*squee* My second fanfic! Again, I'll forever love you if you review! =D
Summary: Mkay, this is from Rhys's point of view when he and Addie first meet. Unlike in Ella Enchanted, we're not told how long Rhys loves her. However, since Addie's only twelve when this takes place and they know each other for a few years before Meryl gets sick, I wrote it like he simply likes her and admires her embroidery, which we knew of course. xD;
Disclaimer: The Two Princesses of Bamarre is Gail Carson Levine's. Much as I love it, I own only my copy of the story, not the idea or anything for it. =P
Rhys followed the elf-nurse into the bedchamber, hoping he would be able to make things more comfortable for the castle's most recent Gray Death victim. Humans died so young; it was such a shame.
The younger of Bamarre's princesses was in the room. When Rhys entered, she stood so abruptly that her chair flew out behind her and fell. Suppressing a laugh yet not hiding a smile, Rhys righted the chair and bowed in the flourishing way he had a habit of doing. As the Princess Adelina curtsied in return, he got his first good look at her.
He had seen her from a distance before, and her masterful embroideries were impossible to miss. He had thought she was pretty then, and up close she was even prettier. She looked to be about twelve years old, human years, of course. He wondered why she wore such drab clothing. Bright colors would be much more becoming.
With a bit of reluctance, Rhys turned his attention from the princess to the sick woman in the bed. "Mistress Trina, I am very sorry that you're feeling ill. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to make you more comfortable," he said.
"I don't want any magic potions, begging your pardon, sir," Trina answered with a wary look.
Rhys bowed again, smiling. "No magic potions, I promise."
He felt Princess Addie's eyes on him. What was she seeing?
"These pillows are hard too."
Trina's complaint gave Rhys an idea as to how he could be of assistance. "Perhaps I can improve on them." He looked over to Milton. "May I try?"
Milton gave his approval, but Trina had sat straight up with an almost panicked expression. "I don't want a magic pillow that will explode or fly away with me in the middle of the night."
Rhys's eyes widened, slightly shocked she would suggest he would do such a thing. It wasn't difficult to see Trina mistrusted sorcerers. "I would never give anyone such a pillow," he promised.
He pulled his baton from its pouch at his waist and pointed it out at the sky. Luckily the day was cloudy and it didn't take much for a small piece of cloud to shred from the bigger ones and fly into the room when he had opened the window.
He looked discreetly for the viewers' reactions as he began to shape the cloud. Trina covered her face with her hands and cried, "Don't let it hurt me!" He decided the comment didn't need a reply.
Princess Addie had a smile on her face that slowly grew. Milton got up from where he sat to get a better view. Eventually, curiosity caused Trina to peek between her fingers at what he was doing.
"Sleep is always sweet when your pillow is a cloud," Rhys mentioned, bringing the pillow over to Trina's bedside. "Lean forward," he urged.
"You're sure it's safe?"
"Perfectly safe," Rhys assured her. Had she had some bad experience with another sorcerer to make her so mistrustful, or was it simply a preconception?
Trina slowly did as he asked and Rhys gently placed the cloud pillow behind her. "There. Now lean back."
Trina scowled at him. "I'll go right through it!" she predicted. Suddenly her expression lightened. "It is a trifle better," she admitted grudgingly.
"Why, look at that!" Milton said.
Rhys glanced over to see Princess Addie's reaction just in time to see her laugh. "The pillow won't rain, will it?"
Rhys laughed too, harder than she had. "Rain! I never thought of that. Pillow rain." He still chuckled and shook his head. "It won't rain, and Trina's dreams will be lovely," he told her.
Trina murmured something about sleep as she settled deeper into the bed. Her comment seemed to bother Princess Addie. She turned to Milton. "Trina should struggle against the Gray Death, shouldn't she?"
Milton answered her, but Rhys only half-heard the response. Princess Addie was kind-hearted, it was clear to see already. She didn't want her chambermaid to die. As a princess, her subjects would get the benefit of that, particularly if the Princesses Addie and Meryl would try and do something about the growing population of monsters that plagued the kingdom.
With another longing look at Trina, Princess Addie exited the bedchamber and Rhys followed.
"Your Highness, I see your beautiful embroidery everywhere I look in the castle. I'm so happy to meet the artist," Rhys said presently, striking up a conversation. And as though to prove his point, they passed another of Princess Addie's embroideries.
"Thank you. They're not very good," she mumbled in reply.
Add modesty to the list. Though it was probably another good quality for a princess, especially one who would probably never become queen, he didn't want her to think he agreed that her embroidery wasn't much good.
So Rhys contradicted with a smile, "But they're very good." He saw her blush and wisely changed the subject after a few moments of silence. He had made his point.
"Making cloud pillows is one of the first lessons a sorcerer learns. I'm sorry about your chambermaid." He gave a long sigh. "I suppose it's silly to feel sad over someone I hardly know," he admitted, "but you see, sorcerers don't get sick. We're never ill, so illness seems tragic to me." He paused, waiting to see if she would say anything.
"Er… That's interesting," Princess Addie replied.
They reached a winding staircase, too narrow to walk beside her, so Rhys chivalrously went first. He wanted to continue talking with her, though, so he looked over his shoulder to do so.
"It is interesting. It's interesting how different we are from other creatures – how different we are from humans, and how humans are different from elves and elves are from dwarves and dwarves from sorcerers. It's fascinating." He gave her another smile, hoping he didn't sound like he was rambling.
A thought crossed his mind, wiping away his smile. "Are you afraid of becoming a victim of the Gray Death?" He probably shouldn't have asked that. Most people in Bamarre were probably petrified of the idea.
So he was surprised and even pleased somehow to see her shake her head. "You're brave, Princess Addie," he said, meaning it.
"Do you think…" He waited as she hesitated, then rushed on. "Could you rid the castle of spiders?"
Rhys stopped, thinking. He had been taught how to keep rats from the castle. Could he do the same for spiders? "I think I can."
Why not? It couldn't be that different from rats, he'd be following through with the princess's request, and he'd get a break from the annoying little creatures as much as she and the rest of the castle. He nodded quickly. "Certainly I can." He turned so that he faced her completely. "I'll do it tonight," he vowed. "Ugly little beasts, aren't they?"
He started to walk down the stairs again when he heard her say, the smile apparent in her voice, "Thank you."
He smiled, stopped, and turned again. "You're welcome," he said as he bowed. It was difficult, but he thought he managed to be dramatic as usual even in the tight space. Princess Addie curtsied in return and the two started walking again.
A few steps later, Rhys made another comment, though they were probably near their destination by now. "In sorcerers' years I'm a bit older than you are, but not a great deal older. I'm seventy-eight. If I were human, I'd be just about seventeen."
He paused for a moment, and when she didn't comment, he continued, "I envy human children. You learn everything you need to know so quickly. We can speak and even fly when we're born, but beyond that we learn almost too slowly to bear."
And it was true. Very frustrating, and true. Princess Addie still didn't comment, but Rhys didn't mind much.
They reached the bottom of the stairs, where Rhys bowed once more. "I must leave you now," he said regretfully. "I look forward to speaking with you again."