In the Name of the Crown

Chapter 7


The sound of hooves on cobblestones was sweet music to Edmund's ears. He steered around a sharp turn, heading up through the city to the palace gates. He could hear Lucy behind him, keeping pace easily, and he glanced down at the unconscious figure in his arms, wishing she'd open her eyes.

They had ridden practically nonstop, allowing the horses to rest and drink for ten minutes before starting off again. Galloping through the forest with only a half moon to guide them during the night wasn't exactly fun, but it was urgent to have pushed as hard as they had.

Lucy would come alongside him whenever they slowed to a walk and would check on Adeline. Each time her mouth pressed into a thinner, grimmer line that made the worry settle heavier on them both. He could feel Adeline's forehead getting ever warmer, the sweat making his own skin damp, and every so often she would give a horrible shiver, her body shuddering from head to toe with the raging fever.

Please let us get there in time, he thought.

He didn't remember the city being this extensive, but then again that had been over a thousand years ago. After what seemed another ten miles they rounded a final bend and the gates were before them, and Edmund dug his heels in, hard, pushing his horse into a frantic gallop past the thunderstruck guards.

He thanked heaven everyone here recognized him; immediately a tall manservant came running into the courtyard, bowing hurriedly as he took in the bedraggled travelers before him. Edmund was just wondering where to start explaining when Lucy took matters into her own hands.

"Does King Caspian have my cordial?" She slid to the ground as she spoke, never breaking stride as she reached up to hold Adeline steady so Edmund could dismount.

"Yes, Your Majesty."

"Bring it to me, with all haste. Send word to the King that we're here, and tell him to meet us in the Throne Room."

He hastened to do her bidding, and Edmund followed his sister up the steps and through the wide double doors, up another marble staircase and down a long corridor lined with bright tapestries.

Lucy showed no hesitation, quickly choosing one of the bedrooms and entering, drawing back the bedclothes so Edmund could lay Adeline down. He moved to leave the room, but she stopped him.

"I've got to work on it now, and until servants get here you're all the help I've got."

"Lu, I don't know the first thing about healing."

"Yes, but I don't need you to do anything except hold her up. She's still unconscious, you know."

As she spoke she had started unbuttoning Adeline's tunic; Edmund fought back the blush that stained his ears and helped his sister remove the filthy garment. He grasped the hot skin of Adeline's shoulders and pulled her to a sitting position as gently as he could, but Adeline still let out a soft moan, and he couldn't believe how much it hurt to hear it.

Lucy had drawn the drapes, the bright late morning sunlight pouring in, and just as Edmund was about to ask what he needed to do four maids came running through the door, the first one holding out Lucy's cordial.

The queen fairly snatched at the vial, working frantically to unstopper it, and motioned for Edmund to lean Adeline's head back so she could swallow. He ended up putting his whole arm behind her back to support her weight, and letting her head loll back against his shoulder. Lucy reached over and let a single drop through their friend's cracked lips, and after a brief pause a second drop followed.

The other maids had brought towels and bandages and a basin with hot water, along with a small jar of a vile smelling ointment. Edmund carefully laid Adeline back on the mattress, and looked up at Lucy.

"Will she be alright?"

Nodding slowly, Lucy looked at him, tearing her eyes off her patient for the first time since they'd come through the door.

"I think so. But the wound will still need a proper dressing; and she'll have to rest a great deal before she feels like her old self again."

Edmund let a long breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

"Alright. I'll let you finish up here; come whenever you're ready."

She had already turned her attention back to Adeline, acknowledging his words absently as she began to give directions to the maids.

He knew there wasn't anything else he could have done, and Adeline was certainly in good hands, so he didn't feel the least bit guilty in backing out the room and closing the door softly.

"Edmund!"

Caspian was heading his way, a wide smile on his face which Edmund returned. He looked older, but better and stronger. Still, it was the same Caspian he knew from six years ago.

The two men met, embracing warmly before Caspian pushed Edmund out to arm's length.

"The servant said something about an injured girl – it's not Lucy?"

"No, not at all, she's doing the healing actually," Edmund reassured him, and his friend's face relaxed as he draped an arm around Edmund's shoulders, leading back towards the Throne Room.

"What, exactly, are you two doing here anyway?"

"Four," Edmund corrected softly, and he smiled to himself when the other king became very still.

"Four?" He echoed, his eyes wide with shock.

