A/N:::::: I'm back with more Narnianess!!! Thank you all SO MUCH for your patience, and I am thrilled that you guys have been enjoying this story. I simply love reading your reviews. I really hope you enjoy this chapter. It sets a new plan in motion....

And if you like vids, I made a new Narnia vid and posted it on youtube a few weeks ago. Just type in "Started with a Wardrobe", or look up my channel (TikiTyler9) and find it there. You rock people. Thank you.

:::::NIGHTFALL::::

.The Story of King Edmund the Just.

:::::CHAPTER TWELVE:::::

.Changing Paths.

As I drew closer to the thin line of sunlight in the darkness, with Jasper breathing down my neck, I felt my heart hammering. My memory, the one I couldn't always place, swam with images of stained glass windows, carts pulled by ponies, and the smell of tobacco and tea. I frowned. The draw towards the strange light was a magnetic one... almost nothing could have broken the thread between us.

Except for the horrible scream that tore through the night, like the squeal of a train when it slams on its brakes, though I could scarcely recall what a train was. Jasper and I snapped out heads back around, towards the glowing lamppost, in the direction of the dam. It didn't sound like Lucy's scream... but my chest was constricting nonetheless. We barreled from the trees and tore off in the direction of the voice. I could hear other shouts now-- deep, throaty voices calling from beside the river. Faolchú howled out, his beautiful song eerily out of place in the horror of the moment.

In my frantic sprint, I fell over a rock and tumbled to the forest floor with a painful thud. Jasper stopped on a dime and walked t my side.

Get on, he commanded urgently.

I took only half a second to stand there in utter awe, to marvel over the fact that I was about to actually ride him. Peter had ridden a unicorn a few times in battle, but somehow riding an old soul like Jasper-- a unicorn with no horn, strange gifts, and wild eyes-- seemed far more remarkable. I leaped up onto his broad, silver back with practiced skill, grasping his mane and holding on tightly with my thighs as he moved like a phantom through the woods. I hoped Phillip would never see my face as I rode Jasper like this. Even in this frightening moment, my mouth was open and my eyes wide and glittering with euphoria as we glided effortlessly among the trees.

It was after I was able to collect myself that I realized the shouting had faded. My heart froze as I listened to the silence around me. Only the rhythm of Jasper's hooves, softer than any horse's I ever heard, filled my ears as we drew nearer to the stream. I'm certain that the scream would have awakened my siblings, and they were closer to the river than I had been, yet Jasper and I were the first ones there as he leaped from the bank and splashed into the moonlit water.

Nothing. Quiet. Only the mocking laughter of the babbling brook as I threw myself off Jasper's back and waded through the water to the willow where Chay had been only moments before. The streak of the lunacradonia on the rock was the only proof of her presence. Then, over the noise of the water, a soft whimper rose into the air. Lying on the far side of the willow, the falling petals of the tiny blossoms raining gently on his dark fur, lay Faolchú.

I ran to his side and knelt as Jasper followed close behind. A wicked-looking knife was sticking from his side as dark blood poured from his wound onto the cool grass. He heard me sit beside him and opened one bright eye to stare up at me. Immediately his whimpers returned and his feet scrambled frantically.

"Keep still," I commanded softly, laying a hand on his fur. It was softer than you'd think. "You'll be all right. Lucy!" I called into the trees.

Jasper perked his ears. "They are coming," he told us.

"I need to go," the wolf told me, his voice gruff and weak. "I promised."

"You need to hold still," I repeated through gritted teeth.

Only seconds later the others came into the clearing and crossed the river noisily. Peter and Phillip led the way, with Lucy close behind and already clutching her vial, as the Beavers gracefully swam beside her.

Peter's eyes were wild as he clambered onto the shore, his gaze darting about for any danger, Rhindon sparkling in his fist. "Where is Chay?" he asked, breathless.

"They took her," Faolchú moaned. "I promised. I promised."

"Who took her?"

"Peter, give him a moment," Lucy chided as she came up from behind him, opening the top of her vial.

"No, he's right Lu," I said softly. "We need to know." My chest was all ice again. But this had nothing to do with the shard near my heart. This ice came from somewhere else... from the terrible fear that was blooming in my lungs.

"Three men," the wolf sputtered, blood trickling from his black lips. I continued to pet him as Lucy dropped a bead of red liquid into his gasping mouth.

He took a moment to let it wash over him. I yanked out the knife.

"What men? Where did they take her?" Peter pressed.

