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-She’s married. She’s out of your league. – Nerva added again.
Octavian wasn’t happy to hear it. As a man of logic and discipline, he hated the rules he had to follow.
-She lost her husband. When the whole story will to light, she won’t be married. She will be free.
-When the whole story will come to light, we all can be dead men. – Nerva replied, not even sadly, rather freely. – If we’ll survive by any miracle, she will remarry someone from her social background. And, as you said, she hates you. Do what you have to do, but don’t get involved emotionally. Women are not worth it.
Octavian nodded sadly, with disappointment. Finally, he heard what he needed to hear: a voice of sanity.
On the journey back to Aquincum, Nerva thought about sharing his worries with Appius. It wasn’t normal that Octavian was analysing his state of being single and it was a sign of him falling in love. It was a warning to Nerva. It was ridiculous. It was dangerous. It had to be discussed with Appius. In a clearly murky, gloomy situation, there was no place for further unknown or variables. Apparently, Appius had the same opinion, but he balanced between possibilities. Taking Octavian off the task could harm the dainty micro system that had been developed in the last days. Octavian had the best view at the local part of the entire situation. Appius was sure that Octavian wouldn’t purposely harm the mission in any way. Therefore, he decided to keep Octavian in Britannia for some more days. Then, Nerva should take his place. Nerva was reliable, too, but there was no risk of him falling in love to any woman. Additionally, Nerva was on the way for so many weeks and he had to rest. He wouldn’t dare to think about having a longer pause, so Appius had to arrange it for him.
Taking into consideration the mixed feelings of Octavian, knowing that Marcus Lucius simply calmed down the girl, and planning that Nerva could replace Octavian on site, Appius wrote some unusual sentences in the letter to Marcus Lucius. Marcus Lucius had to pretend being Maxentius, but he shouldn’t get involved or show his involvement for Julia to anyone. Octavian shouldn’t get affected by the situation too much, otherwise his emotions could influence the plan unwillingly. Above all, Julia was supposed to keep her integrity.
Marcus Lucius read the message after two weeks, because that was how long it took Nerva to reach the convoy on its way to Eboracum. Nerva was tired and needed a rest. As long as his distances were limited to a three-days’-rides, everything was fine. With the increasing distance, it was harder to stay trim and fit without having any pause. The convoy moved forward at a constant, normal speed. Nerva tried to deliver messages as fast as it was possible. His horses were extraordinary tired and he had to rest as well. Appius ordered two more soldiers to accompany Nerva on his way and to slow him down.
Octavian wasn’t sure how to make sure that his friend would catch a longer rest during the journey, so he appreciated Appius indirect way to influence Nerva’s stops. It was shortly after morning’s habits were finished. The convoy just started to move forward when Nerva appeared with two legionnaires by his site. Octavian stopped the journey for a short break. He went to Marcus Lucius, who was already conscious and whose wounds were healing better with every day.
-Nerva’s back. – Octavian reported shortly. He was out of breath from joy and his wrinkles showed his sorrows about his best friend.
Marcus Lucius understood the problem without any further explanation. Julia was sitting in her corner of the wagon and watched the conversation between the soldiers.
-Im feeling good enough to leave the bed. – Marcus Lucius suggested. From the time they left Londonium, he got better with every day. He wasn’t able to pretend to be unconscious anymore. Julia was happy for him, and she stepped back more and more. He wanted to leave the wagon and breathe the real, wet, foggy air of Britannia. After weeks spent in limited space, he needed the feeling of freedom.
-You won’t get a horse, you’re too weak for that. – Octavian replied and wondered about Marcus Lucius’s willingness to help a simple soldier. He was aware that Marcus Lucius was a tribune and could have been accustomed to giving orders without hearing any kind of veto.
-Then, I will sit here. Your messenger should rest in my bed. The escort should rest in another wagon.