Disclaimer: Yeah, it's pretty much all C.S. Lewis's. Except for Rosalie and others. They're mine.
Chapter Twenty-Four: Mixed Emotions
"Rosalie," Emily said to me tentatively as I sauntered into the creaky room in the inn, trying to located any of the oil lamps in the room. I found myself running into several pieces of furniture in the dark room before finding a lamp, burning low and turned it up to where we could at least see one another.
"We couldn't have been any more lucky!" I exclaimed, plopping down on one of the raggedy beds.
Emily looked at me, raising a brow," That's…unexpected…what makes you say that?"
"Stephen knows where Caspian is, Emily!" I exclaimed again, wanting her to share my joy, but the face that she made as she looked at me was pure apprehension.
"Really?" she asked me, not showing the same joy that I had felt as I sat in front of Stephen, explaining myself and my actions.
To my surprise, the boy that appeared to be so cold and sheltered toward anything I had to say started to warm up to me quickly after I sorted out some of his confusion. In that short period, he questioned me harshly, but I was able to convince him that I was not a complete cowardly queen who only found comfort in hiding from her brother. He believed everything, which surprised me greatly and after I told him what I was about…he opened up about himself. It was comparable to a miracle, really.
He claimed to not know much about my brother or any of that nonsense, but he did have an encounter with Caspian and Apollo after they had been attacked by Jacob. Jacob's men had dragged them through the town. Stephen had recognized the king briefly and followed them a little ways out of the town. The men stopped soon and Stephen had been able to sneak up and listen to their conversation.
"Taking us to Giant country is just what Jacob wants!" I told her expressively, still hoping to get a response out of her," Stephen says that he heard Jacob's men talking and that really they're taking Caspian to the mountains, near where the first supernatural event or whatever, happened."
"That's…great," she said, falling against her bed, staring at the ceiling. Still hesitating.
I let out a sigh before I delved into anymore information with her," Shouldn't you be happy? Emily, this is one step closer we are to getting all of this figured-"
"It'd be great, Rosalie," she said with a sigh of her own," If we knew we could trust him."
There was a silence and I knew her point, but this was this only lead we had. Cornelius wanted us to find information and Stephen was possibly the closest thing we had to any evidence.
"I know, I know, but hear me out. Cornelius wanted us to figure this out, Emily. By having Stephen lead us out to the mountains, he heard all of this, then we could easily find not only my husband, but we could also start planning our raid on the castle and get life back to normal…come on…you're the one who-"
"Yeah, yeah, that all sounds great, Rosalie," she interrupted me in a manner that was very unlike her," It's just that I heard something…different about him is all."
I furrowed my brow at her, just what could she have discovered in the time that I had been speaking with the teenage boy?
I crossed my arms over my chest," Explain."
She sat herself up with a groan and said," I think he knows more than what he's telling you. I was able to take a peak through some of his stuff lying around his desk and then the men, there was a semi-sober one in the group, they told me that he and Jacob were good friends. All of this happened while you were being interrogated."
"How is that even possible?" I asked her, thinking that she was the one who was crazy now," About he and Jacob being friends? It doesn't surprise me you being a little snoop, but the other does. Greatly, actually."
"You ever wonder who found Jacob? If I remember you telling me correctly, you took a pretty good chunk out of his leg that one day before you and Caspian took down your father," Emily asked me, the memory flashed back in my head," Jacob must have wandered for a long time, but the men told me that Jacob somehow managed to end up over here. Stephen, who just so happened to be wandering around in the woods, found him and brought him back here."
"One of the men in that group told you this?" I asked, taking advantage of the pause she had," They sounded pretty drunk."
She rolled her eyes, annoyed," He was sober!"
"Still, I don't know if they're the most believable-"
"Let me finish!" she exclaimed, and I was silent," Stephen and Jacob were good friends, Rosalie. They were 'inseparable'. Supposedly, Stephen was always really quiet, but after Jacob came around…he turned into a social butterfly. Everyone loved the two of them and no one suspected that Jacob was the Jacob whom you wanted dead; he was much too good. The weird part about the whole story is that something happened between the two of them. If you look out around the city, there's still some scorch marks from when Jacob made his dramatic exit. He set half the town on fire and as soon as he left; Stephen went back to being the closed up person he always is. The men claimed that his little knife-throwing incident is weird for him…he never moves from that desk…whittling away at his knives."
