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Chapter 7: Back To Square One
‘Peter, may I speak with you for a moment?’ Aslan said, turning his attention from me to the Kings.
They nodded and Peter started to lead the way to another room. Edmund started to follow but Aslan stopped him.
‘I will speak with you in a little while Edmund.’ Aslan said, and continued into the room.
The door closed behind Aslan with a thud and the corridor grew as quiet as death.
I swallowed and nervously clasped my hands in front of me, not wanting to look up at the young king.
I only looked up when I hear Edmund clear his throat. We locked eyes for just a second and I quickly looked away.
I was embarrassed, I knew I had hurt his pride and all I wanted to do was just get away from here, to be away with my thoughts.
I slid my eyes up clandestinely and stole a look at King Edmund.
He stood tall, and proud, like usual. The silver circlet around his forehead kept his dark hair out of his eyes. His features where sharp and very majestic, adding to his air of authority that his brown eyes always held.
I caught myself staring into his eyes, yes they where determined as if we where just about to face his enemy, sword already in hand, but the gold flecks mixed in with the dark-brown gave his eyes a soft look almost. As if behind this façade was a timid boy, one that didn’t really know what to do.
‘What are you staring at?’ Edmund asked shortly, I quickly looked away and shook my head.
‘Nothing, just…nothing.’ My hands gripped tighter in front of me as I tried to calm my nerves.
Edmund went back to his thoughtful-stance and I continued to stand there waiting –for what though I wasn’t quite sure.
After a while I let my eyes wander back to Edmund, his hands where clasped behind his back and his legs where spread a part a bit, almost as if he was ready to give orders to an army. His shoulders where back and his chest rose every couple of seconds as his lungs took in new air and let the used back out.
I smiled to myself as I looked down to my dress and then back up to his attire. They were almost a perfect match, as if they had come in a set.
His tunic was a dark-scarlet with a square neck which was lined with a wine-colored and some beading of an abstract design; a silver tie keeping the top of it closed slightly, just like how mine had a silver tie in the front to keep the first dress in place over the second. Edmund wore plane back pants and knee-length riding boots; apparently he had gone or was planning to go riding today.
I had to work to keep my laugh hidden.
The door opened a second later and Peter came out in a rush.
Edmund immediately walked over to his brother, ‘Peter, what’s wrong?’
‘It’s Lucy and Susan.’ Peter’s voice was solemn, but strong.
Aslan came out just at that time and took the right side of Peter, ‘They will be fine.’
‘They are in the forest of the Dark Witch, they are her prisoners.’ Peter said through gritted teeth. It was clear to see that he cared for his sisters, the anguish in his eyes spoke volumes, but his authoritative stance and walk spoke another story – though, quieter in comparison to his eyes.
‘The Dark Witch?’ I could feel the accusation in his voice before I could feel his eyes turn to me, glaring.
I looked up to him, those soft eyes that I had seen just a minute ago where gone – giving way to an unforgiving glower.
‘I don’t know anything about this.’ I said, not letting my eyes leave his for a moment, ‘I promise. I can’t give you more then my word.’
Peter relaxed a bit, I could tell I had his trust, but Edmund was far from relaxed as he turned his attention back to Aslan.
‘What are we to do?’ He said, his voice harsh.
‘We are to gather the forces. Narnia should be ready in a two weeks time, for if we wait any longer then that then hope shall be lost.’ Although Aslan’s sentence was dark, the hope in his eyes was still there, not ready to give out any time soon.
The Kings fell silent, their thoughts focused on strategies and plans.
Once again I stood awkwardly in front of the three before an idea of my own came to me.
I looked up, my eyes a bit wary of what I was going to say, ‘How can I help?’
Peter looked up to me, surprised but smiling non the less, and Aslan looked as if he was smiling – he already knew I would volunteer. He was like Dumbledore in a lion’s body.
The only person that did not look happy about my offer was Edmund.
‘What could you do?’ He snapped, I flinched inwardly but didn’t dare let him see my weakness. Just a day ago we had been on a way to, not exactly friendship, but tolerance and civil conversation.
‘I’m a witch; I think I’m the one that would best know how to deal with one.’
I spoke respectfully but strongly.
Edmund gave one last glare and headed for the outside door, all patience gone.
I watched as he left, myself filling with remorse with each step me took towards the doors, I took a step forward – what I was going to do not clear in my thoughts – but was held back by Peter’s arm.
‘Give him some time, he will come around.’ Peter’s eyes stayed on his brother, as did mine.
‘I hope so, I really do.’ I whispered.
