The King and Her Queen
Chapter 7: Teacher
The round crystal on her hand sparked into life and a face formed
"Hail Bedwyr Bedrydant ap Bedrawt." Merlyn's voiced echoed from
within the crystal.
"Hail Myrddin Emrys." responded Bedivere.
"How art ye?"
Bedivere hesitated for a moment before replying, "I am well."
Merlyn peered at her. "Stubborn lass. Ask Rhynne to treat
yer wounds when ye return."
"Tis but a scratch."
"A scratch?! Yer arm's broken!"
"I've had worse."
With a tinge of pity, Merlyn understood the meaning behind Bedivere's
statement. If only she had been nearby, she might have healed her
or at least tried to. "Anyway, see Rhynne. She healed
Arturia, so she can heal ye."
"Arturia! Is she alive?"
Bedivere crossed herself. "Thank heavens!"
"Dinna go riding away yet. I must speak with ye."
A thundercloud formed on Bedivere's face. "I am sore with thee,
Merlyn. Thou left me behind and led me on a merry chase."
"Ye wert drunk."
"I can still ride."
"Unless yer horse grows wings, ye cannae keep up with me."
"Thou should have left me a message."
"I did. Airianne gave it to ye."
"..." It was futile to argue with her. "Be quick
now." she demanded. "I wish to see Arturia in all haste."
"Mine apologies, lass. I have much to tell ye. Sit."
said Merlyn firmly.
Bedivere selected a smooth rock and sat on it. Meanwhile, Merlyn
conjured an image of Rhynne and Syrowe in the crystal.
"Have ye seen these two?"
A veil was lifted from her mind and Bedivere sucked in her
breath. "The Saxon spyes! What of it?"
"Nay. They're not spyes. They're from the future."
"The future? How is that possible?"
"Yon lass managed to do it."
"Why art they here?" Her eyes narrowed with suspicion.
Merlyn chuckled. "Would ye believe that they came all this way to
"Visit? How didst they meet her?"
"I can show ye the boy's memories. Do ye want to see?"
Bedivere nodded. "Yea."
"Ye will feel a bit strange, but it will pass. And whatever
happens, dinna drop the crystal! Tis a family heirloom."
Bedivere cradled the crystal securely on her lap. "Proceed, old
Suddenly, Bedivere felt a sense of vertigo. The forest blurred
away and was replaced by a vision of a wooden house. Someone was
attacking her. She ran around the house and made her way
outside. The moon shone brightly and she got a glimpse of her
attacker. It was an Erisch warrior. She ran into a barn and
grabbed a piece of metal. Desperately, she parried the warrior's
attacks, but her efforts were in vain. And then, when all seemed
lost, a flash of light blinded the warrior. A figure blurred
within the light and attacked the warrior. Her eyes grew in
recognition of that familiar form. Arturia stood in her armor
before her and said, "Servant Saber. Upon your summoning, I have
come forth. I ask you, are you my master?"
Meanwhile, Merlyn monitored the progress of the memory spell.
There was no sign of Syrowe's resistance to the spell. She sensed
that he was still asleep. She maintained the spell until Bedivere
saw Syrowe's memories of arriving in the lake. Then she released
the spell and waited for Bedivere to return to her senses.
"How do ye feel?" asked Merlyn.
"Weary... and thirsty." replied Bedivere with a shudder.
Some of the images that she saw unnerved her. She noticed the
slant of the shadows on the ground. "How much time hath passed?"
"About three hours. So... yer thoughts?"
With an incredulous voice, she exclaimed, "I can not believe that she
Merlyn sighed in exasperation. "Besides that... anything else?"
Bedivere thought for a moment. "Twas disturbing to know how
Arturia felt about her life."
"Aye. I agree with ye."
She paused. "Is there truth in his memories?"
"Methinks so... but I will put it to test."
"In two days, the lords will meet in Camelot. If his memories art
true, then the decisions of the lords will match the history in his
Bedivere nodded in comprehension. "Will thou be there?"
"Aye. The boy and me will be there. And then we journey
north. I hath reports of Saxon attacks on villages. But,
methinks a mage hath a hand in it."
"Why dost thou think so?"
"Before the battle, I examined a village that was supposedly attacked
by Saxons." Merlyn's face darkened. "Some of those folk
died by magical means. The cuts on their bodies wert made after
they died. Tis a challenge to me, for to leave the remains of
their spell is an invitation to find them. I can see the pattern
of their mana. So I wish to search this other village to see if I
might find the same. Since I will be busy, someone needs to watch
over Arturia's progress. I need someone who knows her very well."
"Be at ease. I shall watch her well."
"Good, good. And make sure ye greet her properly. I want to
know if she has Avalon."
"Avalon? Was it returned to her?" Bedivere asked excitedly.
"I dinna sense it on her person. But methinks that it is
somewhere nearby. Arturia's healing is not natural. Tis as
if mana is trickling into her body and is being used to heal her.
Methinks Syrowe has it, but I cannae find it on his person. So I
want yer opinion. Call upon me again at this time."
"Very well. I shall do so without fail."
"Good. And beware of Rhynne. She hides her strength.
Tis difficult to sense her attack. Take care not to rouse her
"Is the boy dangerous as well?"
"Yea. E'en more so. He is likened to a sword waiting for
its first cut. Most magicians hide their magic, but he dinna
bother to mask his magic. In the realm of magic, his aura shines
like a candle in the dark."
"Art there moths who would flock to his light?"
A conspiratorial smile etched itself on Merlyn's face. "Aye."
"Will they test his mettle?"
"Thou art cruel sometimes." chided Bedivere. She stood
up. "I am hungry. Was there anything else?"
"Nay. Ye may go. I shall tell ye more tomorrow. Dinna
forget to cancel the spell."
"Yea. I will do so."
"Mine thanks, Bedivere. Fare ye well." Merlyn's image
faded, and the light in the crystal dispersed in small sparkles.
Bedivere deposited the crystal in its padded velvet pouch. Then
she removed the runes set into the stone boulders in the proper order
and put the runes in the same pouch as the crystal. She mounted
her horse and galloped back to the mine.
They finished another day of lessons and headed towards the dining room
for dinner. As they approached the dining room, they heard
Airianne speaking to someone. When they entered the room,
Airianne's visitor turned to greet them.
"Hail Arturia." Bedivere raised her right hand about the level of
her heart for the customary courtly greeting.