Mrs. Beaver came up to him and put her tiny paws on his side, washing off the sticky blood as we all watched his terrible gash sew itself up by invisible forces. Faolchú's breathing grew deeper, more steady. He shut his eyes tightly.

"He needs just a moment, Peter," Lucy insisted. "For the magic to finish."

"He doesn't need to say anything," I whispered hoarsely, looking down at the knife I'd just pulled from his side. The small, curved hilt was a dully shining gray, speckled with cream and sandy colors. Unmistakably the horn of a satyr. Carved into the handle were three triangles, beneath a single circle. Like three pyramids beneath a hot, desert sun.

I curled my fingers tightly around it, and snarled, "They took her back to Tashbaan."

********

As Seen Through the Eyes of Peter the Magnificent:

Dawn was spreading its thin, rosy line across the horizon. I looked out at the new sunlight, thinking of how the sun would soon be sparkling just above the Eastern Sea, thinking of the view from Cair Paravel. Thinking....

"I can't get a cup of tea down him," Mrs. Beaver said stressfully from behind me, I turned to look down at her as she emerged from the front door of her dam. "He keeps insisting you set off now."

I growled to myself. "Tell the dog that we have every intention of leaving this morning. Ed and I have some talking to do, then we will go. Tell him I insist he drink it, if it makes you happy."

She only nodded solemnly, and went back into the house.

"Nasty situation," Mr. Beaver shook his head as he stood beside me, focused on that same line of rose and gold. "Your po' brother looks mighty torn up about it. Better go an' speak to 'im."

"He has Jasper," I muttered, looking into the distance as Edmund sat with his back to us on a moss-covered boulder. Jasper was beside him, quietly touching his pink nose to my brother's shoulder. He seemed to comfort him in a way I never could.

"But he needs you," he said sternly. "Go to him. And for the love of Aslan, please tell that Chestnut to stop sulking over there. The two of you put together are worse than the Mrs. when I helped her sister build her dam last winter. We're all tied together, Peter. We all need each other differently. That's how Aslan intended it to be."

I hung my head and took a deep breath. Why is it Aslan never intended it to be easy?

I walked along the river's edge to where my brother sat, staring out as we all had been at the rising sun. His shoulders were heaving in anxious breaths, and his face was paler than usual. Jasper looked at me with an unreadable expression. The three of us stayed silent for a long moment. Phillip took my action as a cue for him to also join the group, and I watched as Jasper took a step back to let him stand closer to Ed. I didn't miss the blaze of fire in his golden eyes though. Phil snorted quietly, then relaxed as Edmund reached up to scratch his whiskered muzzle.

"My fault," he finally muttered, still not looking at any of us.

"Shut up, Ed," I snapped. "We're not doing this. You're not going to start that. It's no one's fault except the Tarkaans'."

He shook his head. "I let her loose. I released Chay on Narnia. I took the gamble. Now she's out there somewhere, sucking everything dry. The longer we take to find her, the closer Narnia gets to permanent night."

My heart thundered against my ribcage, and I swallowed noisily. "We'll find her, Edmund."

"It's colder this morning than the morning before... and the one before that...."

I didn't bother denying it. I couldn't ignore the slight chill in the summer air.

I squared my shoulders. "Then let's not wait for night to fall. Lucy and Faolchú are in the dam. Let's get them and go."

He finally turned to face me. My heart dropped a little more when I saw the utter defeat in his eyes. "We can't just barge in there and demand to have her back," he argued. "The Tisroc would never admit to knowing of such an offense going on in his kingdom. Although I'm sure he does," he added quietly, staring blankly. "Bastard."

"You're right," I nodded. "We'd have to get her under the radar. It'd be quicker than going through the system anyway."

He looked up at me. "How?"

I chuckled quietly. "I'm the level-head and the leader, Ed. You're the schemer, remember? You tell me."

I hadn't realized that Lucy and the wolf had left the dam until my sister brushed up beside me. Faolchú was at her side, trembling slightly, his black fur on end. Despite my annoyance towards the wolf, I had to feel a blast of sympathy for him just then. Around his one sad eye was a glowing crescent moon of sapphire, from a lunacradonia. It made my chest throb, thinking of Chay's strange, artistic quirks when she was currently bound and beaten and getting ready for a long journey across the desert.

"The only thing we can do is infiltrate the underground," Edmund told us, his weak voice deepening just a bit as he began to plot.

"Posing as Tarkaans?"

