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CrossFit heats her up before fantasy is bested by reality.
She didn't understand him in the least.
They remained in silence, neither knowing what to say. When Edrich could bear it no longer, he began attempting to repair what he had so brutally damaged. "Emera, I was wrong. I was wrong to not trust my instincts that you weren't what Jenner accused you of being. You aren't an evil person, you aren't a manipulator. I felt that, but...I was scared and hurt at the possibility, it made me angry. And he knew that. Jenner knew my pride would be pricked if I felt betrayed or manipulated by someone I desired."
Though he never looked at her, she could see he was crushed by his weakness that Jenner had exploited to harm her. She sighed. "Yes, I fear he did the same to me." He looked up at her questioning. She gave a small, reluctant smile. "You see, when he came to bring me to your tent, he told me you wanted me beaten badly. He said you had laughed at my fighting skills and that I annoyed you. You only tolerated me because you wanted to..." she left the statement unfinished as she scowled in pain and looked away. "He knew his words would enrage me. He played me for a fool, too."
"I'm sorry." A lump had lodged itself, blocking the passage of air, disabling him from swallowing. He had wronged her, and the regret, guilt, and grief overwhelmed him. He wanted to apologize, wanted things righted. But he knew it would not erase the abuse and hurt of mistrust. It would not heal her heart, would not bring her closer to him.
Though it was completely against his capable, controlling nature, he knew only one way to proceed. With vulnerable need, just as Emera had approached him. "Emera, I was wrong, at every turn," his confession breaking in his voice. "I foolishly believed lies without seeking the truth. I treated you disgustingly, my own arrogance justifying my repugnant behavior." He watched her reaction, seeking words to explain his position. "I will not make war on your country. I am at your disposal to see you safely home. I-I will submit to any sanctions you decide on for my behavior." Though his words were meant to kindle forgiveness and understanding, the only served to fan the flame of indignant anger buried in her heart.
She wanted to lambast him, to destroy him under her foot. All he had done, all she had suffered, and for nothing! She stood and marched away, needing distance. She began her pacing as she fumed. Despite her burning rage, she knew she needed to take care and not further injure the situation, and by extension the safety of her country.
Emera closed her eyes and breathed deeply. I breathe, not as myself, but as the princess. She knew, despite her wounded self, she was unable to make war against him. Not only would she be using her men for her own personal revenge, she would be sending most of them to their deaths. Her army was in no way prepared to battle Edrich's.
He was remorseful, completely so. He had said he would allow whatever punishment she devised. She could take her anger out on the one man responsible and guarantee peace for Adalynd in the meantime. Emera did not have a full fleshed-out plan for her revenge, but she knew she wouldn't stop until she felt his life slip from his eyes. She composed herself before turning to face him.
She momentarily felt some remorse for her hate-filled thoughts. He looked at her now, his handsome face marred by anguish. His body, once large and full of fear-inspiring power seemed small and helpless. He was a shadow of the man she first knew. His guilt ate away his being, dissolving him into sorrow.