Arturia paused as images began to flood her mind and a name rose up
from those images. Her eyes widened in recognition. She
transferred the staff to her left hand and reached out to clasp
Bedivere's hand in hers in reply. "Hail Bedwyr Bedrydant ap
Then Bedivere took a step to stand close to Arturia and bent to kiss
her fully on the lips.
Arturia's first reaction was to push Bedivere away, but a feeling of
nostalgia swept over her and she let it wash away her resistance.
With her mouth ajar, Rin gaped at them in shocked silence while
Airianne looked on with a bemused expression. An eternity seemed
to pass before Bedivere pulled away and released Arturia's
"Mine heart soars to see that thou hath survived the battle."
said Bedivere. Her expression softened with concern.
"How art thy injuries?"
Arturia shifted the staff to adjust her balance. "Thanks to
Rhynne, I will be fully recovered within a week."
"Then thou must introduce me to her so that I may show mine thanks."
Arturia gestured to Rhynne. "Tis Rhynne. Rhynne, tis mine
dear friend, Bedivere."
"Milady, I am pleased to make thy acquaintance." Bedivere knelt
in front of her and held out her hand palm up. She tried to keep
an impassive face. Their last encounter was still fresh in her
mind. Merlyn was right. At that time, she did not even
detect Rhynne's attack. But what disturbed her even more was the
way that Arturia addressed Rhynne. Leaving out the formal
salutation was an indication that she was no longer a mere acquaintance
Meanwhile, Rin's mind was still stuck on the word 'dear'. She
tried to discern Arturia's relationship to Bedivere with that word.
Since Rhynne did not reply to Bedivere's greeting, Arturia assumed that
Rhynne did not know how to respond. She whispered in her
ear. "Give her thy hand to kiss."
Arturia's voice jolted her out of her thoughts. Without thinking,
she put out her hand.
Bedivere took her hand in hers and kissed it gently. Her lips
lingered upon her skin just slightly longer than necessary. Then,
without letting go of her hand, she stood up, looked into her eyes and
spoke with utmost sincerity.
"Know that thou hast obtained mine gratitude for thy aid rendered to
mine dearest friend. I am in thy debt. If e'er tis in mine
power to grant thee a boon, thou only saith so."
Rin's face blushed in embarrassment and because of Bedivere's
closeness. For a moment, Rin felt like she was in a fairy tale
cast as a damsel in distress who was rescued by a dashing knight.
Bedivere fit the part of the knight so well with her tall noble figure,
her earnest steely gray eyes, her angular face and her thin lips which
drew to a tight roguish smile. She tried to convince herself that
the beating of her heart was due to the nervousness of being so close
to someone who almost attacked her.
Once again, Rhynne did not reply as expected. She merely stood
there, gazing at Bedivere. Arturia cleared her throat.
As if released from a spell, Rin blurted out, "I... I am pleased to
meet thee as well." She withdrew her hand and took a step
back. Bedivere radiated a dangerous kind of charm. She did
not want to fall for that kind of charm.
Airianne cleared her throat. "Before I serve dinner, methinks
there is a matter to attend to."
Bedivere stiffened slightly. Merlyn must have told her about her
injury. She did not want to ask Rhynne and did not look forward
"Yea. Bedivere, thou must bathe." remarked Arturia.
"Thou reekest of horse and sweat. And, is it not saith that the
cleanliness of the body reflects the cleanliness of the spirit?"
Bedivere's eyes lit up at Arturia's unexpected intervention.
"Yea. I will do so anon."
Airianne cast Bedivere a stern gaze. "Should anything else be
done before bathing?"
A sigh of resignation escaped from Bedivere's lips. She knelt in
front of Rhynne again and began to unclasp her riding cloak. She
removed the two silver rosaries that held the front flaps
"Milady, Merlyn hath informed me of thy skill in healing. And
now, I must implore thee to bend thy skill upon mine person for I hath
been slightly wounded in battle."
The cloak fell away to reveal her left shoulder and arm. All
three of them gasped at the sight of her injuries. Her tunic was
starched stiff by dried blood. Her forearm bore a crude
splint. But what shocked Rin and Airianne the most was the
absence of her left hand.
'Slightly wounded' was obviously an understatement. Rin knelt
beside her and quickly did a scan. Her left shoulder blade was
fractured and several muscles were severed. Her upper arm was
fractured and her left forearm was splintered in several places.
The wrist, however, indicated a very old injury. A surge of pity
rose within her and she wondered when it happened.
Even though there were signs that she received some basic first aid,
she should be bedridden from the pain. Rin could only guess that
the crusty residue under her bandages might be some form of pain
reliever. After the scan, she spoke to Bedivere.
"I will need to clean thy wounds and set thy bones. Before that,
I will prepare a draught for thee to drink to lessen the pain whilst I
set thy bones. Since thy wounds hath closed, thou can bathe, but
only briefly. I will bandage thy wounds first to repulse water."
Airianne stepped forward. "If ye instruct me, I can prepare the
draught in yer stead."
"Yea, tis a simple method." replied Rin.
Airianne provided a piece of parchment and a quill. Rin wrote
down the instructions for the potion and handed it to Airianne.
"Mine thanks. Let me know when tis ready."
"Aye." Airianne left the room to prepare the potion.
Arturia, Bedivere and Rin headed for the bath. Along the way, Rin
grabbed her medicine kit and bandages from her room. When they
reached the bath, Arturia and Rin helped Bedivere remove her armor and
clothes. Bedivere undid her hair and let it fall.
Rin gasped in admiration of Bedivere's almost naked body. Her
cascading flaxen yellow hair softened the angles of her face. The
slant of her gray eyes accentuated an image of an aristocratic
lady. She was so endowed that Rin wondered where she could
contain her breasts in that confining armor. Her tall slim body
was muscular but she carried herself with grace and poise.
However, her skin was streaked with light scars: the signs of
countless battles. The scars adorned her like scratches on a
glass sculpture. She reminded Rin of an amazon warrior, beautiful
Arturia unrolled the bandages and waited for Rhynne's
instruction. However, Rhynne just stood there staring at
Bedivere. The expression on her face betrayed her awe. She
had never seen that kind of reaction from Rhynne. It amused her
and confused her at the same time. Meanwhile, Bedivere stood in
front of them with an air of calm patience. Tentatively, she
touched Rhynne's arm. "Rhynne..." she called out.
Arturia's voice shook her out her enthrallment. She picked up a
washcloth with sanitizing alcohol on it. "I shall clean thy
arm. The cloth hath tonic on it that may cause discomfort.
