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Friday, July 3, 2015
Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 5
After Andrew left, I took a small nap, waking inexplicably a couple hours later. My mother poked her head into my room, so I guess she had just come home. I waved to her sleepily as she blew me a kiss and then left.
Feeling somewhat awake, I decided to pack a bag. After giving it some thought, I realized that bras and underwear were not as important as I had originally thought they would be, but I packed a couple just in case. More important was a couple of yoga pants and things to wear when I wasn't in the mood to wear dresses.
Looking back, it had been pretty darn strange to practice sword fighting in a nearly full length dress, but not because it was hard to fight in that dress. It's just that when I picture a sword fight, I picture a warrior wearing some form of armor. Pants at the very least! Not something that might be considered a ball gown here.
I added some accessories and makeup to my bag, not to mention my tiara. It took some thought, but then I realized that I wanted to bring my cellphone too. After all, it was useful for so much more than phone calls! I could take pictures, play music, and even watch videos if I wanted. There were also games to play if I got bored, but I didn't really see that happening.
The only problem was that it would probably run out of battery before I decided to come home. Biting my lip in thought, I wondered how to solve the problem. Wait a minute! This is just like going camping!
Giddy with excitement, I ran into my closet and dug around until I found my camping gear. Sure enough, in a backpack, I had a solar-powered charger. Actually, it had a crank handle as well, but basically, if set out in the sun, it would charge a deep cycle battery, and then that battery would be able to charge things like a cell phone or a laptop. Both and more if it was nice and sunny out. If it wasn't, I could turn the crank, but that was very time consuming.
Checking the gauge, I saw that the battery was still about half full from the last time I used it. I turned the crank about 20 or 30 times to see if it still worked and was delighted to find that it did. Unless the other world literally killed electricity somehow, this should keep my phone charged just fine.
Ready to go, I almost kissed my mirror, but then stopped and set my bag aside. I turned and frowned at my bedroom door. You know... it would be nice to have something to do when that sizzling started to drive me crazy...
Coming to a decision, I ran to get my cyr wheel, and then ran back to my room before my mother wondered what I was up to. Feeling ready at last, I leaned forward to kiss the mirror and then stopped again.
“My dress!” I exclaimed aloud. It would be a shame to leave it in this world where my mom would eventually insist that I get rid of it. Sighing, I grabbed it from the hanger in my closet.
Finally, I was ready to go!
“Your Majesty!” Sir Barrett exclaimed. “You're back!”
“I was beginning to think that you would never return!” Nathan informed me grumpily. The two of them were playing cards at the table in my Royal bedroom.
“Who's winning?” I wondered curiously.
“Why are you naked and carrying your dress?” Nathan blurted out, clearly curious about this strange concept.
“I didn't even think to bring my dress until the last second,” I replied with a shrug.
“Lord Nathan is winning,” Sir Barrett replied to my previous question. “What's that?” He pointed to my cyr wheel.
I flapped a hand at him dismissively. “I'll explain later. For now, how long have I been gone?”
I had returned home in the morning, spent the night there, then an entire day. This was probably more than just five days. Sure enough, both men gave me this look like I had shirked my duty.
“Seven and a half days,” Nathan informed me. “I was beginning to think you had decided to never return.”
I sighed as I set all my stuff aside, and then tried my best to be patient. “According to your God, five days pass here for every one day that passes there. Therefore, I wasn't even gone two full days! I realize that it may seem like a long time to you, but you have to understand that I do want to spend time with my family as well.”
I laughed as a thought occurred to me. “My mother was shocked almost speechless when she saw my coronation dress! I couldn't tell her what it was for – of course – but she was positively scandalized! In her opinion, I should never ever wear red before I get married.”
“So what did you tell her it was for?” Sir Barrett wondered with an amused smirk.
“I didn't, not really. I claimed that a friend gave it to me and I was just trying it on for fun,” I stated. I giggled again. “If my grandmother had seen it, she might have died on the spot!”
