"Now we must just wait", Zedd said to Cara when they got out of the poor building. "I hope Richard finds the way to get through to Kahlan's mind. I'm afraid she is under a strong influence of those strong fake memories."
"Yeah, I hate waiting but this is a thing between Richard and Kahlan. I believe in both of them, but it may take some time", Cara admitted. "Kahlan may throw him into prison or something."
"That's right. Let's keep ourselves busy until we hear something more. I have a few books with me that I have postponed for too long", Zedd murmured.
"Good for you. I have my exercises", Cara said tapping her Agiels. "Hah, you can never be good enough with these bad babies!"
Next morning Richard woke up in his cell. No signs of life other than steps of the soldiers. Just when he was about to start to ruminate again his fate, the steps approached, the door was hit and the soldier's voice said: "Stand up! Miss Genevieve is here."
Richard adjusted hastily his clothes and wiped his face. The soldier opened the door, carrying a warm bowl of soup and placed it on on the table.
"WeIl well Richard… Richard was the name? Have you slept well?" Kahlan smiled. "More cooperative today?"
"Kah.. Miss Genevieve, I'm always cooperative when there is a good reason", Richard glanced at the bowl.
"I guess you would enjoy this bowl of healthy, tasty soup? But do you have anything new to tell me?"
Kahlan had fully calmed down, she was her own strong self, her hair shiny and in curls.
"Yes I would, but I would enjoy much more if you came back to yourself, Kahlan. You must know me."
"Shut up. What is that with that Kahlan? Are you crazy?"
Kahlan's voice was low, controlled and threatening. She looked at Richard's eyes. It was clearly a game, this young man tried to challenge her, but she would not yield.
"No I'm not. Believe me." Richard watched quickly at the soldier and continued. He breathed faster and decided to make a move. "Kahlan, it's me, Richard!" He grabbed Kahlan by her shoulders, looked her deeply in the eye. It was clearly a thing which would cause him trouble, but no turning back now. "It's me, you must know me, in your heart and in your mind! I won't change what I'm telling you. I tell you the truth!"
At the corner of his eye he saw the soldier smile in a nasty way, stepping closer, like this was what he had been waiting for.
"Do.. not... do... this!" Kahlan said sharply, shivering of anger.
"Yes I will do this! You are wrong, Genevieve-Kahlan! Whatever it is, you must come back to yourself, Kahlan, I need you, nothing makes sense without you!"
The sheer unexpectedness of the situation made Kahlan gasp. The Genevieve in her couldn't control herself and she hit Richard on the cheek.
"Shut up! Don't talk to me like that! You must accept that I am, that I am..."
But as Genevieve-Kahlan, she couldn't anymore understand her own words. What was there to accept, she was the Hunter! the independent, the wolf, the lonely traveler, always by herself, approved by the Generals, but who was she? no, it was not, what had she experienced, General Treddros, the deal... she heard somebody saying to her: but I tell you you are the hunter, working for us. But more and more the words and thoughts got mixed in her head.
Kahlan saw this arrogant young man before him, his eyes looking at her without fear, the arrogant eyes, but eyes without a threat, eyes like from the past, from somewhere. These were not threatening eyes, it was like there was a reflection of a flame in these eyes, a flame of a campfire, a flame of a fire when she was sitting next to friends, listening, feeling, feeling the connection with these eyes, there was familiarity in these eyes, the line of the lips, of the nose… Ric...Richard...Zeddicus… Cara… then… storm, no memories, walking, ravens… then nothing.
Richard stood before Kahlan, his cheek aching from Kahlan's slap.
"Kahlan, ask the soldier to go out."
"What…", Kahlan shook strongly, "it's not… appropriate!… I mean…"
The soldier came next to Richard, hit him on his side.
"Miss Genevieve, this prisoner!"
"Go out, I will handle this!" With a strong effort Kahlan kept a calm face when she was saying this to the soldier. "Go. Out. Leave me with the prisoner."
The soldier hesitated and then bowed.
"As you wish my lady." He stepped out of the cell and closed the door.
Kahlan stood silent, proud, but half of her shaking. It was like forces fighting over her mind.
"Now, Richard, whatever is your name. I command you to speak to me with respect and reticence. It is not appropriate to-"
Richard couldn't control himself.
"Kahlan!" he took a step forward, felt Kahlan's warmth, looked her into the eyes, even deeper.
"You are not allowed to-", Kahlan's voice trembled.
"Kahlan. Speak to me. Look at me!"
"My duty is that all instigators in this region will be decimated to-", her voice was weaker with each word.
"Look at me. Listen to me."
"If it's my last deed at the service of d'Hara, I will-", but part of her knew it was too late, the Genevieve-Kahlan's words were fading.
"Feel me. It's me. Richard. And you are Kahlan."
"My last… service…", Kahlan-Genevieve mumbled in a low voice, knowing that it was only a matter of seconds when it would disappear from her, the part, the test, the ordeal.
The final lapse of time, the final resistance, the sweetest one, became to be overcome, when Richard kissed her lips. One time, two times. Longer.
"Kahlan… come back… come back."
"No… no…. oh…" Something more than an individual inside Kahlan knew this would be the bridge, the bridge of eternity, this connection with Richard, forbidden and allowed, in these moments, moments outside the normal, the normal of their time.
They embraced and kissed each other with passion, in the sweet fierce passion growing more intense, already knowing that the normal would follow, but this time, time out of time, special lapse of time would be theirs for eternity. Richard bringing Kahlan back, Kahlan wanting Richard to bring her back, it was written and known. In this interval all was possible, all thoughts and deeds and caresses. It was their time, nobody else's in this time and space when things got to be different than they were, not forever, but for a time that was special, for a time which showed the true meaning of love. Love for eternity, love over eternity.
A bell rang in a tall building in the town square. Zedd and Cara watched around and couldn't believe their eyes. Part of the town's facades were in movement. It was like the town's sihouette with its facades were waving and transforming back to their former state, the buildings that had looked like official ones, dismantled and rebuilt. Some of them disappeared and signposts changed their positions.
"Wow the coolness of magic!" Zedd exclaimed. "Seems that the magic's grip is leaving this town. Cara, I didn't know this kind of thing still existed! If the situation were different, I would be excited, but now it's about Kahlan and Richard. I hope they are safe."
As they walked to the center, they saw two figures coming out from a large grey building, with no soldiers around.
"Kahlan, Richard!" Zedd cried.
"Yes Zedd, what is it? Worried about something?" Kahlan smiled and winked.
"Oh… no, no no. It's... it's good." Zedd looked at Kahlan carefully, then Richard. "So Kahlan now. Not Genevieve?"
"Yes, Kahlan. Who else? Hah what a strange thing this was, the dreams, the mind playing with me. I feel good. You know sometimes it good to be somebody else to know better yourself. Right, Richard?"
"Certainly, hah, I could try the same sometimes."
Cara looked at them and felt relieved.
"So no time to waste. Kahlan, you scared the shit out of us but I knew Richard would get you back", Cara said, "but let's just hope those storms would be not so common in the regions where we are about to go now."
While walking towards the south gates they had a final glance over the town, meeting this time some happier faces in front of the houses, almost like sharing a common secret.
"But hey Zedd, please, can you do something to get my normal clothes back?" Kahlan asked laughing when they passed the town gate. "This thing just looks way too dark on me."