Please endure it."
"Worry not, Milady. I bear pain well."
Rin did not doubt that statement. Bedivere showed no sign of
being injured when they first met. She cleaned around the wounds
to remove dried blood. Then she took the bandages from Arturia
and bound them around her arm and shoulder. She poured some body
oil on her hands and spread it on the bandages.
"Thou may bathe now, but do not soak in yonder pool. When thou
scrub and rinse, avoid thy left arm." instructed Rhynne.
"Yea, I understand." replied Bedivere.
"Let me assist thee in bathing." said Arturia.
Bedivere faced Arturia and replied, "As thou wish. Shall I help
thee undress?" Arturia nodded and Bedivere knelt before her to
remove her shoes and hose.
A surge of panic rose in Rin. She had forgotten that Bedivere
knew that Arturia was the king. She could have sworn that
Bedivere bowed slightly as if to acknowledge a command from a
superior. How did Bedivere find them? Did Merlyn know that
she is here? The questions nagged at Rin and a drop of sweat
trickled on her forehead.
Bedivere assisted Arturia to a stool next to the waterspout and sat
with her back towards her. Arturia wet a washcloth and began
wiping Bedivere's back.
Bedivere's eyes widened with surprise. She and Arturia had bathed
together before, but Arturia never scrubbed like this. It felt
very pleasant. In fact, it felt so sensual that she was glad that
Arturia offered to help her bathe.
At the sight of Arturia wiping Bedivere's back, Rin felt a spark of
jealousy. The kiss in the dining room flashed in her mind.
She moved away silently and left the bath quietly. She went to
her room and threw herself on the bed. Her heart was in
It made sense. Arturia had a lover. At first, she thought
it was Guinevere, but that kiss showed it was Bedivere. She put
her hands over her face and emptied her mind. She emptied herself
But who was she anyway? She did not have anything to claim.
She was not even her master. Shiro had snagged that prize and her
attempt to force him to surrender his command seals failed. A
wistful sigh escaped from her lips.
When she asked him if he had gotten over the war, he said that he
had. The conviction in his voice convinced her of his
truthfulness. As she lay on her down-feathered bed inside an
enchanted mountain fortress, Rin realized the irony of her
question. In the end, she was the one who did not get over
it. She was the one who could not let go.
She curled up in a ball. She would have to go home anyway.
There was no reason for her to feel this way. But a part of her
had hoped. She punched her bed with her fist. No, it was
too much to hope. The time she spent with her would be
enough. It had to be enough.
Rin willed herself to stand. Airianne should have finished the
potion by now. She dragged herself to the kitchen.
They assembled in the kitchen. Rin instructed Bedivere to drink
the potion and to lie upon the long kitchen table. Bedivere did
so. Rin removed the bandages and laid her arm on the table's
surface. She spread numbing ointment on a wound and opened it
with a surgical knife. Blood and pus oozed out and Rin squeezed
the wound gently to let the blood bleed out the infected area.
When she was satisfied, she applied some antiseptic and cast a spell to
accelerate its healing. Then she bandaged the wound. She
did the same for the other wounds.
"Art thou sleepy?" asked Rin.
"Yea... is it the effect of the draught?"
"Yea. Now thy body is prepared for me. I will now set thy
Rin started with her forearm. She cast a spell to align the bone
fragments and pulled at the arm to give them space to fall in
place. Once in place she cast another spell to keep them there
and bound her arm with a splint. She did the same for the upper
arm and shoulder blade.
Bedivere gritted her teeth. Something was moving inside her arm
and she restrained herself from flinching in pain.
When she was finished, Rin wiped her forehead with the back of her
hand. "Tis done!" she declared with relief. Suddenly,
she felt a piece of cloth touch her temple. She turned slowly to
face its owner.
Arturia calmly wiped the sweat from her forehead. When she was
done, she pressed the handkerchief into Rhynne's hand. "Thou must
remember to carry one and use it."
Rin closed her hand upon Arturia's. "Yea." She slowly
withdrew her hand and put the handkerchief in her pocket.
Even through the haze of pain, Bedivere witnessed the scene with sense
of amazement. She had rarely seen Arturia act so kindly with
another person other than her sister.
"If ye art hungry, I will now serve dinner." offered Airianne.
All three of them replied positively so Airianne began to move the
entrees from the oven to the dining room. Meanwhile, Rin
fashioned a sling for Bedivere's arm and helped her off the
table. Then they went to the dining room and took their
When they were all seated, Rin was about to reach for a bread bun when
Bedivere crossed herself and began to recite grace. Arturia and
Airianne put their hands together as well so Rin imitated them.
After Bedivere finished grace, she did not reach for food and waited
until Arturia had selected hers. As they ate, Rin sat
uneasily. She hoped that Bedivere would not say anything that
would give her away.
Then Arturia asked Bedivere, "How didst thou find us? Didst
Merlyn tell thee?"
Bedivere shook her head sadly and put her fork down. She
addressed them all together to tell her tale. "Alas, to mine
great shame, Merlyn found me wallowed in drink and grief in mine camp
in the forest. She beseeched me to reveal whither Arturia went
and I told her that the Lady of the Lake hath offered to heal thee so I
let her attendants take thee. After I hath finished mine tale,
her visage furrowed with worry and she saith, 'There is no such Lady of
the Lake'. Then she left towards the lake in all haste."
"Her words cast such harrowing doubt in mine heart! I tried to
follow her but mine legs wert leaden with drink. When I reached
the lake, there wert no sign of her. Ne'ertheless, for several
days, I persevered and hath found folk who hath seen her likeness
traveling by wagon due north."
"I scoured the roads all o'er and found a campsite wherein a half burnt
piece of stained bandage lay among the cinders. Encouraged by
this, I spyed the wagon tracks upon the road with the best of mine
skill. When the tracks were lost to me, I asked traveling folk if
they hath seen a wagon passeth by. By divine providence, their
assistance and yon marks lead me to this valley."
"Twas easy to follow the tracks up this mountain. Great was mine
joy when I hath found the wagon. But mine joy was short-lived
when yon cave below foiled me. To mine great puzzlement, thy
footprints seemeth to lead into a wall. For days, I searched that
wall for sign of entry. Then one night, as I camped near that
wall, the faint sound of a maiden singing reached mine ears. I
pressed mine ear to the wall and listened. Mine heart leapt with
joy when I recognized the song that Arturia had sung for me!"
