"Well!? Do… you yield?"

"You would… like… that, I suppose!"

"I will like it, when… it happens! Come Jane, it… is inevitable! Submit!"

"I… think… NOT!"

They had been going back and forth like this, bantering as they sparred, for the better part of half an hour. Their words were punctuated by the thuds of their staves impacting each other – for those were the weapons they were currently practicing with.

Across the courtyard, Rake and Pepper's twins Ada and Alain, now four years old, tumbled about in imitation, using heavily padded miniature staves that Smithy had crafted especially for them.

Pepper often remarked, with a mixture of pride and deep anxiety, that Kippernium's "tradition" of male/female knight teams would clearly be carried forth into the new generation.

As for Pepper herself, she was twenty-two years old now, happily-married mother to the twins and to 2-year-old Petal, with yet another on the way.

Jane, although nearly identical in age to Pepper, and just as happily married, was not yet a mother – and had no burning desire to be, either; not in the immediate future, at any rate.

She and Gunther had wed shortly after she'd recovered from "the arrow incident" – a brush with death that, while horrifying beyond belief, had served as an excellent catalyst for both of them to finally embrace just how much they meant to each other.

In the time since, they'd been busy keeping the peace, serving as envoys of the king, designing and overseeing some modest improvements to the castle's defensive infrastructure, and overall just continuing to grow into their roles as knights of the realm.

It had been a busy, productive and happy time.

And then the girl stumbled into the courtyard.

And in just a moment's time, just a heartbeat's time really, everything went to hell.


(A/N: I didn't expect to begin the continuation this soon, but as I have said before, this story is burning a hole in me! The first part wanted to be told in the worst way, and I guess this part does too. More trouble afoot for our heroes - this is my first stab at a fic where Jane and Gunther are already "together" right from the start; where they are both partners in knighthood, and spouses. It's definitely a different dynamic, and and it's going to be an interesting ride - and a very bumpy one! I don't know what my timeframe will be for updates; probably not as rapid as it was with Mistakes, although who knows? Buckle up, my hearties - here goes!)