Turning to dig in my bag, I quickly located my cell phone. Even though this was a dream world, it would be awesome if I could take pictures. I figured that it was worth a try.
“Smile!” I ordered in a cheery tone as I prepared my phone.
They both gave me a strange smile as if trying to comply but not sure why I was asking. I tapped the icon and huffed happily when I heard it play a fake camera sound. A moment later, the picture was ready to view, and I tapped on it so that it would display it fully.
“Aww, you two look so cute with those goofy grins!” I said, and then walked over to show them the picture.
“What in the Great One's name!” Nathan exclaimed as he leapt to his feet.
Sir Barrett took my phone so that he could examine it carefully. “Does this capture a person's soul?”
I snorted a laugh. “Does that magic portrait the maid painted of me capture my soul?”
“No,” Sir Barrett admitted, sounding reluctant. He looked the entire phone over again, and then handed it back to me. “What is this thing?”
“It's actually a cellphone, used to make calls to people who aren't with you – or send messages – but since there's no service here, I brought it for other reasons. I just used the camera app, but it can play music too. I'll show you,” I murmured absently as I searched through my phone for a good song to play. Nothing too shocking... Aha!
LaurenHill's version of “You're just too good to be true” started playing. I swayed to it happily, resisting the urge to sing along. I smiled at Nathan since this was a good description of how I felt about him. Mostly... I don't think I could call it love just yet, but I definitely loved the way he looked.
Nathan frown and tilted his head to the side as he stared at my phone. I handed it to him so that he could look it over like Sir Barrett had. He kept turning it over as if the other side was going to change somehow and explain how it worked. I laughed softly and took it back when he accidentally turned the music off.
“I broke it!” He exclaimed in dismay.
“No. You just turned it off.” I played around with my phone for a moment until the camera app was ready again, and then I slung an arm around his shoulder and kissed him on the cheek as I took a selfie of us. “See?”
He smiled at the picture, hugging me since I was already in his arms.
“I should probably go tell everyone that you've returned,” Sir Barrett suggested.
“Actually,” I said, holding up a hand to stop him. “Could you pretend I haven't yet?”
“Why?” He wondered with a frown.
“It was bedtime when I left home and I'm tired. I'd like nothing more than to snuggle with my gorgeous fiancé for a while. What time is it here anyway?”
“Late afternoon, not quite dinner time,” Nathan answered, obviously happy with my suggestion.
Sir Barrett bowed his head respectfully. “Of course, Your Majesty. I'll tell everyone that you are not officially here until tomorrow morning.”
“Thank you!” I nearly sang as he walked toward the door.
The moment he was gone, Nathan swept me off my feet and carried me to bed. We had plenty of time to explore each other thoroughly. I found myself purring almost constantly like a happy kitty.
After I pleased him with my mouth – which he stopped me before he came – I inserted my diaphragm and grinned at him lustily. “Which would you prefer? Me on my back or me on my hands and knees?”
“On your back?” He answered hesitantly. I don't think he could quite picture how we would do it with me on my hands and knees.
With a mother like his, how could he not know these things?! Not saying that she would teach him, but surely he was curious about sex at some point and asked questions. I don't think that she would have avoided the subject. She seemed pretty open about her sex life. I mentally shrugged and focused on Nathan.
He got into position and entered me with far more confidence than our first time together. I sighed happily, thrusting my hips up to meet him each time he plunged into me. After he finished and we had snuggled up together, I realized that that sizzling hadn't quite returned yet. To be clear, it had never actually disappeared, but it had lessened enough that I could ignore it. At the moment, I might be able to sleep before it came back.
As it turned out, I was wrong. Well, not entirely. I did fall asleep and probably even got a full eight hours. Nathan had left for dinner and then returned at some point, but that wasn't what had woken me. It was that damn sizzling!
So here I was, laying awake in the middle of the night wishing I could drink a potion or something to make the strange feeling stop! After tossing and turning for at least an hour, I decided to finally just get out of bed and do something constructive. Starting with yoga.
