I had to keep reminding myself that this was all due to nerves. I wasn't going to die, I was just going to be nervous for a little bit.
Upon reaching Elfangor's hut, I held my claw back from knocking.
Maybe I shouldn't be here, maybe I shouldn't be doing this. But I had to know, I had to.
I knocked on Elfangor's hut and hoped that he wouldn't wake up. Maybe he would just sleep through this and I could go away. He was the Head of the Warrior Department, so of course my wishes were just meaningless.
"Birch?" Elfangor asked sleepily as he stuck his head out. "What is it?"
"I have something urgent to tell you." I told him, showing no signs of my inner turmoil through my voice.
That's when things felt realer than they ever did.
What if Elfangor said he didn't love me? What would Elfangor think if he saw me merely as a creature of just flesh and blood? That I wasn't someone worthy of his love?
Just flesh and blood.
Elfangor seemed nearly angelic to me and I was weak. I was so weak. I was failing. I just needed loyalty not love. I tried to remind myself of that. Then why had I come over here tonight? Why not wait until the morning?
Stupid, Birch! Stupid!
I thought, a few times, that my body would suddenly explode into a cloud of smoke. My nervousness was so bad.
"Birch?" Elfangor asked and I realized how long my pause had lasted.
I had to say something. Now.
"You have not bred yet." I said, not knowing how I got my mouth to move. "You have many good genes to give. The Shadowbinder will be proud of what you can provide. There is, as of yet, one more nest to fill. If you will breed with me, then we shall take the third nest."
I hoped that Elfangor couldn't see through me. I had worded it so that I sounded like I was just making a business proposal. But it was late at night and my usual way of doing things wasn't to ask, it was to tell politely.
"Sure, Birch." Elfangor said. "You came out this late just to ask me that?"
"Yes," I replied.
With that I left. Quickly. Very quickly.
But, for one moment, I glanced behind me and saw what I swear was a small smile on Elfangor's face.
Did he know?