Hello, all. I couldn't resist another chapter after a while and this came flowing out. I can't promise another one but I do hope you enjoy. Please forgive any mistakes and reviews are love.
Thank you all.
It was a centaur who rushed in first, brandishing a sword. Lucy did not know who he was but she determined from the expensive pendant on his neck that he was either an adviser or a prophet. Prophet, she decided as she turned to face the newcomer and dropped her weapon. It would make sense that he would be rushing in first instead of the guard. Suddenly, everything was a rush as the room filled with people following the prophet. They were loud, clamoring around the King and Lucy put her shaking hands up to her ears, wishing they would stop.
She had a splitting headache. It was the adrenaline, she knew, cleansing itself from her blood stream. Peter had once informed her of what adrenaline could do to her body.
"I'm not telling this as justification for you station yourself on the front lines every time a war breaks." He said, wagging his index finger at her. "I'm telling this so you can be prepared. Safe. So you know what is happening. Understand?"
Lucy had understood, but she hadn't had time to prepare for these feelings when all this happened. She was disoriented and her body ached as if she had run up the highest peak in Narnia without resting once. Her whole body quivered and she would have liked nothing more than to collapse right then, next to the fallen assassin. She was cold, despite the sweat that ran down her temples.
She was glad that everyone seemed to be ignoring her for the moment because she didn't trust her voice. A tear slipped down her cheek and she bit back a sob. She had been so scared. Scared for Caspian, scared for her own life. One minute she was standing in a library in London and the next, a man was standing over Caspian's bed and about to end the King.
She had just reacted, ripping a nearby sword from the wall, a feral yell ripping itself from her throat.
Lucy looked down at the body next to her. She had seen dead men and animals before, but as always, the sight never failed to shake her to the core.
A sob escaped her lips finally and she stumbled out into the hallway. She heard a series of shouts follow her but she her head hurt too much to care. She just wanted to get away from the noise, from the body, from the smell.
The queen crashed into a stone wall and she slid down it. She shivered but enjoyed the cool feeling of the rocks against her back.
"The trick is breathing, Lu. Big, deep breaths as if you're trying to swallow an ocean. It not only calms you down but it clears your head. Slow and deep that's the trick."
The way Lucy gasped at air; she knew she was not heeding Peter's words. She was hyperventilating and could possibly cause herself to pass out. Footsteps ran towards her and she glanced down the hall, feverishly noting that she had actually walked pretty far.
Then, just as she had suspected, she slowly slumped over and fainted.
Sunlight is what eventually woke Lucy up. It was gentle, slowly prying her eyes open so it could greet her with its radiance. Its kindness alerted Lucy to the fact that it was early morning, a little later than dawn and she was satisfied that she had not slept half of the day away. Her father hated when his children did that calling them "layabouts". Lucy had been the first to break her habit of sleeping until noon, not wanting to disappoint her father.
The young woman blinked and yawned, stretching. Her muscles pulled painfully and the events of what caused the pain came rushing back. Her heart beat sped up slightly until she forced herself to breathe deeply. She took stock of what hurt body parts hurt and her surroundings. She was in an unfamiliar room and lying on an unfamiliar bed but by the smell of the blanket above and the sheets underneath; she knew exactly where she was. Narnia.
The High Queen groaned with pleasure and snuggled deeper into bed. The breeze that gently tickled her nose also alerted her to the fact that she was at Cair Paravel, her home for many years. She had dreamed and even hoped of coming back but her chances seemed slim to none. Aslan had never said that she could not come back, but she was old now, older than Peter and Susan when they stopped coming. Now she was here, in one of the few places that had ever felt like home.
After a few moments, she finally pulled herself out of bed and slowly walked around it. As much as she liked reveling in the fact that she was in Narnia, she had business to attend to. There had still been an assassin out to kill Caspian and she had killed the traitor herself. There would be repercussions all across the kingdom as the King and his advisers attempted to figure out who had sent the killer for hire. Lucy also wanted to check on Caspian herself and make sure that all was well with him.
Two dresses were lying on the end of the bed. One was red and seemed almost formal to a woman would had become used to school uniforms and oxfords. Another was white and reminded Lucy of a summer dress she owned back in London. She took a liking to it right away.
Yet her muscles were still very stiff and Lucy doubted she could pull it over her head without some help, especially with one arm hurt. It had been bandaged but was sore and tender to the touch. She carefully toddled over to the bathroom and to her delight, a bath had been prepared and was still warm and the perfumes that had been placed in the water wafted up to Lucy's nose. She sniffed at them and smiled. This was exactly what she needed to relax.
