Imelda was pacing back and forth when Alexander reached her.
"Well? What is it? I'm here now," Alexander said, annoyed. "You know I'm not accustomed to being summoned."
"I suppose it's good for your overinflated ego," Imelda replied, eyes flashing. "I don't care about your position; I must speak to you."
Frustrated, Alexander raised his eyebrows.
"Seeing as you're not willing to speak with me, I'll go ahead and tell you. The Orvani that Adrian brought for your mother is something I need, as well. My own mother is dying. Dying, Alexander - ah, Your Majesty. I am far better at concealing my emotions than Zahra ever was. I haven't let on my concerns because I don't want to worry her."
Suddenly attentive, Alexander met Imelda's eyes. He wasn't used to making eye contact, but he found it necessary in the current situation. "Your mother is dying?" he asked softly.
"Yes." There was then silence.
"I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you, Imelda," Alexander said quietly. "I'm sorry; I truly am. I just don't know of anything I can do. My mother needs the Orvani, as well. If my mother were anyone but the queen, I would choose to save yours over mine."
"I want your permission to return to Cor. If I cannot save my mother, then I will at least comfort her. I must go home."
"I cannot let you leave, Imelda. Not unless you do me a favor."
Imelda sighed. "And what would that be?"
Feeling like some sort of blushing schoolboy, Alexander ran a hand through his hair and let out a long breath. "Ah, I'd like to ask you some questions concerning your sister."
"Is Grazenni the sister you speak of?" Imelda asked, a smile dancing in her eyes.
Without bothering to answer Imelda's teasing question, Alexander asked the question that had been niggling at the back of his mind. "Do you think it'd be possible for Zahra to ever...forgive someone for doing some terrible deed against her?"
Imelda did not try to hide her confusion. "What sort of a question is that?"
"Is Zahra one to hold grudges?"
Crossing her arms, Imelda leaned haphazardly against the wall and laughed. "You've no idea."
"So she does?" Alexander closed his eyes. "Imelda, do you know what I could possibly do to erase a wrong I did her? She keeps bringing it up, and I..."
"Forgive me for asking, but what exactly did you do?"