High King Peter watched as his brother, a Giant, and a Centaur went to speak with King Miraz. He hoped that the evil king would accept his challenge of single combat—yet he also feared that Miraz would accept the challenge. He suddenly lost his faith in his own strength and skill.
Pacing uneasily in Aslan's How, Peter wondered where his sisters were. How he wished to have Susan reassuring him of his strength and skill in battle, or to have Lucy gently telling him about how he had to trust Aslan and everything would work out in the end. But even though he could think of what the girls would say, it was not the same as having them comfort him.
Peter whirled sharply around at the voice, startled by the sudden intrusion into his line of thought. Prince Caspian coughed nervously, and Peter realized that he had drawn his sword. Peter shook his head slightly as he placed the weapon back into its sheath.
"Prince Caspian," Peter said with a nod.
"Are you all right?"
Peter arched an eyebrow. "We are outnumbered, I may have just sent my brother to his death, I don't know where Susan and Lucy are, and even if the plan works I have to fight a powerful dictator twice my size. No, I'm not all right." Peter finished his rant and slumped down onto the ground. "I don't know how we can win this."
"Doctor Cornelius always told me that numbers do not win a battle," Caspian said, walking over to Peter and sitting down on the ground beside him. "My uncle, no matter how cruel or evil, will hold to tradition. Your brother will not be harmed, and he will accept your challenge." Putting a comforting hand on Peter's shoulder, Caspian continued, "Your sisters are with Aslan, and you, King Peter, are much more skilled in battle than King Miraz."
"I'm half his age," Peter said doubtfully. "And he is much stronger than me."
"But you are the High King of Old," Caspian countered. "You have more experience than any of us." Caspian leaned closer, his breath brushing over Peter's cheek. "And you fight for Aslan. Trust Him. You will win."
Peter smiled slightly, impressed by Caspian's ability to fill in the positions of both his sisters. The prince was somehow even more consoling to him then he imagined Susan and Lucy being.
"Do you know anything about your uncle's tactics that could help me? Any weaknesses?" Peter turned to Caspian when the prince did not answer. Caspian was biting his lip as he thought, but he seemed unable to think of anything. "Nothing?"
Caspian swallowed hard. "You'll do well, King Peter."
Caspian turned to him, his dark eyes glinting in the light of the torches surrounding them. "You'll win, Peter," he said after a moment.
Peter shook his head. "We can't know that. Our only real hope is that Aslan will join us." Sighing heavily, Peter looked down at his hands. "And even then I'm doomed. I can't back out of the challenge."
Caspian moved so he was kneeling before Peter. "King Peter—yes, King—listen to me. You are a strong warrior. You've won many great battles in the past. You are the High King of Old, not some mere child!" He took Peter's face in his hands, forcing Peter to look at him. "Fight in the name of Aslan. Put your faith in Him." Caspian moved closer to Peter and lowered his voice. "And have faith in yourself. You will win, Peter."
"You sound very certain," Peter breathed.
Peter leaned back and away from Caspian's hands. "I've never had to battle alone," he said, turning away.
"Nor shall you." Caspian moved close to him again, brushing some hair from Peter's eyes. "Your brother and I will be standing by you, as will all of Narnia."
"But I will be the only one fighting."
"And you will win," Caspian repeated. "Fight for your family, for your people, for Aslan…" Caspian leaned close to Peter, taking his face in his hands again. "And for me."
Peter inhaled sharply as Caspian moved closer. The Telmarine prince paused for a moment, silently asking permission with his eyes before gently pressing his lips to Peter's. Caspian pulled away rather quickly, swallowing hard and refusing to look Peter in the eye. "You will win."
Peter lifted Caspian's chin, and the prince's eyes nervously looked at the King.
"Thank you, Prince Caspian."
The two remained locked in each other's gaze until a cry suddenly echoed through Aslan's How. "King Peter!" Peter and Caspian both got to their feet just as Reepicheep entered the room. Before delivering his message, the mouse bowed so low his whiskers touched the ground. "The challenge has been accepted! King Edmund and one of those Telmarines are marking where the challenge is to be held."
Peter nodded and gulped. "Thanks, Reepicheep." The mouse bowed again and left.
Caspian put a firm hand on Peter's shoulder, and Peter placed his own hand over it. "I suppose I should be getting ready, then," he said quietly.
Squeezing Peter's shoulder, Caspian said, "Good luck, your Majesty." Peter bit his lip. "I have faith in you."
Peter smiled softly. "You know what? So do I."