"I renewed mine search on that wall. When I grew weary of the
darkness, I would venture outside and break mine fast. Yesterday,
I spyed upon men who set a carcass of rabbit upon the ground and hid
amongst a group of boulders. Curiosity befell me and I observed
them for a while. Within half an hour, a young falcon flew down
and feasted upon the rabbit. Suddenly, the falcon began to flap
its wings frantically but it didst not rise. Then the men leapt
from their hiding place and ran to the falcon with large nets
aloft. I knew then that the poor bird was ensnared by a trap and
I rushed forth to prevent its capture."
"I smote the men down with mine gloved hand. Nay, I didst not
take their lives. Then I freed yon falcon from the trap and set
it free. When I was satisfied that it could fly once more, I
resumed mine search on the wall until sleep beckoned me. Then,
this afternoon, as I rested, the wall swung open on its own
accord! A musical voice beckoned me in and instructed me to stand
on the platform within. And to mine great astonishment, the
platform rose until it reached that great sunlit hall. There, I
beheld a beautiful young maiden. Twas kind Lady Airianne.
She granted mine request to see thee and escorted me here."
Rin breathed a sigh of relief. Bedivere did not say anything to
give her away.
"I am glad that thou hath found us. Merlyn should have left thee
a sign so that thou may follow us easier." remarked Arturia.
"There was not a day in which I hath wisheth that she did." said
Bedivere sourly. "I almost rode poor Haut to the ground in mine
"But something puzzles me... if there is no such Lady of Lake, what
became of me?"
Bedivere hung her head. "So anxious was I to have thee healed
that I neglected to surmise for the possibility that they might be
bandits. I heard about their presence from folk at the nearest
village." She turned to Rhynne. "Milady, when thou found
her, didst she have her sword and purse with her?"
Rin swallowed. Bedivere did not say what actually happened.
She tried to go along with her tale. "Nay, she didst not."
"Pray, forgive me, Arturia! They robbed thee and left thee for
dead. Tis mine own negligence! If it wert not for Lady
Rhynne, thou might have..."
"But I didst not, old friend. Fret not. Thy concern warms
mine heart. Raise thy face for I bear thee no ill."
Bedivere wiped a tear from her eye. "Mine thanks..."
After that, they spent the rest of the dinner with idle chatter.
Rin helped Airianne clean the table and put the dishes away.
Meanwhile, Arturia accompanied Bedivere to her room which was next to
"If thou art not occupied, Arturia, I wish to speak to thee privately."
"I am not. What is it?"
Bedivere closed the door, led her to the bed and sat. "How far
back canst thou remember?"
Arturia sat down next to Bedivere and closed her eyes. "I could
remember more before mine twelfth year and less after that."
"How much of me canst thou remember?"
"I remember meeting thee and thy brother. I remember training
with thee. I see thee winning a tourney. I see us fighting
in battle. And... I..." Arturia blushed at the memory.
"Thou... and I... we..." stuttered Arturia. Her hands
gripped the staff firmly. "Art we lovers?" asked Arturia
Bedivere grasped the meaning behind her question and blushed as
well. "Nay. Dost thou remember anything before that?"
"Nay... mine memories seemeth like an unbound book. I can find
some pages, but not all the pages art there."
"What about Rhynne? What dost thou remember?"
Arturia hesitated. The image of that bloodstained room flashed in
her mind. "I doth not remember meeting her in mine past."
Bedivere reached out and gently pried her right hand from her
staff. She turned the palm face up. "What hath she done to
thee?" asked Bedivere with a dangerous edge in her voice.
Arturia stiffened with alarm. Bedivere must have noticed the
marks in the bath. She had to choose her words carefully.
She did not want to give Bedivere cause to get angry with Rhynne.
"She saith that the mark upon me was the result of a healing spell
which she did not dispel properly."
"Then we must beseech her to dispel it. To have a mark upon thee
is unbecoming." said Bedivere with a note of anger. She
could not bear the idea that Arturia was marked like a piece of
"Nay." Arturia pulled her hand away and stood up.
"Methinks... that it may aid me in restoring mine memories."
Bedivere sighed and stood up to face Arturia. "I
understand." She reached for Arturia's shoulders and pulled her
into a hug. "I want thee to know, that I am glad that thou
Arturia let the staff drop on the bed and hugged her back. "I am
glad as well."
After putting away the dishes, Airianne declared that she had to attend
to Wybrenne's needs and will not be available for their usual nightly
entertainment. Rin bid her good night and bottled some of the
leftover potion for Bedivere. In small doses, it could be
administered as a pain reliever. As she wrote down instructions
for the dosage, she was reminded of Bedivere's request.
'Milady, Merlyn hath informed me of thy skill in healing.'
That implied that Merlyn knew of Bedivere's injuries and that she and
Bedivere had spoken. The conversation during dinner indicated
that Bedivere knew about Arturia's situation. However, she did
not mention meeting Merlyn after she met Airianne. If she had met
with Merlyn, then there was a possibility that Merlyn might have told
her about her and Shiro. So far, she did not mention anything
about Arturia being the king.
Rin picked up the instructions and the bottle. She would have to
ask her directly. She recalled Airianne saying that Bedivere's
room was next to hers. She made her way there and knocked on her
door. When she heard no answer, she opened the door.
To her great shock, she saw Bedivere and Arturia holding each other so
closely that Bedivere's face was just a few inches from Arturia's.
Bedivere pulled away and scolded her. "Tis customary not to enter
unless one hath permission."
Rin bowed with a fluster. "I... I beg thy pardon." she
stammered. She held out the bottle and the folded
instructions. "I hath brought thee draught to lessen thy
pain. When I heard no answer, I meant to leave it on thy table."
Bedivere strode over and held out her hand to accept them. "Mine
thanks. Thou may go."
The power of command in her voice compelled Rin to obey. She
backed away and closed the door. Then she went to her room and
closed the door behind her. Tears began to drip down her
cheeks. She ran to her bed and wept into her pillow.
Meanwhile, Arturia rounded on Bedivere. "Twas unseemly of thee,
Bedivere! Why didst thou not answer?"
Bedivere examined the instructions with cool indifference. "Tis
mine room. I can choose to answer or not."
Arturia picked up her staff and almost half ran to the door. "I
have a matter to attend to. Good night." She exited quickly.
Bedivere stared at the closed door. "Is that so?" The
question was directed more to herself than to Arturia. Arturia
was upset at her, but at least, she was able to observe Rhynne's
reaction. She lay down on her bed and tried to plan her next
course of action.
