Our next experiment took place in the maze of the lost hearts. My immortal muse was more than happy to guide me to a meadow near the center of the maze and to reach out for the pale knight to find the same spot. “I will watch you”, she said, “but it is better, if I don’t help you, otherwise my sisters will claim, that I did your job.”

I heard the sweet sound of galloping hooves first, before the shining armour lightened up the shadowy place heroically. At this point, Ronin and I had met so often in real life, that we both felt weird. We both looked like we were the only ones at a party, who had come in fancy dress. “What is our experiment today?”, asked the pale knight after he opened his vizor. I took a deep breath. “We will try it again and I hope we get ideas on the way.” “Will you be alright?” He seemed very concerned. I tried to look brave: “We have to do something. It is getting worse.” Oh, yes, it was. My heart was already running fast. I saw his lovely smile, and I felt the burden of this crazy love-thing growing fast. The pale knight nodded. He took my hand in a professional scientific way. “It is so nice to meet you here”, he began with phase one. Although I wasn’t charmed by it – I guessed it might have been a bit too professional – I could feel the weight growing. “Please, take your helmet off”, I panted in short breath.

“Is it better now?”, he asked. I looked at him and managed a smile. To see his face was better. “Let us try again”, I said in an encouraging tone. He nodded and stated: “You are always lovely to look at.” This was nice. And it actually felt alright. It was time to test my theory. I made a step forward. I reached out to lay my hand on his heart. His armour was cold – so cold it hurt. I pulled my hand away and just avoided to say: “Outch!” Ronin looked irritated, so I acted fast. I pressed my cold fingers on my lips and reached out again, this time aiming for his cheek. As my fingers touched his face, I looked into his eyes and let my heart go, so that he would see a little bit of my love for him. It was a little gesture, not more. I regretted it immediately.

Like a lightning bolt it struck through me. I was on the ground, before I even realized, that I was hit. I think I heard Ronin shouting my name in the distance. I think, I saw my muse hovering over me, like a golden shadow. A creepy cold was crawling through my bones. I saw Ronins big brown eyes full with fear. “Get rid of the armour”, I tried to say. There were no words coming out of my mouth, but he seemed to understand. He pulled down his gauntlets, it wasn’t easy by the look of it. His hands were free now and by instinct I took his left and held it for a moment. It made me a little bit better. “I don’t know how to open it”, Ronin confessed after helplessly trying to find some straps to open. I let his hand go free. I tried to sit up, but it was impossible. A little tongue began licking my face. “They will help you”, my muse said in her beautiful voice as a second tongue began to lick my skin. “Sheep”, I recognized the sweet little noses, that blew new life in me. Their wool was softly glowing in a beautiful shade of gold. I don’t know, how long I lied in the grass, but when I could manage to sit up again, Ronin just got rid of his second leg-piece. Obviously, he was just ripping it from his body in a fearsome state of mind. As I saw him struggling with the next armpiece, I found strength to crawl nearer. I held the vambrace – what I now looked up this piece on his forearm was called – and pulled as hard as I could. Then we got rid of the rerebrace and the pauldrons. Ronin was now in clear panic. I tried to get him out of the breastplate, but again there were no straps. I pulled and pushed, finding new strength in the desperation of my friend. The voice of my muse rang through my heart: “Use your magic”, she said. “Use your love!” I let my instincts take over. Again I placed a kiss on my hand and as if it was a weapon and as if I was a warrior queen, I held my hand up to the skies and then with a fighting scream, I let it dash down and the kiss on my fingers stroke the armour like the bolt of a crossbow. A golden crack appeared. Now it was Ronins warrior scream that let the grass shiver. With full force, he ripped the breastplate apart and threw it away. To get rid of the chain mail was easy now.

We both were sitting in the grass, trying to find breath again. The sheep licked our knees and fingers. “Do you feel better now?”, I asked Ronin with a weak voice. Breathing was so exhausting! “The question is, how do you feel? For a moment, I thought you were dead.”; “I’m fine”, I claimed. “Those back to life licking sheep are really working well.” I saw Ronin shaking his head and a smile broke through. That smile felt lovely. It was a good reason to endure all this pain and danger. And I smiled back – tired, but kind of happy.

“Do you feel different now?”, I tried again. “Definitely”, he said. “As soon as I realized, that the cold of the armour was hurting you, I felt it myself”, he explained. “I couldn’t get rid of it quick enough.”

It was time to reveal my theory: “So, my thought was, that the armour is somehow keeping you away from your emotions. I think that your emotions are around you, and the armour was blocking them out”, I said. “We muses are very sensitive to the emotions of others, especially in this place, I think. So my guess would be, that we would feel your emotions instead of you. But because, they were never felt, they kind of got collected and grew dangerously big. Too big for a single muse to take.” Ronin nodded very slowly. “Well, I don’t know if it could be that way”, I added. “It was a theory.” I could see Ronins thoughts running to the conclusion, but I didn’t want him to come to it that quickly. “So, you think, that the love for me, you are experiencing, is actually my love for… you?” Oh, no. I could not state such a presumptuous thing, could I? This conversation will get me in trouble, I thought. Why has he had to be that clever?

“This love might be a collection of all the good feelings you ever had”, I tried to safe the moment. “Of people, food, weather, things and so on.” He again nodded very slowly. “We should try it once more, shouldn’t we?”, he said. “Yes, we have to test again. This time without the cold armour.” He nodded and came closer. He wrapped his left arm around me and I leaned against his shoulder. “You were very brave”, he said. This statement was no problem. It just felt nice. Now it was my turn: “You smell good”, I said, because he actually smelled good. Like a cozy place near the tiled stove or a fun adventure that let you breathe more freely. He held his face to mine and took a deep breath. I felt dizzy. “You smell like peace and joy and love”, he whispered. The burden fell down on me. It fell down to crush me. I could still feel Ronins arm around me. “Not again”, my muse whispered. I think, there were the sheep again. I think, my muse played a melody on her flute to save me. I tried to fight to come up again. I tried, but all I could think of was: “It didn’t work. It wasn’t the armour. I need to solve this mystery!” Then all went black and I was in the cold again.

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