“This is going to do wonders for my practice!” I muttered unappreciatively. “I never seem to have time when I'm at home.”
An hour later, I was definitely more relaxed, but still, my blood sizzled. Sighing, I wondered if I should bother getting dressed before I take off for my jog. With a shrug, I decided that I didn't really want to. It was nice and warm here, and the air felt good on my naked body as I ran.
The guards seemed surprised to see me, but once again, they didn't bother me or leave their posts. I ran circles around the palace, feeling the sizzling turn to something that felt strangely like singing. I was definitely getting tired of running, but not tired enough to sleep. I bent over to pant for a few moments before sitting on the soft cool grass.
“Can't sleep?” Sir Barrett asked, startling me. “Sorry,” he apologized as he sat down next to me.
“No,” I admitted with a sigh. “Whenever I'm here, I get this strange feeling in my blood that I just don't understand. I call it sizzling. In my world, there's a thing called a jacuzzi that is basically a tub full of hot water that has special air or water jets to blow the water around the tub. They're strong enough that if you sit in front of them, you can get a pretty decent massage. Anyway, I feel like they're in my blood. It's frustrating!”
“Why?” Sir Barrett asked curiously. Clearly he didn't understand what I was talking about.
“Well,” I said as I thought about how to explain it. “Partly I'm afraid that something is wrong. Partly because it hurts a little. Some of it is that it makes it hard for me to sleep and wakes me up in the middle of the night. And mostly because I just don't know how to get it to stop!”
“I see...” Sir Barrett murmured, thinking this over. “What have you tried?”
“Not too much, yet,” I admitted with a shrug. “Just running mostly... and sex. Both work a little, but only for a while.”
“Hence the reason why you are out here in the middle of the night running like you are being chased by an enemy army,” he remarked, making me wonder how long he had been watching me. “Naked...”
I laughed at that. “Yeah.”
“Are you hoping that one of the guards will try to take advantage of you?” He wondered with a frown. “As an attempt to stop the – what did you call it – sizzling?”
“No,” I answered honestly. “I hadn't thought about that at all.”
“Good,” he stated. “Because the guards know that they would be fired instantly for leaving their post.”
“Even if I ordered them to?” I asked, not sure if they could disobey me if I ordered them to leave their post.
“Well... I guess that's different,” Sir Barrett reasoned. “They are your guards, after all. I meant that if they simply saw you sitting here naked and left their post to do anything with you without your say so, they would be fired.”
A thought occurred to me. “So far, like when I asked you if you'd even guard me in bed and you said you would if I wanted you to, everyone I've asked has pretty much said the same thing. Does that mean that no one is allowed to say no to me? For anything?”
Sir Barrett chuckled. “We can say no all we want. Of course, you could always charge us with treason for doing so and have us executed, but I don't think you'd do that.”
“Okay,” I murmured softly as I thought this through. “So, if I went up to a guard and ordered him to romp in the hay with me, he could tell me to go away without worrying that I might fire him?”
“Would you fire him?” Sir Barrett asked.
“Not for something like that,” I assured him.
“Then yes, he could, but I doubt he would,” he answered with a smirk. “You don't seem to realize how badly most of us want you.”
“Even you?” I whispered softly, leaning over until our lips were almost touching.
“Even me,” he confessed, closing the last little bit of space between us. His kiss was warm and passionate. I moaned and leaned into him, wondering what the guards would do if we suddenly had sex in the middle of the front lawn.
Before I even finished thinking this, Sir Barrett grabbed my hand and got to his feet. “Come on,” he urged as he helped me to my feet. “Let's go somewhere private.”
I followed him in silence for a while, but then stopped, forcing him to stop too. “Wait... What about Nathan? I'm not sure he would be okay with this.”
“Okay?” Sir Barrett asked, confused by the word.
I shook my head. “That's not important. I just need a minute to think about this.”
