The wicked heroine, p.10
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       The Wicked Heroine, p.10

           Jasmine Giacomo


  “And the sword?” asked Imorlar, finishing up the test interview the next day.

  “I returned it to your brother-in-law earlier this afternoon. He was quite glad to finally get his hands on it.” Geret’s dark eyebrows twitched up for a moment. “He didn’t tell you yet?” Then Geret couldn’t hold in his laughter anymore, and he let the sound roll around the room at the look on Imorlar’s face. Apparently the seneschal hadn’t thought Geret would learn of his connection with the sword’s owner.

  Imorlar closed his mouth, and then opened it, saying, “Very well done, Geret. You didn’t disappoint. Your talents and focus are to be commended.”

  “Thank you, my lord,” said Geret, calming back down to a mostly serious tone. “When can I get to the hard stuff, the real stuff?”

  “I have something for you right away, Geret. But I must see to a detail first. Meet me here tomorrow morning, and I should be ready to fill you in.”

  “Yes, my lord,” Geret said, rising to his feet and turning to go.

  “Oh, and Geret.”

  “Yes?” The young man turned back around.

  “I have only two rules for you now. One: no more pranks. Not even to accomplish a task, like you did with Salvor yesterday. And two: don’t ever get caught, or you’re on your own.”

  “Of course, my lord. I’ve always been on my own.”

  Imorlar pressed his lips together and nodded. “So you have, son. Your father’s long diplomatic missions away can’t have been easy on you, with your mother gone.”

  Darkness clouded Geret’s eyes for a moment. “No, my lord, they weren’t.”

  “But you’re family here. The Magister looks after his own. That’s why he brought you here. Lord Geret.”

  Geret’s brow wrinkled at Imorlar’s deliberate use of his title; he’d never had use for it until he moved here. He also doubted that the Magister felt much personal affection for him, but he nodded anyway and responded, “Yes, my lord.”

  “Tomorrow morning, then,” Imorlar said, dismissing Geret with a wave of his hand and ending the emotionally awkward moment. He picked up a piece of parchment on his desk and began to read it.

  Geret turned to go, took two steps toward the large, dark wooden door, and then turned back. He couldn’t leave yet, not without telling the whole truth.

  “And my lord, just so you know…”

  Imorlar raised his head again. “Yes, Geret?”

  “Your pipeweed’s about half ash. Salvor’s shaving it down before he sells it. Just so you know,” he repeated, grinning, before he turned and slipped out the door.

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