He shook his head. "Not this time. Every time we've done that we were simply taking a break from our royal identities, Pete. This time we have no intention of revealing ourselves to the Tisroc or the prince. They'll see us enter the city walls. They'll know we wouldn't be local. We have to pose as slaves... or at least something like slaves."

"Who's slaves?" Lucy asked.

Edmund was silent for a moment. Thinking. "The royal niece of the duchess of Archenland. You journeyed from across the Eastern Sea to explore the wonders beyond, and you heard no city was as grand as the sunshine city of Tashbaan."

"You?" Lucy frowned.

"Yes," Edmund looked over at her, standing from his rock. "You, Lu."

Her eyes burned dangerously. "You're not letting me go underground with you?"

"Not."

"Edmund!" she shrieked. "Don't do this! I'm more than capable of taking care of myself. I'm almost seventeen years old! I've been in battle, I can do this mission! I want to save Chay!"

"You will, Lu," I promised. But Edmund was all business now.

"We need a reason to go through those walls, Lucy. You're our ticket in. We can't have you travel as yourself, because Narnian monarchs don't keep slaves. The rituals of the islanders and off-landers are way more ambiguous. We'll need to disguise you as best we can."

"So what do I do once we're in?" she pouted.

"Look pretty and distract that bozo of a prince while Peter and I nose around the underground. We'll be your sleazy servants, looking to buy our own piece of exotic Narnian merchandise."

"I'm coming with you," Phillip snorted firmly.

"No one's getting left behind," he promised.

"How do you plan on getting a talking wolf and a hornless unicorn through those gates without question?" I asked.

"Leave it to the schemer," he said, and I could practically see the gears in his head whirring as he ran over and over his newly forming plan.

"We have quite a journey ahead of us," I noted grimly, dreading the glaring summer sun of the desert between the lush Archenland and the arid city of Tashbaan. "We should probably get started without delay." I swallowed a dry, sharp lump in my throat. "Time is of the essence."

"Not yet," Edmund muttered, and I started. I would assumed he'd be clawing over our bodies to get on the trail towards the desert. "Our resources will be extremely limited once we leave Archenland, and we'll be unable to properly disguise ourselves. Our resources are best right here, with the Beavers to help us. We should get our looks and effects together now while we still can."

I nodded. "You're the schemer," I repeated. "Get to work."

His brow furrowed in concentration as he nodded to himself. "We'll be easy enough," he told me. "We just need Mrs. Beaver to quickly throw together something to cover most of our faces." He chewed his lower lip thoughtfully. "I need Mr. Beaver to go and collect some of the clay from the riverbed."

"Why?" Faolchú asked.

I already understood where my brother was going. "We're called the White Barbarians," I told him. "So the clay smeared on our skin quickly solves one dead giveaway of our identities."

Edmund looked at Faolchú. "How determined are you to save Chay?" he asked.

A low growl rumbled in Faolchú's throat. I rested my hand on Rhindon's hilt, but Edmund held a hand out to me in warning. "You shouldn't have to ask me that," the wolf snarled.

"Then you won't argue to being completely humiliated for her sake?"

The wolf's snarl vanished and his head tilted curiously to the side. It was funny how quickly he transformed from one creature to another.

"Tell Mrs. Beaver to quickly put together the most obscenely ornate collar and leash for you."

"What?" he snorted, his lips curling over his glistening fangs in disgust.

"You'll be Lu's pet."

I expected further retort, but instead Faolchú only blinked twice before turning quickly and bounding towards the dam.

"What about Jasper?" I asked. "We can't exactly have Lu riding in on him. Even a wealthy, shameless dictator couldn't own a unicorn, hornless or not, without questions being raised."

Ed was running his finger over his chin thoughtfully as he stared at Jasper, who was staring back with a calm, unwavering gaze. "He'll be our ride," my brother said.

Now I was confused. "What?" I frowned. "That makes even less sense. Why?"

"Because the only way to slip him under the radar is to strip him of his unique beauty."

Phillip snorted angrily, stamping the ground. Jasper grinned as much as any unicorn can.

"I think you're beautiful too, Edmund," he chuckled.

"Shut up, Jazz," Ed muttered as he walked towards Phillip, though I caught the smile tugging at his mouth. Phillip was eying Edmund carefully as he reached out and ran a hand through his chestnut mane. "You and I will be riding the filthy white horse," he said to me over his shoulder. "And Lu can come in astride a gleaming chestnut." He looked his old friend in the eye. "We'll be sure to get you as clean as we can before the journey. I know this trip has taken a toll on you. You and Lucy need to look as fresh as possible."