“Of course,” he murmured in agreement.
The problem was that the harder I tried to think, the more my blood sizzled. It made it impossible for me to complete an entire thought! The only thing I could keep clearly in my mind was that this was my dream and so I should be able to do whatever I wanted!
“Ah, the hell with it!” I blurted out and threw my arms around Sir Barrett's neck.
He swept me into his arms and carried me through the door we had stopped in front of. As it turned out, it was the patio door to his bedroom. This meant that we were rather abruptly in his bed.
He had no qualms about fucking me quite thoroughly. It was sheer bliss! Even better, it calmed the sizzling in my blood just enough that I might be able to sleep a little more. When we were done – thank the Gods I was still wearing my diaphragm! – I was lethargic and sleepy.
“Mmm... thank you!” I praised him. “That was much needed.”
“You're welcome,” he drawled with a grin.
I crawled out of his bed and swayed woozily. “Where is my room from here?”
“Just down the hall on the left. You should recognize it as you get closer.”
I nodded in understanding, and then left his room. If he was as sleepy as I was, he was probably already passed out. I slipped back into my room quietly, thankful that the door wasn't locked since I had no idea where the key might be. My door guards had watched me silently, pretending that it was common for me to be wandering the palace in the dark of night.
My bed was large and enticing at the moment, so I flopped on it. I barely had the thought to get comfortable before I curled up and fell asleep. In the back of my mind, I heard Nathan moan sleepily and snuggle up to me.
Later on, I woke up all on my own. I wondered if this meant that no one thought I was here, or if Sir Barrett had ordered everyone to leave me alone. Maybe two minutes passed in glorious silence while I watched Nathan sleep. My heart beat just a bit faster when his gorgeous green eyes opened and he looked at me.
“Good morning,” he greeted me with a smile.
“Mornin',” I drawled in return.
Just then, someone knocked softly on the door and let themselves in before I even had a chance to grant permission. It was the maids and Lord Antony. He looked around in confusion.
“That's strange... Sir Barrett is usually the first one to arrive,” Lord Antony remarked, and then shrugged. “No matter, that just means that I get Your Majesty all to myself this morning.”
“And what about me?” Nathan grumbled, sounding only slightly offended.
Lord Antony flapped a hand at him dismissively. “I meant as an assistant.”
“I don't really need an assistant in the morning,” I murmured, not really caring one way or the other.
“Your Majesty doesn't need me?” Lord Anthony asked in a tone that suggested that I had just shot him in the chest.
“Of course I need you,” I assured him. “Just not first thing in the morning. In fact, I don't really need the maids right away either. I'd much prefer to wake up on my own, ogle my handsome fiancé for a while, take a bath, and then call for assistance.
“Aww!” The maids all cried out in disappointment.
“But if no one comes in to wake you, you might be late for breakfast, and that would make Lord Gregory cranky,” Lord Antony protested.
“Would Lord Gregory be likely to come in here and drag me out?” I wondered, picturing him do exactly that.
“No,” Lord Antony replied uncertainly. “I don't think so...”
I laughed at his confused expression. “Then I really don't care how grumpy Lord Gregory is!”
“You will when he piles all those reports on you!” Lord Antony snorted.
I groaned as I pictured the stack of reports that had likely built up while I was away. “There has got to be a better way to do that! Can we at least do it in the dining hall so that I can munch on snacks and drink tea while we work?”
I was afraid to ask for tea in my office since it had so much paperwork piled everywhere. Plus, the dining hall was more spacious and airy. My office had this strange odor that hinted that no one had dared to open a window in there in many years!
Lord Antony sighed and bowed his head slightly. “If you wish it.”
“I do!” I exclaimed insistently.
“Then I had better go warn Lord Gregory,” he murmured. “By your leave.”
I raised one eyebrow at him since it felt silly to say it out loud. “You may leave.”
