Mouse sighed as she stared out of the window of the Tall Tower, a hangout spot that she and Arya liked to escape to whenever they could, and watched the rain fall upon the land. Rain meant that they would not be able to practice any weaponry today as since Arya and herself trained in secret and could not practice in the indoor Training Room, they were stuck without anywhere to practice. The room they were in now was secluded enough to work, but it was too small and cramped to allow for the space they needed.
"It's one day, Mouse," Arya laughed. "You will survive one day of no practicing. Plus, the land needs it. The crops need the water to survive and we need the crops to survive. It's the circle of life, my dear friend, so stop your whining!" Mouse's only response was to turn her head around to stick her tongue out at Arya before turning back to stare gloomily out the window once again.
"Oh, come on," Arya exclaimed. "There are plenty of other things you can do! Like... you can read a book! You love to read!"
"Yeah, but you don't," Mouse pointed out as she turned around to face her friend. "And I'm not gonna sit here and read and leave you with nothing to do."
"Well, then you can read to me," Arya decided as she began to look through the pile of books on the side table. "How about... this one!" She picked up a small black-covered book. Mouse reluctantly got up from her chair by the window and went over to Arya and took the book from her hands. She flipped it over and on the front printed in gold coloured letters it read: Heavenly Love.
"Really?" Mouse laughed. "You do realize that this is a romance type book, right?"
"So I'm in the mood for a romance," Arya shrugged. "You got a problem with that?"
"Nope, not at all," Mouse replied. "Just surprised is all." She sat down in the chair beside Arya and opened up the book, looking at the back of the front cover to see if there was a synopsis there.
"His job was to protect her, a task which he took seriously. He never expected to fall in love with her. Maybe that was why he made sure that she never got hurt, that nothing bad ever happened to her. But the only problem was that he could never be with her. She would never know that her Guardian Angel had fallen in love with her."
"Ok, never mind," Arya sighed. "That sounds too cheesy. Read something else." Mouse set the book down and began to look through the other ones. She was about to pick up one with a green cover when she heard footsteps on the stone steps leading up to the room that they were in. She abandoned the book as she quickly leapt to her feet and went to stand behind Arya, resuming her proper, formal position.
"Your Majesty," the servant bowed to her once he entered the room. "You said that I was to inform you when your brother returned."
"Marcus is back?" Arya asked, perking up a little bit.
"Yes, Your Majesty," the servant replied, his head still bowed. "His Lordship arrived not too long ago. I would have come sooner, but it took me a while to find Your Highness."
"Is he in his chambers now?" Arya asked, getting to her feet.
"Yes, Your Majesty," he replied.
"Thank you, you are dismissed," she announced with a nod of her head. Mouse watched as the servant quickly departed then listened to the clacking sounds of his shoes on the hard, stone steps as he descended from the Tower.
"I want to go see him, but I'm scared," Arya confessed, turning to Mouse. "Every time I see him, he always gets mad at me and then leaves again. I wish that he would stay home more often."
"Don't let fear hold you back," Mouse replied encouragingly, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "He's a man. He's not going to be the one to make the first move in repairing your relationship. You've got to make the first move if you want things to get better between the two of you."
"I guess you're right," Arya sighed.
"Aren't I always?" Mouse grinned, making Arya laughed.
"Well then, Miss Right," Arya teased. "Shall we go see my brother?"
"After you," Mouse motioned towards the stairs.
"Uh uh, you first!" Arya exclaimed, giving Mouse a little push.
"Okay," Mouse shrugged, dashing towards the stairs. "Last one down's a rotten egg!"
"Hey!" Arya exclaimed as she dashed after Mouse. They quickly raced down the steps, Mouse with a big lead on Arya. When Arya finally reached the bottom she found Mouse leaning casually against the wall, looking bored.
"Oh, you made it," Mouse teased. "Took you long enough!" Arya just crinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out at Mouse, then snubbed her as she began to walk away. Mouse laughed as she pushed away from the wall and followed her.
Marcus' chambers were not far from where they were, so it did not take them long to get there. Arya stopped outside of the door, her hand poised to knock, but she didn't.
