The wicked heroine, p.23
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       The Wicked Heroine, p.23

           Jasmine Giacomo


  The ice storm was strong; rain continued to fall for four more days before grudgingly refraining from freezing when it reached the ground. The pair traveled as often as the weather let them. Meena spent a lot of time propped in awkward positions against various trees while Sanych warmed herself by a small fire and cast guilty looks at the Shanallar’s frozen body.

  On the last day of the storm, Meena said, “Sanych, you don’t seem to have predicted this ice storm. How can that be, when you were so accurate with the storm in the Bay of Whales?”

  “Urrh, don’t remind me,” grumped Sanych, to whom this storm was a personal irritant.

  “All right,, I won’t.”

  Sanych answered anyway. “First, the weather up here comes from the north and west, so since we’re coming up from the south I can’t really get a good look at what’s approaching, and second, when I was coming from the north on my way down to search for you, I did predict the possibility of a late winter ice storm, but it was pretty remote. And I did it a season ago. So I hope you’ll forgive the sloppiness; it’s not my best work.”

  Meena looked at the annoyed look on Sanych’s face and knew the girl was only angry with herself. “Well, just this once, then.”

  When the storm finally broke that afternoon, and a relatively tropical drizzle began falling, Sanych stood up in her stirrups and made a rude gesture at the sky. “Hah! Folly take your wits; you can’t be right forever!” she called, and added a few derogatory terms for good measure.

  Meena quirked an eyebrow and rode up alongside Sanych’s horse. “Is this a habit of yours, cursing the sky? In the Ianiu culture, that’d get you stoned to death.”

  Sanych looked down at Meena, then broke into delighted laughter as she sat down in her saddle. “We’re going to make it. I estimate we only lost three days. We should be able to arrive safely and still meet with the Magister before the equinox.”

  Their journey northeast gradually angled as the high road turned north, and they began to pass through Hardysh villages at regular intervals.

  Several days’ travel were spent riding among the massive fruit orchards that dotted Hardyk. A few days’ ride across the Vinten border, the women arrived in the capital city of Highnave.

  It was three days before the Spring Equinox.

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