"Yes; we met your excursion party a little ways from the Archenland border. Peter and Susan stayed with them while Lu and I brought our wounded friend here. They should be here day after tomorrow if all goes well."

Caspian didn't appear to have heard anything past "Susan". He was staring at a spot just over Edmund's shoulder, his expression still dumbfounded. After several long moments had gone by he noticed Edmund watching him with a knowing grin.

"She missed you, Caspian. She never said anything, I think perhaps it pained her too much, but we all knew. Her heart stayed behind when she left."

Caspian closed his eyes, but the look on his face was one of joy that was beyond words.

Edmund was happy for him, truly he was; they'd watched Susan push Narnia further and further away, and even when she insisted it was because it was make-believe anyhow and was something for children, he'd always known it was because of Caspian. To admit missing Narnia would be admitting to missing him, and Edmund had struggled with finding a way to comfort his sister without rubbing salt in the wound.

He gave a deep sigh of contentment, just thinking of how happy Susan was going to be when she got here – and as the air filled his lungs it hit him.

He smelled awful. Almost a month of sweat, horseback riding, river water, and sleeping out in the woods had added up. He grimaced; Caspian noticed and laughed.

"Go on, your chambers are in the same place. I'll wait here for Lucy, and when you've both cleaned up we can talk."

Smiling in thanks, he turned and trotted up another staircase, taking the hall down to his old room. He hesitated at the door, but the even the handle felt familiar, smooth and cool, and he couldn't stop the sigh that escaped him when he saw the enormous tub standing in the middle of the room, filled with steaming water, and a small table nearby held towels and soap. There were even some of his clean clothes laid out on the bed.

He wasted no time; Lucy wouldn't take very long, and there was much to discuss with Caspian.

/

Lucy, having a much more sensitive nose, had noticed she'd needed a bath days ago, so her greetings with Caspian were much shorter as she was in a hurry to wash away the grime and sweat of travel.

Clean and garbed in a simple yellow silk gown, she hurried back to Adeline's room before she met with Caspian and Edmund.

Adeline' shoulder already had made vast improvement; it now looked to be several days old instead of two, and the fever had broken when she'd received the cordial. She was sleeping, never stirring when Lucy came to the bedside, and once satisfied that all she needed now was to rest, Lucy nodded at the maidservant keeping watch and made her way to the Throne Room.

Edmund and Caspian were waiting for her, talking and laughing almost as if they'd never left. They spotted her almost immediately, Caspian drawing her in for a proper hug, and then he turned to the siblings.

"What's happened?"

Such a simple question. But so much had happened in so little time that Lucy didn't have the foggiest as where to begin. She looked at Edmund, who seemed to be at a loss as well. They both laughed slightly before Edmund answered.

"We'll wait to tell the whole story once Peter and Su are here; it's quite unbelievable, even for us. But I will tell you – our injured friend we brought with us is someone you might know. Lady Adeline, of Anvard."

Caspian's jaw dropped.

"Lady Adeline? You're certain it's her?"

"Yes, quite," Edmund replied, a bit confused. "Why?"

Caspian looked at both of them before answering slowly, "Lady Adeline is believed to have been killed the same night Princess Gwen was murdered. Princess Gwen was - "

"Addie told us," Edmund cut him off, and Caspian fell silent.

Lucy's mind reeled, trying to make sense of it all. There were so many possibilities, so many different stories and any of them could be true, but for now, she decided, she'd trust Adeline. That had never failed them yet.

"We've another friend that will be arriving with the others; he's an Archenlandian himself and seemed to recognize her. She saved our lives countless times on the way here, Caspian; we've no reason not to trust her."

Edmund nodded. "She may not even know she's presumed to be dead."

Caspian seemed a bit more at ease, but he still said, "Well, if it's alright with you I'd like to see her. I've met her before, and though it's been a few years I should be able to recognize her. If it is her, then I'll send word to Anvard immediately. The royal family is mourning for her as much as they did the princess."

That matched Adeline's story, so Lucy felt a bit more confident as she led the two men to the small guest chamber.

The servant girl still sat by the window, quietly working on some mending, and the room smelled faintly of the salve they'd used earlier.

Adeline lay still, mostly unchanged, though her color showed vast improvement. Lucy felt of her forehead, relieved to find it cool. She looked up at Caspian, who nodded grimly.

"It's her, alright. I haven't seen her since she was sixteen or so, but I'd recognize her anywhere. Given her condition I'd say the assassins probably came after her as well."

