“Turn around. I’m dressed. Or at least close enough.” Jessica sat on the heated bench wrapped in a robe and covered with a blanket. Steam rose from her damp uncovered hair. “Can you make sure the soldier I took the sword from gets it back? I think her name is [something].”
Prince Carta turned. “Yes, [something]. She was a bit astonished when you took—”
“—pissed no doubt.” Carta grimaced. She knew he preferred to gloss her rougher edges, but she saw no point in misleading anyone with pretty words.
“Even so. She will not take it back now.”
“Shit! Have I ruined some other tradition here in fantasy land? Sullied her family blade made by Haru-karu-kami…sami…san himself and passed down through generations of [something]s after being touched by some crazy woman from Earth? Jesus, you people are twitchy.”
Carta sighed. One of the reasons Jessica enjoyed letting herself get angry around him was because she knew he could absorb it. His pretty words and polite demeanor could take whatever abuse she threw at him and diffuse it like [something poetic here]. Blah blah blah. Even when she baited him with phrases like ‘fantasy land’ and ‘Earth’ he could stay on focus. Though she suspected he was storing those bits away for another time and another conversation.
[snip: indirect dialogue about what a prince like him has time for]
“Now that the blade has slain a dragon, [something] will consider it a gift to you. She would not take such a gift back. In fact, should you see her again, she will most likely apologize for not giving it to you sooner.”
“So, I can’t give it back. “
“And I can’t pay her for it?”
“Can I give her a gift in return?”
“You could have had you not slain a dragon with it first.”
“Can’t undo that.”
“Is she a good soldier? Good at killing and stuff?”
“There’s more to it than that.”
“Is she good at the ‘more to it than that’ stuff too?”
“She’s under [someone else]. His troops are well respected.”
“Promote her then.”
“Then let me talk to [someone else]. I’ll gt him to do it.”
“He’s well-respected for a reason.”
Jessica huffed. And raised her eyebrows abrupted and expectantly.
“He’s well-respected for a reason, and that reason is that he would refuse on her behalf because he would know you were only trying to pay her for the gift.”
“It’s not a goddamn gift when you snatch it out of someone’s hand!”
“Even still?” she asked.
“Even still,” he agreed.
Jessica walked to the ledge where the bath water smoothed over the side of the stone wall. Her robe trailed a damp path behind her. It steamed into the cold mountain air. She had an idea early, but made Carta wait before telling him.
“Since stealing is such a gift then tell [someone else] that I’ll just take [something]. She can be my bodyguard and…fantasyland translator.”
“Very well. Tandi tells me the troops are quitting the field, and I’d like to contact [someone else] before he departs. Is there anything else, Dame Matthews?”
Jessica tried not to be surprised at his easy acceptance of her demand. “That will be all. You are dissmissed.”
546 words on day 715