Eragon was doubled over in mind-numbing, nerve-wrenching pain. He wasn't in the heat of battle, nor in Galbatorix's Castle, but on a deserted elvin path, deserted except for one elf, the one whom he hated with a vigor and loved with all his soul. Arya. He gasped aloud in pain at the thought of her name. What a cruel minstrel fate is, treating us like pawns in a game. One day, we are at the top of the world, and with a swish of the wrist, all hopes and dreams are gone with a gust of the wind, just to satisfy our cruel overseer's desire. Eragon was face to face with the one thing in the world he could not live without, and the one thing in the world he could never have.

Imagine, just for a moment, what it would be like, if when ever you thought of the most important thing in your world, nay, instead, everytime you breathed in, the sensation of a dagger slicing between your ribs would issue you a crippling pain. What if that oxygen were to tell you that you were not allowed to have it, if it avoided your gasping lungs without heed of your needs and all consuming desires. Worse, what if said oxygen laughed at your efforts, for to it, you did not really need oxygen in the first place, only thought you did. Then the oxygen leaves you where you be, to collapse on the ground, grasping at life. Arya was Eragon's oxygen.

Eragon's eyes flicked up to the Elf now staring down at him, normal facial expressions replaced with her favorite new expression, a stone mask, which kept her face blank and expressoinless. His eyes narrowed into a glare. "Follow me." He growled between his teeth.

"Very Well." It's a good thing that elves are naturally curious, else Arya may not have gone.

Eragon, forsaking the path for the untamed wilderness, forged a new trail between the sparse underbrush and the anchient trees, sentinals to their emotional battle. Even though Eragon bade it not to, the thought of how close Arya was slipped past his carfully erected boundries in his mind. He gasped, and for the hundredth time this week, if not this day, and toppled to the ground. This found the lovce forlorned pair in a small clearing next to a bubbling brooke.

"Here is fine." He gasped between clenched teeth, bared in a snarl of defiance against the pain.

"Why do you do that?" Her voice was as hollow as a log.

"What?"

"You seem to be in pain. I am wondering why." Her voice was now cold and direct, as if she were commanding an army, instead of being concerned for a persons well being.

Eragon did not feel inclined to answer, so he did not, only let out a small sigh. Arya bristled at the fact that he had ignored her.

"You need not be so infantile Eragon, I expected that you had brought me out here for a reason. It is only fair that I seek the answers as to why."

Even though he had heard her perfectly, he asked again. "Pardon me, what was it you asked?"

"Why?"

Eragon snapped. Months of the elves cramped life style had worn his edges down; now he was done being what everyone else wanted him to be. He was done playing puppet for all the different powerheads in the land. He was done being that little kid everyone thought he was. Going one step at a time, and seeing as he had been provided with a perfectly good oppertunity, he decided to set Arya straight first. "You wish to know what ails me, do you not?" His voice was deadly calm.

She nodded tersely.

He voice raised so that he was nearly shouting. "What do you wish me to say? I hold myself together because you're hurting me? Because I feel as though I'm being stabbed in the heart? Because I feel my sanity is about to take leave of my body!? Because you are the reason I live and the reason I wish to die!? The reason I often have trouble breathing, why I am loosing sleep and eating barely enough is because everytime I think of YOU, talk to you, see you, even smelling you causes one hundrend red hot swords to plunge into my heart. You are my oxygen; I can not take leave of you, for that would surely kill me, though in my special case, being with you, even near you, is well sending me to the same fate! You chastise me for not sharing my feelings and emotions with you, yet you never let anyone, not even your own mother, know who you really are! All I've ever wanted to do was make you happy and well, and then every day you dangle yourself in front of me! I feel like a starving dog on a leash, a haunch of meat just barley out of my reach! Fate, and don't think you play little part in this, has placed me a hairs bredth in front of the one thing that I want the most and the one thing I can never have. So if you ever see me killed in battle, stabbed with a sword or arrow or something of the like, rest in peace at night, and know that what you have done was much, much worse, and that I died with pleasure."

By the time he finsihed with a simmering huff, Arya was starring at him wide-eyed, open mouthed, and with tears slowly leaking down her face. This for some reason angered him as well, Why should she care? "Don't you cry on my behalf, it's not as though you care! All you're probably worried about is how this will jepordize your chances of killing the king. After all, what do my feelings mean, I'm just a childish rider, or so it would seem. Well, I'm not your tool, Arya, nor your pet, and nobody else's either. Stop playing with me, because I'm fed up! I'm not your toy! I'm not Shadslayer, or Argetlam, or anything other than Eragon. If you are not content with who Eragon is, than I'm sorry about your luck." He glared at her, she, whose tears were now flowing freely.

"Oh, Eragon, Eragon! I didn't, I never... you weren't... I didn't know... I-" She choked off with a sob. She took a half step towards him, and the firey pain ripped through him, causing him to shudder and collapse on the ground again, assuming a fetal position until the pain subsided enough to move.

"Arya." Wince. Though his voice was softer now, coddling, showing the other half of his feelings for her. "Arya, I love you. Don't cry... This is the price of love, I am willing to pay it." He gasped out as his lungs burned.

"Why, why would you do this? For me?"

"Arya, you have a twisted view of yourself. You don't have to be anyone other than Arya Drottning. Not Arya the Ambassador, nor Arya the Egg Courier. Not even Princess Arya, heir to the throne. I don't care who you are or what you look like, 'cause you'll always just be Arya to me." Then he blacked out.