This was definitely something that needed to be considered, but as the moon rose higher in the sky; I found it harder to keep my eyes open. Her story was something that we needed to confront Stephen with…but I was sure that it was time to sleep at the time. We could solve all of this as soon as morning came about. Not that I would have ever told her, but I was dozing in and out of her story. I was mostly just excited that we had Stephen to help us, but, I know, bad me, I wasn't being the best listener.
"Emily, I think this story needs to be taken note of. Let's figure it out at sun-up, okay?" I told her gently, and for a moment it appeared as though she was going to protest, but seconds later she smiled.
"I agree," she yawned," It's been a long day…"
Emily couldn't seem to make herself fall asleep half as easy as Rosalie had been able to. She knew that a lot of things had to be going on with Rosalie, mentally, that was, but she still just couldn't pull herself to go to sleep with all of this information. Silently, after hours of fidgeting, she slipped out from under the wool covers, not nearly as nice as the castle's, and grabbed her from cloak from the hook on the door, the note that she had taken from Stephen's desk.
Watching to make sure that Rosalie was sleeping still, she climbed into the small wash room, thankful no one from the other room had been in (the washrooms were shared) there. She found the lamp in the room and turned it up to be able to see the writing on the crumpled letter. As Rosalie had sat there, she desperately wanted to know what the note that Stephen had written was. Potentially, this letter could tell her everything she needed to know.
Quickly, she unfolded it and scanned over the first line of the delicate paper.
You have requested my assistance in a task that I do not find myself worthy of doing. You have told me numerous times of the hate for your sister, Rosalie and had she been some wench of no worth; I would have helped you. However, when I discovered that this Rosalie was the same Rosalie that is soon to be the Queen of Narnia, I knew I was not willing to take the same risk that you were willing to take.
Have you ever thought it through? What would happen should you succeed in killing Rosalie? You would be the most hated man in all of Narnia making you the most wanted. Never would Caspian stop until he found you. Jacob, you are much too good of a person to go throwing your life away just in some revenge. Your plot to become King is ridiculous.
I know that you will probably never listen to me and that your mind is already set. I also know that you will not be alone in the killing of the Queen. You asked me to help form an army for you, and I told you exactly where to start. Know that, Jacob, you cannot hide behind that army. Your army will be no where near as skilled as that of the royal army and I do not suggest you use them to raid the castle until you are completely confident in them.
With all that being said, I want you to know that I will not stop recruiting for your army. I support you in this effort, but cannot be held accountable for the death of the Queen or King. I know you are bitter and I know you have much hate toward her…but think it over…please.
P.S. Even though the town was scarred from your last exit, if you need a refuge…the inn is always open to you.
Emily's jaw dropped open, staring blankly at the ceiling for several moments. She was right…Stephen had known Jacob! This note proved it and more. Stephen appeared to be working for Jacob, but…he didn't want to get caught. He couldn't pull himself to take the risk that Jacob was taking, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to aid the cause…he could very well lead them into a trap!
There was no way she was going to be able to go to sleep now.
What was she going to do? Wake Rosalie? She had to, didn't she?
Carefully, she folded the paper back up and turned the oil lamp back down. Just as she exited the wash room, a knocking could be heard at the door. It wasn't a soft knocking, but a loud, wake-up-the-whole-inn knock. Rosalie could be heard stirring and asked groggily," Emily? What is it?"
Emily could tell that she was still very drowsily so she told her calmly," Don't worry about it, Rosalie. I'll handle it."
As far as Rosalie knew, the whole scene was merely a part of a dream and Emily heard nothing more from her as the Queen could be heard making herself comfortable again in the bed.
Her heart was beating quicker than she had ever felt it beat before. It could have been anyone at the door, but she had a bad feeling she knew…
Slowly, she creaked the door open, but before she saw who it was, she realized the note was still in her hand. Looking around, she realized her cloak was not accessible, but she had to hide it somehow. Finding no other choice, she pressed the note down the front of her night dress.
Turning her attention back to the door, she proceeded to open it all the way to see a shadowy figure standing there, lantern in hand.
"Who-?" she started, but the figure grabbed her roughly with one arm and pulled her out to the hallway.
