[ Epilogue ]

Section 17: As the Sun Sets

"Well, Leala, you have indeed done it," Julian said as he washed the dishes under Stacy's reproachful eye.

"Done what?" she asked as she gave him her plates.

"Ah—become Lady of Rosliplain, of course."

"Yes," she agreed, smiling a little, "I supposed I have…"

Just then Julian dropped a plate, letting the expensive china smash to pieces on the hard floor. Leaving Stacy to instruct Julian in her own way, Leala departed from the kitchens, smiling to herself as she slowly went to her room.

Rad was just leaving his own room, as she walked passed. "Lenny," he called softly, and she turned in response.

He lay, relaxed, across the doorway, his arms crossed and his own lopsided grin on his face that was a shimmer of resemblance to his fifteen-year-old self Leala first met five years ago.

"Yes?"

He seemed to chew a thought before speaking. "Whatever happened to my sword?"

Leala laughed. "Didn't you see? It lay, shattered in pieces beside me when Sir Kenneth also broke my arm. It served a purpose, however…" she added swiftly.

"Just wondering," said he, and departed.

Leala sighed and went to her room. There she lay, mulling over the past week as she had already done…her mother's death, Rad's miraculous reappearance after his believed death, Julian son of the former Lord Nesbit, and the murders…the murders of so many: Tom, Jesse, David, Chris, four of Rad's old band, the servants Miriam, Jack, Fran, Tony, and so many others…and of Sir Kenneth himself, the one behind the slaughter.

Leala knew in her heart she would never forgive the man. Never. In her stubbornness, she could only think passionately, If only Lord Nicholas had killed him…

If only. She hated those words. There was nothing to be done to change it…

The sun was just setting. She looked out, and, seeing the splash of colors scattered in a beautiful pattern across the sky, thought it was setting on her life. Lady of Rosliplain. First she was known as Leala for the first twelve years of her life, then Lenore, then Leala again for five more years. Now, to others, she will only be known as the Lady of the Castle Rosliplain…

Rising from her bed, she went downstairs, robe of raven black sweeping around her ankles, and stepped out into the fresh air of the evening. Rad was sitting on one of the large stone statues of tigers, letting one leg drape over the side, watching the sunset. Leala went to join him.

They sat in silence for a while, watching the fine orb of fire fall slowly down the horizon line, sending iridescent hues everywhere, until it was finally swallowed by the incoming dark night. Leala sighed and turned to Rad.

"I am Lady of Rosliplain…but those words are empty. I do not want them attached to me…"

Rad shook his head slowly and turned to look at her. "Lenny…if there's anyone to take the job, it's you…"

Leala ran a hand through her brown hair, eyes staring. Slowly she thought of all the adventures she'd had, and she was still, as if by a miracle, she was still alive…alive! Rad, too. Only they had endured the hard barrier of the evil called Aristocrats, and only they had escaped alive…

She turned back to Rad, eyes no longer glazed over. "You're probably right," she admitted. Then she looked right into his eyes, and smiled.

+:| Aaaand it's the shortest chapter *ever*!! How about that! XD About half as much as last chapter…oO; Ah well…there's still a third story to look forward to. Ooooops! *clamps hand over mouth* I wasn't supposed to say that…curses…

Nevertheless, this so concludes the episode of 'As the Sun Sets'. Stay t00ned! ;-) And thank you all for your lovely comments! I really enjoyed them, and I'd be content if you liked this story only half as much as you did TL…^_^ Till later!

~Mysti |:+