"Well aren't you a giddy one!" Arya teased when Mouse returned to her side. "Looks like you had an eventful evening!" A frown crossed her lips. "At least one of us did."
"No one interested you, My Lady?" Mouse asked, keeping a formal touch to her words as they were still in a public setting.
"No," Arya sighed. "They're all the same! 'Oh Your Majesty, how beautiful you are this evening!' 'Oh Your Majesty, what a grand Queen you are!' 'Your Majesty, what a grand Kingdom you rule. Don't you ever get lonely on your Throne? I could provide you with company.'"
"Someone actually said that?" Mouse gasped.
"Yes, the young, pigheaded son of a Duke," Arya sighed. "Gerald the fourth, or something like that."
"He sounds delightful," Mouse teased. "When will you see him again?"
"Hopefully never!" Arya snapped, not in the mood for jokes. "Please, just get me out of here! I can't take these "men" any longer!"
"As you wish, Your Majesty," Mouse gave her an understanding smile as she bowed slightly. They began to leave, but were quickly stopped by Lord Penton, who suddenly appeared before them.
"Leaving so soon?" he inquired with a phony smile.
"Her Majesty is weary and wishes to retire," Mouse told him, keeping her face emotionless, still not happy with how he had treated her earlier.
"But you still have guests here!" Lord Penton remarked, motioning to the men still idling around the room.
"Lord Penton, it is after midnight and I need my rest," Arya sighed, exhausted. "I stayed here longer than I wished to, and now I wish nothing more than to return to my chambers and sleep the rest of this horrible nightmare away. Good night, Lord Penton." She brushed past him as she headed for the door, Mouse following directly behind her.
"But-" Lord Penton began to call out after them.
"I said good night!" Arya snapped without turning around. Her pace quickened as she hurried out of the room, not wanting to deal with Penton any longer. Mouse strode to catch up with her. They walked in silence all the way back to Arya's chambers. Once inside, Arya flopped on her bed with a huge sigh, completely exhausted.
"I really hate these things!" Arya whined. "I wish that I had feigned illness tonight!"
"Well everything happens for a reason," Mouse couldn't help but smile as she thought about her chance encounter with Vyron in the woods.
"Wait a second!" Arya exclaimed, sitting up sharply. "I know that look! Who is he? Who is he!"
"Who is who?" Mouse asked innocently, making her face look as innocent as she could.
"Oh don't give me that!" Arya exclaimed. "Tell me! Who is he? How did you meet? Details, woman, details!"
"Alright! Alright!" Mouse laughed sitting down beside her. "Well I went outside... For some fresh air, and wandered into the Royal Gardens. And as I was wandering, lost in thought, I happened upon a distraught young man. I was about to leave him be, but then he noticed me and I don't know... We just started talking and there was this like instant connection between us and the next thing I knew, well..." She trailed off as a goofy smile began to plaster her face.
"You didn't!" Arya gasped.
"Well..." Mouse smiled with a shrug.
"Who is he?" Arya demanded. "Please, don't leave me hanging like this!"
"Vyron Queué," Mouse smiled again as she felt his name on her lips.
"Ahhhhhhhh," Arya mused. "You've found yourself a Knight now, did you."
"You know him?" Mouse asked surprised.
"Hello!" Arya laughed. "Queen of Keiento here. It's kind of part of my job to know who is serving me and the Kingdom."
"Makes sense," Mouse nodded as she thought Arya's comment over. "So... What do you think?"
"Of Sir Vyron?" Arya asked. "He's a very nice young man. A little odd at times, but he seems overall to be very sweet and trustworthy, and, from what I've heard, incredibly loyal. He once would not leave a fallen comrade behind though they were ordered to make a hasty retreat. He ended up saving the young man's life."
"So you have nothing but praise for him?" Mouse asked, growing happier as she learned more about the man that she had developed such sudden feelings for.
"Yes and no," Arya answered after a couple minutes of thinking. "He is a very nice young man, but like I said, a little odd too. He tends to keep to himself a lot of the time away from the others in his fleet. Just... Be careful, Mouse. I don't want to see you get hurt."
"Thank you," Mouse smiled. "It's nice to know that you care about me." Inside Mouse was silently cursing herself for ever letting Penton trick her into believing otherwise. Arya was a true friend to her, always had been and always would be. Arya was family.
"So will you see him again?" Arya asked. Mouse looked back at her and, noticing that she had laid back down on the bed, laid back as well.
"I hope so," Mouse sighed. "I can't explain these feelings I have for him. They're just so sudden... And so strong! It's like nothing I've ever experienced before! Is this what love feels like?" She turned her face to look at Arya, earnestly awaiting her answer.
"I don't know," Arya sighed. "I've never been in love. I've never felt the way that my mother felt for my father. You remember how she would look at him?" Mouse nodded. "Well that's what I believe love looks like. And that's what I want some day. I want to love someone as much as my parents loved each other. When you find some one who makes you feel like that, then I believe that you have found love." Mouse pondered her words for a couple of minutes as they laid there together in silence.
"I don't think I love him," Mouse decided. "Well not yet, at least. But who knows what could happen. These feelings that I have for him are not just some sort of crush. There is something there. And I hope that I get the chance to find out what that is, whether it be love or not."
"I hope so too," Arya gave her a comforting smile as she laid her hand upon Mouse's. "You deserve to be happy. We both do. If Vyron doesn't turn out to be the one for you, you will find the right man someday. We both will. Just hopefully he's not the same man." They both laughed. "But in all seriousness. Take your time. Don't rush into it. There is a perfect man for you somewhere, whether he be here in this Palace, or somewhere out there in the Kingdom. You will find him... Or he will find you. If it's meant to be, it will happen."
"Thank you," Mouse smiled at her friend. "Your words and friendship mean so much to me. I couldn't have asked for a better friend."
"Nor could I," Arya smiled as well. "Now," Arya sat up suddenly. "I think it's time to go to sleep."
"Way to ruin the moment," Mouse laughed.
"If I didn't right then, then I would have in a couple of minutes with my snoring," Arya laughed as well, getting off the bed."I wasn't kidding when I said that I wanted to go to sleep. I truly am exhausted."
"Too much talking and dancing tonight?" Mouse joked.
"Way too much," Arya sighed, starting to walk over to her changing screen. "But at least the ending to the evening greatly improved." She smiled over her shoulder at Mouse before she disappeared behind the screen.
Mouse couldn't help but smile as well as she sent up a silent prayer thanking the Great Creator for placing Arya in her life, a blessing that had changed her life forever.