“Did he change that much?” Lynnette asked.
“We both did,” the Queen said. “I was about to marry William. My life was already upside down. And when I saw David, he was nothing like I remembered. He had grown... well, he had grown fat. There is no dancing around it. He ballooned up like an inflated pool toy.”
Lynnette tried not to laugh. “Your Highness!”
“It was surprising,” she went on. “But to my mind, that was not the real concern. He was so much less cheerful than I remembered, less happy. Thankfully, he is a bit better about that presently, but I do not think he ever quite found that old mirth again. I still wonder what might have happened to effect such a change in him. He has never told me. Or anyone, as far as I am aware.”
“So you can’t bring yourself to trust him completely as long as he is keeping things from you.”
“Partly, yes, but I also find that it is best never to trust someone completely unless it is the only practical option remaining.”
A lull in the conversation arrived, and Lynnette thought it would die there, but the Queen posed another question before Lynnette could leave the chair.
“Why do you think I decided to give you this job?”
Lynnette found herself hesitating another time. The Queen had not deigned to speak to her this much in quite a while. “To be honest, Your Highness, I’m not sure.”
“Do you dislike it?”
“No. But you could have returned me to the Queen’s Guard instead of inventing an entirely new position for me.”
“That might have been easier, yes. But frankly, you are too frightening for your old job.”
Lynnette blinked. “Frightening?”
“Have you truly not noticed? Your mere presence unsettles most people, including your former comrades. Truthfully, you even unsettle me a little.”
“Oh... I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to--”
“I know. Do not worry. Rather, I should be the one to apologize. I have been taking advantage of that part of you. Having the White Sword on my arm helps me to appear strong in the public eye, you see.”