"I can't do it," she confessed, dropping her hand.
"I can," Mouse exclaimed, knocking soundly on the door, then quickly taking a step back to stand behind Arya.
"I can't believe yo- Hello!" she cut herself off as the door opened before her to reveal a young, sandy-haired, blue-eyed boy.
"Your Majesty," he bowed, his soft blue eyes open wide in awe.
"Kenith, can you let my brother know that I am here to see him?" She asked.
"Yes, Your Majesty," he bowed again, opening the door wider to let them in. He quickly shut the door behind them before crossing the room and going through a door to a different room. Arya and Mouse stood there in awkward silence as they waited for Prince Marcus to arrive.
"YOU WHAT?" a deep voice screamed. Kenith came racing out of the room he had entered, quickly followed by a tall, angry man. Mouse had seen the High Prince many times throughout her time at the Palace but was still stunned by his appearance every time she saw him.
Prince Marcus had a tall, commanding figure, one that demanded attention. He was fairly muscular, with a darker tanned face than his sister, since he spent many hours out riding and traveling. He had a strong nose and lips that were usually formed into a scowl as they were now. His long, black hair, the same shade that his father's had been, was damp from the rain and stuck to his face, though he quickly brushed it aside to reveal his dark, almost black, eyes which fell upon Arya and were filled with anger.
"What do you want, sister," his voice was harsh. "Come to gloat about how you're the Queen and how I got cheated out of my rightful inheritance?"
"You know that's not true!" Arya exclaimed. "I have never once gloated about it and you know it! Father was the one who named me to be his heir! I didn't ask for this!"
"You could have said no!" Marcus snapped.
"And go against Father's last wishes? Never!" Arya snapped back. "He knew that I was ready, as young as I was, to be a ruler! And what did you ever do to prove to Father that you were ready? Nothing! You've always been too busy caring about yourself that you've never taken the time to learn what it means to be a ruler, to learn about all of the responsibilities! This is not an easy job, Marcus! It's not just all fun and games like you seem to think it is!"
"You think I don't know that?" Marcus' voice rose as he yelled at her. "You don't know what I think and don't ever try to pretend that you do! I am just as capable of being a ruler!"
"No, you're not!" Arya's voice rose as well. "You have no idea what it means to be a ruler! You don't know anything about our people, well except for when it comes to women who happen to have a nice a-"
"Your Majesty!" Mouse's quiet, scolding voice interrupted her. When Arya turned to look at her, Mouse just gave her a "what are you doing?" look. Arya took a deep breath to calm herself before turning back to face her brother.
"Look, Marcus, I didn't come here to fight with you," Arya sighed. "You're my brother and I love you. I don't want to be constantly fighting with you. Why can't you just be happy for me? You know, life isn't all about having power or getting everything you want. Family is what's important... And I miss my brother."
"You already have one," Marcus' voice was cold. "So you don't need another. Life's not about getting everything you want, right Your Majesty?" He turned and began to walk away from them, but then stopped suddenly.
"There's a door behind you," he said without turning around. "I highly suggest you use it."
"If that is what you wish," Arya sighed, turning to open the door.
"It is," he replied coldly. Mouse watched as Arya's face fell with dismay and felt her heart go out to her friend.
It's all my fault, she realized sadly. I never should have encouraged her to come. She quickly followed her disheartened Queen out of the High Prince's chambers, just barely catching his last words as they left.
"Not like you've ever cared what I wish," his voice was sad. "Not like anyone's ever cared."
The door clicked as it closed behind them. Mouse looked at Arya to see what her reaction was to Marcus' last words, but was surprised to the same emotion as when she had left his room, as if she hadn't even heard what he had said.
And maybe she didn't, Mouse mused. And maybe that's for the best. Arya has enough on her plate right now. Marcus being mad at her has upset her enough, but if she were to learn that Marcus blames her as being the cause of his unhappiness, well that would just destroy her. And Arya has had enough pain in her life. She didn't just lose her parents that day, Mouse looked back at the closed door. She lost a brother as well.