Kyave spent most of the next two days pacing around his rooms or sleeping. Zokol refused to allow him out of the room without an armed escort, and it wasn't possible to focus on reading that way, so there was no point in going to the library. And he liked visiting Sh'yan alone. Other people made Sh'yan shut down and refuse to say much of anything. Besides, flirting was just awkward with others watching.

His rooms were spacious for sleeping, but not much else. There was no form of entertainment and no room for exercise. Even his pacing was restricted. The queen never called for him; it didn't appear that she had anything to say to him.

Had she decided to worry him for no reason? He hadn't noticed anything wrong—even though he wasn't allowed out to notice much anymore —but he felt more like a prisoner than an ambassador.

That thought stopped him in his tracks to peer about the room suspiciously. Nothing looked out of the place he had moved them to during his confinement, but that didn't mean anything. If he was being kept a prisoner, that didn't mean they would take away the amenities they had provided him with.

No one had told him what had happened to the previous ambassador, after all. He had come back to Sheva, but in what condition? King Reon had glossed over all of the details, and he had assumed if there was anything to worry about, His Majesty would have been more thorough. He hadn't received any letters since the first responses, but even though Kyave had expected something a week ago, nothing came.

But maybe they didn't have anything to say to him. King Reon, at least, had to be busy, and Allea was running Illyo with both her brothers away, something she wasn't prepared for at all. He'd write advice down for her and mail it, but the letter probably wouldn't reach her long before he was supposed to be home and that wasn't what he'd been trained for, either. Hopefully Dytan had given her some help before leaving.

He hoped that Illyo was doing okay.

There was gentle rapping at his door that pulled him out of his thoughts and halted his pacing. "Yes?" he called, curious as to who Zokol would have allowed to knock on the door. His guide always walked in whenever he chose.

"Um, I've brought your dinner," came the hesitant response.

It was Sh'yan's voice. Kyave grinned and opened the door to let the stable boy in. "What are you doing here?" he asked. And why had Zokol let him in? Zokol didn't like Sh'yan.

Sh'yan was carrying a metal tray of food, and he offered it to Kyave. "Your dinner. Her Majesty sent me to talk to you."

"And…sent you with my dinner? That's not exactly your normal duties."

Sh'yan shrugged and moved into the room, setting the tray down on the small table low to the floor. "I know. She sent me to tell you about the meeting tomorrow. The people have finally demanded an audience to discuss your place here."

Kyave hummed as he scooped up some of the seasoned rice that seemed to be served with almost every meal in Heswa. "Well, that's what she's been waiting for, right? That'll be good. We'll have things done with." He eyed Sh'yan. "Are you sure you're ready?"

Sh'yan looked down at his hands, folded in his lap, and nodded. "I'll be fine. We need to discuss more about what you'll be doing there."

"I have something to do there?" Kyave said. "I was under the impression that the queen would have to do most of the talking."

"She will. Her Majesty has also said that they might ask questions of you, though."

Sh'yan paused and watched Kyave eat a few more bites. Finally, when the ambassador realized that Sh'yan wasn't going to say anything more, he said, "Like what?"

"I don't know."


Sh'yan bit his lip and looked down at his lap. "Her Majesty didn't tell me very much, so I'm sorry that I can't answer most of your questions. If you'd like, I can go and ask her later…but she wanted me to stay here tonight, so you might have to send someone else."

Kyave frowned. "Well, what was the point in sending you to explain things when she didn't tell you anything?"

Sh'yan shrugged. "I don't…really know. I'm sorry."

"So, just be prepared to answer questions?" Sh'yan shrugged. Kyave sighed and finished up the rest of the meal. "So, you're stuck here for the rest of the night?"


"Then let's go to sleep. I'm sure we'll need our rest for tomorrow. Unless you have anything else you can tell me?"

Sh'yan tilted his head to one side as he thought about that. "Her Majesty asks you to be careful tomorrow, but also to be honest. And to be watchful."

"I think I can do that. Do you need something to sleep in?"

The stable boy looked down at his dirty white clothing. "If you would like me to change, yes. I'm afraid I didn't bring a change of clothing with me. I did not expect to be sent up here."

Kyave looked over his clothing, too, and felt his nose wrinkle involuntarily at the thought of sharing a bed with those. Not that he didn't love his horses, but he wouldn't want to sleep in a stable, either, and he was pretty sure the sheets on his bed were expensive. "You can borrow something," he said. "I don't know if anything fits, since most of the clothing isn't mine, but you're welcome to look through the closet."

He waved at the closet door and Sh'yan made his way to his feet and walked over to them. "Are you sure?" he asked quietly.

Kyave didn't turn to look at him, certain that Sh'yan would want some measure of privacy while changing, and instead focused on his empty plate. What was he supposed to do with it? "Oh, sure," he said. "I don't care. You can get something to wear in the morning, too, if you need it."

Sh'yan made a soft sound before saying quietly, "I'm not sure if that's a good idea."

Kyave frowned, not sure if he was supposed to have heard that or not. He decided it was safest to pretend like he didn't —Sh'yan could repeat himself if he wanted—and picked up the plate. He would give it to whoever was standing guard outside his door, and they could deal with it.

Served them right for locking him up in his room with nothing to do. He walked over to the door and opened it slightly, standing in front of the gap when he heard cloth shifting behind him. Even if Sh'yan wouldn't mind being seen changing, Kyave felt a twinge of jealousy at the thought.

"Here," he sad, handing his ceramic plate to the guard and piling the silverware on top of it. "Do something with that." He held up a finger, telling him to wait, before retrieving the metal tray and handing that to the guard, too.

The Shevan man —Kyave couldn't remember his name offhand—scowled at him, but took everything without complaint.

"Thanks," he said, shutting the door and turning around. Sh'yan apparently hadn't found anything that fit him, because the blue robe dragged on the floor a bit. "Ready for bed?"

Sh'yan glanced out the open window, which showed the sun starting to set, the sky a myriad of bright colors in contrast to the cooler tones in Kyave's room. "If you like."

"I know it's kind of early, but I'm sure we'll need the extra rest for tomorrow."

Sh'yan didn't say anything and looked at the tiled floor. "May I borrow a blanket?"

Kyave rolled his eyes. "I thought we had discussed this, Sh'yan, last time you spent the night in here. I'm not going to let you sleep on the floor. Get in the bed." He pointed at the bed imperiously and Sh'yan bit his lip before crawling into the bed.

Kyave joined him, and even though the bed was big enough that they would barely need to touch, draped one arm over Sh'yan's waist. The stable stiffened for a moment at the touch, but eventually relaxed, and even allowed Kyave to rest his chin on top of his head.

"Good night," the ambassador murmured.

"Good…good night."

A/N: Jeez, it's been forever since I've updated. I'm so sorry, especially as this chapter was basically filler. I can only hope that this story will read better as a story than as a serial, because you guys are getting screwed. I've been having a lot of trouble writing for...most of December, to be honest.

On that note, I absolutely promise we'll get the actual confrontation next chapter.