Slumber Page 75

“When does the Princezna plan to move us to Vasterya?” Wolfe asked quietly, stroking my back.

I shivered at his touch, still amazed that he had this effect on me. “As soon as the rookery is depleted and rebuilt as a civilised town. And she has architects overhauling one of the mansions in Pharya for her arrival. She’ll no doubt live in the fanciest mansion we’ve ever seen until palace construction is completed.”

“She seems strong,” Wolfe assured me softly, as if he heard the concern that was in my heart, in my words. “In control. She appears to know what she’s about.”

“She is,” I agreed quietly. She’d surprised me over and over these last weeks. “She really wants to make a difference after everything I told her.”

Wolfe made a huffing noise. “Still annoyed she didn’t take your advice?”

I slapped at him half-heartedly. And then after a minute I shook my head, leaning back on my palms, my fingers digging into the rich grass below us. I smiled into Wolfe’s eyes, feeling lighter, lighter than I’d felt since lazy summer days by a brook in Vasterya. “No.”

He exhaled heavily, reaching up to brush the hair off my face. “I’m glad. You set out to wake the Princezna up… and that’s exactly what you did.”

I grinned, proud and happy; reminding myself that this surreal feeling of contentment was actually real. Months ago I would never have imagined loving Wolfe; how in doing so I was finally putting the past behind me; finally learning that by accepting my future, I wasn’t turning my back on my family’s memory. Moreover, I’d changed. I’d grown up. Never would I have imagined becoming friends with Alvernian Mountain people; or thought I’d have the strength to accept what could and couldn’t be changed; or finally come to terms with who I was as a person; who life had shaped me to be.

“Better yet...”

“What?” Wolfe murmured, seeing the somewhat smug look in my eye.

“…I woke up too.”

The End

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