Arturia knocked on Rhynne's door. There was no answer. She
knocked several more times until she decided to enter. "Forgive
me..." she whispered as she grasped the handle.
As Rin lay prone on her bed, she heard the click of the handle and
waved her hand to douse the candles. She did not want Arturia to
see her puffy face. The door opened and Arturia stepped into her
"Tis customary not to enter unless one hath permission." said Rin
Arturia was a bit surprised by the sarcasm in her voice. She
could only guess that Rhynne was upset over Bedivere's actions and that
she became even more upset at her rude intrusion. "Please forgive
me." Arturia paused. "May I have thy permission to enter?"
Rin turned her face away from the door and stared at the moonlit
landscape of the valley. A part of her wanted to say no while
another wanted to let her in.
Arturia watched Rhynne's still form on the bed and waited for a
reply. She hoped that Rhynne would give her a chance to explain
the situation. Finally, she concluded that her silence meant that
she did not have permission, so she turned to exit the room. Just
then Rhynne's soft voice reached her ears.
"Thou... may enter."
Arturia breathed a sigh of relief. She closed the door, carefully
made her way to the bed and sat down beside Rhynne. However,
Rhynne did not acknowledge her presence. She waited again before
she decided to grab her attention. "Hail Rhynne of the land of
Rin glanced over in Arturia's direction. She had raised her right
hand in the same way that Bedivere did.
"Tis customary to acknowledge a greeting between friends." said
It would be rude to ignore Arturia, so Rin sat up and clasped Arturia's
hand. A slight tingle on her palm alarmed her for a moment, but
she reminded herself that the mana flow would only activate if the
marks were aligned. "Hail Arturia." she replied.
Before she could react, Arturia pulled her close and leaned in to kiss
her on the lips. Her body went rigid with shock and she tightened
her grasp on Arturia's hand. Arturia's lips where soft and nimble
as they caressed her own. Rin's cheeks flushed in reaction.
Rhynne was no mere acquaintance. With her lips, Arturia tried to
express the depth of friendship that she felt with Rhynne. Words
seemed ill suited to show her feelings. She marveled at the
softness of Rin's lips as she caressed them with her own. She
pressed against them gently, feeling its texture as her lips slid
against them. Its sweetness seeped onto her tongue and she was
tempted to deepen the kiss. But that would be
inappropriate. She pulled away before the temptation grew.
She left a few inches between their faces and gazed into Rhynne's
eyes. She watched her reaction carefully. Rhynne's eyes
were distant and she looked at her as if in a trance. Arturia
cleared her throat. She hoped that Rhynne was not too upset about
Bedivere after her explanation.
"Twas ill-mannered of Bedivere to speak to thee as though thou wert a
common servant." She put her left hand over Rhynne's. "Know
that I hold thee in high regard and on equal footing with
Bedivere. Thus I greet thee in the same way as I greet
Bedivere. As for Bedivere, she hath received mine rebuke and will
eventually seek thee to beseech thy forgiveness."
It took for a few moments for Rin to realize Arturia's
intentions. When she did, she felt both happy and disappointed at
the same time. Even though it was her first kiss and not as
romantic as she had hoped, she was happy to gain Arturia's trust.
"Thy skin seemeth warm. Didst the healing tire thee?"
Arturia touched her cool forehead on Rhynne's. "Yea, it seemeth
that thou hath a fever. Mayhap, we should retire early."
She stood up beside the bed and tugged gently on Rhynne's hand.
Doubt left her heart when she remembered the day when Arturia handed
her the black piece and announced her request. "Yea. The
healing did tax mine strength. I shall heed thy advice.
Allow me to change. I will be with thee anon."
With her reassurance, Arturia let go of Rhynne's hand. "I shall
await thee." Then she limped to the door and left the room.
Bedivere woke up refreshed. By the height of the sun, she had
slept longer than usual. She looked out into valley and felt like
going for a morning ride. She quickly freshened up in the privy
and changed into some riding clothes. Then she went to Arturia's
room to invite her to go riding. She knocked on her door several
times, but heard no response. Cautiously, she opened her door and
peeked in. The curtains were still drawn. Bedivere strode
over and unceremoniously pulled the curtains aside. She gasped
Arturia's eyes fluttered open and she drowsily lifted her head from
Rhynne's shoulder to look in Bedivere's direction. Her eyes
remained unfocused for a few moments before locking on to Bedivere like
a hunter on its prey. When she recognized her, her eyebrows knit
with annoyance. Like a disturbed lion, she growled in a low
voice. "Bedivere... tis customary not to enter unless one hath
permission." Then she resumed her position on Rhynne and closed
Bedivere's shock was replaced by a wave of irritation. "Mine
apologies." she grumbled. She drew the curtains back and
stalked out of the room. She marched down the hall towards the
dining room. Airianne sat at the table sipping tea and reading
wrinkled pieces of parchment.
"Good morning." greeted Airianne upon her entrance.
"Good morning." replied Bedivere. She stood for a moment
and then started pacing back and forth. A flood of questions
filled her mind.
Airianne followed her with her eyes for a while. "Please help
yerself to breakfast." said Airianne. She returned to her
Bedivere stopped and faced her. "How long hath this been going
"Arturia and Rhynne."
Airianne noted the lack of honorifics. Bedivere must be upset
about something to neglect her manners. "Oh that. Methinks
e'er since they came here."
"Why dost thou thinkst so?"
"Because she asked if Rhynne would share her room, e'en though Syrowe
confessed his love for her."
"What? Thou surely misunderstood her intentions."
"Did I?" Airianne glanced at the freshly baked muffins.
"Mayhap, we should invite them to breakfast." She expected
Bedivere to offer to fetch them, but she just stood there with her arms
crossed and with a sullen frown on her face. When the reason for
her behavior dawned on her, she almost laughed out loud and managed to
conceal it with a cough. She stood up and announced, "I shall
remind them to have some. Pray, sit, Sir Bedivere. They may
yet grace us with their company."
Her boot squashed something. She did not bother to look.
Friend or foe did not matter. They were all dead. Hers was
the hand that slew them. The ground was soggy and uneven as she
staggered across the bloody plain strewn with the bodies of countless
warriors and horses. Someone was behind her. A demon
appeared with blazing red eyes and a gleaming red sword. Red
lightning spewed from the sword in arcs.
