Rin stood in front of Girey’s goat, trying to look imposing despite her bare feet and loose hair. The goat nibbled on her hair, un-worried by the sudden shift in events. Girey tried not to laugh, and tried harder than that not to bolt. His hands itched for his sword.
“Right this way.” The Callenian voices had the thick border accent he was more used to, their vowels sounding properly rounded, unlike the way his captor talked, with the short hasty sounds of their northern capital. But they sounded angry, and angry wasn’t something he wanted to deal with, chained to a goat and without a weapon.
“Give me my sword,” he hissed. “Or at least a knife.”
“Stay there and stay quiet.” Her voice was just as low, and she’d shifted back to Callenian.
“Right through here.” The voices were just on the other side of the brush now, pushing through. “They keep taking the side road here, like they think we won’t find them here. Avoiding the main routes.”
“It does help avoid the army.” Impossibly, Rin’s accent had gotten even shorter, and she seemed to have gotten taller. She faced the intruders head-on, despite her apparent lack of weapons.
They stopped short as they entered the clearing, two men and a woman in huntsmen’s garb and with the muddled-bloodlines look of the borderlands. “I heard two Bitrani strays over here.” The man in charge, as tall as Girey and twice as broad, sounded offended.
“You heard myself and my captive.” She gestured at Girey, and he tried to look more… captive, or something. He didn’t deal well with this whole idea. He was a prince!
“Why were you talking in Bitrani, then? And what are you doing all bare?”
The woman, closer to Rin’s size and closer to Girey’s coloration, punched the big man in the arm. “Don’t be a moron, don’t you see what’s going on?”
What was going on? Girey hunched lower on his goat. No, don’t let them recognize him. He wasn’t sure his pride could take that, being jeered at by peasants.
“Oh-ho-ho.” The big man guffawed. “Begging your pardon, miss. Yes, I see. Listen, we’ll let you two finish up, but if you aren’t too… ah-ha-ha… too busy, why don’t you stop down into town for the wedding today? We know what it’s like, bringing home a war-spouse. We do, don’t we, Ririna?”
“That we do.” The woman giggled throatily. Her eyes were raking over Girey in a way that left him feeling a bit dirty and completely naked. “Bring him by, miss. We’d like to see how he cleans up.”
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