Disclaimer: I don't own Deltora quest, it belongs to Emily Rodda. However, I am using scenes from the books as reference points.

Feeling Brave

The palace bells were ringing, but neither Lief nor Jasmine could hear them. Both were consumed by thoughts of all that had happened in the underground caverns, and later in the Shadowlands.

Jasmine still could not believe how easily she had been fooled. How easily the Shadow lord had tricked her into believing that she had a little sister, and that Lief had kept knowledge of "Faith" from her.

And then, Lief had followed her. Followed her, quite literally, to the end of the earth. Jasmine realised now that he had not followed her to beg her to return, but to beg her to forgive him. Even now, neither of them were sure exactly what Lief had said or done that needed to be forgiven.

The crowd was still surging up the hill from the city, and it seemed that all eyes were on the King, and the wild girl who held his hand.

"Lief," Jasmine said, getting his attention. An uncomfortable thought had occurred to her as she felt the eyes of the crowd upon them, but now, she was feeling brave enough to put her thoughts into words. When she saw that she had Lief's full attention, Jasmine continued.

"You say that you will marry for love if I…I mean, She will have you?"

When Lief nodded, Jasmine moved closer to him.

"Look at all the people," she said. "What if they will not have the woman you love as their Queen?"

At this, Lief let go of her hand and put his arm around her, pulling her so close to him that she could hear his heartbeat over the sounds of cheering and bells.

Jasmine would not have thought it possible for her face to become even hotter, but when Lief leaned even closer and whispered to her, she felt as though her face was on fire, and that Lief must surely be able to feel the heat coming from her.

"That would not matter Jasmine," he breathed. "Because I have wanted you for my bride since before I even knew that I would be king."

Now, Lief was also feeling brave. Throwing all caution to the winds, Lief pressed his lips against Jasmine's. And in that moment, Lief realised that if pursuing Jasmine to the Pirran islands would lead to him standing with her in his arms on the palace lawn, surrounded by cheering people, he would do it again in a heartbeat. It had all been worth it.