ElraMature

“Mister you really are strange.” She said, hand on her hips. He was very ragged looking, his unkempt brown hair, those shadowed, dark eyes and a scraggly spread of stubble. He kind of stank too. Elra did not know what of, but it was very strong and made her feel dizzy.
                “I’m not strange, I— look, it makes sense in my head.” He always said things like that, as if simply saying it would make it so. “Do you want to help or no?”
                Elra brought a finger to her chin and tapped. Well she could go with him, sure. She was twelve now, a big girl in her own right, and the thought of staying at home, sewing, learning how to run a home, made her want to tear her hair out. She could be out adventuring. Besides that, this man clearly needs someone to help him, he looks like he has spent half a year sleeping in bushes. Elra blew out her cheeks.
                “Well I would have to ask Papa, but I don’t see why not.” She decided. Anyway, it might be fun travelling the roads with a knightly bard.
                “You say that like you’re settling for a dinner you don’t particularly like. You do realise that this is quite a big thing, don’t you?” He scratched at the burn on his arm, almost without thinking, she noticed. Elra hated that thing, it looked ugly and made most of his right forearm look disfigured, but he could still use it quite well. Elra had seen him do some amazing things with that arm, and he was only five years older than her, though he didn’t look it. She could not place it, but he looked much older, just like father. They looked like they had seen lots of things, and you could just tell from the way they looked at her. That must be it, something about the eyes.
                “Well of course, but I hope you know I’ll have to change many things about you. For a start, take a bath and have a shave.”
                He let out a loud laugh. He didn’t do that very often, but when he did, it always ended with that same sadness.
                “How can I do that?” He gave her a mischievous look.
                “Well you’ll have to come to our castle, silly.” She sighed, grown-ups can be so stupid.
                “Ah, but didn’t your father tell me to stay away?” He looked victorious, which didn’t sit right at all. Was he trying to ruin it for himself?
                “Don’t take it personally, Papa kicks out everybody who Esta goes all moony-eyed over.” He blushed then, though you could hardly see it through the grime. Elra could not understand how he had managed to earn any money in that state, if she hadn’t known better, she’d have given him a wide berth. I guess the normal people in this city don’t much care for the way you look if you have talent, and he is talented if nothing else. He has a point too. Elra blew out her cheeks again. “I’ll just have to sneak you in.” She nodded, happy with her decision.

The End

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