Lucy felt her own eyes widen in surprise. "We didn't think of that, Ed."

He was equally shocked. "She said she didn't know who those men were, though. She would have told us, don't you think?"

"Men?" asked Caspian, his voice sharp. "What men?"

Edmund gave an abridged version of their close call at the farm, the inn, and at the river. Caspian looked thoughtful when he'd finished, and was a bit disappointed they didn't still have the arrow that had hit Adeline.

Right then Adeline coughed, stirring slightly, and Lucy quickly sat on the edge of the mattress. Her eyes slowly fluttered open and found Lucy.

"Water."

The word was barely there, more of a strangled whisper than anything, but the maid was already at Lucy's shoulder with a ladle.

Lucy held the dipper with one hand, and reached for Adeline's head with the other. To her surprise, Edmund had come around and was already helping Adeline raise her head enough to swallow, cradling the back of her head with one of his hands.

Adeline couldn't manage the whole dipper, but when she'd finished Edmund gently laid her back on the pillow.

Lucy fought the urge to stare. She and Susan had been sick plenty of times, and Edmund had never, ever shown the concern he was showing now. Still, this wasn't the time to question him, so she simply gave the dipper back to the servant and adjusted the bedclothes.

Adeline was sound asleep before they'd even reached the door, and after Edmund had quietly closed the portal behind them Caspian turned to them both.

"I'm the same as you two – I have no reason not to trust her. But it's odd that she wouldn't run to Anvard if she was being hunted. Do you have any idea where these men were from?"

"I have one of their swords," Edmund offered, "but no one in our company recognized it. It's in my room."

"I'll look at it later," Caspian promised, "but for now I'm sure you both are starved. Come, we'll have time to discuss this later."

Lucy smiled and took his offered arm, and as they started towards the private dining room she looked at her brother with a cheeky smile.

"Ed, do you think they'll have toast?"

He poked her side, and Caspian's laughter did wonders for making her feel like they'd never left.

/

Adeline felt as though she'd been trampled by a wild boar. A very large, very angry wild boar.

She winced slightly as she stretched beneath the covers, glancing towards the door.

Lucy had stopped having a servant sit with her while she slept; she'd made vast recovery over the past two days, thanks largely to the healing cordial, and the queen had told her that she needed rest until her body recovered from the massive blood loss.

It had been hard, but Adeline had forced herself to rest all day yesterday, never even getting out of bed, not even for meals. Trays of food were brought to her room, and Lucy and Edmund even came to eat with her once, but Adeline felt her patience wearing thin by the minute.

There was absolutely no way she was staying in here all day long again.

Moving slowly, she sat up and swung her feet over the side of the mattress, gripping the edge when things started to spin. After a moment the sensation went away, and she carefully stood, noticing as she did that she'd lost a good five or ten pounds in just two days, probably due to that wretched poison.

Inch by inch, she shuffled over to the window, enjoying the early morning sunshine, and after cautiously looking at the door again she moved to the wardrobe that stood in the corner. Hopefully her things had been put in here, and if not she'd resort to finding a servant.

She was overjoyed to find not just her own clothes, but some newer gowns as well that looked to be her size, in soft blues and greens and even one that was a gorgeous cream color. She reached out to finger the soft material, jumping when the door suddenly opened behind her.

"Oh!" The plump, gray-haired servant started in her surprise. "M'lady, ought you to be out of bed?"

Adeline hastened to assure her. "Yes, I'm feeling so much better; I'd really like to go down to breakfast if there's still time."

The woman looked a tad uncertain, but nodded anyway.

"Their Majesties aren't even up yet, miss, so you've time to bathe if you like."

Adeline could not keep the smile off her face. A bath – a real, actual bath, with soap and hot water, sounded like nothing short of paradise.

An hour later, Adeline stood before the large, oval mirror in the corner, while the servant – she'd said her name was Lela – laced up the back of the simple cream dress. Her hair was back to its normal gold color after the thorough washing, and she'd brushed it out and pulled it back from her face, letting the ends hang free down her back.

She was already tired, but she didn't care; she was wonderfully, gloriously clean. It had been worth it.

Lela finished, taking a step back to look her over, and smiled.

"There you are, my lady. You look lovely. Go on, now, I'll tidy up here. The dining room's to the left, down the stairs, and through the blue doors on the right."

"Thank you so much, Lela." Adeline said warmly, and made her way out the door.

