"Hide!" said Astra.
Agra didn't need to be told twice, she was already on her way to a staircase. Astra didn't want to eavesdrop, but the voices were a little too clear at the landing where Agra stopped.
"...which is why," said their mother, "I'm sure you'll allow me to invite you out for a little entertainment, Lord Dred."
"Why thank you, Your Majesty," said an adult, male voice, "but I wish to be no burden."
"Ridiculous, Sir. We already have everything prepared."
Astra tried to contain herself from saying anything. The artificiality of the situation was just sickening. Each one of them trying to suck-up to the other for some unknown benefit.
"Well Ma'am, if you insist, but only so your preparations do not go to naught. Tell me, what will we be doing on this day, which like all days in Aquilaria has been blessed by such beautiful weather?"
"Weatherby, if you please."
"Yes, Your Majesty," said a new voice, which could only belong to Weatherby.
There was the sound of a scroll being unfolded violently, after which Weatherby read quickly, and obviously making an effort not to sound bored, "In accordance with the Aquilarian traditions in arms, His Highness, Lord Dred D'Honaire, Duke of Suffex, Duchy of Allaria, will be enjoying a hunt in the vicinity of the palace, in the company of Her Majesty, the Queen of Aquilara, until sundown, or until the quarry is delivered death."
"Ah, very well," said Lord D'Honaire. "And what shall we be, ahem, 'delivering death' to?"
"It is, as I understand it, a quarry that has been traditional in Allaria for centuries: the red fox."
"Indeed it has. But forgive my ignorance, Your Majesty: I thought there weren't any foxes in the Aquilarian jungle?"
"Ignorance? Not at all! Foxes are indeed not native to Aquilaria. This specimen has been imported for your enjoyment. How do you find it?"
"Quite quaint, Your Majesty. Your foresight does not cease to amaze me."
"You know Agra," whispered Astra, "he says that every time he comes here. Agra?"
Astra glanced sideways, but Agra was no longer there! She looked up and down the staircase, but couldn't find her.
1/14/2010 7:04:05 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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