Lilly stepped lightly through the well-ornamented halls of Brass Castle, a bottle of fine wine gripped in one hand and two crystal glasses in the other. Lilly demanded the finest of alcohol, and Louis had told her it was the best they had available on such short notice. Normally, she would have sent Reed or Samus - or both - out into the night to fetch one of Borus' stock, but she was feeling in a good mood that evening. She even whistled a merry ditty as she made her way down the immense corridor to her destination.
Coming to a halt, she rapped her delicate knuckles on the heavy set of wooden doors before her. No answer. She sighed quite audibly and rapped again. Still no answer. Bitting back a growl, she kicked at the door - unable to properly beat her fist on it due to the delicate objects she carried - and bellowed, "Chris Lightfellow, open the damn door!" not caring just who else would hear her. Sure enough, a pair of guards heads poked out from behind a corner and stared in her direction, but upon noticing who the source was, just as quickly ducked back out of sight.
Unable to withstand Lilly's ire, the door creaked open and the silver-maned head of Chris Lightfellow emerged from within. Her eyes widened when she saw who was demanding her presence. "Lilly? Wha-"
Lilly cut her off by primly shoving her aside and entering her chambers. "Took you long enough! Here I am, requesting my dear friend's company the night before you depart, and you make me wait at your door!" She swept over to a table and set the wine and glasses atop it. "Have you ever been informed that your manners resemble those of an ox? Never keep a lady waiting, Chris! Honestly!"
Chris could only stare, dumbfounded with eyebrows raised, as Lilly made herself quite at home. She'd been going over the plans for tomorrow, and hadn't heard anything at her door until the clamour moments prior. She sighed and walked over to join her at the table. "Lilly, it's probably not a good idea for me to drink tonight..."
Her concerns were met with a snort. "Nonsense! There's no BETTER time to drink than now." Lilly seated herself and pointed at the other chair. "Sit."
The knight could only do as commanded and sat down across from Lilly, watching her pour the red wine into the two glasses. When she was done, she nudged one glass over to Chris, then scooped up her own. "To friends," she said, tipping her glass in her own direction. "And to lost causes," she concluded, tipping the glass at her companion.
Chris furrowed her brow at the second half of Lilly's toast. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked as Lilly sipped her wine.
"Only that you're too stuffy for your own good," she replied. "Live a little, Chris! Live like the next day might be your last!" Lilly glanced at her wine briefly before downing the contents, then glared at Chris, who had yet to partake.
Chris sighed and sipped lightly. "You sound foolish, Lilly. Tomorrow won't be my last day, nor yours. It's a battle, like any others."
She jumped in her chair as Lilly slammed the bottle down on the table, her eyes flashing. "It is NOT like any other, Chris, and you know that!" She gulped down another full glass and started pouring more. "What if you don't come back tomorrow? What about Hugo and Geddoe? What if the enemy wins?"
Chris blinked at her companion, and set her glass on the table. Lilly, as confounding as the woman was, spoke the truth. There was a very legitimate chance none of them would return safely to their homes, a chance that her knights would be mourning another loss. "You're right," she said softly. "There's never any guarantees on the field."
"Then drink with me, dammit!" Lilly yelled, downing yet another glass.
Chris gave in and drank some of the wine in her glass. For a few moments, both were silent. A few raindrops pelted the stain glass window, but neither paid them any heed. Thoughts bounced around the lady knight's head - thoughts of the past few months, of tomorrow's engagement, of the peculiar companion she'd now found herself spending the evening hours with. She finished her first glass and set back on the table, watching the red-head across from her as she went through the motions of consuming nearly the entire bottle herself.
Lilly, as always, was the first to break the silence. "You're my best friend, ya'know that, Chris?" she said, slurring her words a bit. "I don't wanna lose my best friend tomorrow."
Chris arched an eyebrow, not used to seeing a side of Lilly not overflowing with ire or dripping with disdain. She found it equally surprising that her companion considered her a 'best' friend, or really, a friend at all. She thought of others who called her 'friend'. Her knights? Well, Percival was the only one who didn't insist on holding her atop a gilded pedestal, but they weren't close by any means, no moreso than any of the others. Any other residents of Zexen were virtually the same; she wasn't a person to them, merely the Silver Maiden.
Hugo and the other Karayans were nice folk, but she could hardly bridge the gap and truly befriend them, not after what she and her knights had done to their village. Geddoe and his company were fairly self-contained and had their own camaraderie, one she couldn't hope to penetrate.
Images flooded her mind, most of the first night she and Lilly had met, at the Zexen anniversary ball. A cutting insult, a retort in the form of a backhand to the face, the tossing of wine, the lobbing of tables. And in the end, laughter at their mutual foolishness. Lilly had declared Chris to be her 'best friend' even then, but they'd not spoken since that night. Not 'til the fiery Pendragon had stumbled into Hugo's company while hunting the Flame Champion, and thus found herself a part of the same incredible story as Chris herself.
She chuckled; she and Lilly were nothing alike but seemed destined to be friends. Perhaps even, yes, best friends. "You won't lose me, Lilly," she finally replied to the increasingly intoxicated woman. A smirk formed on her lips. "Who else could tolerate your antics?"
Lilly barked a laugh and leaned heavily on the table. "Yeah, you're prob'ly right 'bout that, Chris!"
The two smiled at each other, which then broke into peels of laughter. After several minutes of the jovial mood, Lilly lifted the now-empty wine bottle and sighed. "Sure went fast, huh?"
Chris smiled. "Perhaps that's the sign it's time for bed. For you, that is. I still have work to do." She stood and circled around the table to help Lilly to her feet, which she managed with some difficulty.
"Hey, I can walk ya'know!" She shook off Chris' hands and stumbled a few steps before stopping and rocking back and forth on her heels. "Okay, maybe not so much..."
Chris chuckled and took hold of Lilly's arm to help her to the door. When they reached it and Chris was about to let her go and bid her good night, Lilly whirled around, hair fluttering behind her, and wrapped her friend in the tightest of hugs. Chris could only return it, wrapping her arms hesitantly around Lilly's shoulders. "Lilly?"
"Don't you dare die tomorrow, Chris," she whispered, a few tears leaking from the corners of her eyes. "By all the higher powers in this world, you'd better come back." Before Chris could respond, Lilly stepped back out of the hug abruptly, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand. "After all," she sniffled, "think of how lavishly wonderful the celebration will be. I'd hate to attend it alone."
Chris shook her head with amazement, but smiled nonetheless. "Wear your finest, Lilly. I'll even give you that dance you asked for all those years ago."
"That's a promise!" the red-head exclaimed, stumbling through the doorway and down the hall. "That's a damn promise, Chris Lightfellow..." she whispered once out of earshot.