Azem was greatly reluctant to leave Arries in her unstable frame of mind. As she took his paw and held it in her own, the softness of her fur remained on the nerves of his fingers. She smiled that soft genuine smile, and he felt a crimson blush creep up on his cheeks as their eyes met. He barely had a moment to physicaly react before he felt himself being pulled to his feet and pushed gently towards the stairs.
"Arries, no, please! I won't leave you, not in this state! I'm only trying to help! Please let Azroel and me take care of you!"
But the wildcat had already left him at the top of the stairs on the threshold to the bedroom, taking her paws off and stepping backwards nervously. Azem felt his mind whirl with a gamut of conflicting thoughts, then finally turned around and faced her, lifting her chin to look into those beautiful feline eyes…one last time.
"I can't think of the best way to say this, so I'll just come right out and say it. I've always thought that you have the cutest and most adorable smile ever, for a cat. I just had to get that off my chest; take it as you wish. It doesn't mean anything deep or serious, just a compliment. Judge me if you wish. Either way, it's been an honor serving under you. May we meet again, and until then, Azroel and me draw our blades and fight for you, Arries."
Azem let her go and matched her smile gracefully. Bowing one final time, he turned on his heel and left the room, never looking back and returning to the main dining area. He toom a seat beside his brother and listened to the latter half of the squirrelmaid's story. Azroel looked to him in concern, but thought better of making any kind of joke upon seeing the crestfallen expression on his face. Neither of them were in any real mood of humor of any sort.
Grundlink tapped his claws on the table as Arries the squirrelmaid concluded her curious (and strangely fortunate) tale of the mysterious beast named Starlight. He could barely form an opinion of it.
"A powerful tale ye related, miss Arries. I admire your bravery an' courage t' tell it, as difficult as it must be for ye. What I want t' know is this: how can ye be sure this Starlight will trust us? In what way or sayin' what words we ought t' tell or show her that we are friends o' yours? What do we do, exactly? Don't want t' mean any harm, only show that we only require her services an' aid? Ideas?"
He looked to the foxes for inspiration or suggestions, but both shrugged regretfully. Grundlink sighed and turned to Cockleburr, but his mouth was full of food. He looked back at Arries and took her paws tenderly in his own.
"Come now, miss Arries. There has t' been somethin', some talisman or a weapon or even a scrap o' paper, anythin' at all. Cast your memory as far back is it can possibly go. Help us out here. We just can't leave without a determined destination, an' if this Starlight lass get suspicious, she could kill us on sight without askin' questions! We are not o' th' Emperor, so what do we do?"