Before going to Lisette’s room I slipped to the office where Elodie was looking over the arrangments for the coronation.

“Commander,” she said and stood up.

“No,” I shook my head. “This isn’t about,” I sighed and we sat down. “I need a healer.” She raised her eyebrows. “My cycle is late.”

“Ah,” she said, and set her pen aside. “Have you been using Whip Willow?” I raised my eyebrows. “Well?”

“No,” I muttered. She nodded and knelt down.

“And Count Aaron, I mean, I assume Count Aaron,” she said, I nodded, as her hands moved to my abdomen, “he’s finishing, well, still in you.” I nodded. “That’s quite careless Lady Athena.”

“I’m aware, thank you,” I mumbled. “Not a problem you’ll ever have.”

“No,” she grinned up at me, “though I’ve my own frustrations in that area.” She winked.

“She still won’t tell her father?” I sighed.

“No,” she said. “Mercy is, alas, still concerned he’ll disown her. As if that matters now, he never had land, and Annalise wouldn’t let him disinherit her for it.” I nodded.

“I’d support you no matter what, though you can do better,” I said. She smiled. “So, am I?’

“You aren’t pregnant,” she shook her head and stood up. “But start using whip willow, I know it’s disgusting.” I wrinkled my nose. “Lady Marina said she’s working on something, a potion rather than the tea.”

“I’ll put up with the tea,” I said softly. She nodded. “I have to admit I’m at least a little disappointed.” She sighed. “What if I can’t?”

“Athena, you’re perfectly healthy,” she shook her head, “you’ll have plenty of children.” I frowned and leaned back in my chair. “What does your grandfather say?”

“He’s over the moon,” I muttered. She nodded. “Aaron thinks it’s all silly, the contract, and my dowry from the family. I know you don’t approve either.”

“I don’t, but only because you’re too good for them,” she shrugged, “it matters to you though, so it matters.” A bell rang and we both stood up. “We’re going to have a queen to serve, My Lady.” I hugged her tightly.

“Yes,” I smiled, “finally. I should go, I’ll see you on the other side.”


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