“Daniel is over there, across this meadow. He’s gone rather a long way, hasn’t he?”
Aoife whitened, though her voice was calm. “Blaise has gone off, and he’s going after her. Silly idiots.”
“Dan!” Vinzent raised his voice from a temperate murmur to an ear-splitting shout which echoed across the valley. The red-headed fugitive turned, but they could not see the expression on his face. He yelled something, but the words were lost.
“I’ll go after him, and send him back to you,” Vinzent told Aoife, and promptly set off at a sprint across the meadow before she could so much as consider a protest.
Daniel was waiting for him. “I called her, saying she was an idiot, but she wouldn’t come back. She just kept going on and on and on, and wouldn’t let me come near enough to grab her. What shall I do now?”
“You would have done better not to have called her an idiot.”
“But she is one.”
“What she is doing is idiotic, but there is a difference between an idiot and a person who does something idiotic.”
Dan made some garbled grunt.
“Where is she?”
“Over there.” Daniel pointed to where a red-headed girl could be seen clinging to the edge of a rock outcrop, nearly halfway up the vertical cliff some thirty feet high.
Vinzent swore under his breath. He was glad that Aoife could not see the girl. “Go back to your cousin, and don’t let her come any further than where she is now. If she sees Blaise I’ll never forgive myself. I won’t be long. Go back to the tent and find Dee, and when your brother arrives send him on up here. Run, Dan!”
Daniel, who was looking scared, obeyed, and Vinzent advanced towards the ridge, an angry look painting his usually mild face. Halting just below the girl, who was ten feet or so above, he embarked upon his mission.
“Blaise Elizabeth Thimble, come down from there immediately!”
The girl threw a stubborn glance over her shoulder. “I won’t, and I won’t for anyone just now.”
“No. It’s a free world.”
“The world is many things, but free it is not.”
“Declaration of Human Rights.”
“And if you like to kill yourself…?”
“Seriously, Miss. That is a very dangerous thing to do. If your foot slipped just a tiny bit, you would be a heap of bones on the ground here.”
“Give me credit for a bit of common sense. I know what I’m doing, and if I don’t, you’ll catch me.”
“Sense? You run away from a harmless game, nearly a mile from where you’re meant to be and start climbing a dangerous cliff with nobody watching. I don’t think sense is the quite right word for your escapade.”
“I was going to go back after.”
“You think that would improve your situation if you fell and broke your leg?”
“Dan followed me.”
“And if he hadn’t?”
“I’d have lived.”
“That’s your choice.”
“Yes it is; now leave me alone!”
Vinzent looked grim. Reasoning would not help, though he would have expected Blaise to be more of a diplomat, wanting to be a lawyer and all. He had one last trick up his sleeve. “What when Aoife sees you? What will she think?”