I never knew how reassuring something contradictory can be, till I sat opposite Ronin in a room full of people. With every welcoming smile, with every clever joke, with every warm gesture that opposed the impression, I had of the pale knight, the certainty grew, that I had been right. This man of the real world was the same man I saw riding through the maze of the lost hearts. But real-world-Ronin seemed happy and friendly, whilst the pale knight always seemed to have an aura of loneliness and aloofness around him.
In my pocket I had a short message, that my muse has sent me – not by mail obviously. A very cute squirrel had given it to me in an act, almost too cute to survive. “Get a proper client for your next test! There is not much time left.” Of course I had tried to find someone, I could be a muse to, but that was more difficult, than I had imagined. Somehow I had hoped, that the pale knight would be in need of a muse. Although Ronins worriless smile didn’t match this impression, I was willing to try to get him as my first “proper” client. But how to do so? My mind was busy thinking and planning as unusual help approached. Yes, “help” came in the form of a rude troll. The moment he started attacking me with his aggressive stupidity of inappropriate behaviour, I could feel the little bit of magic in me rising to defend myself. As my blood boiled up with anger, I saw something in the corner of my eye. It was just a glimpse, but for the half of a second, I could see the shining armour flashing around Ronins tall figure. For this short glimpse, the pale knight was standing beside me, ready to defend me. The moment was gone and we looked at each other. It was the first time, I realised that I myself might not look the same, when I was wandering the labyrinth listening to the stories of lovers and seekers. Because it was clear, that Ronin had recognised me as well and there was no point in pretending that nothing happened. We occupied a corner of the room and started talking.
“Why are you here tonight?”, he asked me with an intense look. I wanted to say something not that direct, but I couldn’t. “I wanted to have a look at you.”; “You are a muse, aren’t you?”; “Well”, I said trying to beat my shyness, “I am a muse in training.”; “That’s good enough for me. Would you take me as a client?”
I was puzzled. “You need a muse?”
“And I need a client. Also urgently.” He smiled. “Well, that’s lucky! So, can we start now?”; “I guess?” I really would have liked, sounding a bit more confident. “Have you an idea, what you need me for.” He nodded. “Yeah, I need an official muse-treatment – or whatever it is called – to keep my job as guard of the maze.”
“Oh.” Well, that was a bit disappointing. “But is there something, we could work on”, I tried to stay positive. “Do you have a problem, that needs fixing?” He shook his head. “Do you have some creative work planned, that you need inspiration for?” That was also a no. “Are you perhaps in love and need assistance in getting to sort out your feelings?” Because that would have come in handy. But he again shook his head. So, how was I supposed to help? He leaned a bit backwards and said: “Well, there is this one thing.” I waited calmly, till he started to explain. “I have this condition. At least that is what other muses have told me. I have actually no problem with that.” Again he fell silent for a moment or two. “I guess, this is what they want me to change, so I can keep my job.”
My curiosity was about to explode. He leaned forward again. “I will tell you, but I don’t want you to cry.” What? What by all the Gods of the Olympus was his horrible condition? “I know how you muses respond to those things. Please, try at least not to cry. Because, I can assure you, it is not that bad.” I made myself ready. He came very closely to whisper: “The thing with me is, that I can’t feel emotions.” I tried, not to react at all. He observed me strictly. “I can feel no joy”, he continued. “No sadness”, and even more dramatic he added: “And I can’t feel love.”
Da da daaaaa.
Why on earth was I fighting against tears now? What has the maze of the lost hearts done to me?