After he was gone, I got out of bed and stretched for a minute or two before going into the bathroom. Nathan followed me, yawning and scratching his head. I grinned at him, looking forward to bathing with him in my outrageously huge tub.
When we were clean and dry, the maids dressed me up in a new fabulous creation by Lady Leeza. I spun happily in front of the mirror for a moment before letting them braid my hair. They took advantage of my good mood by each braiding a section of my hair, and then winding the sections around each other and pinning them to my head.
I kissed all four of them as a reward for their helpfulness. “And remind me to kiss Lady Leeza too!”
“I wouldn't,” Nathan stated without even a hint of jealousy. He had finished dressing before me and now stood in front of the large mirror fussing with his hair. “If you do, she may take that as an invitation to drag you to her secret lair and do unspeakable things to you.”
“Is that so?” I asked with deep intrigue.
Nathan laughed, turning to face me. “It's not as fun as it sounds! I've heard Lord Gregory scream in terror...”
“Oh really???” I inquired, more intrigued than ever now.
Each of the maids looked at the floor in case I was asking them. Nathan shrugged and returned to inspecting his reflection in the mirror. I decided to let the matter drop.
Ready to go, I tapped a finger against my lips in thought. If we were going to be in the dining hall, I might just want to bring my wheel with me so that I could work with it after I'd finished those reports. If that was the case, I might also want to bring something to change into. It was easy enough to grab my small bag and my wheel. Nathan looked curiously at me, but otherwise remained silent.
To my surprise, the entire breakfast table was moved to the dining hall – which was cleared of everything else. Apparently, Lord Antony had decided that I wanted as much space as possible while we worked, which I actually did. I greeted everyone by name and with a smile. When I got to Lady Leeza, I put a hand on her shoulder.
“I'm told that you are the reason why I have all these beautiful dresses. Thank you so much!” I praised her, and then – despite Nathan's warning – kissed her full on the lips.
She made a sound of delight. “My pleasure, Your Majesty!”
“Hey now!” Lady Sophia cried out in disappointment. “I want a kiss too!”
“Mother!” Nathan growled in protest.
Lady Leeza laughed and leaned across the table to kiss Lady Sophia. “Better?”
Lady Sophia decided to be pacified and smirked. “Yes.”
Lord Gregory sighed, sounding both frustrated and irritated. I watched him force himself to be patient and wondered again if he had something going on with Lady Leeza. I decided not to ask and simply took my seat.
After a delicious breakfast, Lord Gregory waited just long enough for the dirty dishes to be cleared before he grabbed some reports off a rolling cart and thumped them onto the table. “Item number one,” he stated as if I had ordered him to begin our work for the day. I groaned again as I saw the actual pile of reports. It was bigger than I had imagined!
Lady Leeza and Lady Sophia left after only a few minutes, but everyone else stayed. Sir Barrett winked at me whenever I seemed bored, which made me smile. Nathan looked ready to fall back asleep, and tried hard to stifle several yawns. He made it almost a whole hour before getting to his feet.
“I'm supposed to be in the training yard in 10 minutes!” He announced with a gasp, and then ran off.
“Is he really?” I asked, wondering if he would get in trouble or if he could claim that I had ordered him to stay with me.
“Yes,” Sir Barrett confirmed. “He's in charge of an entire unit that he likes to keep in top shape. Two years ago, his unit was instrumental in creating our current peace.”
“Only after your unit nearly won the war!” Lord Gregory reminded Sir Barrett, sounding unhappy by this. I finally decided that Lord Gregory was incapable of feeling anything other than unhappiness.
“I'd love to hear about it sometime,” I said, fidgeting because I was both bored and plagued by sizzling blood. A quick glance at the work pile showed that it was barely a quarter shorter than it had started out. I heaved a deep sigh.
“Would Your Majesty like to take a break?” Lord Antony asked, pouring me a fresh cup of tea. I sipped it automatically, mildly curious what their blend was that tasted so good.
