This week, the focus is on Heiress Royale Samantha Brussard. I think I touched on all four prompts, in order from most directly to least directly:
- One of the characters is revealed to be not who or she is
- A character lies to another on an important matter
- Someone is killed or almost killed
- A relationship becomes complicated
Naveli let out a deep sigh as we walked into the tavern and she saw the waitress, and I tried not to roll my eyes in response. She thinks that she’s so discreet liking girls.
We split up without saying anything, Tom heading over towards the restrooms, Naveli taking a seat near her dusky darling… and me? I went up to the bar. “Excuse me; I’m wondering if you could help me find someone.”
“Certainly I can, your Highness,” the little bartender assured me. “Be you wanting more spells? If Magic Moments doesn’t stock what you’re after, then isn’t in Renaissance.”
I blinked and tried to keep my cool. “What makes you think that I’m royal?”
“Ah, that’d be my nose, Highness.” He lifted his somewhat long and pointy sniffer. “I can always smell out a magik-user, and such a great and beautiful Sorceress would have to be royal, now wouldn’t you? Which royal family, I can’t tell, except I think you’re not one of the Chang Dynasty.”
“Well, no I’m not,” I muttered. “And I’m not looking for more spells, or intelligent animals, or a fight. Is – has there been anybody particularly strange coming into town recently? Not counting my friends and me, I mean.”
“Particularly strange? Highness, this is Renaissance. Everybody here is strange.”
Tom came along the bar to meet me. “Why don’t you just ask him straight out about a shifter, my darling?” he asked.
I turned to look at Tom, annoyed, as the little bartender did a dramatic take. “You’re looking for shape-changing demigods, Highness? In this back-of-nowhere town? Boy, are you snarling up the wrong tree.”
I wasn’t so sure about that, as I looked at Tom. “Why did you tell him straight out like that?
“Well, umm, it hardly seemed worthwhile to beat around the bush,” he said. “You weren’t getting anywhere with the ‘someone strange’ routine, now were you? Now at least he’s talking.”
On one level that made sense, but it wasn’t the sort of thing I’d usually expect Tom to say. He’s a big fan of the slow and circuitous route generally. “That’s a good point, honey. You’re so smart about practical details like that. We should announce the date for our wedding as soon as we get back home, wouldn’t you say?”
Rather a big non sequitur, I know, but he took the bait. “I can’t wait, darling.”
I backed away just a little and started running through a spell pattern in my mind, the variant of ‘float on air’ that Naveli blundered onto during her training. Tom figured out what I was doing partway through and charged towards me, but he was too late – the spell took full effect and blew every stitch of clothing off his body in shreds of fabric, right down to the undershorts.
I was glad that I hadn’t lost my nerve there. The impostor was perfect, except for his – private organ, which was green and barbed. I might be a proper virgin, but I knew that wasn’t human.
Before I could challenge the shifter, he was charging me, scooping my body up in his arms and tossing me across the tavern towards the jukebox. I wasn’t sure how badly I’d have been hurt if I’d landed there – probably it wouldn’t have been fatal. But I was glad when a cloud of thick air gathered me into its embrace and cushioned my flight, depositing me in an empty chair.
Naveli was now glaring at the shifter with steady eyes. “Hey, bud, nobody picks on my big sister like that but me!”