Axra and Twila walked together to pick up Lilly. Fang hovered above them. Bonnie and Lysara walked behind them. Axra had insisted that Bonnie come along, just in case her father was still mad and Lysara invited herself to be near her fiance.
“It’s going to be good to have her back with us,” Axra said. “It feels like the clerics have been working on her forever.”
“It’s only been a few days,” Bonnie stated.
Lysara hurriedly nudged her. “Quiet, Bon,” she whispered. “They’ve had a rough couple of days.”
“It’s all right,” Twila said. “We’ve had some time to mourn and we’ll have time to recover once all of this is over.”
They finally reached the temple. “Bonnie, why don’t you and Lysara wait out here?” Axra asked. “I’m sure you’ve got things to talk about.”
“We can do that,” Lysara said. “Have fun!”
They watched Twila and Axra go inside.
“I wonder why they want us out here,” Bonnie muttered.
“You really aren’t good at understanding emotions are you Bon?” Lysara asked. “They haven’t seen their girlfriend for days and now that they finally do, they want some time alone, you know?”
“Not really,” Bonnie stated.
“Oh, Bon,” Lysara said. “That innocent mind of yours is just too precious.”
“Her left eye is fully recovered,” the head cleric explained, stroking his white beard as he spoke. “Unfortunately, we could only heal her right eye partially. Her vision will be clouded for the rest of her life, unless you happen to know someone infinitely more powerful than us, but that would take a God.”
“We understand,” Axra said. “Lilly, how are you feeling?”
“I… it’s strange,” Lilly said. “I… if I close my right eye and look at you, I can see all of your features without a problem… but f I have both eyes open then it… it’s like you’re covered by some… murky thing. I… I don’t like it.”
Twila leaned in to hug Lilly. “Would you prefer to wear an eye-patch?”
“I… I don’t know,” Lilly said. “Th… things would look nicer bu… but I couldn’t see as much at once.”
Axra put a hand on Lilly’s shoulder. “It won’t matter so much when we’ve dealt with Eritos. You can still aim properly, right?”
“I… I can. No problem there,” Lilly said. She lightly bit her lip. She wanted to protest that they should try talking with Gail first, but she knew that neither Axra nor Twila was prepared to listen.
“Great!” Axra cried. “We’ve got the perfect place to go for the match. You’ll rub that ring she stuck to your finger and lure her there. Twila will use concealment magic on the rest of us and we’ll bring her down before she knows what hit her.”
“We’ll head back to the palace and enjoy a nice meal tonight, and head to the operation point and put everything into operation in the morning,” Twila added. “If you’re feeling well enough to travel.”
“I… I’m perfectly fine,” Lilly said. “I’m well rested and recovered. Well, mostly recovered.” She reached up and put a hand over her right eye. “I… I could go now, bu… but I would like a nice meal.”
The three quickly left the temple, Lilly stood between her lovers.
“You’re looking well,” Bonnie observed. “I trust they told you the plan?”
Lilly nodded. “I… it might work, possibly. I think.”
“Personally, I thought that the princess should have borrowed some soldiers, but she doesn’t want her father to know what we’re doing. So it’s just going to be the six of us.”
Fang let out a series of grunts. “I’m sure she didn’t mean to exclude you,” Twila said. “She was probably just forgetting about Velvet.”
“Oh, right,” Lysara said. “He’s going to be joining us when we head out of Nervius. Bon, how could you forget that?”
Bonnie sighed, but decided to play along. “My bad, I forget about him since he’s quiet and sleeps a lot.”
They returned to the palace. Zero joined them at the supper table. He kept mostly civil, but wouldn’t speak to either Lilly or Bonnie.
“Papa!” Axra cried. “Please don’t glare at Lilly like that. She is one of my lovers, you know.”
Zero shrugged. “Perhaps you would care to explain what you see in a common girl like her. Especially one so incapable of comporting herself properly.”
“She comports herself just fine!” Axra stated. “There’s nothing wrong with being soft spoken.”
“Now, now,” Rachel said. “Father Dearest, Darling Sister, let’s not fight, okay? It isn’t a suitable way for royalty to behave.”
“Nor is bringing home a common wench,” Zero muttered.
Axra slammed her fists on the table and stood up. “You and Papa always said that I could love whoever I wanted! So why do you have such a problem with Lilly? She’s kind, thoughtful, and gentle.”
Zero sat staring at his daughter for a time. “You’re right, of course. You can love whomever you wish. I… apologise. I should not have said anything.”
Axra sat back down. The group finished their meal in virtual silence.
Axra took Lilly and Twila to her chambres after the meal was over.
“I… I’m sorry,” Lilly said. “Be… because of me you and your dad…”
“Not your fault,” Axra said. “He doesn’t like you for some reason.”
“Probably because he doesn’t think she’s good enough for you,” Twila suggested. “When your dad brought her here she was just your servant, correct? He probably had her transferred to ranger training because he thought that your becoming friends with her was inappropriate and now he sees the advancement into something more as an exacerbation of that.”
“I… I’m sorry,” Lilly said. “I… it’s all because I fell for you. I… if I hadn’t then you never w… would have crossed that line. I… I had ideas above my station and…”
“Enough with that,” Axra said. “My dads were both commoners before they took the throne after Queen Zenas died. Station has nothing to do with anything.”
The three heard a knock on the door. “Are you decent?” Rachel’s voice asked.
“Come in,” Axra said.
“Pardon my intrusion,” Rachel said as she entered. “I had a talk with your… our father. He is willing to admit that he behaved poorly and he has promised to try to accept Lilly. I’m sure everything will work out once he gets to know her better.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Axra said.
“Oh, but I did,” Rachel said. “Don’t you worry about a thing, Darling. Tomorrow I’ll fix us all a nice picnic and we can spend some peaceful time together.”
“That might not work,” Axra said.
“Oh, why not?” Rachel asked.
“It’s too soon,” Twila jumped in. “Maybe it would be better if we let them both cool off tomorrow and tried on the day after.”
“Oh, of course,” Rachel said. “How silly of me. Well, you three have a lovely night.”
“Y… you too,” Lilly said.
“Right, let’s get some sleep,” Twila said. “Tomorrow is going to be… difficult.”