"I've been to Tashbaan many times," Lucy spoke, most of her poutiness gone. "The Tisroc and Rabadash know all too well what I look like. How are we going to take care of that?"

I looked at Edmund, waiting for his answer. The tension in his jaw looked like he was afraid no one would like it.

"You're right Lu," he said gravely. "It needs to be one heck of a disguise." His dark, worried eyes traveled just a few inches from her eyes and up to the top of her head. I frowned curiously, but Lucy seemed to understand. A stony seriousness settled over her face and she ran her fingers absently through her long mahogany hair.

"Do it," she told him quietly.

He shook his head. "Cutting it won't be enough. We need to color it. Something extreme."

"I doubt Mrs. Beaver has any hair dye in the dam," I interjected.

"I wasn't thinking hair dye...."

Lu's eyes widened just the slightest. She was evidently catching on much quicker than I was. I watched her swallow nervously. "You're thinking lunacradonias?" she asked him. My face must have mirrored hers just then.

Edmund nodded sadly.

"I won't come out," I argued. "Ever."

He repeated the nod.

Lucy looked up into the sky, where the sun was now clearing the mountains. Its glow was a soft melon color, and there was a chilly wind whipping through the trees. It didn't feel much like summer anymore.

"I told you I can handle it," Lucy spoke through set teeth. "Do it," she said again.

But Edmund wasn't looking at her anymore. His eyes were still caught by the weakness of the rising sun.

Faolchú came bounding across the bank, having just emerged from the dam. He looked around the silent group until his gaze settled on my brother's distant expression.

"How much time, Edmund?" he asked.

Ed finally broke his stare and turned to look at us. He looked at me. "My job is done, Pete. You take it from here."
All eyes met mine: the huge black ones of Phillip, the soft brave eyes of my sister, the unnervingly serene golden eyes of Jasper, the anxious and skeptical sapphire stare of the wolf, and the trusting but sad eyes of my brother, almost black in this weak morning light.

"We leave in two hours," I breathed. "Let's get to work."

********

As Seen Through the Eyes of Jasper the Unicorn:

I was impressed; and I had never been easy to impress. The ways in which the Pevensie siblings worked together was truly amazing. Each one had their own set of skills, their own divine gifts which were used at just the right time. They knew each other's strengths and weaknesses just as well as they knew their own, and understood just when to pass the responsibilities onto one another. I understood better with each setting sun why the Great Aslan had worked through these humans before. Something different powered them. Something greater than courage, stronger than determination, deeper than love.

I watched as we all transformed ourselves into a band of travelers from across the seas. Edmund remarked wistfully that he wished there were many more of us. "It looks a bit strange for a monarch from so distant a land to be traveling in such a small party," he'd noted. "But I'll come up with some kind of excuse on the trip there.... I have time."

I marveled at his cunning. Despite my early skepticism and my constant teasing, I had liked Edmund from the beginning. But I would never have guessed that such a young human could devise such a plan so quickly. His eighteen years of life was like the tiny space between a rising and falling sun when you compared it to my life. And yet he and his young brother and sister seemed to have so much more wisdom.

He and Peter had, as Edmund had predicted, an easy enough time preparing their disguises. Aside from rubbing some red clay from the riverbed across their faces, arms, and hands, the rest of the deception was all in their attire. The female Beaver was quite resourceful, and extremely handy with a sewing needle, and rapidly put together a pair of robes for them using her own curtains and a pair of bathrobes she had been planing on giving the two Queens for Christmas. The dark red fabric draped over their bodies loosely, concealing almost everything about them... age, physique, and the weapons they had dangling on their belts. The golden fabric from her curtains covered their entire faces, aside from their eyes, which stared out dangerously from the cloth.

"Try not to look quite so intimating when you're in their presence," Mr. Beaver had advised them upon appraising his wife's work. "I don't think most slaves have that sort'a dignit'y about them."

Faolchú was also easy enough to deal with. He was burningly eager to save Chay, and therefore threw no fit when Mrs. Beaver pushed the ruffled blue collar over his head. I was good enough to hold my laughing whinny back as the beaver showed Lucy how to attach and detach the matching leash.

Peter was not.

"You make a good accessory," he chuckled as the wolf released a rumbling snarl that would frighten most humans. The High King rested a hand on his sword while Edmund just rolled his eyes.

"Shut up, Pete," he chided wearily. "You're the one who's wearing a pillowcase."

