Saf sat in a tight campfire, surrounded by people he didn't really know. People he didn't really care to know. There was only one person on his mind right now. And she was probably sitting in her chair, mourning deaths and puzzles and doing mathematics problems, surrounded by her kingdom in which she was only beginning to know while her friends happened to be off doing who knows what.
Saf blinked several times. "What?" He asked.
"I said," Said Prince Skye- whom whenever he spoke to Saf, Saf felt like he was going to die "What is going on in that head of yours?" Saf looked at Skye's eyes. Skye seemed to understand very quickly. He slapped Saf's back and began to talk to the old one. With the red hair. Who had been a victim of Leck's. She locked focus with his eyes. Understanding. "Would you like to hear a story?" she asked his mind. Saf nodded mutely. He liked stories. He liked being- as Sparks....Bitterblue had once said it "Transported to another place" Saf cursed himself. He was supposed to move on. He wasn;t supposed to be attached. He was Sapphire Birch-the Monsean-Lienid sailor who also stole stuff and happened to have a past with the Monsean Queen. Past. He tsked himself. He was always on the go. So why was he emotionally attached now?
She began "It was a hot summer in the Dells, and it all began when a stupid hunter came out of the woods and..." Her story was amazing. It made Saf think, as he lay in his blanket on the cold ground while the fire crackled signifying its death. 'I went on this journey to go somewhere new. And yet I am just reminiscing about the past?' Saf wished himself a dream about a night. A night not so long ago on a bridge with a girl hiding from those who wanted to kill him. A night that...Saf couldn't think about it anymore. He needed to move on. That's what he had wanted from the start-or well the middle of their relationship. In the court. He had wanted every single last bit of her out! Out of his head. Out of Teddy's shop and out of his heart. He never fully managed it.
Saf lay, staring up at the stars and his eyes began to drift and he dreamed about bridges and liars.
When they made it to the Dells it had taken everyone at least a month to absorb all the differences. Monsters and beauty and war and foods and the interesting and perplexing former-former commander of the Kings army. Brigan. He was almost as much of a riddle of the current commander. The commander was a she. Her name happened to be Tess and she had a twin sister named Rose-Named after the former commander's mother. The former commander was the daughter of the former-former commander who happened to be married to Fire though Fire was not the mother of the former commander.
Saf sat down for breakfast one morning. The king Nash at the head and next to him a frail woman and on his other side his daughter, Liv. Brigan and Fire sat across from each other and everyone else just seemed to blur together.
"What did you do at your home?" Asked Rose
"I was a sailor, and a printer." Saf mentioned nothing of his stealing.
"I'd like to see it someday." Said Rose. She was close to his age.
"Maybe when we return." Saf said, trying to lift the corners of his mouth into a smile. It didn't work.
TWO YEARS LATER
"I still don't see why we have to leave." Grumbled Prince Skye. "I like the Dells."
"I do to, but I think it's time to face the uninvitable" said Saf. On their journey back they had brought most of the people who originally came mind- the Dellians and a few who wanted to stay. Though this time Rose came with them. What Saf wasn't telling Skye was that Fire had asked them to leave. She felt it was time for them to go home and she painfully reminded Saf of Bitterblue.
They had just turned the corner off of the passage that Lady Katsa of the Middluns had cleared so very long ago when Skye said in a sing-song voice "I smell Po and the havoc he is wreaking." Saf smiled at that. Prince Po. He smiled even bigger when he thought of how he might see Bitterblue and that might lead to seeing Prince Po.
"Why are you smiling?" Asked Rose, roughly- it was a different language. A different accent- or accents- depending on whom you talked to- and Rose was just learning it. They rode on in silence. They stopped at the city, where they all parted ways. Prince Skye to the castle along with a few others(and the horses) and Saf and Rose to the shop- Saf wondered what the shop looked like now. Renovated after the fire...
They walked the winding streets, Saf-for once in his life feeling homesickness. Rose was oddly silent. Her blue eyes wide as she absorbed every building and street. Saf looked at her. He supposed that she could be considered beautiful. Her shapely brown hair and figure but alas...she was not really his type. He preferred...out of his league.
Saf began to walk faster and Rose began to asked questions as they were a street away from the shop.
"What does this mean?"
"What is your sister's name again?"
"What is your King's name?" Saf hoped there wasnt a king...well he did but he didnt... He didn't want to be the king but he wanted there to be no king.
He basically leaped up the few stairs to the shop and put his arm up to knock as the door opened. And Bitterblue began to walk out. His heart caught in his throat and it was hard to breathe.