The next morning the travelers awoke to birdsong from the trees above. Gumbing and sore, they sat up, and as Rudolph rummaged through to bag for some breakfast, Alisen began to clean up the clearing. Still blinking the bright sunlight out of his eyes, Rudolph handed the last few strips of meat to Alisen.
"That's the last of the food, Alisen," he said. "We'll need to find another town by tonight to get more."
"That'd be a great plan, Ru dolph, ecept that we don't know where the heck we are. Why don't we go back and ask for a map or something?"
"No!" Ru dolph shouted unintentionally. Seeing Alisen's curious glance, he added. We should kept moving forward. We... can't go back."
"I can't believe you're still keeping things from me, Rudolph. Even now, even after everything. Why can't we go back?"
"The two men that we-- you knocked out last night. Apparently they were going to come back for us. And not alone either. I just wanted to get you out and get both of us to safety."
"I am so fed up with you. Why did you think you had to keep this from me? I'm thie one that saved you yesterday, if you remember. I'm not some naive, defenseless, little princess!" She spat the words at him with such forced that he had to step back, and he cringed at the reference to Isadora. He had told her about his life as a stablehand, but had never mentioned that Isadora was a princess. He'd hoped she would assume Isadora was another servant at the palace. But the names of the royal family were common knowledge. He shouldn't have assumed that just because Alisen had been in Taliss's cave for a few months that she'd forgotten what every village child knew. And it seemed that Alisen had put two and two together, thanks to his brainlessness, and she'd hate him all the more for not telling her that he was in love with the princess.
"That's it, Rudolph. I'm done. You'd think 2 weeks in a cave with someone would be enough to get to know them, but I guess not. I thought you cared, but now I see that I'm wrong. Goodbye, Rudolph."