"Curtain and bathrobe," Mrs. Beaver corrected quietly.

"And you," Edmund turned to the bristling wolf. "Just be sure to keep your mouth shut once we're through those gates. You're just a wolf. Got it?"

"Mouth shut," he nodded briskly. "May I suggest you give those same orders to the walking laundry basket?"

Peter's eyes blazed, Edmund chuckled for the first time all morning, and I heard Mr. Beaver quietly assure his wife that the outfits were wonderful.

Lucy's transformation was a bit more involved.

Just as her brothers had, she rubbed her body down in the red clay, creating an even tone of russet on her once pale skin. Mrs. Beaver sobbed softly as she stood behind Lucy with a pair of scissors and chopped off her long locks of hair. Funny, the attachment some have to their hair. Though I had to admit I would be shaken if someone had snipped off my mane, or my long tail. However in all fairness, I'd already lost enough. As the long strands of slightly curling hair fell to the ground, Mrs. Beaver continued to weep quietly. "It'll grow back," she sobbed to the human child. "I promise."

And then Edmund and Peter, wearing gloves, sadly smeared handfuls of lunacradonias over her newly cropped hair. Her natural dark brown was quickly swallowed by the glowing blue sap.

"You can dye it back right," Peter kept assuring her. "It won't have to look like this forever."

But despite all their sadness and soft promises, Lucy Pevensie did not weep. Her lips didn't tremble and her voice did not shake. She simply sat straight and sturdy atop her rock on the river's edge, her eyes staring into Faolchú's as the wolf sat before her with his head tilted curiously, watching her. As her brothers continued to work the lunacradonias into her hair, she reached out to the wolf, who cautiously approached her extended hand. Lucy ran a finger carefully over the glowing crescent moon around his eye, and I saw her stony face break into a smile.

I liked Lucy Pevensie.

The clothing for our new Princess from over the Sea was not easy to invent either. Lucy had only been wearing traveling clothes, hardly befitting the kind of royalty that travels with a pet wolf on the end of an embarrassing leash.

"White would be the best color to show off that deep skin," Mrs. Beaver mulled to herself. "And perhaps a hint of blue to accent... your hair."

I was simply astounded at the way that rodent worked. She sent her husband down river to visit the Badgers and ask the wife for her set of white bedsheets.

"Mrs. Badger always liked to sleep in luxury," she informed us. "I always did quite well with just a hand-knitted throw and my man to keep me warm."

I liked Mrs. Beaver too.

And so in just under half and hour, Mrs. Beaver was able to sew together a draping dress of white, ordering Edmund to stain a series of ribbons blue with the rest of the lunacradonias. The ribbons were then wrapped delicately around the waist of the new gown, and a few of them wound their way around Lucy's neck.

"I'd put a white lily behind your ear, dear," she told Lucy was we examined her new look, "But I'm sure it would wilt in the desert."

Lucy stood before us looking like an entirely different woman. She smiled uncertainly out from her dark, pretty face, her berry-stained lips stretching over her white teeth. Her hair was now cropped incredibly short, pointing out in all directions, the sunlight making the sapphire tint truly dazzling. She could have been ten years older than she really was. The white dress fell to her sandaled feet and bits of Mrs. Beaver's dissembled wind chime dangled from her ears and from the band that wrapped around her wild hair. I would never had known it to be her.

"Thank you, Mrs. Beaver," she spoke in the strange new accent she was inventing for our journey. "You've done so much already."

Lucy certainly looked spell-binding. However, her new exotic appearance did not compare to the angelic beauty she possessed naturally. I missed it already. But I would never tell her that.

My turn was fun. After watching Lucy's tough transformation, I felt no need to fuss about becoming a common slave horse. Peter and Lucy laughed as they wilding swept their hands through my mane, tangling the silver locks with their fingers. Peter put in a couple of burs for good measure. It felt nice having them brush me like that, laughing and talking to me... even if it was damaging my look. They did the same to my tail before I stepped into the riverbed and rolled in the mud. It felt good... I didn't do that nearly as often as I should. I grunted contently to myself, throwing my hooves up and letting the silky mud slosh on my sides and spit into the air. I heard a familiar chuckle from not far away and paused to see the world upside-down around me. Edmund was leaning against a tree, his cloth mask pulled down around his neck and a smile on his russet face as he watched me roll.

I stayed where I was, hooves in the air and head upside down. "Can I help you?" I asked seriously.

