“You need to rest, darling.” Xe brushed a thumb along hir cheek.

Ze pulled away. “I can’t afford to. I don’t have time.”

Ey had time to deflect the projectile but not well; it embedded itself in eir upper arm, but since the alternative had been the heir’s throat ey couldn’t complain.

Not much anyway.

Ey couldn’t stop the initial yelp of pain. The heir whipped around.

“I’m fine,” ey insisted weakly, but xir sharp eyes were already scanning the brush for the attacker, not out of concern for xirself but because xe was not about to let this person get away with hurting eir.

“Do not use that term again,” ey snapped, then drew back guiltily. “I apologize, it is simply that you do not understand the language or the context behind that particular word.”

“Oh! I’m sorry. Is it something offensive? I mean the princex called you that so I assumed it was a term of respect, I meant no offense.” Ze bit zir lip. “What- what does it mean if you don’t mind me asking?”

“It is… not offensive, just incredibly familiar.” Ey sighed. “The closest translation in this language would be something like ‘beloved’.”

“Why?” the monarch pouted. “Why do you have to be so good at your job?”

Xir advisor turned. “Hm? Would you rather I be bad at it?”

“Well if you were I’d have an excuse to keep you here within the palace walls all to myself instead of having to send you off to do diplomacy all the time.” Xe drew the advisor close, resting xir head on eir shoulder. “I’ve half a mind to do that anyway.”