/

Edmund was famished.

Still, though, he'd told Lucy he would check on Adeline before he came to breakfast, so he strode quickly through the corridor, down the back staircase, made a sharp left, and walked smack into someone.

Staggering back a couple of steps, he instinctively grabbed the other person's upper arms in an effort to balance them both. He blinked, looked to see who it was, and blinked again, thinking his eyes were playing tricks on him.

"Adeline?"

The Adeline he knew from the past two weeks wore simple, cotton tunics and trousers, hair tied back in a braid, belt with her sword and dagger worn over her shirt.

This Adeline was wearing a soft white dress, with sleeves that ended at her wrists, and with a skirt that went all the way to the floor. Her hair was loose down her back, fixed much like his sisters wore it whenever they were in Narnia, and as he stood there with his hands still on her arms, his nose caught a whiff of apple blossoms.

He knew he was ogling, but he honestly couldn't help himself.

"Is everything alright, Edmund?" her soft voice broke through his fog, and he immediately let go of her, shaking himself a mental shake.

"I'm sorry, Addie, I wasn't expecting to see you up and about. I'm assuming you're feeling better?"

She'd looked rather concerned at his silence, and his question made her smile.

"I am, yes. Lucy took such good care of me that I thought I would try joining you all for breakfast, if it was all right."

"Of course; come on, Lu will be thrilled."

He offered her his arm and she took it, grinning up at him amicably, and he inhaled sharply, not sure maintaining physical contact with her was the best idea, because if he'd thought she looked good before, her smile was downright breathtaking.

He tried to focus on not tripping over his own feet, and they managed to reach the dining room without incident. He even gave her a silly bow when he held the door for her, earning a soft laugh that was cut short when Lucy spotted her.

The young queen was thrilled to see her, and the girls were chatting when Caspian came in. He paused, surprised at Adeline's presence, but an easy smile quickly came over his face as he crossed the room.

"Lady Adeline. It is wonderful to see you again, and even better to see you recovered." He pressed a brief kiss to the back of her hand, and Adeline smiled.

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

Lucy interjected, "Oh, no, Addie, that won't do at all. He's a friend, just like we are. And he'll call you Adeline or Addie just as we do. You'll see, it's great fun."

Caspian grinned again, and Adeline laughed slightly before correcting herself.

"Thank you, Caspian."

Over the meal of fruits and pastries, Edmund came to the realization that they had seen only one side of Adeline while on the trail. It made sense, after all; she'd had to focus and there hadn't been loads of time while on the trail to joke around. But hearing her laugh, truly laugh, at something Lucy had said got him staring again. It was as if an entirely different person had come downstairs.

Their breakfast was interrupted with the arrival of Reepicheep, whom Lucy greeted with such enthusiasm Edmund thought the Mouse would have blushed if he could.

"Hello, Reep," he grinned, well pleased himself to see another friend. "How've you been?"

"Quite well, thank you, Sire. I have news for all of you: High King Peter and Queen Susan have arrived. They are coming up the front steps as we speak."

Lucy gasped, then seized Adeline's arm and rushed out the door, practically dragging the other girl with her. Reepicheep scurried after them, leaving Caspian and Edmund alone.

The latter glanced sideways at the other king; he was sitting stone still, looking at the door like it was his worst enemy.

Edmund stood, and reached for Caspian's shoulder, giving it a sympathetic squeeze.

"Come on, Caspian, she'll think you've forgotten her."

Caspian swallowed, and followed Edmund out the door and into the main entrance hall, joining the girls just in time to see the two elder Pevensies come in.

"Adeline!" Susan exclaimed in delight, while Peter surged forward and swept Adeline into a brotherly hug. Susan was next, and she drew back, looking at Adeline sharply.

"You didn't get out of bed before Lucy said, did you?" she asked, and Adeline laughed.

"No, Susan, I obeyed for the most part. I just couldn't stay cooped up for another day, and as long as I don't move too quickly I'm good as new."

Susan smiled; her eyes found Edmund's, and a second later they went to the man who stood next to him.

She froze, cheeks slightly pink, and all the others watched silently as Caspian slowly walked towards her. When he got within arm's reach he stopped, just looking at her for a long moment, before reaching up two fingers and stroking her cheek softly.

They both smiled at the same time, and Edmund couldn't stop his own grin when Caspian swept Susan into his arms, burying his face in her neck. He lifted her straight off her feet, and Edmund glanced around their little circle and caught Adeline looking at him; he rolled his eyes and she suppressed a smile.

