Adrian met Alexander in the library. And nothing could have prepared him for the words that met his ears.
"Her Royal Highness the Queen has demanded that you journey to the town of Cor to pick up a special herb she needs."
Shocked, Adrian said nothing.
"The herb my mother wants is called Orvani. The reason you must go to Cor in order to purchase this herb is because Cor doesn't import their most precious goods." Alexander's voice was monotone and emotionless. "I didn't want to have to tell you that, Adrian."
For a long while, Adrian said nothing. He began to walk up and down the rows of books, idly running his hands along the spines of the prince's treasured chronicles and volumes.
Alexander cleared his throat but said nothing. The two remained voiceless for a minute or so before Adrian spoke up. "I don't want to have to leave her, Alexander."
Alexander nodded. "I understand."
"No, I don't think you do. What if the king returns from war and has her executed before I get back? The trek to Cor is a long and dangerous one, and there's no guaranteeing I'll make it out alive. We should've put that town into submission a long time ago, my liege. We should've silenced them the moment they started acting up!"
"I know, Adrian. Trust me, I know. If I hadn't been so stupid, then perhaps the queen wouldn't have sent out my closest friend to a death sentence."
"You think she did this in spite? Because of you?"
Alexander nodded. "I'm sure of it. She's always hated me. But you know that already."
"Well, we're even, then. I hate her, too."
The old enemy of weakness and weariness clouded Alexander's eyes, but Adrian was so fixated on Sara that he didn't even notice. "You have to promise me that you won't let anything happen to her, Alexander. You have to promise me that you'll keep an eye on her. Don't let anyone treat her badly, and don't let your father kill her!"
"I'll do what I can, Adrian."
"Well, doing what you could to help me didn't benefit me at all, did it? You can't just tell me you'll 'do what you can.' You have to promise me that you will stop at nothing to keep her safe." Adrian could hear the bite in his tone, but the feeling of protectiveness of Sara was driving him crazy. He knew the prince would be able to tell it was his concern for Sara and not his anger for Alexander speaking.
"I'll keep her safe, Adrian. I promise. I will let nothing happen to her. You can trust me on that." Alexander's voice was adamant.
"And you have to promise me one more thing, Alexander." Adrian knew his next words would be a major blow, but he had to say what was on his mind. "You must promise me to protect Sara from yourself."