The next day, after the sisters had been seen to, and Lucy and Susan had settled them into the castle, Sable was sleeping in the evening when Peter came calling.
He knocked on the door to Rosalie and Sable's apartments.
Opening the door, Rosalie came face to face with the High King of Narnia, and she remembered she was in her nightgown with only a robe around it.
"Um, hello," She said, for lack of anything else to say.
Peter smiled. "Can I come in?"
"Sure," Rosalie opened the door wider for him.
He came in and sat down on a couch. Rosalie took this as a cue and sat in a chair across from him.
Peter looked at her for a moment. "You know, you are the first person who hasn't bowed or curtsied at the sight of me."
"Sorry to disappoint you," Rosalie said.
Peter grinned. "It's alright."
Rosalie crossed her arms. "If you don't mind me saying so, Your Majesty, why are you here?"
Peter looked amused. "Because there's a ball in a week, to celebrate the one year anniversary of our coronation."
Rosalie raised her eyebrows.
Peter continued. "And I wanted you to come with me,"
Rosalie folded her legs beneath her. "Okay, sure, Your Majesty, I'd love to go,"
Peter got up.
"And, if you don't mind, tell Sable that Edmund wants to talk to her." He went to the door. His hand on the doorknob, he looked back at Rosalie. "And call me Peter," He left.
"Well, that was weird," Rosalie said aloud.
"So're you going?" Sable asked.
"I guess so," Rosalie said, not at all surprised to discover her little sister eavesdropping from just behind the doorway. "I mean, I don't remember anyone important in my life before waking up,"
"I feel hurt," Sable sniffed for effect. Rosalie rolled her eyes.
"You know what I mean."
"Yup I do," Sable said, "And Peter likes you."
"No he doesn't!"
Sable grinned. "I'll talk to him tomorrow," She yawned. "Oh, and by the way, Susan and Lucy want us to have lunch with them tomorrow and try on dresses."
"I said yes,"
"Damn, I wanted to sleep in,"
"It's at noon,"
"I wanted to sleep in,"
Susan sipped from a teacup.
Apparently, lunch with Queen Susan of the Horn meant tea. Lunch with the Valiant Queen meant actual food, and then trying on dresses.
So, they had opted to have lunch first, then tea while they took turns modeling dresses.
So Susan's maidservant, a girl called Mercy, was pulling tight Sable's corset behind a screen.
"Try on the pink one first," Rosalie ordered. "Then the white one, and then the gold one,"
After three hours of a girl time, they decided that Sable looked best in gold, Rosalie in green, Susan in purple, and Lucy in light blue.
"Did Peter ask you to the ball, Rosalie?" Susan asked as they sipped tea like good and proper noblewomen.
"Yes he did," Rosalie said with a grin. "And Edmund might ask Sable,"
"Oh, are you going?" Lucy asked eagerly. "Please?"
"Sure we'll go, Lucy," Sable said. "But you'll have to show us around."
Lucy's answer was interrupted by a messenger, a dryad who said, "I beg your pardon my Queens, ladies, but the King wishes the presence of the Lady Sable," She hadn't added High to the King, so that meant it was Edmund.
Lucy dipped one eyebrow and raised the other. Rosalie smirked. Susan smiled at a red-faced Sable. "Good luck," she said.
The dryad directed the girl to the gardens, where the High King waited for her.
He was talking with a centaur several feet taller than him, and yet he managed to look more regal.
Noticing Sable, the King excused himself, and the centaur bowed and left. Edmund came over, to find the girl examining a patch of black roses.
"Like them?" Edmund asked, as Sable touched a black shining petal.
"They're sad," Rosalie said mournfully.
"They were planted for the Narnians who died fighting the White Witch," Edmund said. "I'm not sure they're supposed to be happy."
"Maybe not," Sable admitted. "But I think white roses would be better," she looked at Edmund. "This is a very odd conversation," she observed.
Walking towards a stone bench together, Edmund said to Sable, "What do you think of Cair Paravel?"
"It's beautiful," Sable said. "All the colors, and gardens, and the throne room is magnificent,"
Edmund still grinned. "You should see my home. It's magnificent, too," Then he added thoughtfully. "But it can also be dirty," He paused. "Filthy, really, and the people can be a bit rude, and there's a war going on,"
Sable had to laugh a bit at his expression. Edmund laughed, too, a bit, before losing himself in his thoughts.