"No... I refuse to be judged by ye!" she screamed. She
broke into a sprint and urged herself. "Run... run and ignore the
The demon walked towards her and swung the blade in her
direction. She dodged as the ground beside her exploded in a
shower of debris and bits of flesh.
In the distance, she could see a silver cross and with it, the hope of
salvation. She ran towards it with all her might. Behind
her, the demon continued its assault. The cross melded into the
red robe of a hooded cleric who reached out towards her. She
grabbed the outstretched hand. The battlefield melted away into a
sunlit green forest. As she looked up into the hood of the
cleric, she saw her face reflected in the deep pool of blue eyes.
She was safe now.
Suddenly, her ears were assaulted by a loud noise. Annoyed, she
looked about to locate the source. A large cuckoo perched on a
tiny twig. "Cu--ckoo... Cu--ckoo..." it called. She swung
at it to shoo it away. It tumbled off the twig and hit the ground
with a blinding explosion of light.
Arturia woke up with a start. She found herself sprawled on her
stomach with her hand on the bedside table. Somewhere behind the
bed's curtains was the warbling call of a cuckoo.
She lifted herself up with her elbow and was surprised to find Rhynne
beneath her. She moved away quickly.
"Good morning." greeted Rhynne casually.
"Good morning." replied Arturia.
"Cu--ckoo... Cu--ckoo..." replied the cuckoo.
Rin sat up and got out of the bed. She drew the curtains aside
and located the mechanical bird. She flipped a small lever to
turn it off and returned it to its place on the bedside table.
She could not believe that Arturia managed to crawl from the opposite
side of the bed and swatted the bird without seeing it. She
chuckled at the memory.
She looked at her watch which was calibrated to the current time using
the sundial in the rose garden. It was probably 10:30.
Airianne would be upset at them for missing breakfast. She turned
to Arturia who had also gotten out on the other side of bed and was
tying the curtains up.
Rin noticed the staff leaning by the bedpost. "Thou can
walk?!" she exclaimed as she made her way to Arturia.
"Yea. I had found out yesterday when I walked to thy room."
Rin put her hands on her shoulders. "I am glad for thee!
This calls for a celebration!"
"Tis thanks to thine skill. All I did was sleep." replied
Arturia with a sheepish smile.
"Come! Let us tell the others the good news." said Rhynne
happily. Without thinking, she reached for Arturia's hand and
grabbed it firmly.
Suddenly, Arturia was transported into a dark cave. She felt the
weight of chains on her body. She struggled against the chains
and tried to yank them off her hands. To her great amazement, her
hands were covered with leathery lizard like skin instead of human
skin. Someone was walking towards her. It was the red robed
cleric. Arturia shouted with joy but a roar erupted from her
throat instead. Undeterred by her roar, the cleric advanced
bravely and lifted a silver staff to strike at the manacles on her
hands. The chains dissolved and she roared in delight. A
great wind filled the chamber as large bat-like wings unfolded from her
back. Freed from her chains, she flew out of the cave and into a
lava covered landscape.
The cave melted away from her vision and she found herself lying on her
bed. Rhynne was lying next to her. She cradled her right
hand to her chest. Her face seemed paler.
"Art thou well, Rhynne?" asked Arturia with a concerned
"Yea." replied Rin. "I... was just surprised."
"Nay... I was careless." Rin sat up. "How art thee?"
Arturia sat up. "I am well." She deliberated whether to
tell Rhynne about her vision. Since Rhynne was not in it, she
decided to tell her. As she told her, Rhynne's face showed subtle
signs of apprehension. Arturia wondered why she reacted that
way. She ended her story by asking, "Is mine vision an omen of
Rin shook her head. "I am unable to discern anything from it
since I am not a soothsayer. Mayhap, Merlyn can advise thee when
But the vision hinted that Arturia remembered part of the mana
replenishing ritual. During the ritual, Rin discovered that there
was a seal to limit Arturia's mana intake. So even if Shiro was
able to replenish her mana, the quantity and speed of replenishment was
limited. The vision symbolized the breaking of the seal.
Rin stood up. It was hard to think when she was hungry.
"Mine stomach urges me to eat. I would be pleased if thou would
join me for some late breakfast."
Arturia laughed softly and stood up. "Yea. Mine stomach
agrees with thine."
As they made their way to the dining room, the experience showed Rin
another disadvantage of having the marks. She could not hold
hands with Arturia. Once again, she cursed herself for not
dispelling it properly. "Damn, I suck at romance." she
thought to herself. She wished that she was better at it.
For now, she had to work with what she had.
They enjoyed a quick breakfast of muffins and tea. With a bit of
searching, they found Airianne and Bedivere in the rose garden, weeding
the ground near the rose bushes.
Rin rolled up her sleeves and wore an apron to take over for
Bedivere. She convinced her that it was a physic's duty to insure
that her patient had enough rest in order to heal properly, and that
her honor would be stained if she failed to do that duty.
Bedivere reluctantly complied and sat down at the table.
Rhynne's ears detected the sound of scraping. She followed the
sound to the ceiling. Just beyond the ceiling, a falcon perched
and appeared to scrape the ceiling with its beak.
"Ah!" exclaimed Airianne. "Sir Bedivere has a
visitor." She walked over to a corner of the garden and pulled
the outstretched hand of a statue. A square portion of the
ceiling slid open and the falcon flew down. It landed in front of
Airianne and screeched. Airianne screeched back in reply which
surprised everyone else.
Then the falcon faced Bedivere and cocked its head in her
direction. Then the falcon rose up and flew out of the garden.
"He wisheth to thank ye fer yer timely rescue." said Airianne as
she closed the opening in the ceiling. "And, he was the one that
told me that ye were in the mine."
"Ye can speak with birds?" asked Arturia.
"Aye. I inherited the gift from Mother." responded Airianne
as she sat down on a stool to weed near a rose bush.
"Amazing..." remarked Rin. Then she returned to the chore
at hand. As she pulled the weeds out, something caught her
eye. She called out to everyone. They came over and she
pointed with her finger. "Behold! Tis a four leaf clover!"
Airianne clapped her hands with glee at the sight of the little plant
under the rose bush. "How wonderful! Now ye can make a
"That's true... Oh, what the hell... I wish I could be more
romantic." she thought to herself.
The light from above seemed to shine brighter for a brief
instant. Rin looked up with bewilderment. "What was
that?" she asked herself.
"So... what is thy wish?" asked Arturia with curiosity.
"I... uh... it's a secret." Rin winked at her.
