Mira loved Castle Blackspring, the amazing library, the stables, the grounds, the gardens and the large kitchen. And she was absolutely bored. After spending the past four years training others, she couldn’t continue to be idle. These past 2 months had been torture. She knew, she could hear training going on in the West Courtyard but she didn’t dare ask Mason if she could help.
Walking into the grand ballroom, she groaned. To ask Mason would just be asking for trouble. Also what would the trainees think, she chuckled to herself, if she beat their fearless leader?
“Is something funny?” The deep voice summoned her back to the ballroom. She blinked and looked over as Mason entered through the north doors.
“No, of course not.” She kept a stone face.
Mason sighed, shaking his head. “Why must you be so polite to me, milday? I have done nothing to deserve such behavior.”
A small smile danced across Mira’s face. “Very well, I’ll treat you as I treat the servants. What do you want, Sir Mason?”
“Well, Lady Mira, I would like your help.”
Mira’s jaw dropped before she realized it was down. Quickly closing her mouth, her brow furrowed. “You want my help? I’m terrible at embroidery.”
Mason laughed out loud. “Oh Lady Mira, if I wanted embroidery then I wouldn’t come to you. I fear your strengths lie not in the domestic arts.”
Mira let out the laugh that was being held back. “Alright, alright. Then what are you asking for me to do?”
“A training demonstration.” All joviality was gone, leaving a serious Mason in its place.
A glimmer of hope lit in Mira’s chest. “You’re asking me to help with training?”
“Considering the fact that the Great Forest army is producing capable female soldiers, I think it best that my men have a small taste of that.” A smile appeared. “And who knows, it might be good for them to fight a girl.”
“Only if you tell them you lost to me first.”
“Only if you tell them you lost to me before this all started.”
“Wouldn’t do you any good. Might even make you look worse.”
“Then how about we be friends.” He held out his hand.
Mira blinked. Pursing her lips, she thought quickly. Her hand met his and a friendship was formed.
“Ooh Stephen, isn’t this exciting?” Elizabeth twirled around the bedroom. Stephen looked up from the letter he was writing.
“What is, my dear?”
“Mira and Mason…oh the wedding will be lovely.”
Stephen dropped his quill. “A wedding?! What wedding?”
“Why Mira and Mason’s of course.” Elizabeth gave in to her desires and jumped back on the bed. “Of course we’ll hold it here. The grand ballroom would work…but we’d have to draw the curtains and open the windows. Let as much light in as we can….followed by dancing until dawn.” Getting up to twirl more, she sighed. “Dancing under the stars. What a dream.”
Stephen held up his hands, cutting her off. “Mira…and Mason. Engaged?!”
Elizabeth let out a dainty giggle. “Not yet…but they will be soon. It’s been six months since she’s come home and they are together every day. Riding, reading, fighting, though with swords. Mark my words, my love, they will be married before the year is over.”
“Where are we going?” Mira giggled, a ridiculous blindfold covering her eyes.
“That’s for me to know and you to find out.” Mason’s voice was just behind her. He had insisted that she go first and so he was leading her by pinning her arms to her sides and pushing her forward. Somehow he knew she’d try to elbow him or rip off the blindfold.
“Ow!” Her foot hit a solid…something.
“Oops, sorry dear.” A slight chuckle betrayed him.
“Here we are.” He stopped pushing on her. Releasing her arms, she pulled off the blindfold.
“It’s a hallway.” Her eyes scanned the quiet and empty hallway. Windows were scattered and the dust on the few pieces of furniture told her it was rarely used.
“Yes.” Mason moved to her side.
“You brought me to a hallway.”
“That I did.” A smirk played on his face.
Her eyes narrowed. He was stalling. “Then why are we here?”
“Because as much as you like being around others and love a good party, I thought this should happen in private.”
He got down on one knee. “Mira, from the moment I met you all those years ago, I knew you were stubborn. Stubborn, childish and bound and determined to make my life miserable.” He held onto her hands to keep her from moving. “And in the past 8 months, I learned that my life would be miserable without you, no, it wouldn’t be my life anymore. I want to keep fighting you and loving you until the day I die. Do you think you could want the same?”
Mira felt the tears spring in her eyes. “You are mean to make me cry.” The tears didn’t stop though, falling faster. “I’d really hate to find a new training partner so I guess you’ll have to do.” She didn’t think she could smile so wide, but apparently she could.