Moon woke up feeling like eyes were on him and rolled away from Chime's warmth to the edge of his bed, looking down. Ember was standing below, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. Moon sighed, slumping a bit, then waved the kid up. Pearl must have been busy and Stone had been serious when he said that Ember was all his.
The bed swung gently as Ember lighted on the edge of the bed before lay down and curled into him and Moon whispered, “What's wrong?”
“Nothing,” Ember whispered back. “I'm lonely.”
Of course he was. He'd gone from beloved and pampered at a bustling court to this court which was split cleanly in half and no one wanted to talk to him. Moon sighed, patted his head, and willed himself to go to sleep.
He woke again to the feel of eyes on him and turned his head to see Pearl crouched on the edge of his bed, an unreadable look on her face. She caught him looking and motioned for him to follow her. He carefully slid from between Ember and Chime, watched Chime wrap around Ember in Moon's absence, and followed Pearl from the consorts' bowers to the queens'.
She motioned for him to sit and sat across from him. “I see you've become aware of my problem.”
“Ember's lonely,” he said, shrugging. “It won't kill him.”
She scowled at him, obviously resisting the urge to snap at him. “I would like for him to be happy.”
Moon didn't want to get involved in Pearl's affairs. They were really none of his business, except when they curled up in his bed. He pursed his lips but finally said, “Maybe you should set a guard aside especially for him.”
“He has guards,” Pearl said, waving that away.
“He has a rotation of your guards,” Moon corrected. “Maybe he should have his own, so that he can get used to the same people. Having familiar faces would probably help.”
He was prepared for her to dismiss it simply because he'd suggested it, but she surprised him by grimacing and asking, “And who do you think that should be?”
Moon looked down, fiddling with his bracelet as he thought about it. Not River or Drift. They'd make the kid's life miserable. Finally, he shrugged. “Vine and Floret are the only ones I really know well. Maybe Briar and Aura. I tend to stick to the Arbora, honestly.”
Pearl tilted her head, studying him. “Yes, I'd noticed that.” She didn't ask why he preferred the Arbora. She wasn't stupid, after all, just difficult. She waved a hand at him with a little sigh. “I'll consider what you said.”
He chafed at the dismissal but stood and headed for the door. He stopped on the threshold and sighed before turning to her. “His clutchmates are all Aeriat. Maybe you should ask Emerald Twilight if they could bear to part with a couple, to keep him company.”
Pearl looked perturbed but didn't sneer at the suggestion. Moon decided that he should probably leave while her mind was occupied.