Arya leant over the fire she was building, seemingly intent on her work. But her mind wandered… Eragon was no more than two feet away, and she was hyper-aware of it. Too aware.

This is ridiculous. She scowled darkly, casting the flint in her hand away from her as hard as she could. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Eragon look up at her with concern from the book he was reading, but he did not speak. It frustrated her to know that she had hoped he would speak to her, but she also knew that he would not; he probably accounted her bad mood to not being allowed to use magic. Nasuada had forbidden it; she wished for all her spell casters to refrain from the use of magic, as they may be forced into battle at any time and needed their energy. Pah, she thought angrily, and abandoned her work along with her resolve not to look at Eragon again.

Eragon was too absorbed in his book to notice her sudden, intense gaze upon him. She smiled; she knew many a man who would give their swords to own a book, and he was given one for free! It amused her to see him so happy with such a simple gift. She would have to get him one, soon-

Stop this, now, she thought, angry with herself. It's bad enough that you keep staring at him… she groaned, gritting her teeth. Eragon looked down at her with annoyance at being disturbed, which soon changed to confusion as he caught her staring at him. "Is something wrong, Arya?"

She carefully composed her facial expression into one of calm and composure. "No. Nothing."

He paused for a moment, obviously confused, but nodded and returned to his book. It must be a good one, she smirked, observing the joy on his face. She watched him for several minutes, regarding his face changing. She hastily looked away as his expression turned to pure horror, and it was so comical that she had to look away, biting her lip lest that she should laugh out loud and be discovered staring.

Lady Arya?

Arya jumped as Saphira's tentative mind touched her blatantly and dangerously open one. She hastened to close her mind, cursing herself for dropping her guard so much.

Yes, Lady Brightscales?

Are you feeling quite alright?

Saphira showed her a vision of herself, watching Eragon with a strange expression on her heart shaped face. Arya cringed as she acknowledged that the dragon had been watching her for several minutes, now.

Yes, perfectly fine.

Saphira blinked her great, blue eyes, and continued to watch her. Then: Arya, would you please rouse Eragon for me? I cannot reach his thoughts- he is intent on nothing but that blasted book!

Arya laughed, and nodded. Relieved to turn away from Saphira's watchful eyes, she got up and strode over to Eragon. Once again, he looked up with annoyance at being disturbed. Once again, Arya watched the emotions on his face… change… but what to? She was transfixed for several moments, her eyes lost in his…


Eragon leaped to his feet, drawing his weapon, as Saphira called his name. Arya struggled not to laugh as he tripped over the book he had dropped moments before and fell to her feet, blinking owlishly. Laugh! Her! Princess Arya, laughing! She would never normally laugh so easily, and she knew exactly where the change lay.

With the boy at her feet.

Eragon, get away from that blasted book and come scouting with me. I've sat here long enough!

As Eragon struggled to stand, Arya offered him her hand. He looked at it for a moment, obviously confused, before taking it. As soon as he was on his feet and able to stand, Arya dropped it. She heard him exit the tent, but said nothing…

Oh, no.


Where are we going, little one?

Anywhere you like!

With a roar of delight, Saphira launched herself into the perfectly blue sky. Warriors below yelled and dived out of the way as she moved her giant wings in synchronization to the beating of Eragon's heart.

To the lake!

Eragon's fierce joy matched her own as they moved as one across the sky, reveling in the freedom their movements gave them. Eragon laughed as Nasuada pushed her way out of her tent to see what the noise was, knocking over several of her guards.

Hang on. I want to go and see Nasuada.

With a grumble, Saphira dived to the ground once more. Several of Nasuada's guards yelped and jumped out of the way, but the woman they protected stood her ground and watched the magnificent blue dragon land.

"Eragon, Saphira; to what do I owe the pleasure?" Nasuada called to them, approaching the pair.

"We're on our way to the lake on the mountainside, and wondered if you could spare a moment to join us." Saphira's surprise matched Nasuada's as the words tumbled out of Eragon's mouth.

Where did that come from, little one?!

"Um…" Nasuada glanced back into her tent anxiously. Then, with a smile, she leaped onto Saphira's back and clasped her arms around Eragon's waist.

"Fly, Saphira!"

Nasuada's laughter rang out over the sound of Saphira's wings, and Eragon found himself listening intently to the beautiful sound as they made their way to the nearby mountain lake.


"It looks freezing."

Eragon and Nasuada stood at the side of the wintery- looking lake, debating whether or not to venture into it.

You cowards!

Saphira teased them from the middle of the lake, where she had spent the last hour whilst Eragon and Nasuada dipped their toes into the freezing water and shivered on the bank.

"I think we should… get in…?"

Eragon shivered at the thought, but held his chin up and nodded. He held out his hand.

She took it.

They ran, laughing, and threw themselves off the bank into the icy water.

Far away, she watches. She watches as they tumble into the ice-cold lake and shout in shock. She watches as they laugh, and splash one another. And as she watches, she smiles. Because it is only a matter of time…

AN: Well, I hope you like the changes to the first chapter. I haven't changed much, actually: but I have a question for you. Is that last paragraph a little too much? Does it need to go? Do tell, dahling. Ta for now!