CHAPTER 28 - Of a Feud

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"Cora, can't you see, she is tired?"

"But we just started. Get up, Eleni. You need to run two more laps," the woman instructed her daughter firmly, not paying any heed to her husband.

"M-Mother, can I take a small break?" the girl panted, speaking in her lisp.

"You just took a break," the woman glared at the girl but her father cut in.

"Yes, sunflower, you can take a break. Go on in, drink some water."

The girl threw a scared glance at her mother before running inside the small house. But she could clearly hear the voices of her parents talking.

"Why are you overworking her?"

"Is there any other way? How is she going to survive this cruel world?" The woman scoffed.

"You are not the only one who's afraid of that. But she is still a kid. Have mercy."

"You never know, what might happen. It's better to be prepared, don't you think?"

The man gravely nodded.

"If she were at Terraskee, she would have been doing the same thing."

The man smirked playfully, putting an arm around his wife's shoulders, "You do boast a lot about that. Let me tell you, the children at Igniskee undergo the same training as well. My son was... is great at archery." The man closed his eyes.

The woman sighed, resting her head over her husband' shoulder. "I know you miss him, Egan. It's a shame that our baby cannot get the best of either of the Realms."

The six-year-old, gobbled a loaf of bread, dropping crumbs allover her dress, as she listened to her parents. Not having a care in the world.

***

The events of the previous night, had found a permanent residence in my head. Lord Ralph's gentle face, turning furious; my supposedly normal sundial, suddenly glowing. It was now locked in an old trunk, since carrying it around was dangerous. Sundials weren't supposed to do that.

I entered the tent and sat beside Rosa, who was silently humming a jolly tune. I looked into her parchment and found her trying out a new typeface. If she would be satisfied with the designs of all the letters, I would have to learn it and practice it until my hand flew on the pages on their own accord.

"Hey, Rosa, can I ask you a question?"

"Of course," she smiled sweetly at me, her silvery eyes, welcoming.

"I read somewhere that some sundials are different," I said with as much nonchalance as I could muster.

She put a finger on her chin, "Different as in, do you mean magical?"

I nodded.

"Of course. But they are rare, I suppose," she shook her head, "very ancient stuff. Only the mysterious Summer Realm does these sorts of things."

I nodded.

"The House of Aries in particular – you know High Queen Brianna's collection."

I sucked in a breath, trying to keep my expressions neutral. Rosa was oblivious of the effect that this conversation was having on me.

"I bet every generation of Arien royals got a shiny magic sundial," she mused, "But why do you ask suddenly?"

I smiled with clenched teeth, "As I said, I read somewhere about it."

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