Sable watched him for a moment. "Do you miss it?" She asked. "Your home, I mean,"
Edmund looked at her. "So much," He said, trying to be casual. "I mean, Narnia's beautiful, but home's, . . . .I dunno. Home."
Sable nodded. "Do you have family back home?"
"Yes, my mother," He said, "My father's fighting in the war,"
"Is he a good fighter?"
Edmund snorted. "Never got close enough to the fighting to see him in action, did I?"
Sable decided now would be a good time to change the subject.
She sat on the stone bench, and Edmund sat beside her.
A young white she-wolf came running up, and sat at Edmund's feet.
"How about," Sable offered. "You ask one question and I ask another?"
"Fair enough," Edmund said, "But I go first,"
Sable rolled her eyes with a smile. "Fine,"
"Okay," Edmund said. He paused, and thought for a moment, then asked, "How old are you?"
Sable smiled. "Fourteen, same as you,"
"Do you remember your birthday?"
"Nuh, uh, Your Majesty, my turn," Sable said with a smile. "Who's this beauty?" She nodded at Azure, who was curled up at Edmund's feet, panting.
"Say hello, Azure," Edmund prompted.
The white wolf got up, stretched, and said, "Greetings, Lady Sable," She dipped her majestic head.
Nodding, Sable said, "Greetings, Azure," she looked back at Edmund. "Your turn to ask a question, Your Majesty." Azure ran off, the young she-wolf chasing something.
"Call me Edmund?" The young King asked.
"I, I," Sable stammered. She looked down. "I'm not sure I should. You're the King,"
"No, that's technically Peter." Edmund said, "He's the King. I'm just a King."
Sable looked back up at him. "You're not like I expected."
"How do you mean?" Edmund asked.
"Well," Sable said thoughtfully, "First you cut open my dress—very inappropriate, I might add,"
"Of course," Edmund said with a perfectly straight face.
"And so you took us home, and now you're being too human to be a king," Sable finished. "Altogether a very confusing picture."
"Well, before coming to Narnia," Edmund said. "Most of the kids at my school couldn't even remember my name,"
I grinned. "Imagine if they could see you now, King Edmund the Just, Duke of Lantern Waste, Count of the Western March, ruler of Narnia, swordsman extraordinaire, Knight of the Noble Order of the Lion, and having fought in a war already,"
"Can you fight?" Edmund asked.
Sable shook her head. "Don't remember trying."
"I'll teach you sometime," Edmund offered.
"That'd be nice," Sable admitted. "Can you shoot?"
Edmund grinned. "I'm a fair shot," and they both laughed.
In the room where the four girls had been trying on dresses, the Valiant Queen and Lady Rosalie stood peeking through the window.
"Honestly," admonished Susan. "Let them have a bit of privacy,"
"I think it's going well," Rosalie said.
"How can you tell?" Lucy demanded, trying to hide behind the curtain to make sure her brother didn't see her spying.
"Because she hasn't killed him yet," Rosalie said. "Oh, look, they're laughing."
"Edmund?" Susan got up and came to the window. "Laughing with Sable?"
"Spy much?" Peter asked form the doorway. The girls jumped, to the see the High King grinning.
"Honestly, Peter," Susan scolded. "We were not spying. We were simply admiring the view of the gardens,"
Peter smirked. "I know a better place to admire the gardens," He said. "Lu, Mr. Tumnus says he wants help with something."
Lucy, eager to spend time with her old friend, ran off.
"And Su," Peter turned to his other sister. "The dryads are fighting with Mrs. Beaver again, and this time she's got the fauns on her side,"
"What are they fighting about this time?" Susan asked, hands on hips.
"Something about the food for the ball next week," Peter said.
Susan rolled her eyes, and headed for the door, muttering, "Of all the twitterwitted, useless reasons to be arguing . . ."
Rosalie smiled at where Susan had just disappeared. "So are they really fighting, or did you just make that up to get rid of her?"