Before she could scream, that same hand covered her mouth, forcing her close to the chest of the man taking her captive.
"Don't speak," he growled into her ear and directed the struggling, girl down the hall. She thought that maybe she could weasel her way out of his one arm, but that one arm, pinning her against his chest was strong and muscular; there was no way she would escape his grasp.
As they came into the lobby of the inn, there was some more light as he forced her back over to the same chairs that the drunken men had sat in earlier. In the light of the fire, she could easily make out Stephen's face as her capturer. This wasn't much of a surprise.
"You're just the person I wanted to talk to," he said with a small smirk, almost as if nothing had ever happened.
She scowled at him from where she sat and crossed her arms," What do you want with me? I don't even know you."
"I bet we know each other a little better than you claim to," he said, smiling still and Emily couldn't help but make a small mental note of how charming this kid really was, but she couldn't let him see that.
Her eyes looked him up and down, innocently," What are you talking about?"
The fire flickered as he leaned forward and put his hand out across from her," Give me the letter."
"Letter?" Emily tried to cover it up, but Stephen merely shook his head; he wasn't going for it.
"You're the only one. I'm sure your little queenie told you to scope me out as she was back there talking to me, but you're caught now so you may as well give it to me now," he told her directly and Emily sighed.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said stubbornly and he merely took that as an invitation to move closer to her. Quickly, he came to the seat she sat on and was face to face with her.
"None of the drunkards would dare touch my belongings, you either took my letter or you saw who did it. Help this guy out a little bit," he growled in her ear, his breath sending chill bumps down her spine.
She flinched away from him briefly and noticed that he appeared to not have a weapon on him, she looked back at him directly in the eye," How could you lie to her?"
"What do you mean?" he asked, acting confused and somewhat taken back.
"Suppose I saw this letter," she replied smartly," Suppose I saw your little alliance with Rosalie's brother. I know you're friends with him or used to be or whatever, but the point being that you lied to her in that room back there."
A smile grew on his face, a very cute…very charming crooked smile, Emily pushed that thought out of her head and tried to stay focused as he spoke," I knew it was you."
"Answer a couple questions and I'll give you your much desired letter back," she spat with a confidence that she didn't know she had.
Stephen adjusted himself on the seat next to her as she tried to push herself as far to the other side of the seat as possible; it still seemed they had to be touching in one way or another.
"You're a lot like the little queenie, you know that?" he said with a teasing smile," Demanding…a little hostile."
"I'm not hostile," Emily barked back," I'm just-"
"Hostile," Stephen teased as Emily slunkered into the seat," I'm joking, trying to lighten the mood. Ask your questions or whatever."
There was a silence as Emily stared into the fire…thinking over her first question.
"You really knew Jacob?" she asked him hesitantly.
"I did," he replied simply with a nod of the head.
"You told Rosalie you didn't," she backtracked, raising an eyebrow, trying to catch him in his lie again.
He let out a sigh before putting his arm over the back of the chair," She technically didn't ask that question. She technically only asked what I knew of Jacob and as of now, I don't know much about him. So…I didn't lie."
"You're...sneaky," Emily accused, looking directly into his dark eyes," And I have a feeling you're not telling me everything."
"To be frank, I don't think I know you quite well enough to tell you everything," he replied smugly, looking directly at her," Maybe, if you give me my letter back, I'll tell you more."
Emily eyed him, suspiciously. Deep inside, she felt something…odd toward this Stephen. This oddness was telling her to give the letter back to him, but another part was telling her to try and pry for more information before she did so. As she sat with him intensely staring at her, she considered both options.
Author's Note: Soo, has your opinions of Stephen changed any? Also, what's your opinion of Emily? Is there a little crush between him and Emily? Hmm.. Let me hear your thoughts/concerns! I hope ya'll are still enjoying the story and I've still got plenty of curve balls up my sleeve :) Thank you everyone who have stayed dedicated to this story; I really appreciate it.
Oh and by the way, I just opened a FictionPress account for any of you who ever go on that site. I just published a mystery story (always wanted to write one) that I'm planning on doing on the side. I'm under the same pen name sooo check it out! It's not doing so hot now, but I reckon you guys might have an interest in it. Sorry, not story related whatsoever, but just thought I'd let you know. :D