It was dusk and Edmund was still in the garden, not knowing where to go, what to do, or even really what to think.
He pulled his knees closer to him so that he could rest his chin atop them. He pulled his circlet from his head and curried his forehead into his arms.
A thousand emotions ran through him, fear for his sisters, fear for what the future could hold, fear of what he felt towards Hermione.
She was a sorceress, a witch, and a proud one at that. She wasn’t to be messed with, she wasn’t to be trusted; she would be just like the White Witch. He kept telling himself over and over in his head.
Except deep down he knew she would never be like the White Witch who had deceived him just years before.
No, Hermione was a witch but she could never be cruel. Annoying and proud and very, very outspoken, but not cruel, no she wasn’t at all like the White Witch.
Edmund sighed and glanced up at the valley before him; the sky was clear and shone with stars and the new moon. It was almost as if someone had dropped an ink well and had scattered diamonds in the spilled ink. It looked perfect.
I watched Edmund consumed by his own thoughts from behind a great willow tree for awhile. I was annoyed at him for storming out earlier, but I couldn’t stop the thoughts in my head.
He looked beautiful.
Just sitting there, watching the stars. He didn’t look arrogant or proud; he looked like a boy who was simply lost, looking for his way back home.
Slowly I crept from my hiding place and took a few steps towards him, careful where I set my feet so as not to scare him.
‘Edmund?’ I saw his shoulders flex and his back stiffen, I dared one more step forward, ‘Peter is waiting for you to come back.’
Without another word, without even a simple look at me, he stood up, gained his king-like composure and strode up the walk and towards the castle.
I stood there, biting my lower lip – resisting the urge to yell at him, or threw the small rock at me feet at him.
I counted to ten – well, that is what everyone always says to do – and looked over the valley. It was so calm, so serine, no wonder he had chosen this place to hide.
You could be alone with your thoughts. I tucked my bangs behind my ear and took his seat on the rock, as I pulled my knees up under my chin I began to think back to this afternoon, when Edmund’s eyes had been so soft and innocents – no hatred to be found.
Tears budded at the corners of my eyes as I rested my head on my knees. What was I going to do?
'Back to square one.' I sighed to the night.
‘I don’t know what’s wrong!’ Edmund yelled at Peter, he began pacing around the room, his hands running through his tousled hair, ‘I just don’t know!’
Peter sat back in his chair, letting his brother vent for a while.
‘Its just every time I’m around her I-I—’
‘Are you scared of her?’ Peter offered, trying to understand his brother.
Edmund thought about it, ran his hands through his tousled hair again, and continued to pace.
‘Or…’ Peter stopped just short of saying what he was thinking, curious what his brother would say to it – if he said anything at all that was.
‘Or,’ Peter began again, ‘Can you trust her? Is that what's scaring you?’
Edmund looked down at the ground, his usual prideful stance giving way to one Peter rarely saw. The second-youngest Pevensie was vulnerable.
‘I don’t know.’ Edmund said and began to pace around once more, stopping when he walked over to the window. Looking out across the way he could see the valley that he had been looking at just minutes ago, and, taking a closer look a bit further down, he could make out a small frame of a woman, dressed in scarlet.
Edmund’s lips twitched up into a smile, he just couldn’t help himself.
‘You think she’s beautiful and it scares you.’ Edmund turned towards the door, startled, as Aslan approached them.
‘N-no, that’s not it, it’s just-just—’ Edmund said, trying to come up with a reply.
‘Edmund,’ Aslan walked over to the boy, ‘You can’t hide your heart, it’s written like a book in your eyes.’
Edmund felt the dark blush start up his cheek and turned away from the lions honest eyes.
‘Hermione is a very beautiful witch.’ Aslan took notice of the grimace that came upon the young king, ‘Yes, she is a witch Edmund. It’s who she is, and she takes pride in it.’
‘I know.’ Edmund whispered through closed lips.
The lion nodded, his mane flying every which way, ‘As long as you know, you just have to accept it as well. Then you can let friendship blossom, and—’ Lion waited for the young boy to turn towards him, ‘—anything else that may dare to blossom in a young heart as well.’
Edmund bit his lower lip, and nodded.
Peter smiled, but turned his thoughts quickly back to matters at hand, ‘What are we to do about our sisters? I sent a letter out this afternoon; troops will be gathered here late tomorrow.’
Aslan nodded but turned to Edmund, ‘You know who we need to help.’
Edmund frowned but headed for the door, not another word spoken.
‘What are you trying to do Aslan?’ Peter asked, walking up to the lion, who stood to about his shoulder.
Aslan simply smiled, ‘You will see, you will see.’