“Actually, the way this has worked so far is that you take turns reading reports to me, and then I give you my thoughts on the matter and sign off on things I approve of, right? Therefore, I don't need to just sit here, do I? So long as I am listening, I can exercise, right?”
Lord Antony was inclined to agree with me but looked to Lord Gregory for confirmation. The tall Lord with long black hair and cold blue eyes sighed and rolled his eyes before looking at me directly. He looked ready to call me all kinds of names – such as slacker – but he forced himself to be polite.
“Of course. Your Majesty can do whatever you want.”
“Excellent!” I cried out cheerfully. Standing, I walked a few feet from the table and twirled around in my dress to see what it moved like. As I suspected, it was too long to be practical if I wanted to use my cyr wheel. “Continue,” I ordered expectantly.
Lord Antony picked up the next report and started reading it. As he did so, I stripped out of my dress and tossed it in my chair. I heard Lord Gregory make an incredulous sound, but since most of what I wore showed off my body anyway, he couldn't really say anything.
Wiping a foot on the floor, I saw that it was not dirty exactly. I'm sure that it was cleaned regularly, however, people walked on it enough that my foot now had a little schmutz on it. I didn't want my butt to get dirty when I inevitably landed on it, so I grabbed a pair of yoga pants from my bag and slipped them on.
Next, I stretched until I felt limber. Grabbing my cyr wheel, I spun it in circles in front of me. This was to see if the floor had any imperfections that might trip me up, but it was perfectly smooth.
“I understand,” I replied to everything Lord Antony had said so far. This was simply an update on repairs to a bridge I had already authorized. Apparently, not much progress had been made yet. Lord Antony set the report in a pile that I didn't need to sign as Lord Gregory picked up the next report.
Just as he started to read, I stepped one foot on my cyr wheel and pushed off with my other foot several times. This had the effect of spinning me in circles, which was exactly what I wanted. When I was sure that it was spinning just right, I started moving my body through a routine I liked to do when Ian wasn't around to spin with me.
“This report has to do with war,” I stated, startling Lord Gregory, who hadn't believed I was actually listening to him. “I am against war, so I am not quite sure how to respond. Let me think this report over. I'll bring it to my room and reread it later and make a decision when I think I know the right thing to do.”
He was silent for a moment, and then set the report aside. “As you wish.”
Lord Antony had been watching me with an expression of amazement – as was Sir Barrett – but now he picked up the next report and started reading it. While he was, I did every trick I could think of with my wheel. Slowly, something strange came to my attention...
This was absurdly easy! I mean I had practiced enough that I knew what I was doing, but here, I could do things that were normally hard for me. Such as lifting myself above the top of the wheel. That was hard to do without falling, but right now, I could not only do it, but I could do it for longer than I should be able to.
I tried all the hard tricks again. Sure enough, they seemed as easy as breathing! “I'm going to regret this,” I muttered under my breath before attempting to do something that should be impossible. Lifting myself above the wheel again, I settled my stomach on it like I was a gymnast practicing on the high bars, and then I rolled around it, mentally preparing for a nasty fall.
To my surprise, I didn't wobble or tumble in the slightest! I was able to circle around the top of the wheel exactly as I would be able to on a flat bar. This shouldn't be possible! The force of the spinning wheel should be thrown off by this!
I returned to the inside of the wheel so that I could come to a stop. Panting from shock more than exertion, I walked to the table to sip on my tea, sending my wheel rolling lazily.
“So, one of the Lords needs money to help offset a bad harvest?” I summed up the report. “I don't see a problem with that...” I was purposely evasive because I didn't really know what protocol was in such situations.
“I agree,” Lord Antony replied as Lord Gregory nodded his head.
“Put it in the pile for me to sign,” I instructed as I set my now empty cup back on the table and walked to my wheel. I watched it slowly roll around the room and stood in the path it would take as it returned to me. For the first time, I realized that the sizzling in my blood had quieted down significantly. It was still there, but much more bearable.
