Zarrok had left Nabetse in the stables with the rest of the horses and ran as fast as he could to Princess Amillia’s chambers. Now he was right in front of the door, but couldn’t find the power to knock. He was too distracted. Visions of wide bright blue eyes floated in and out of his mind.
Just forget about her! Something shouted in his head, and at that moment, he knocked.
“Enter.” A small, fragile voice said from inside the room.
Zarrok obeyed, and –as he did everyday—found himself in a vast room that led into several small rooms. And sitting on a small chair by a dying fire, was Princess Amillia herself.
Her soft auburn hair swished about her shoulders and back as she turned to see Zarrok coming to her side. Her gleaming green eyes followed him as he took his seat beside her.
This was all routine for them: every morning after the bell, Zarrok would meet Amillia in her chambers for breakfast and tea before they were called to their duties:
Amillia would go to the royal councils, and do what she could. Zarrok’s duties, on the other hand, had him protect Amillia. All day long. However, since all Amillia did was go to councils these days, he was reassigned to patrol the entire land on horse back.
“Cup of tea, Zarrok?” She asked politely. Zarrok nodded and allowed her to fill his cup with steaming hot tea. Amillia watched closely as Zarrok sipped at his tea, and noticed the faraway look in his eyes. “You are somewhere else, aren’t you?” She leaned in closely. “What is troubling you?” She asked twirling a lock of his near black hair around her bone-skinny fingers.
“Nothing,” he said, shaking her away. Then he looked at her, grimfaced, and changed the subject. “Any sign of Trina yet?”
Amillia’s expression became serious. “Not yet. Nor have there been any sightings of her army. We believe that she may be plotting something big. Especially if it’s taken her this long.”
Zarrok nodded once. “That’s what I was afraid of.” He murmured.
She looked at him for a moment, then stood. “Well, we should be going.” Zarrok nodded again, then stood to leave.
Blue sapphire eyes…. Stop it! He thought angrily. I’m already arranged to be married! And it was true, Zarrok was in an arranged marriage to someone and he had to stay loyal to her.
Zarrok gave Amillia a hug and left his fiancé to her work.
Zarrok still couldn’t find her. Leira. What a beautiful name. Throughout the day—including now—Zarrok found himself whispering it in his mind. Leira. Blue sapphire eyes. Leira. Golden strands within the brown. Leira. Leira. Leir—
“Nabby?” Zarrok’s head snapped up at the sound of the voice. He realized that he was in village square, and in the very center was the girl he had been thinking about all day.
“Leira.” She smiled feebly at him and walked over to the well, willing him to follow.
Zarrok couldn’t help himself. He urged Nabby forward, to where she stood. “Sir Zarrok, we meet again,” she said as if she somehow knew that she would see him again.
Her smile grew confident as he stepped of his horse and walked directly toward her. And even more so as he knelt and kissed her hand. Amillia won’t find out. He thought. He hoped
“So,” she said, eyeing him with those hypnotizing blue gems of hers. “What brings you to the village square?”
Zarrok grinned and shook out his shaggy dark hair. “It’s all part of the part of the job, Leira.” She grinned back at him as he countered her question. “Why are you here on this fine afternoon?”
Leira giggled. “Umm, I live here.”
Zarrok closed his eyes and sighed as if this had just occurred to him and he should have figured it out earlier. “Ahh, of course! I should have figured it out earlier! So… where do you live?”
Leira looked puzzled, suspicious, and slightly alarmed at the question. “Where do I live?” Zarrok nodded. “Well, I umm… I live over in that direction.” She pointed over to the poorest part of the village. The South End.
“Will you show me?” Zarrok asked, and Leira’s eyes got wide with fear, then narrowed.
“Don’t you have a job to do?” She asked, growing a bit irritable.
“Oh, what’s a few minutes off the job for a pretty girl?” Zarrok’s eyes looked deep into Leira’s, willing her to give in.
Finally, Leira sighed. “What choice do I have?” She turned toward the South End. “Come Sir Zarrok. I shall show you where I live.”
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