"What?" her voice was a barely audible whisper. Suddenly it all made sense. Why Vyron was so distracted, why he wouldn't come visit her, why everyone avoided her eye contact, why even Lord Penton had looked on her with pity.
They all knew, yet no one told me, she realized. Vyron didn't even tell me... Even Arya knew and she didn't say anything! Why?
"I'm sorry, Mouse," Darien said, placing a gentle hand tentatively on her shoulder. "I thought that you would have know already. And it's probably not the greatest thing ever for you to have heard it from me... I guess it's probably because he doesn't want to leave you."
"Leave me?" Mouse echoed his words.
"He's being sent home, back to wherever he came from, Henedel, I think," he replied, naming the small town to the south-west of Felentia. The small town was hundreds of miles away from the capital, sitting on the south western edge of Keiento by the sea. Mouse suddenly realized with dread that she may never see Vyron again.
That's why he didn't want to tell me, she realized, her heart sinking in her chest. He doesn't want to leave me.
"I'm sorry, Mouse," Darien's voice pulled her out of her gloomy thoughts. "I'm sorry, for everything. And I'm sorry to leave you with news like that. Not the best last impression a guy wants to leave with a girl he likes. " He gave her an awkward side smile.
"But things will get better," he continued. "Someday, somehow, it will. But until then, just try to keep your head up, okay?" He hooked his finger beneath her chin, raising her head up. "I'm sorry for everything, Mouse."
"It's okay," she replied, wrapping her arms around him in a small hug, catching him off guard. He slowly put his arms around her and returned the hug, not wanting to let go of the moment. He finally pulled away as the clock struck midday.
"I have to go," he said, picking up his bag that he had dropped when he had hugged her. "I wish all the best for you." And with that, he turned and began to walk away.
"I forgive you," Mouse called out after him, making him pause and look back. A smile spread across his face and he nodded to her before turning and continuing on his way.
Mouse watched him until he disappeared from sight, sighing as she sank back down onto the bench, her mind in a flurry. Vyron was leaving her. She felt as if her heart was breaking in two.
Why couldn't he just tell me? she sighed. Then I could have gone to Arya and... Arya!
Mouse stood suddenly, realizing that Arya would have had to give the order for him to be stripped of his Knighthood.
Why would she do that to him? she wondered, anger building inside of her. Why would she do that to me? Darien was just relocated, but Vyron was stripped of his Knighthood? Why? This just doesn't make sense!
Mouse stormed out of the Gardens, intent on finding Arya and giving her a piece of her mind.
She found Arya in the hallway on her way to her chambers.
"How could you?" Mouse tried to keep from screaming at her, only just barely succeeding in keeping her voice lower in case there was anyone else nearby. Arya spun around, startled by the ferocity of Mouse's voice. When she saw Mouse, immense guilt washed over her face.
"I'm sorry, Mouse," her voice was sad and full of guilt.
"How could you do that him?" Mouse continued, anger building in her voice. "After everything he's done for you? After he saved your life? And how could you do that to me? You knew how I felt about him!"
"Mouse, I can explain-" Arya began.
"Really?" Mouse cut her off. "You can explain why you betrayed me like this? You can explain why you didn't tell me?"
"It wasn't my place to tell you," she answered softy, trying to convey how sorry and bad she felt.
"Then who's place was it?" Mouse replied sharply.
"Mine," his voice came from behind her. She spun around and felt her heart catch as her eyes fell upon Vyron, her Vyron, the same Vyron who had been avoiding her for days.
"Vyron," she whispered his name softly.
"Come," he replied softly, holding his hand out to her. "Walk with me." She slowly took his hand and allowed herself to be lead away by the man she loved so much but was currently the cause of all her sorrow. He led her outside and she once again found herself in the shade of the Gardens, back at the bench that she had been at only minutes earlier.
"Please, sit," he gestured at the bench. She did as he asked, watching him as he ran his fingers through his long blond hair, trying to think of how to word his next sentence to her.
"I'm sorry," he said finally, mirroring the words that Darien had used not that long ago. "I should have told you." He sighed as he sat down beside her on the bench, taking her hands in his.
"I didn't know how to tell you," he continued, looking deep into her eyes, begging her to understand his actions.
"Vyron, if you had just told me, then we could have worked through this together," she replied finally with a sigh. "I could have gone to Arya, talked to her for you, had her re-Knight you. It's not fair that you lost your Knighthood because of me! And now you have to leave too? It's not fair!"
"Mouse," Vyron began tentatively. "I'm still a Knight."
"What?" she exclaimed, confused. "But I was told that you lost your Knighthood, that you were being sent away..."
"Mouse, I am still a Knight," he repeated. "I didn't lose it."
"I don't understand," she replied. "If you're still a Knight, then you don't have to leave."
"No, Mouse," he sighed. "I am leaving."
"But why?" she couldn't understand any of it. Nothing was making sense.
"Mouse, do you remember the mission that Sir Gordon and his fleet had just returned from?" he asked her, to which she slowly nodded, not sure what that had to do with him leaving. But then it suddenly clicked in her mind.
"You're the fresh face," she realized.
"Sir Gordon was impressed with my actions in the Throne Room with Lord Gregory and he asked me to join their new fleet," he explained. "And I said yes."