The Mage's Circle healer gave Borysko a very sharp glare when the warrior delivered Drakon to be treated.
"What have you been doing?" he demanded, rolling up his sleeves and laying his wrinkled old hand on Drakon's pale forehead. Borysko shrugged; he didn't actually want to get the boy in trouble for playing with spells he shouldn't, so he went vague instead.
"Just playing about, I guess."
Unimpressed with this flagrant lie, the healer gave the warrior another stern look. But he was a kindly soul at heart, and assumed that if anything truly dreadful had happened the warrior would be telling him the truth. So he dropped the issue and got back to business.
"He'll be fine with a rest, it's just spell exhaustion. He needs peace and quiet, though, so I suggest you leave for the time being-warriors do clank so."
Only too grateful to be given the afternoon off, Borysko ignored the insult to his chain mail and went to collect his sword. With it belted securely to his hip once again, he decided he really, really needed a drink. The Pig and Bee, a rather disreputable tavern in the scummier area of town, fitted the bill nicely.
That boy'll be the death of me, he thought gloomily as he nursed his third ale in a quiet corner, ignoring the rest of the tavern's clientele. I don't see why he really needs me anyway. Just because he happens to be the son of the King...
It should be an honour to be guarding a prince, he knew. It also carried a not inconsiderable salary. The trouble was, this prince was undercover so really there was little for his bodyguard to do, and he was also insufferable. It probably came from being brought up having your every whim catered for. Borysko's earlier remarks about Pheonixes and thatched cottages had been brought on by an episode of Drakon using him to practise curses on; it had been painful, not to mention rather humiliating. In actual fact, he was now considering angry Pheonixes to be the safer option, especially after what had just happened. Turning a bear into a human! By the seven Gods, what next? Turning sparrows into eagles?
"Mages are more trouble than they're worth," he said out loud, and was startled to hear a voice beside him reply.
"My thoughts exactly."
"Who are you?" the warrior enquired rather aggressively, turning to face the figure. Somewhat to his surprise, it was a slim woman with jet-black hair; she was beautiful, with olive skin and a perfect figure. Her skin was patterned with scars, picked out in gold paint that added an exotic and rather disconcerting touch. But it was a beauty that had been cultivated to distract people from the naked unpleasantness of the soul beneath. While her eyes were chocolate-brown and melting, they held a malevolent glint in their depths, and her full-lipped mouth was curved in a smile that held mockery beneath the surface.
She gave Borysko the creeps.
"What do you want?" he demanded, more roughly than normal. This woman threw him completely off balance; his mind oscillated wildly between fervent attraction and extreme mistrust.
The woman's smile widened. Her eyes held a slightly predatory glint.