Faileuba stared at the young novice seated across from her on the grassy knoll intently. “You realize I’m on to you, right?” she declared suddenly. “Don’t you, punk?” The young man stood up suddenly, picked up his lunch, and moved away swiftly. “That’s right! Run!” she declared. “I know a guilty conscience when I see it.”
“Is it from having one?” grumbled Gwydd, as he stepped behind the short Erl woman.
“Nah, I love me, and respect my moral fiber,” proclaimed Fai. “Also, my stunning good looks!”
“And boundless modesty,” noted the Goblin.
“Nahh, don’t have that one,” she said. “Though I am incredibly honest in my opinion of myself.”
Gwydd sighed. “Right.” He shook his head. “Are you… going to stop torturing that poor young man soon?”
She gave an epic shrug. “Ehh, it’s something to do. Plus I don’t like the cut of his giblets.”
“Jib,” said Gwydd quietly.
Fai blinked. “Huh?”
“The word is ‘jib’,” said Gwydd. “It’s… a sort of sail on a ship…”
Fai turned to look at him, puzzled. “Well, that doesn’t make any sense. He doesn’t have a jib for me to not like the cut of…”
“He doesn’t have giblets either,” hissed Gwydd. “The meaning is simply that the man strikes you as off, like a ship with a badly cut sail that strikes you…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” yawned Fai. “Right. What to you know about ships? You’re from White Pine, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” said Gwydd, rubbing his temples. “A city with a good-sized riverine port…”
“Hey, White Pine port is no such thing!” declared Fai. “It’s made out of wood!”
Gwydd redoubled his temple rubbing. “And I was surprised that you were illiterate. On further examination, that should have been obvious…”
“Yeah,” said Fai with a nod. “Like I said--butcher’s daughter.” She frowned at him. “So--is there a reason you’ve been avoiding me and Holdfast?”
“I haven’t been…” began Gwydd.
“Palepole, it has taken you nearly a week to get preachy to me about pestering that young man,” she stated. “By your standards, that is damned odd.”
Gwydd looked away. “Mostly, I was enjoying the break.”
“And you dare insult my conscience,” said Fai, with a grin. “Look--if it’s about me and Holdfast’s thing, and us not telling you--well, it’s complicated. We’ve had some bad experiences with some of your predecessors about it--I mean really, really bad experiences--and knowing can lead to awkwardness…”
“And my finding out like this never occurred to you?” said Gwydd.
“We honestly didn’t think you’d last this long,” answered Fai. “But… look, we’ve been debating telling you for some time, and… honestly, I was leaning towards it.” She shook her head. “You aren’t like most of the scum we’ve hung out with, Gwydd. You’re honest, and brave, and you try to do the right thing. For all the teasing, I like working with you. You make me proud to be a chivalrous warrior.”
Gwydd blinked obviously uncomfortable and a little abashed. “Umm… thanks… I… I never expected you of all people to…” The sound of something crashing to the ground in the way ahead interrupted his sentence.
“Ahh, man!” snapped Fai, turning towards the source of the disturbance. “Does crap have to start now? We were having a moment!”