[ Epilogue ]

Section 20: Loyalty

~Rad had found all his "mates", since the dungeons were cleaned out, save the guards. The gates were demolished as well, no longer threatening, but welcoming.

Nicholas, leader of the Rebels, paid a visit to me, and thanked us all warmly. He awarded Leala, Rad, and I all medals of high honor.

He was elected as Lord of Jamaicadale. The Common Folk liked him, and, of course, he was already the leader of the Rebels. I told him he would be just right for the job. There were no guards at the castle front, for he believed there were no enemies. He did other little things when setting about to govern the town fairly. He released the guards in the dungeon and told them they could do whatever they wanted to do. They all tore off their badges and became the smiths and barbers and other jobs like their mothers always wanted them to be.

I, of course, was elected as the Lady of Rosliplain, like Don was the Lord, only I would rule with more justice and freedom.

Before Leala and I left, we invited Rad to come with us. He looked slightly uncomfortable, and I knew why.

"Your friends can come with us too."

He gave a whoop of joy, and ran to get them. I began to lead the hyperactive boys to their new home.~

Rad took me aside to talk. "Will they live in th' castle?" he asked nervously.

I shifted from foot to foot. "Well, we have a pretty big castle, but I'm not sure if it's big enough for boys like yourself to be running around, probably breaking dishes or some such thing." I grinned.

"Oh, good." Rad said, relieved.

"But you can have a room, if you want." I added.

"O'course."

"I'd like that." I smiled at him. He blushed, and ran ahead to his buddies.

"Hey," my mom called to him. "We have a lot of big trees..."

Rad and another boy, named Tom, looked back. "Underground rooms?" Tom asked, eyes wide.

"We can make 'em!" shouted Rad.

"And build a tunnel t' connect 'em all?" Tom asked, beginning to get excited.

"The Lady of Rosliplain gives you permission to do what you wish with the trees, as long as you do not harm the environment." My mother did a little bow, and they all laughed.

"Even if you didn't give them permission, they would've built it anyway," I put in, and Rad nodded, winking at me. My mother just laughed, and shook her head.

By this time, we had arrived to Rosliplain, where the gate once was, where my whole adventure started. Only now, instead of a gate and a guard, there were two big signs saying, "Welcome to Rosliplain!"

Seeing a nearby park, Tom and the rest of Rad's pals ran off to inspect trees. I took Rad inside to investigate all the rooms.

I was home!

~"Stacy!" I cried. The maid nearly dropped the plate she was holding.

"That's not...it's never--Lady Elena?"

"The one and only." I grinned. Stacy rejoiced upon hearing that.

"Elena--it's been so long--so many years!"

"About twelve." I smiled.

"You was gone," she sobbed. "Little Leala ran away about a week ago, and then Lord Donovan went to the next town on business--oh, Elena, I'm so glad you're back!"

"Me too," I acknowledged. I told her the whole story, and she cried out on Don's death.

"Oh, Elena, he was so nice, never mind ruthless--I'm gonna miss 'im."

"Yeah," I admitted, "I will too." A long silence followed, and I lifted up the earthenware jar. "These are Don's ashes." I said, holding back tears. I placed it on the mantle. Stacy and I stared at it for a while, before the servant had to get back to work.

When she left, I removed my wedding ring, and placed it in the ashes, kissing the jar.~

Rad looked in literally every room before choosing one with a window overlooking the town of Rosliplain. "They're so fancy," he confessed, and I laughed.

He chuckled. "So much for just a room to sleep in!"

"Hey, your room has a window." I pointed out.

"Tha's kinda why I chose it..." he admitted.

"Rad…? What are you up to?" I was suspicious, pretending to glare skeptically.

He grinned almost sheepishly. "Well…you know…you don't 'spect me to hang 'round this castle all the time, do you…?"

I rolled my eyes. "No, not really. But what…?"

"Rad! Hey, Rad!"

The shouts came from outside the window. He leaned out to see who it was, and I did as well. It was Tom and the rest of the boys of Rad's band, beckoning to him with eager shouts.

"Oh, geez…" I slapped my forehead.

"In a minute!" He shouted back. He turned around, with that silly lopsided grin on his face again. I shook my head.

"You're gonna kill yourself one of these days jumping out that…"

"I'll be fine," he promised. I gave him a look that read, Yeah, right.

"Hey...can I still call ya Lenny?" He asked me, grinning.

"Nothing's ever stopped you yet," I teased him, "Go jump out the window!" He laughed, and proceeded. I watched as he opened it, and leaped out to land safely with his friends, and they all ran off. I sighed, wondering what all those hyper boys would bring to the usually quiet town of Rosliplain…

I found Mom. She was in her room, staring at the mantle. I joined her, and we both looked at the jar containing my father's ashes sadly. Mom sighed, then spoke:

"He was a good man, except for the Aristocrats."

"Yeah," I agreed. She sighed again.

"Leala," she began, but I cut her off.

"Lenore." I said firmly.

"Why do you insist on being called that?"

"Leala means, 'loyal'. I'm not loyal. I ran away." I refused to meet her gaze.

She was silent for a little while longer. We sat and listened to the gleeful shouts of Rad and his friends, the clinking of dishes being washed in the kitchen, and we gazed at the earthenware jar again. Finally, my mother broke the long quiet period, and said:

"If you ask me, you're the most loyal person than anyone else I've ever met. Think of all you've done." She squeezed my hand affectionately. I squeezed back, smiling, deciding.

My name is Leala.     

The End

*~*~*MUAHAHAH!! It's really the end now! Let the reviews come, let them come!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! lol, thanks all you ppl...I love you all!!! *gives them BIG Mysti-hug* ~_^

Sequel ish 'As the Sun Sets', and I highly suggest reading it if you want to see what happens next…but if you really don't give, you don't have to XP*~*~*