“You do realise,” I muttered as Evangelique joined me “that these dragons don’t breathe fire.”
She glanced at the title and then scowled at me, but I just scoffed at her and waved to my bed for her to sit as I took the book from her. I turned it over a few times in my hands and held it out for Myro to have a good look at.
He squawked up at me and I hummed in agreement, thoughtful.
“Don’t act like you understand him, you don’t speak bird.”
I rolled my eyes at her, and flipped briefly through the pages of the withered old book, it was practically a relic.
“No I don’t, but neither does he, sister.”
“I didn’t have to show you this book,” She reminded me “I did it because we are sisters, twins, and we shouldn’t be pitted against each other like this.”
I pretended to be interested in the book, really I should have been, but I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“A maid gave you this didn’t she?” I asked softly, and peered at my sister.
“Yes.” Ah, she was defensive, the maid had said something to her.
As had the maid that helped me, offering a small dagger to me that she didn’t want Evangelique to have. The whole thing felt very funny to me, so I discarded the book onto the floor.
Evangelique glared at me, standing and stomping over to pick up the book I had dropped so scathingly, bumping my shoulder as she did so. I let her have her moment, watching as she tucked the book under her arm, the dagger strapped to my arm felt suddenly more dangerous than any of my other weapons.
Which was a lot, as I had full access to the armoury, unbeknown to my father and dearest sister.
“You helped me, or at least you tried to-”
“-so I am going to help you.”
She looked so shocked that I laughed at her, pushing her shoulder playfully. Myro was cawing at me and I looked at him, perched on the bed posts glaring at me angrily. He cawed a little more.
“Oh don’t be childish Myro,” I scolded “one act of kindness deserves another.”
Evangelique stared at him, eyes flicking between the two of us as Myro cawed a little more, flapping his wings at hissing nastily at her. She took a slow, cautious step away.
“If you’re going to be like that you can stay here.”
His attitude changed dramatically, he warbled at me pleadingly and I smiled crossing my arms across my chest. He took the hint and fluttered past Evangelique (wings smacking her face as he passed) and perched softy on my shoulders. You’d never imagine a bird so big could weigh so little.
“That’s better, now, sister dearest, shall we?”
I pushed the door open and waved her through like a servant might, and she clopped delicately out and waited for me to join her. I stared back at my room and flicked my wrist. A light sheen fell over the room, only noticeable if you looked for it, and I closed the door behind me with a click.
I grinned at my sister sweetly, and she scrutinised me as I passed. I tapped Myro on the beak when he shrieked at her and glared, but he pecked my ear affectionately and I snickered. Darn bird, could never stay mad at him for long.
We were silent for the most part, walking in step with an air of importance that only we could manage. For if a Lord or Lady tried to achieve the level of importance we had been born with, they would merely seem pompous.
We had met many pompous nobles in our lifetimes, and each one had been struck down with simply a glance.
It wasn’t until we headed out towards the courtyard that my sister felt the need to speak out.
“Where are you taking me?”
I hid my mirth from her as we walked, nodding and smiling at the soldiers I had befriended out here after so many years of teaching and learning with them. They smiled back at me, some of the younger boys waved excitedly and I couldn’t stop my grin from emerging.
I might not have liked nobles, lords and lady’s, but I loved the soldiers.
“I don’t know what kind of weapons you may or may not have, but I can assure you the ones I am about to show you are far superior.” I told her casually as we came to the guarded armoury.
The guards that were stood either side started to smile at me before they spotted Evangelique and they frowned, hands gripping slightly tighter on their spears. I just shook my head at them softly, and they took a step to the side and I pushed the doors open with a hard shove.
“You are allowed in the armoury?”
“You sound surprised dear sister, just because you can’t stand to be outdoors doesn’t mean I do.” I picked up a broadsword with both hands and held it out to her.
She stared at me and the sword, looking incredulous and I hummed my understanding.
“You’re right,” I placed the broadsword back down without much difficulty “far too big for your puny little arms.”
Myro chortled in his throat and Evangelique glowered at me, but I noticed her quick glances at her arms. I didn’t roll my eyes but it was a near thing, of course she had twig arms, she didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to do drills with the soldiers now did she? I always kept my arms hidden under baggy sleeves, that way nobody saw the lean muscles hiding underneath.
I mused about weapon choice, the dagger strapped to my arm nicking my skin softly as I moved around. Myro pecked at it angrily and I flapped at him to knock him from my shoulder, so he just fluttered onto a stand of daggers and pecked at them.
“Yes I think a short sword would be a better choice, thank you Myro.”
He ducked his head a few times and squawked, so I plucked a short sword from the stands and held it out to my sister eagerly. She looked so reluctant, but she did reach out and timidly took the sword.
I nodded encouragingly, but the moment I took my hands from the blade the point dipped and clanged onto the ground, her hands still tightly around the hilt as she stared at it, confusion etched on her face.
“You actually have to hold it up Eva,” I chortled “and don’t forget to swing it when you’re being attacked.”
She mocked me with a bad impression, and I just shook my head. She lifted the sword point up and held it, frowning in concentration all the while.
“You know what, just stick to daggers.”
I went to take the short sword but she took a slight step back and glowered, unknowingly pointing the point at me as she did so.
“No, I can do this.”
I just shrugged and tossed her the sheath, which made her take her hands from the hilt and drop the sword. I cursed and jumped away from it, and so did Evangelique and for a moment we both just stared down at the sword.
“You were meant to catch it.”
“I didn’t think you-”
“The soldiers normally-”
“…I’ll go pack a bag.”
“You do that.”