Peter looked at her, amused. "You'll find there's very little you can to do get rid of Susan. She just keeps coming back," then he added thoughtfully. "Rather like a boomerang that always seems to hit you on the head."
"So," Rosalie said, moving the conversation along. "Why did you get rid of them?"
"Because I wanted to show you something," Peter said, smiling, "And I think you would find that Susan would simply downplay it, and Lucy would run around like a young wolf, asking if you liked it,"
With a bow, he offered her his arm.
Smiling, Rosalie took it, then said imperiously, "Lead the way,"
Laughing, Peter led her through the hallways.
Cair Paravel was as beautiful on the inside as the outside. Everyone in the halls bowed or curtsied to the High King, and smiled at Rosalie.
Peter was courteous to everyone, smiling back, and exchanging quick and polite greetings.
"You're good at this," Rosalie observed. "I mean, really good."
Peter shrugged, "A High King has to be diplomatic,"
"Yes, but you're more than diplomatic," Rosalie insisted. "Unlike most diplomats, you actually have something underneath the surface,"
Peter laughed. They talked some more, of the ball, of the surrounding kingdoms, of the small household crises that occurred daily.
All too soon, the two reached pair of doors.
"After you, milady," Peter said.
"Thank you, good sir," Rosalie smiled, and Peter opened the doors to reveal the biggest library Rosalie had ever seen.
A glass dome ceiling hundreds of feet above her head, and the walls were stocked with books of every kind, of every genre possible, and of every color possible. The bookshelves were wood painted white, and the entire room was lit by the afternoon sun streaming through the glass roof. One whole wall was a window streaked with black metal bars to hold it together, and hanging in front of the glass wall was a row of long ropes stretching to the ceiling, with knots every few feet. They looked like they were meant for climbing or something, until Rosalie saw that there were ropes before every bookshelf, as a means of getting books down from the higher shelves. There were chairs and sofas and couches and armchairs everywhere, places to curl up and read a good book.
"Oh, it's beautiful," Rosalie gasped. She stood in awe at the wondrous library.
"I thought you'd like it." Peter said. Rosalie saw he was grinning.
"What books are here?" Rosalie asked breathlessly.
"Anything, everything," Peter said, "Some books that haven't even been written yet,"
He picked up one from a nearby table, and handed it to her.
"Peter Pan," Rosalie read on the cover. She flipped to the first page. "All children, except one, grow up,"
"It's one of Lucy's favorites," Peter said.
"Why, because the title has a Peter in it?" Rosalie asked, smiling.
They heard laughter coming from an open window. Going over to the glass wall, Rosalie discovered that some panes of glass slid away to let in air, and sound.
Outside, Rosalie saw that in the gardens her younger sister was flirting like a child with the Just King.
Sable was chasing the King, and when she caught him, he picked up a stick from beneath a nearby tree, and brandished it in front of himself, grinning like a fool. Laughing, Sable grabbed her own branch, and wacked at the King.
"She has apparent talent," Peter observed, coming up behind Rosalie.
"It would appear so," Rosalie said, grinning as her sister played at sword fighting with the Duke of Lantern's Waste. "My tastes, however, are more domestic,"
"In what way?" Peter asked.
Rosalie smiled. "I like to read. And paint. And draw. And sew. All those strange things every girl is supposed to know but doesn't in real life."
"I'm not completely sure what real life is anymore," Peter said. "But would you mind showing me what you like to do?"
Rosalie smiled, and led him over to a couch. Sitting down, she pulled a book from the table next to her, and looked at the first page.
She began to read aloud.
""Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation in it?"" And so the afternoon passed, with Rosalie reading to the High King, and while she did so, Sable and Edmund fought with branches, much to the annoyance of the trees to whom the branches had previously belonged to.
Outside, as it began to get dark, Sable and Edmund, red faced and laughing, dropped to the cobblestone ground, shaking and rocking back and forth with mirth.
When they managed to compose themselves, Edmund looked at the sky. "It's getting dark," He madea face, "Susan will be wanting dinner soon,"
Sable put on a grim face, and a strange voice. "'Tis bad luck to disobey one's mother, lad," And they collapsed into laughter again.
Author's Note: So, how dost thou like?
who do you like better? PeterXRosalie, or EdmundXSable?