"Thanks so much. I appreciate it."

Queen Julia replaced the phone on its cradle and started across the sitting room to slide open the glass door. The atmosphere was cold, and she was grateful she wore an azure cloak. She came outside, heels crunching in the frost, and peered around into the reading corner.

"Richard?" she called.

"Yes?" came his response.

She came around into the sheltered area beneath the maples and dropped down on the cushioned seat beside her brother. He was reading something with a cup of tea on a small table beside him.

"You know," she started out contemplatively, "I remember the night when I was abducted, I met a lot of beautiful people between the homeless shelter and the orphanage."

"I remember."

"I gave away a lot of the sewn creatures I made. One of them was an iridescent dragon, with a sort of colorful pattern made up of plum, emerald, and cerulean. I gave it to a boy about my age at the homeless shelter. He seemed to really come out of his shell because of it."

Richard met her eyes as he sensed the presence of a Julia idea. That always meant something curious.

"I called to see whether or not his mother ever turned up – she had recently gone missing when I was there – and Mrs. Vanzin said she had not. They actually sent Konstantine to live in the orphanage a month later, and he has been there ever since."

"What are you getting at?" King Richard asked hesitantly.

"Konstantine will turn eighteen in February," Queen Julia continued hastily, as she recognized the skepticism in his voice already. Seemed as though her ideas always gave him pause, but of course, they usually stretched him outside his comfort zone. "He will be turned out of the orphanage, but he could really use the support of a guardian still. I realize you said we could not adopt a boy, but –"

"And you agreed."

"But this one is such a shy, lost boy."

"No. You're the last person I will hear human judgments from," he removed his reading glasses. "You are empathetic and compassionate, but you become naïve as a result."

She looked at him with an indignant scowl. "And so you will not help a scared kid?"

King Richard gave an easy smile as he reached toward his teacup. "And so I will contact the staff members and see who may be open to bringing him into their apartment to live."

Queen Julia released a smile at him.