I was pacing up and down the street in front of the building Ronins office was in. Think, think, think, I demanded from my brain. When his tall figure appeared, I rushed to him, grabbed his hand and took him with me. “Are we strolling through Vienna again?”, he asked in a voice so calm and natural, that I got angry. Could he not see, that I was in emergency-mode? We were passing Karlsplatz, but I still could not slow down. “We need a bit of peace”, I said. “Because we have to think.” Ronin seemed to like the idea. “Thinking and walking is a good combination.”
The street was too loud. Schwarzenbergplatz? The fountain was too much of a distraction. Stadtpark? Too many Pokemon-hunters. I sighed. We needed a better place for our project. I imagined a lake. Dark clear water, surrounded by alpine meadows, colourful like an impressionists’ palette, with all the blooming flowers in it. And there were silent mountains around us, who watched without the slightest interest in us.
“We need to solve your problem fast”, I started my explanation. “I have been told, that if we cannot solve this quickly, I will be crushed by love. I don’t want to be crushed, not even by love.” Ronin nodded understanding.
“So, what are we going to do?”
“We will look at this problem scientifically”, I declared. “With rationality and logic.”
“Even though it is about magic and love?”, Ronin asked with a sceptical voice.
“Logic is in everything that exist”, I stated, “we just have to understand it. There will be an explanation for my love to you. There always is.”
“It was just a joke”, said Ronin. “I have the same theory. Let’s do some research!”
A smile found its way through my panic, and Ronin smiled back. It was time to be clever!
With caution, I briefed him on the things, I was told about him. He was very confused, as I said, that he is actually not a guard of the maze, but a prisoner with a lost heart. He felt guilty, as I told him, that muses lost their Musepower because of him. His guilt was tough on my heart and so was his bravery, that let him go on. We both seemed to need a lot of concentration to talk through the important questions. “Do you remember, what it was, that led you to the maze for the first time?”
“I have no memory whatsoever. For me, it is like I have been there all along.”
“But there must be something, that has happened to you. Something about your heart. There must be a reason, that led you to the maze in the first place.”
“You are talking about a heartbreak”, Ronin said with a hint of bitterness. “I can’t remember such an occasion.”
“Do you remember ever being in love?”, I asked. But Ronin could not. “That’s quite odd for a guy my age, am I right?”
“Not necessarily. But no memory doesn’t mean, that nothing ever happened. You are in the maze night after night. I can only go to the maze, when I am being led by another muse. Someone has to pick me up, otherwise, I could not pass the gate.”
“I can’t remember ever passing a gate”, Ronin explained. “As soon as I fall asleep, I am in it, sitting on my horse and wearing my armour.”
“Where did you get horse and armour?” This was just another question Ronin could not find an answer to. “What is going on with my memory?”, he said with frustration. “This really is not like me at all. My memory is normally quite good. And till now, I haven’t even realized, that I have no memory of how it all began.”
“Don’t worry about that”, I tried to comfort him. “We will try a new angle. So, help me think about love.” Although my heart was pumping in chaotic confusion, I tried to stay focused. “This feeling of love you give me, comes in waves. Perhaps we can find a pattern in there.”
“Do you want to make an experiment?”, the knight in civil clothes asked. That was a brilliant idea. “Let’s start with something simple to calibrate my emotional setting”, I said. “Do something, that would cause every girl, who is into you, to go all butterflies.”
“You know, that prickly feeling, that you might get, if you have just fallen in love.”
Ronin seemed worried about his task. But he thought it through and then took my hand: “You look lovely in that muse-dress of yours.” Too or three butterflies found their way from my stomach to my cheeks. “Alright”, I said. “Now give me some more. Say something really sweet!” He looked a bit nervous. “Your hair looks great?” No butterflies at all. “Is this a question? You have to say something convincing.”
“Convincing”, he repeated, before he sighed. He came a bit closer. “I enjoy our meetings very much. Every second of it. You are pure joy to me.” Oh, that was a hit! There were butterflies, my heartbeat grew faster and I could feel a wave of celebration rolling through my brain. “That was good”, I commentated our experiment. “Shall we take it to another level?”, Ronin asked in full scientific conqueror mode. “Now, I want you to really blow up my heart”, I told him. “Can you manage that?” Ronins smile got even cuter. With lovely confidence he wrapped his arms around me, pulled me close to him and gave me a long sweet smooch on the forehead. “You are brilliant”, he whispered, finding my favourite compliment with no problems at all. This whole river of love I had for him, rushed through me. I felt it in every cell of my body. In the magic of the moment I closed my eyes and leaned my head against his cheek. It was a sweet moment and I used it to feel all my emotions with great attention. Yes, there was love, but it did not feel like a burden at all. I placed a kiss on Ronins cheek. “I also enjoy every second with you”, I whispered and he hugged me a bit more. And in that moment, it hit me. A wave full of love, strong, heavy love, beautiful but so different, from what I felt just moments ago. I was shaken by its power and weight. “Is everything alright?”, Ronin asked. I could see worry in his eyes, as my legs gave in and gravity tried to rip me to the ground. Ronin tried to stop my fall. A moment later he was sitting in the grass and held me in his arms. The weight of the feeling grew. “What is it? Was it too strong? What can I do?” And it grew. “This was just for science”, he tried to help me. “It was just an experiment!” As I failed to catch breath, his worry changed to panic. I was not able to hold the world with the lake in the mountains any longer and we were back in the Stadtpark again. “Shall I tell you, that I don’t love you? Would that help?” I could see his eyes getting wet. And the weight on my breast grew heavier again. “I can’t feel love, can you remember?” And even heavier. I knew, I would be lost soon, but in the blinding panic of the situation, I found a window with a clear view. “Look to the sky”, I panted with the little flat breath, I could manage to breath. “Look in the sky and think of Gyoza!” Ronin did not understand, but he followed my command quickly. “Don’t look at me”, I gasped, as he seemed to follow temptation. “I am thinking of Gyoza!”
I caught a deep breath. “And think of Powidltascherl!”
“Powidltascherl? What about Powidlbuchteln?”
“Any dish you like!” It worked, my breathing got lighter.
“Ramen?”, he asked.
“Yeah! Think of Ramen and Sushi and Burritos and Viennese Schnitzel with potato-salad!”
“Okay, I’m hungry now.”
“Perfect.” I felt better and sat up. “Alright, now look at me!”
As he faced me again, the feeling got heavier, but only for a brief moment. “You are alright?”, he asked. I nodded. “I am now, but I need another go, to strengthen my theory.”
“You already have a theory?”
“Please look into my eyes and try to find the sweetest moment, that we shared together.” It was risky, but I got a hunch. He didn’t have to say a word, just him thinking of that moment – whatever moment he had chosen – led to another attack on my lungs and heart. As I failed to find breath again, he looked in the sky and said: “Baked cheese with a nice mixed salad. Chili-noodles. Mango-chicken. Grapes and apricots.” I felt better immediately.
“We have a lead”, I panted.
“Have we? What is your observation?”
“Well, you might not be able to feel love, but I can tell you, there is more than enough of it floating around you.”
“And by that you mean…?”
“We have to do more research on that, but my theory is as follows: You love, but you can not feel it.”
“I love?” His eyes were reflecting the sweetest dream as hope was rising.
“I really think you do”, I said to him and I smiled in encouragement.
“Well, I love science”, he stated with a spark in his eye. “What is the next experiment?”