He broke eye contact with her, this time finding Peter looking at him with a peculiar twinkle of amusement in his eye.

Before he could ask about it, though, Caspian released Susan, coming to greet Peter with a bear hug that was warmly reciprocated. Everyone was talking and laughing all at once, and in the midst of it all Edmund noticed Lucy's concerned gaze fall on Adeline. The girl looked exhausted, and it was only late morning.

Thankfully Caspian had picked up on it as well; he quieted everyone and said, "Well, we'll give you two a chance to get cleaned up, and Adeline, I'm sure you need to rest a bit before coming down for lunch. After that we'll catch up and visit."

Lucy looked torn; she wanted to go with her sister, but she felt obligated to make sure Adeline got to her room alright. Edmund stepped forward without even thinking about it.

"I'll look after her, Lu. You go on."

She shot him grateful smile, and with one last hug and a promise to Adeline that she'd come to check on her later, she hurried off to Susan's chambers. Peter had already gone, and Caspian had disappeared as well; the two of them were alone once more, and this time Edmund felt a bit awkward.

"Well, did you want to go to your room and lie down, or there's some nice gardens outside, I believe the library is on this floor, or we could just stand here and talk for the next three hours." He said the last part a bit teasingly, and to his utter shock a small giggle escaped her before she answered.

"I think I'd like to see the gardens, if that's alright."

He gestured to the door, choosing this time to walk slightly behind her in hopes that he wouldn't be tempted to stare as much, but instead he stared more, mostly at her hair. It was like liquid gold cascading down her back in thick waves, curling just slightly at the tips, reaching her waist.

He sped his pace, walking slightly in front of her now to show her the way, and was relieved to find that he could concentrate a bit better.

Adeline's thoughts, on the other hand, were filled with nothing but awe as Edmund led her through the palace. She'd always believed the castle in Anvard to be beautiful, with its masonry and statues, the walls built to keep out the winter chill. And the last time she'd visited Narnia, Cair Paravel had not been completed, but she'd still been impressed with the old Telmarine fortress.

Now, however, she had all she could do to keep her jaw from hanging open. The marble pillars, the carved doors, several of which were painted bright colors, were stunning. And, of course, there was the entire side of the palace that stood open to the sea. Edmund took her out onto a large veranda that overhung the seaside cliff, then down a series of steps off to the side.

The steps were closed off on one side by the palace wall, and after a few feet Edmund stopped, sweeping his arm out for her to precede him through a tiny arched door way, carved right through the sandstone. It led to a narrow passageway, and around a bend it suddenly opened into the private gardens, reserved for the Narnian monarchs and their guests.

Adeline stared in wonder at the beauty of it, and after a moment she caught Edmund grinning at her.

"I've never seen anything like it," she said, and his smile only widened before he offered her his arm again, leading her through the foliage.

They passed shrubs and flowers Adeline had never seen before, and Edmund helped with the names of things where he could.

She was surprised with his knowledge of the gardens; it must have shown in her face because he turned to her and said, "What? You didn't think a king would know the difference between a rose and a daisy?"

That lopsided grin of his was there, so she knew he was just teasing, but she couldn't help but blush a little.

"Perhaps any other king would not have surprised me, but for some reason I wouldn't have guessed you to be the outdoorsman."

He smiled again, but his look turned thoughtful as he replied, "I wasn't, not always. But shortly after my coronation – sorry, our coronation – I grew rather…troubled. I would often come out here and clear my mind. It became one of my favorite places."

"What troubled you?" The question had left her lips before she'd realized how nosy it sounded, but Edmund was answering before she could apologize.

"I think it was the fact that I'd betrayed Aslan, my family, everyone, really. And they all just took me back, no questions asked, and made me their king." Here Edmund paused, thinking back. "I knew they'd all forgiven me, but it was some time before I could forgive myself."

Adeline wasn't sure what to say; he seemed lost in thought, and she couldn't bring herself to disturb him. She glanced around and noticed a stone bench near the wall, quite in the shade, and she headed over to it, content to just be out in the fresh air.

He still stood where she'd left him, staring at nothing in particular, but he suddenly noticed she'd moved and looked at her where she sat on the bench.

"I'm sorry, Addie, I didn't mean to neglect you." He sounded contrite, but she shook her head.

