Chapter 12

Alys woke up to a knocking at the door. She didn't know what time it was, but it seemed early.  She got up and opened the door to find Matthew fully dressed and talking rapidly. 

"I need to fill you in on Diplomacy before the exams, and Geography, and just refresh swordsmanship."  It was then that Matthew realized Alys was hiding behind the door with just her head peeking out. "Are you ready?" he asked her.

"No," she said, rubbing her eyes, "What time is it?" 

"Just before six," he replied. 

Alys shook her head, "Give me... fifteen minutes and I'll be ready." Matthew nodded and shut the door.

Alys walked to her closet and pulled out her blue riding dress and boots.  After Matthew filled her in they were going riding.  After all, it was her favorite pastime.  After she was dressed she quickley braided her hair over her shoulder.

Alys opened her door and found that Matthew was pacing, reciting something under his breath that Alys didn't understand.

"What are you saying?" she asked.  Matthew looked up, surprised.

"Nothing," he replied.  "Just something I learned when I was young."  Alys nodded her head and motioned for him to continue.  Matthew shook his head.  Alys dropped it, but reluctantly.


Alys' mind kept wandering as they sat studying in the library.  How could she get out of these exams and leave early?  She wasn't planning on coming back, so why did it matter.

"Because," Matthew said, "You'll be learning the same things if you stay in Solemn."

Alys looked up, startled, "How did you--"

Matthew shrugged, "I just guessed." 

"Oh."  she nodded her head.  

"How would you like to take a break.  We can grab a picnic basket and go riding?  We could even leave the grounds."  Alys' eyes lit up and she nodded excitedly, jumping up and running out of the room.  "WAIT UP!"  Matthew laughed, running after her.  He didn't catch up until they got to the stables.  

Alys had already saddled Bruno up, and was working on Buttercup.  

"Aren't we going to get lunch?" Matthew asked.  

Alys looked at him like he was crazy.  "No.  I'd rather ride to the orchards just out of town and eat there."

Matthew tilted his head in thought, then shrugged, grabbed Buttercups reigns and led her out.  Alys an Bruno followed.

The End

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