A small laugh of amusement escaped from Arturia's lips. "Is that
so? Mayhap, when it comes true, will thou tell me?"
"Ah... of course." Rin rubbed the back of her head sheepishly.
"I hath decided." declared Bedivere.
Curiosity caused all three of them to turn their attention to
Bedivere. Bedivere grinned widely as if she was announcing a
great event. "Lady Airianne told me yesterday that she hath not
left the Aerie since her birth. Nor hath Merlyn prepared a ball
upon her sixteenth year. Therefore, since Lady Airianne cannot go
to a ball, we shall bring the ball to her. What saith thou?
Tis a minor requital for the kindness that her family hath bestowed
Rin sat in stunned silence. One glance at Airianne's gaping face
indicated that she was not aware of Bedivere's plans.
"Methinks that tis a wonderful plan." said Arturia with a note of
"Then tis settled! I assume that thou knowst how to dance?"
"Mother showed me some steps..." started Airianne.
"Pah! I hath seen Merlyn dance, and it shamed me to see a lady
dance so badly. I shall give thee proper instruction."
"I am not sure that I remember how..." said Arturia slowly.
It was obvious why.
"Do not worry. I shall refresh thy memory."
Their eyes fell on Rin. She swallowed and with great
embarrassment, she admitted, "I hath ne'er been to a ball." It
"Then I shall instruct thee as well. When our chores art done, we
shall begin thy lessons. We shall have a ball within a
After the chores were assigned, Arturia cornered Airianne in the
kitchen to speak to her privately. With a testy voice, she asked,
"Lady Airianne, art ye sure that the curse of the chair hath been
"Aye. The chair is not at the table, so she did not sit upon it."
"Then why doth it seemeth that curse still remains?"
Airianne smiled mischievously. "If ye look upon her face, ye will
know her hand."
Arturia's eyebrows went up. "Really?"
"Aye." Airianne giggled. "And... I've discovered something."
"What?" inquired Arturia curiously.
"She hates to lose." She giggled some more. "Oh, how
amusing tis to see that pert mouth curl into a frown when victory slips
from her grasp. Ah... she is so interesting. Tis a pity
that someone hath her favor before I met her. I would leap at a
chance to win it."
"Though ye art amused, I am not. How can ye delight at her
"Why art ye disturbed? Tis but a game."
Why indeed? It was only a game. But yet, Arturia felt like
she had to do something. "For once, may I implore ye to leave yer
selection to chance instead of yer method?"
Airianne sighed. "Oh, all right, since ye asked." With a
wistful face, she added, "Ah! How I will miss her pouting visage!"
An image of Rhynne pouting after another loss crept into her
mind. A small smile wandered into her face and she
relented. "Well... mayhap, tis all right to employ yer method
once in a while..."
Airianne smiled gratefully. "Aye. I will do mine best."
The crystal burst into life. Merlyn's face flickered within.
"Hail Myrddin Emrys." greeted Bedivere.
"Hail Bedwyr Bedrydant ap Bedrawt." replied Merlyn. "What
Bedivere recalled the kiss. "She doth not have it on her
person. There is some mana there, but tis not Avalon's. Tis
more like... a cool breeze on a summer day."
"Tis Rhynne's healing magic. Did ye feel it when she healed ye?"
"Did ye feel anything else? Like the bitterness of cold steel?"
Bedivere thought for a moment. "Nay, I did not feel such
mana. Is that the boy's?"
"Aye." Merlyn sighed in frustration. "Tis possible that
Syrowe or Rhynne asked Avalon to hide its presence." Merlyn
paused in thought. "There is one test... if she were to get
Bedivere shook her head vigorously and with an air of disgust, she
replied, "Nay, Merlyn. I shant be party to such lowly
With a twinkle in her eye, Merlyn suggested, "Well... there is another
test... one in which ye may use yer special skills to check Rhynne's
mana." Merlyn watched Bedivere with amusement as her face changed
from puzzlement to indignation.
"Saith that when thou perform the task!" Her eyes flashed with
"Nay, mine wife will be cross with me for dallying with a young
maiden. Besides, didst ye not use yer skill with countless
maidens in many courtly occasions?" Although Lancelot held the
honor of the most favored knight among the court ladies, Bedivere was
the third or fourth most favored. This reputation often led to
many amusing situations among ladies who were either aware or unaware
of her gender.
Bedivere turned away sullenly to hide her embarrassment. "I was
merely entertaining them as chivalry bade me to, and took no delight in
Merlyn laughed at Bedivere's expression. "All right... toss that
idea away. I suggest ye watch her then. Any other news?"
"Arturia can walk on her own."
"Tis good news indeed! And how about ye?"
"Still in a splint, as thou can see."
"Can ye draw mana from Arturia?"
"I dare not without Avalon in her possession."
"I understand. So... what do ye think of Rhynne?"
"She reminds me of thee, serious and curt."
"Really? She reminds me of ye, loyal and trusting."
"Surely, thou jest."
"And ye as well. I am married, ye know."
"So was I."
They sighed in unison. Then Bedivere's face grew serious.
"Doth Rhynne fancy Arturia?"
In the crystal, Merlyn's face indicated surprise. "Aye, methinks
"Then why didst thou leave her behind?" An image of a vulture
preying upon an innocent Arturia flashed in her mind.
"She touched a soft spot in mine heart. I wanted to give the lass
Now it was Bedivere's turn to be surprised. Then Merlyn's
statement filled her with sudden mirth. She began to tremble to
contain her laughter but she gave in and let it out in a rich guffaw.
"What's so funny?"
Bedivere took a few moments to calm down. "I hath heard of thy
many titles, Merlyn. Mage paramount, Counsel to the High King,
Seer, Protector of eagles... But now I add a new one to mine
Merlyn's face twisted with indignation. Bedivere chortled at the
sight of it.
"Dinna mock me, lass! I may turn ye into a toad!"
"Pray, hold thy spell. I may drop thy precious crystal."
For several tense moments, they glowered at each other. Finally,
Merlyn laughed at the absurdness of the situation which prompted
Bedivere to laugh along as well. When they calmed down, Merlyn
coughed into her hand. "The lords art asking about ye. They
wish to honor the hero of Camlann. What will I say?"
"Tis obvious that some lord will attempt to reward me with an offer of
service under their banner. I will only serve mine king,
Merlyn. I refuse to pledge mine sword to another. Tell them
that I will retire in honor of mine king."