He blew out another chuckle and shook his head. It was good to see him laugh. "No, no," he insisted. "Just... carry on."

A few more good rolls and then I sprawled my legs out to lift me from the earth. Hunks of mud and dirt flew around me as I shook myself, another contented sigh grunted through my nose and rumbled in my chest.

"What do you think?" I asked, turning to him. "Do I look ordinary?"

He raised his brow. "You could never look ordinary," he frowned, as if this bothered him. "But you certainly don't scream out unicorn quite so loudly."

"Never thought I'd be so happy to be hornless," I muttered.

"That scar on your face is obviously still visible," he mulled, drawer nearer and staring at my forehead. "I'll have to come up with another lie," he sighed.

You need to know the truth before you can lie. And we don't, I pointed out.

"Good point." He leaned in closer to my face and sighed again. "You're eyes are still a bit unnerving..." he noted. "But we can't do anything about it." He took a few steps back and continued to look carefully at me. His mouth twisted into a worried grimace. "Just don't... stare at people like you tend to do. It's weird. Be a passive horse, okay?"

I snorted a short burst of laughter and nodded my head. My mane felt heavy with dirt and tangles as it shook on my neck.

"Do you want to look at yourself in the river?" he asked me.

"By the Lion! No!" I stamped. "The rolling was fun, but I refuse to see what a mess I've become."

He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "You vain thing."

That was the most relaxed I'd seen him in a while, and about thirty seconds later Peter approached, and I knew it'd be a while before I saw him like that again.

"Ed... we need to get going. Everyone is ready, and we have a really long trip ahead of us. I'd like to get as near to Archenland as we can by nightfall, and it's on the other side of Narnia."

Edmund nodded sullenly, looking up at the sun winking through the treetops. He did that a lot lately. I could finally hear a coherent thought from him: This is pulling me away, he was thinking. Saving Chay will cost us this whole journey.

"What makes you say that?" I asked as we began to walk behind Peter.

He looked over at me with that familiar scowl. "Cut that out."

"Tell me."

He sighed. "I thought that I was being led. That the dreams you were giving me--"

I'm not giving you them....

"--were giving me the clues we needed to find these rings. The latest dream led us to the lantern. To that strange line of light in the trees. But Chay's disappearance pulled me away. Now we're forced to go in the opposite direction to go after her." He shrugged, his face looked drawn and pale somehow, even with the dark clay on his skin. "Even if we find her after the two-day journey ahead, we'll still be lost, and Narnia will still be dying."

I looked down at the forest floor, the wet leaves I was pushing with my muddy hooves, and sighed. What do you say of something so close to the truth? I inched closer to him and pressed my nose gently into his back.

Path's change, I insisted. "You know that better than most. Your path has changed many times, Edmund."

When we reached the dam again, the Beavers were wishing a tearful farewell to the others. I leaned down and touched my nose to their small paws tenderly. I would miss them. It was strange, these emotions I was feeling lately. I spent my entire life, more years than I could count, wandering this world, and had made no acquaintances whom I could ever honestly miss. One day, and I knew I would miss these Beavers.

"You're special," Mrs. Beaver whispered into my ear as I leaned my head closer. "Take care of him."

I let her wrap her small warm arms around my snout as I shut my eyes softly. "I promise."

It was late morning by the time we began our trek south, but it felt like it should have been much later. Faolchú was quiet and grave, his bright eyes afire with determination as he trotted alongside Phillip and me. I didn't put up a fight when the Horse asked Edmund to ride him first. We had quite a long trip ahead of us, and we'd never get there if I began fighting him at every turn. Besides, Edmund had pretty much already admitted I was better-looking. I chuckled to myself as I felt Lucy run her hands through my tangled mane. Peter sat right behind her, holding onto my bare back with practiced skill.

We soared through the woods, along the Great River, towards Beruna. The sun may have been a bit weaker, but the light was pure and golden as it sparkled through the forest and we ran through its spotlights. Edmund looked over at me, peering out through his hooded robe, and smiled. It wasn't a bright grin, more of a forced smile, but I appreciated the effort. I saw a flash of his thoughts. He was remembering the Dancing Lawn, alongside the Rush River, sprawled out like a carpet of teal grass and white flowers beneath a starry clearing in the treetops.

Since I could read it, I hoped it meant we'd be sleeping there tonight.

I was happy these thoughts distracted me from the fact that Beaversdam was now far from our sight. I didn't feel like being sad again so soon.

********

A/N:::::: Got nothin but love for you.

--Tiki