Too Much To Ask For

Chapter 11

Chapter 11

After the meal, Peter found himself going over plans for the next fortnight. The feast was tonight, and the Calormen party was arriving in just over an hour, according to one Susan's doves. He also found himself playing with the dagger he had stuck into his belt. He'd wanted to give it to her, but she'd left with Susan and Lucy, who wanted her to help them pick out dresses for tonight.

He had noticed when she walked away that the back of the dress was under her shoulder blades, which would explain the shawl. But he also noticed lines of discoloring in several places going vertically done her back. He wondered if she knew they were there, but for some reason, he felt like she wouldn't want to talk about them.

He played with the dagger absentmindedly just over an over later as he stood on the main steps into the palace, waiting for the company to arrive. He hadn't bothered to replace his clothes, since he'd only change for the feast in few hours. But he was wearing his golden crown, and his siblings beside him wore theirs as well. They stood in the same line as their thrones, and when he looked to each of them, he saw that it was only Edmund who also wore a weapon, who was resting his hand on the hilt of his sword.

Peter became the High King the instant he saw the first of Susan's Southern Fox Watch come running into the courtyard. The squad was escorting their guests, and soon, the courtyard was filled with organized chaos as grooms led horses to the stables, staff guided nobles to their quarters, and servants took traveling gear and luggage. The High King was so busy greeting guests that he jumped at the gentle touch on his arm.

He turned to find her standing there, in the same dark green dress as earlier. Now, however she wore a black shawl, and small emerald earrings. She held a goblet of what smelled like sugar-berry juice, and he noticed that fauns had brought similar goblets to his siblings. "Thank you, milady," he murmured, sipping from the goblet. He never took his eyes off her as he did, and when he lowered the drink, she reached over and fixed the collar of his shirt.

"Aslan sent me to make you believe, so I'll make you believe," she murmured in response.

"How do you intend to do that?" he asked softly.

"By standing at your side when you need me, and by making others that would challenge your authority see a High King," she replied as she took the goblet back so he could shake hands with a visiting lord.

When the man walked away with his faun guide, Peter turned back to her and said, "How exactly will you make them see me as a High King, milady?"

"By treating you like one, Your Majesty," she replied.

"Milady, you don't have to deal with these feasts and galas and whatnot if you so choose not to. You do not need to put yourself through this," he told her, taking another sip from the goblet.

"Yes, I do,Your Majesty," she replied gently, meeting his eyes. "You need me to do so," she added.

"Milady," he protested softly, offering her a sip.

"Hush, Your Majesty. I want to help you. You are helping me by allowing me to stay here with you. Allow me at least to return the favor. Besides, this is a quest from Aslan. Even I will not disobey the Great Aslan," she told him, taking a small sip.

"Then allow me to ask you to accompany me to the feast tonight," he requested.

"Your Majesty, allow me to at least remember my name before I put myself in this," she implored him.

"Very well. I suppose I can't get away with introducing you as Milady now, can I?" he replied.

"No, Your Majesty, you can't," she murmured, smiling gently.

"Here, Milady. I want you to take this, if only for my own reassurance," he said suddenly, pulling the dagger from his belt. He held out in the flat of his palm, and she looked up at him quickly. He supposed this need for reassurance and his sense of worry was coming from a strong desire to protect this girl from anymore harm.

"Your Majesty, I have a knife. You saw it," she protested looking away as she did.

"Milady, this one you can hide in those sleeves, or even in the fold of your skirt. I know both of my sisters do," he told her, placing it in her hand. He closed her fingers around the sheath and took back the goblet.

"You do not trust these people, do you, Your Majesty?" she asked in a whisper.

"Not particularly much, no, Milady. I do not trust any of our neighbors yet. Too many are focused on undermining our authority, since not one of us is even of age yet," he admitted.

"Even more reason for me to stand by your side," she replied, tucking the dagger inside her sleeve discretely.

"If you insist, Milady," he smiled in resignation.

"Insist I do, Your Golden Majesty," she smiled and disappeared back inside the castle with the goblet, leaving him in a much better mood as he greeted guests. He still didn't understand how she intended to make him believe in himself, but if she was willing to try, who was he to argue.

When the High King found himself greeting the ladies of the company, he couldn't help but compare them to her. They were just two different breeds of women, and he had to admit he preferred her to their simpering giggles and obvious attempts at catching his attention. He would swear to anyone that Narnian women were that entirely different breed of women than any others.

That's when he began to think of her as Narnian. And he wouldn't stop.

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