After donning the dress (with a small amount of difficulty) and pulling her hair back with a ribbon she had found with other items for grooming on her vanity, she made her way downstairs to the kitchen. To her surprise, the castle was still virtually empty. She had taken her time in the bath, dozing off occasionally so it was a bit past early morn. But she noticed that she had been placed in the suites opposite of the large one royal suite Caspian probably was in and assumed that most of the staff was congregated over there.
No matter, thought Lucy. She would rather sneak down to the kitchens alone than get diverted by a well meaning servant or anybody else in service of King Caspian. Her stomach was rumbling loudly and her hunger was enormous. She knew that exerting herself in the way she did was the reason for her hunger and she sighed.
She was not remorseful for killing that man. For she realized that in a corrupt world killing was sometimes necessary. But rather, she was remorseful that she had to kill and that apparently, Caspian's safety was not assured. Her heart ached at the knowledge that Caspian had come close to death. The thought of it was almost more than she could bear.
Lucy sighed once again and pushed the thought out of her head before it could get the best of her. No matter the reasons she had agreed to come here, Caspian would never love her. He would be grateful for all she had done, yes, but that didn't assure love. He had more than likely married Ramandu's daughter and they more than likely had children and were very happy together. If she was to stay for even a day or more she had to come to the realization that Aslan had only called her here so that she could save Caspian from death. She could not look at her mission as a selfish one.
Lucy grinned inwardly at that. Mission. It sounded very brave, like she was having an epic adventure or something of the sort. It was exactly what she had wished for when she was a student at college. When life was tedious and not full of talking animals and Kings and Queens and magic.
The smells of fresh bread reached her and Lucy's stomached roared at the smell. She laughed and placed both hands on it as if she could calm it down.
Peace, stomach. We're almost there.
She strolled through the door and was greeted by a sight that made Lucy beam. Servants and cooks rushed around, no doubt preparing breakfast or dinner for a castle full of hungry people. A talking animal who seemed to be the one commanding everyone was guarding and occasionally stirring a pot. It-she- was a Bear. A small one in comparison to the bears on Earth but a bear none the less. She seemed to be very energetic and sharp and she hustled and bustled around the kitchen with other talking animals and humans alike. None of them seemed to notice Lucy standing in the doorway until the bear looked up.
"Oh! Oh!" She exclaimed as she rushed towards Lucy, her paws high in the air. "High Queen Lucy! Oh, it's an honor, I mean I've heard stories but oh- you must be starving!"
Lucy looked down at her rumbling stomach and gave a sheepish smile. "Yes, ma'am I do believe I am."
"Well come, sit, sit! We'll have you fed, don't you worry. Agatha-that's me, your Graciousness- has never let a person in her kitchen go hungry and you will be no exception."
Lucy allowed herself to be engulfed in soft, black fur and smiled gratefully as the Bear practically carried her to a wooden table in the middle of the kitchen.
"Thank you very much," Lucy said. "I really do appreciate all this."
"Oh you are so kind, your Highness, no need to be thanking me. It's the least I can do for the Queen. I am sorry we don't have anything better to serve at the moment than bread and stew, but don't you worry about that. We will have something more befitting to your station soon."
Lucy shook her head and thanked a small girl who served her a large bowl of stew with a hunk of bread on the side.
"It is quite alright, Mrs. Agatha. At this point I will probably be willing to eat a moldy, uncooked potato."
The Bear looked scandalized. "Oh no, your Majesty, there will be none of that here. Now you just eat your stew and let me know if you need more." She shuffled off and Lucy immediately turned her attention to the stew before her.
It was a meaty affair with chunks of potatoes and carrots floating around. She knew she must act like a queen, but Lucy was so hungry she devoured two bowls of the thick, creamy stew with bread to soak up the liquid before her hunger was abated.
The Bear seemed very happy with Lucy's appetite and lay a plate of strawberries before her after the stew was taken away.
"These were picked in the royal garden itself. I hope you enjoy."
Lucy thanked her once again, appreciating every second of the love the Bear seemed to radiate. Agatha in turn, bowed low and puffed up her chest in happiness and a small bit of pride. She turned, humming and attended the pots. Lucy was about to reach for a strawberry, reminding herself not to stain her dress when a figure appeared at the doorway.
Lucy turned her head then jumped up from the bench. "Caspian!" She cursed herself for looking to eager then forgot all about it when Caspian rushed up and two strong arms encircled her small shoulders in a hug. He stroked her hair and Lucy hugged back.
"Oh how I've missed you, Queen Lucy."