Cole watched as Malachai instructed Ruby on how to throw a proper punch. He stood behind her, positioning her arms. Cole glared at their proximity. The woodsman's body was grazing Ruby's at an intimate angle. Or had he merely imagined that it was ? Cole cleared his throat intrusively.
Ruby, whose body was tense with unease, was grateful for the less than subtle interruption. She was never the touchy, feely kind.
Malachai pinned a simple pendant on each of their shirts; A leaf, far less exquisite than Cole's feather. They were instructed that the first person to steal the other's pendant would win the challenge.
Ruby winked at Cole, with a forced bravado. He crossed his arms, and offered her a wry smile.
Ruby stepped away from Malachai and closer to her opponent. "I can't wait to wipe that Smirk off your face, Highness."
Cole laughed. "Come at me!" He stretched his arms out theatrically.
"Traditionally that is not how one initiates a challenge or fight."
They both ignored Malachi.
Ruby stared down her friend, ready to leap at any given moment. Her eyes gleamed wickedly in the moment before he accurately predicted her first move. She charged Cole carelessly, and he counteracted by flipping her on her back.
"One point for the Starborn King!" Malachai beckoned, from the corner in which he stood.
Ruby's adrenaline grew with her agitation. She rolled over before he could snatch her pendant. She quickly sprung to her feet and lunged at Cole.
Cole laughed as she barreled into him. He barely staggered. Ruby looked to Malachai for better instruction. Cole took advantage of Ruby's misdirected attention. He caught her off guard and knocked her back on the ground. The plush feather mats softened the blow.
Ruby covered Cole's face with one hand and covered her pendant with the other. Cole nipped her palm with his teeth.
"Oh well, this is most unconventional!" Malachai noted.
" You think?" Cole retorted."Your making me fight a girl Malachai, what did you-"
His words were cut off as Ruby channeled a new strength. She pushed him off of her. He rolled on his back . She was quick to straddle him.
As soon as she reached for his pendant his hand clasped around her wrist. A current of warm electricity swept through her. Her eyes locked with Cole's. The shock that flooded his features softened into condusion. His lips parted, as if in silent questioning. All rational thoughts fled Ruby's mind and she wondered; Was it possible to want to hit and kiss someone at the same time?