The woman – the woman it appeared Reynard might belong to – was staring at him. Her eyebrows were raised in clear doubt, and her expression was nothing he’d call a smile, no matter how generously he wanted to color the truth.
He shifted again. He knew that was a bad idea; every time he did it, another thorn pricked him. But he couldn’t help it. He’d never been all that good at sitting still.
“It’s not that exciting of a story.” It was a weak protest, in part because he was pressing against the orders and suggestions she’d put on him, in part because his brain was fogged and his thoughts were moving slower than molasses.
But it was a protest because of those things, too, and so he stalled for time while he tried to come up with a plausible coloring of events he barely remembered.
She gave him three heartbeats to believe he’d gotten a break. “At the moment, fox-boy, it is the most important story of your life, because it determines what happens next. Considering your current situation, I’d tell it carefully, concisely, and well if I were you.”
Was there a single woman who’d graduated Addergoole with a sense of humor?
Well, if he’d gone through Addergoole as a girl, he might not have, either. Reynard shrugged, despite the prickling of poison in his arms, and gifted his probably-Owner with the best smile he could muster up.
“Yes, ma’am. It was something like this…” He dropped his voice, and tried for the storytelling cadences he’d learned from his Mentor.
- Know, oh Mistress (he began), that I am not an evil man, not as aught but the book people would have you believe.
(The woman leaned back, and something that could have been a smile crossed her lips.)
But I was Named truly, and truly I lived up to my Name, ever since the day that the school released me…
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