what she thought the role of the woman was in the family, allowed me to get a more wholesome understanding on what sorts of mentality was hidden behind her slowly growing hair.

Yes, when we first met, she kept her head barely covered with her hair, as if it was an attempt both to cut herself away from her step-family who tried to sold her to Bart like some product and a practical measure for someone spending most of his time travelling. Rather than wasting a lot of time and effort to take care of her own hair, she simply preferred to cut it down!

As time went by, starting from the moment she realised that her future in one way or another would be guaranteed by me, at first in form of a deal that would put her as an important asset in my group and later on as my lover, she allowed her head to do its job without tempering its natural instincts.

With that, even though the time that passed was still relatively short ranging only about one and a half month, rather than covering the bottom of her ear, her hair started to reach for her shoulders!

"Didn't you play with them enough?"

As we cuddled under a surprisingly thin blanket, I continued to move her hair around my fingers, wrapping it up only to let it straighten itself back as it fell off my hand.

"I'm sorry, you were already cute when your hair was short, but as it grows longer, I can't help but feel like all the chances for me to accurately describe your beauty are slipping out of my hands, leaving me with no vocabulary capable of expressing your grace."

Thinking out those words on the spot, I couldn't help but cringe the moment they left my mouth… Yet from a slight blush appearing on Elia's face, I judged that somehow they managed to hit the spot. Maybe the way in which I perceived those simple compliments was warped by the modern times when just trying to be nice to a woman was ostracised and laughed at as a sign of lack of manliness? Was the fact that I felt awkward saying those words just a stigma that the morally loose modernity left on me?

"Dear, seriously, they won't grow faster if you play with them!"

Despite my words clearly flattering her, she still protested lightly but from her delicate smile, I could tell that she didn't really mind me all that much.

"How about here, then?"

Moving my hands a little lower, I sank my fingers in the delicate skin on her shoulders. With an arhythmic tempo of pressing them down, I started massaging her upper back, just in a playful attempt to keep her mind occupied.

Just like I realised it before, the reality of travelling varied greatly between what one would read in a novel and what one had to experience himself. Even when I had Elia beside me to keep me busy, after some time the topic that I could randomly talk about with her dried up, with the flames of our discussion only sparking up when either one of us came up with something interesting.

After all, there was no point in discussing the terrain that was passing by our boat as we scaled the tiny waves of the river.

'Look, this tree is slightly smaller than the one I pointed at before.'

'Yeah, maybe because it lacks the sun or the soil is less fertile?'

Exchanges like that could be done once for fun, or even twice to poke the fun at the first attempt, yet in the long run, bringing them up over and over again would only make the both of us feel the boredom even stronger.

That's why rather than forcing either of us to keep the empty talk going, I preferred to at least offer Elia some sort of 'safe' pleasure in terms of breaking the taboo of keeping intimate matters to one's bedroom while using it as an anchor for both the small talk and learning even more details about her.

"You really don't need… Or you know what, keep it up if you don't mind."

At first, attempting to dissuade me from my current fun, as my fingers finally found a spot that managed to make her body waver slightly, her tone changed as so did the message she whispered to me.

"Do you like it?"

With this sweet point right beneath her shoulder blade as a base, I moved my fingers around her back, allowing her soft breathing to caress my neck as every single, small twitch of her body made Elia rub herself on me, giving the pleasure right back to me.

"I love it."

Just like that, hours passed as we enjoyed each other company. With how the meeting with the King was a one, big unknown, there was no point in trying to prepare for it. Since we were summoned to the capital, all we could do now was to make the most of our short vacations before throwing ourselves back into the chaotic landscape of the development process!

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