“Are you ready?” Nico nodded, his fingers instinctively pulling on his collar. “Oh stop that! You look fine!”
”Looking fine and feeling fine are two totally different things, obviously, Why can’t they make fancy clothing comfortable?”
Lucy scoffed, “Oh come now, don’t you know how much more time and energy that is? Making fancy clothing comfortable isn’t easy, you know.”
“Now don’t you start taking sarcastic lessons from Edmund.”
“Why not? He is my brother, and actually, I’ve already been taking them,” she winked at him. Nico groaned and rolled his eyes. “Oh come on!” She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the doorway. She led him to the end of the room, where the rest of the family had gathered with the Archenlanders.
“Ah, now that everyone has gathered, let’s begin,” stated Chiron.
Peter stood up, “Well, I think our first order of business should be to nominate an ambassador.”
“An ambassador?” queried Nico.
Peter nodded, “Yes, just one person going back and forth between Archenland and Narnia, a referee, if you will, to help keep us both in line. I know this will be a hard job, at first at least, but if we keep our sides of the deal, things should go smoothly. Though, I do suggest that the ambassador have a selection of people from both countries whom he or she can trust to help whenever needed.”
Chiron bowed his head, “A very good idea, your majesty. Have you made your nomination for ambassador?”
“We have, we nominate Jason Grace for ambassador.” The captain’s face was flushed as he rose and bowed to the applause. Nico smiled, he’d vote for Jason any day.
“An excellent selection, your majesty, we might even change our nomination, but before we do, let me announce our nomination. We nominate Nico di Angelo for ambassador.” Lucy squealed with delight as Nico slowly rose to the applause.
Peter laughed, “And you’ve picked well!”
“Thank you, your majesty, but, may I be so bold as to ask why you did not nominate him yourself?”
Peter smiled at Nico, “For several reasons, actually, but the biggest one by far is his personality. My apologies, Master Chiron, but we’ve come to know Nico in the few days he’s been here with us and he does not seem like a people person, if you catch my drift. Yes, he does get along with those he comes to know, but they are only a few. We have found out that he is not particularly fond of parties and large crowds, Jason is more comfortable in those settings. Also, Nico can shadow-travel, a perfect solution in times of need. I would suggest, though, that Nico be the first person Jason would go to if he needs help keeping the peace.”
Chiron nodded, “A wise decision based on your findings. My apologies for not knowing Nico’s strong points.”
“I shouldn’t be the one you apologise to,” remarked Peter, glancing at Nico.
“You are right, but then we have agreed, Jason as ambassador and Nico, say, as back-up?”
“Perfect, we are agreed.” Peter shook hands with Chiron.
“Good, very good. Well done, all of you.” Everyone gasped and rose respectively as the lion entered the room.
“Aslan!” Lucy exclaimed. Nico could hear in her voice the same joy that sprung in his heart.
“Hello, my child. Hello, to all of you. I have come to make this peace treaty final. Jason Grace, come forward.” Jason walked towards the lion a bit shakily, to be in his presence was a great honor in and of itself. “Kneel.” Jason knelt on one knee. Aslan placed his paw on each of the man’s shoulders before breathing upon him. “Rise, Sir Jason Dovewing, Ambassador and Peace Keeper of Narnia and Archenland.” Jason rose shakily with his face all flustered, but he smiled from the heart as the others applauded his rise in rank. “Nico di Angelo, come forward.” Nico didn’t know how he managed it, but he found himself standing in front of the lion, his muscles tense, his face like a stone. “You have suffered much, child, in doing my will, now you shall be rewarded greatly. Already you have found another sister, and you have made many friends among the Narnians, including the royal family. Now I promise you a prosperous future with a loving wife, the laughter of children and grandchildren to echo in your home, and a long life to witness it all, but especially to witness the fruits of your labor and sacrifice. You have done well, Nico di Angelo, you have my blessing.” He breathed upon the still, almost stone-like, teen.
“Th-thank you, Aslan,” muttered Nico. The lion nodded, and Nico walked back to his chair as if in a daze, but when he turned to glance at the lion again, he found to his amazement that Aslan was nowhere to be found. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Jason’s new brooch of blue and red lions, Nico’s new brooch of a gold lion and a red rose on black background, and the scent of roses and lilies still in the air, they would have all thought it had been a dream. When they finally stirred from the experience, they proceeded with the rest of the peace treaty with fervor and as quickly as possible. The Archenlanders couldn’t wait to reveal to their people that the great lion Aslan had visited them and blessed the treaty. When they left the table later that night, tournaments and contests had been planned to commemorate the event, and later anniversaries.
The next morning, the tournaments began, but Nico, Lucy, and Tumnus had left the castle right as the sun was rising over the sea. They drifted for the most part up the river, rowing lazily almost, letting Nico enjoy the scenery as they went. They moored the boat when their stomachs began to growl, and set out to find a good picnic spot. Nico found a spot, not far from where the stone table sat. As they ate in its shadow, they found that they could only eat in silence as their thoughts turned to Aslan. After they had cleaned up, Nico stretched out on a patch of grass underneath a tree.
“You’re not going to sleep, are you?” asked Lucy.
Nico cracked open an eye, “Why not? I feel like I can actually relax after everything that’s happened in the past few weeks.” As if to prove his point, he yawned.
Lucy laughed as she sat next to him, “Of course you would, but then again, you deserve it.” She moved a lock of hair off his forehead before bending over to kiss his head. “Are you sure you’ve had enough time to grieve for your sister?”
Nico nodded as he laid his head in her lap, “Yes, I did. I mean, I still miss her and want so much to see her again, but, I won’t get to see her again until the afterlife.”
“But aren’t you the son of Hades, can’t you communicate with ghosts?”
“Ghosts are human souls who still wander the earth, so, yes, I can communicate with them. But for those who do not wander the earth, I’d have go through this whole ritual, and even then that’s not very effective as you would have no idea who you might get. That part is very dangerous because you could get some nasty characters, and you might not know it until it’s too late.”
“Wow, that’s kinda creepy.”
“Yeah, it is, and not recommended by anyone, even Hades himself.”
“So, basically, you’d have to die before you can see her again for sure.”
“Right, but there’s so much to live for right now that I don’t want to go, not yet.”
Lucy smiled as she fingered his dark curls, “I’m glad you’re fine with waiting to see your sister again. I don’t know how I’d do it if any of my siblings were to die.” She paused, “I’m happy none of my siblings died, but I wish you didn’t have to lose yours.”
He glanced at her, “Thanks Lu, that meant a lot.”
“Alright, enough of such gloomy thoughts. Come, think of happier things!” exclaimed Tumnus. He pulled out his flute and began to play a sweet, soft tune. It wasn’t long before the two were sound asleep, Lucy’s head up against a tree with Nico’s head still nestled in her lap. The faun noticed them sleeping peacefully and hoped their dreams were filled with happy thoughts and bright hopes. He stopped playing after a few minutes and sat back against the tree, smiling. “Thank you Aslan, for making sure everything turned out just right.” He glanced at the two peacefully sleeping teens, “And for getting those two knuckle-brains together. I know I can trust him to take care of my little princess.” Tumnus smiled wider at the teens before he too closed his eyes. Things were certainly looking good.