When the news had reached Alexander, the room fell silent. He was sat at his desk, thinking the matter over. He ran his fingers through his golden hair and breathed heavily. Though he hadn't heard anything, Hephaestion had walked into the room. He whipped his head around to see who it was. "Hephaestion?" he announced, confused by his presence.
Hephaestion made his way over to the king. He stood there in silence.
"What is it?" Alexander asked him as he tried to get back to his duties.
Hephaestion smiled and answered, "I was wondering if you would like to join me for a ride."
Alexander returned the smile but the happiness faded when he realised he was busy. "I have all this to do," he said, motioning to the paperwork on his desk.
Hephaestion shrunk back and nodded his head solemnly.
"Though, I am sure a brief ride will be all right," Alexander added, not wanting to see his friend saddened anymore.
Their conversation was interrupted with another knock on the door.
"Come," Alexander said in his most authoritative voice.
It was Perdiccas. He walked in slightly and said professionally, "Sire, something of Darius' has been acquired."
"Yes, Asia Minor," Alexander joked. He sobered, as did Hephaestion.
Perdiccas continued, "It is a chest."
"A chest?" Alexander repeated, bemused. "What sort of chest?"
"A box. One for keeping things in. It is said that Darius kept his most precious belongings in that certain chest," Perdiccas elaborated. "The men are curious as to what you will store in the chest now that it is yours."
Alexander grinned and considered it for a moment. "I will think about it. Thank you, Perdiccas."
Perdiccas nodded and then left discreetly.
"Do you not know what to keep in the chest?" Hephaestion asked Alexander.
The king shrugged. "I cannot think of anything."
"Well," Hephaestion offered. "What do you treasure most?"
Alexander's face lit up. He smiled at Hephaestion. "You know what."
Hephaestion became conscious that his cheeks were reddening. He ignored that and said, "You, uh, must have something, surely. Your sword, perhaps? One of your rings?"
After a moment's silence, Alexander said, his voice full of pride, "I know what I will put in the chest. My Iliad."
Hephaestion snickered. "Your Iliad?"
Alexander nodded gleefully.
"Anyway, what about that ride?" Hephaestion reminded him hopefully.