I stepped into my wheel and immediately continued my routine as if I hadn't stopped. I leaned to the right as if performing a cartwheel, and the cyr wheel responded by rolling me around the room. I felt like I was flying! I made plans to try new things with my wheel in the future, but for now, I was perfectly content to simply dance. The wheel was like a partner, helping me dance almost as gracefully as a ballerina.
Eventually I got dizzy and decided to stop. The pile was a little under halfway finished, which was disappointing, but still far better than it had been. Flopping in my chair, I shifted my dress to the side so that it wasn't an uncomfortable lump under me.
“Are we really obligated to send money to any of the Lords simply to throw a party?” I wondered with a frown.
“Well no,” Lord Antony answered, then shrugged. “But if you do, he will owe you a favor in the future.”
“The party is intended to honor you,” Lord Gregory added, sounding resigned to the matter.
I sighed and leaned back in my chair so I could think this over. Silence stretched out for almost a full minute before anyone said anything. I didn't really want to send money to a Lord for a party to honor me, but I also didn't want to offend him.
“May I ask, Your Majesty, what the point of that exercise is?” Lord Gregory asked. I couldn't quite tell if he was curious or disapproving.
“Simply for fun,” I answered with a bright smile.
“Then – if you must exercise while we work – why not do something useful and spar?” He suggested, gesturing to Sir Barrett, who looked so bored that I was sure he must be daydreaming. It suddenly occurred to me that Lord Gregory was trying to be kind! I was shocked enough that my jaw almost dropped, but I bit my lip to prevent it.
I pointed to the pitcher of water expectantly and smiled at Lord Antony when he poured me a glass of water. I gulped it down, thirsty from my spinning. After I set the glass back on the table, I turned my attention to Sir Barrett.
“What do you think? Should we spar?”
He seemed to wake up slightly, and then grinned at me. “Allow me to get the practice swords!”
While he was gone, we managed to get through seven more reports. All of them were short and mostly greetings from various nobles along with status updates on their lands. I was extremely relieved to see the pile shrink considerably!
When Sir Barrett returned, he handed me my practice sword, and then smirked at my bare chest. I could tell that he was delighted that I hadn't bothered to find a shirt. Smirking at him in return, I invited him to attack me.
It was a bit harder to pay attention to the reports while sparring, but we eventually managed to get through all of them. By this time, we had taken a break for lunch and had cookies and tea a couple hours later. All in all, it was a far more pleasant experience than working in my office had been!
Nathan now sat watching us spar, his face puckered in a thoughtful frown. When I noticed this, I decided to end the match and take a break. “What's wrong?” I asked him.
“Nothing,” he said, emphasizing it by shaking his head. “It just occurred to me that you were keeping up with Sir Barrett, who is the greatest swordsman in the whole Kingdom. I think that makes you better than me...”
“Ah,” I murmured tactfully. So he was upset because I might be able to kick his ass in a sword fight. I decided to not suggest we spar anytime soon.
“Actually,” Sir Barrett demurred. “King Henry was the best swordsman in Rolandia, and I am almost certain that he passed his skill on to her. As we spar, it feels just like sparring with him.”
“I noticed that too,” both Lord Gregory and Lord Antony remarked.
“Oh, so that's why!” I exclaimed with a nod. “I was wondering why I seemed to know what I was doing even though I had never touched a sword before in my life.”
As I drank some water, I realized that the sizzling in my blood – which had calmed down while I was sparring too – was slowly returning. Sighing in frustration, I was tempted to throw the glass across the room, but I resisted the urge.
“Anyone feel like going for a run?” I asked.
“I wouldn't mind a run,” Sir Barrett replied with a shrug.
“I just ran with my men, but I could go again,” Nathan informed me.
“Not me, I have more work to do,” Lord Gregory stated.
“As do I,” Lord Antony added.
“Don't work too hard,” I advised before leading the way out of the room.
Go To Chapter 6
Go To Chapter 6