"I will do so. That is all I have fer ye. Return the
crystal to Airianne. When I need to speak to ye, I will leave
"Yea. Consider it done. Farewell, old friend."
"Fare ye well, Bedivere."
The crystal dimmed. Bedivere removed the runes properly and
galloped back to the Aerie. It was time to teach her charges how
They gathered in the great sunlit hall. To gauge their skill,
Bedivere danced with them in turn. When it was Rin's turn, she
slowly waltzed her away from Arturia and Airianne. When they were
far enough away, Bedivere whispered near her ear, tickling it with her
warm breath. Rin broke out into goose bumps at the
"Milady, I must apologize for mine rude speech last night. There
is no excuse for mine unchivalrous conduct."
The scene flashed in Rin's mind and she hesitated before
answering. "Nay, tis I who must apologize. I was
presumptuous and careless." She looked away but Bedivere's hand
left her side to tilt her chin up towards her face. Then her hand
returned to her side to guide her. Bedivere's face seemed so
close and her eyes were trapped in that steel gray gaze.
"E'en so, twas unseemly for me to lose mine calm over such a small
matter. I shall take it as a lesson and pledge that it shall
ne'er happen again. To compensate thee, I shall take up a quest
in thy name. Thou only need to name it, and I shall do it within
"Since I am a visitor in these lands, I have no knowledge of suitable
quests for thee. Consider thy quest complete."
"Nay. Providence will surely guide thee and thou will have need
of one. Until then, I shall await thy behest."
As she smiled roguishly at her, Rin felt that dangerous charm
again. Her knees felt weak and she stumbled, but Bedivere drew
her close to her body to give her support, causing her face to squash
into her ample bosom.
With cat-like agility to avoid Rhynne's stumbling steps, Bedivere led
her back to Arturia and Airianne. She released Rhynne and bowed
to signal the end of the dance. Then she turned to address them
like squires in training.
"Arturia, thou remembered the basics, so teach all that thou knoweth to
Lady Airianne. Milady, I shall instruct thee."
Rin grimaced internally as Bedivere led her back on the dance
floor. She did not like how she was reacting to Bedivere, so she
tried her best not to look her in the eye for the next hour.
However, she seemed to notice her behavior.
"Milady, tis customary for one to look upon one's partner whilst
Rin cursed her bad luck and made an effort to look. "If only she
didn't look so dashing..." thought Rin. Suddenly, an idea formed
in her head. "I have thought of a quest." declared
Bedivere's eyebrows rose. "May I know it?"
"Yea. From now until a day before the ball, thou must dress like
Bedivere's jaw dropped and for a moment she was speechless. Then
she laughed at the strangeness of the request and replied, "As thou
wish." She waltzed Rhynne toward Airianne and Arturia.
"Lady Airianne, I require thy assistance."
Then she led Rhynne back to the end of the great hall and bowed.
"I shall change mine clothes and shall return in most haste."
Bedivere turned to Airianne. "I will require clothing more
suitable for a lady."
Airianne clapped her hands with glee. "Ah! I hath often
wondered how ye would look in a dress! Come hither, Sir
Bedivere. Ye shall choose from mine wardrobe."
Thankfully, that dangerous charm did not manifest itself when Bedivere
wore a dress. Thus, she managed to keep her concentration on
learning the dance. However, she did not expect to get sore feet
from learning it. Rin limped slightly as she and Arturia walked
to their rooms.
"Is something bothering thee, Rhynne?" asked Arturia.
"Yea. Mine feet art not used to dancing. Tis a bit sore."
"Ah! I have a remedy for that."
"Thou hast one! May I try it?"
"Yea. Thou may. Follow me." Arturia led her into her
room and bid her to sit on her bed. Then she left the room.
Rin sat there wondering what the remedy was. Eventually, Arturia
came back with a basin of hot water and a washcloth. She put the
basin near her feet and knelt.
"Allow me to remove thy shoes and hose."
"Nay, let me do it..."
"Thou art my guest. Please sit."
At her insistence, Rin obeyed and watched nervously as Arturia pulled
her shoes off. Then her hand crept up her leg to find the end of
her socks below her right knee under her skirt. She pulled the
sock off and did the same for the left.
She took her right foot and gently wiped it clean with hot water.
Then she dipped it the basin. Rin gasped as her skin met the hot
water. It was not as warm as the pool water in the bath, but felt
just as good.
"Is it too hot?" asked Arturia.
"Nay. Tis well."
Arturia smiled slightly. She lifted her foot out of the water and
cleaned the left foot. After cleaning it, she put her left foot
in the water. Then she took her right foot and started massaging
Rin sighed contentedly as her sore muscles relaxed under Arturia's
hands. By the time Arturia switched to the left foot, her other
muscles decided to relax as well and she let herself lie upon Arturia's
Arturia alternated massaging and soaking for several times. When
she was done, she got up to tell Rhynne that she was finished, but
Rhynne had fallen asleep. She bent over to wake her but suddenly
remembered that as of yesterday, Rhynne had fulfilled her boon.
In her heart, she wanted to ask for a more than week, but prudence
dictated that asking for more would be selfish and wanton. She
stood thinking about what she should do for a few moments.
Then a voice within her told her that it would be rude to wake someone
who had worked so hard all day. She agreed with the voice and
picked up the basin to return it to the bath. After that, she
changed her clothes and doused the candles. She threw the covers
over Rhynne, and drew the curtains shut. Then she took a nearby
pillow and crept under the covers to sleep beside her.
Bedivere tapped her fingers on the dining table and noted the height of
the sun over the horizon. They were late... again. She
stirred the tea idly before her and dropped a sugar cube in the cup.
Meanwhile, Airianne noticed the sugar cube drop. "Tis the fourth
one." she thought with wry amusement as she watched Bedivere from
behind the parchment that she was reading.
Finally, Bedivere stood up and began to walk out of the room.
Airianne called out, "Art ye going to see them?"
Bedivere stopped, like a hound on a leash. "Maybe..."
"Dinna wake them. Ye will only earn their ire. Besides, I
have arranged for a little bird to wake them up."
"Is that so?" She did not look forward to barging into Arturia's
Airianne nodded. "Please sit, and lend me the company of one of
the most favored knights of the court."
Bedivere laughed. "I hardly look like one dressed in this
manner." She gestured to her dress which accentuated her bosom
and slim waist. Then she returned to her chair and resumed her
Meanwhile, the mechanical bird on the table in Arturia's room sprang
into life. "Cu--ckoo... Cu--ckoo..."
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