The problem of Arya

Nikko found Valenzuela relaxing in the chamber, reclined on a chair, having just put Yohn to bed.  He went up to her.  Valenzuela looked up at him.

“You have your serious face on.”

He smiled, but paused.

“What is it?”
“Your sister.”

Valenzuela sat up.  “Who? Arya? What about her?”
Nikko sighed but then just tried to say what was on his mind.

“She… she’s been giving me undue attention.”

Valenzuela laughed.  “Undue attention?  What does that mean?”
“The way she looks at me…. I’m not comfortable with it.”
“In what way does she look at you?”

Nikko sat opposite and sighed again.  “Lustfully”.

Valenzuela laughed again.  “Really?  Well, I can see why.”  She smiled at him lasciviously.

“Stop it.  I’m serious.  She is on the verge of flirting with me.”
“I’m sorry, but you are desirable.”
“Only to the queen, no-one else.”
“I’m very glad of your unquestioned loyalty.”

She paused, thinking. “Hmm… she is at a bit of a loss.  She has found work at the mayor’s chambers but she also wanted to be a warrior.  But we can’t just ask her to leave.  This is as much her home…”
“I may have a solution.”
“Oh?”
“I believe she also lusts after Til.”
“Til?  But I thought she didn’t like him!”
“That was when she was a teenager.  No, I saw the way they looked at each other tonight.”

“Your father noticed it too.”
“Oh?  So, what are you suggesting?”
“Marry her off to Til, of course.”
“But she’s always said she doesn’t want to marry or have babies.”
“That was before, before she met the warrior that Til has now become.  I think she can be persuaded.”

Valenzuela smiled.  “Yes.  I think you’re right.  She just hadn’t met the right man.  Excellent idea.  But…”
“But?  I don’t see a flaw?”
“My father is old.  When he’s gone, and when Arya’s gone…”
“I think Bard would be happy to take Hano’s quarters.”
Valenzuela nodded, seeing the sense in that.  “Good.  I’ll talk to Arya.”

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