"It's alright, Edmund. I needed to sit for a moment anyway. I think I might need a nap after lunch." She gave a small laugh, and he smiled.

After a moment she looked over at him quizzically, and asked the question that had been on her mind for the past several days.

"Why did you start calling me Addie?"

He had come over to sit beside her, stretching his long legs out in front of him and leaning his head back against the wall; eyes closed, he appeared to be completely at ease, but her question made him peek over at her, then sit up nervously.

"I-I dunno. It just…suited you, somehow."

She didn't know what she'd been expecting, but it wasn't that. She didn't respond at first, and he asked, "It doesn't bother you, does it?"

"No, not at all," she assured him quickly, and he looked relieved, so much so that it struck her as rather funny.

"Fitz and Izzy call me Addie all the time, Edmund. And in any case, I'm fond of nicknames."

"Are you?" he asked, a grin starting.

"Yes. Especially that one your sister called you when she scolded you for tackling me. Eddy, I think it was."

His cheeks had a faint blush, but he laughed a little along with her.

"I'll have you know," he started, trying to sound stern, "that Lucy is the only person who is allowed to call me that. Everyone else calls me Edmund, or Ed, if they're familiar enough."

They shared another smile at the memory; after a moment his smile faded, replaced by an unreadable expression. He kept his eyes locked on hers, and she felt a twinge of uncertainty. Suddenly she leaned forward over her knees, hunching her shoulders slightly.

"I owe you an apology, Edmund." She spoke softly. She looked over at him to see confusion etched in his features, so she took a deep breath.

"That night, at the inn…" she heard his sharp intake of breath, and paused. But he said nothing, so she continued, "I never meant to wake you. I'd had nightmares, usually revolving around Gwen's death, but I've never just cried in my sleep like that before. I'm sorry, and if I'd known I would have at least been clothed properly, and-"

He reached over suddenly, and laid his hand atop hers where it lay on the bench between them.

Edmund knew it shouldn't have surprised him, but he thought they'd silently agreed to act as though that night had never happened. And now here she was, apologizing for any inappropriate behavior on her part, even though there had been none.

"Adeline, I have two sisters. I'm not the sort of man who runs for the hills every time I see someone crying. I do not mind comforting you in any way I can." He hesitated, then much more quietly said, "And as for your state of dress, I perhaps should not have disturbed you if I had known. But as I said, I have two sisters. Don't let it trouble you."

A look of doubt crossed her face, but she looked up at him and he held her gaze steadily. She must have seen the truth in his eyes, because she relaxed, and quietly said, "Thank you."

They sat together in companionable silence for a few minutes, both of them jumping when they heard Lucy shout their names from somewhere above them.

"Is it already lunchtime?" Edmund asked her, astonished.

"I don't think so," she replied, but they both stood up to leave; before she could take her first step, he impulsively reached out and gently touched the back of her hand.

"I meant it, Addie." He said softly, and before he could talk himself out of it, he drew her in for a hug.

She stiffened for a brief moment, then her arms went around his middle and her head lay against his chest. She was soft and warm, and Edmund desperately tried to control his frantic pulse when she turned her head in towards him and he felt her breath warm on the side of his neck.

Thankfully, she pulled away just then, a grateful smile in place, and she hooked her arm through his as they headed back up for lunch with his family.

Edmund could tell the moment he set foot in the dining room that Caspian and Susan had spent most of the late morning together; they sat beside each other, laughing and talking with Peter animatedly, and all the while Caspian's hand was firmly clasping Susan's atop the table.

Lucy, on the other hand, was waiting for him and Adeline, practically pouncing when she saw them.

"Did Eddy let you rest, Adeline? Or did he drag you all over the palace? How is your shoulder? Is it sore? Do you need to lie down?"

Adeline couldn't even get a word in edgewise; she noticed Edmund's barely controlled laughter and elbowed him in the stomach as she nodded or shook her head in answer to Lucy's barrage of questions.

Her nonverbal replies seemed to satisfy Lucy, and in short order Caspian called their attention.

"It's a bit early, but we've some more guests for lunch. They are most anxious to hear what has happened recently." He glanced at Adeline, who picked up on his hesitation.

Edmund stood next to Adeline, and he immediately noticed when she tensed; he looked over at her in confusion, and so he saw her face blanche – even her lips were white – when Caspian spoke the names of their impromptu visitors.

"King Fitzgerald and Queen Isabella are here to see you, Adeline."


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