~The Death~ pg 5

She smiled and took it but set it down on her bedroll. “Sure, right after we wash.”

Civyl frowned. “We don’t have time for propriety.”

She leaned in and wrinkled her nose at him, “You stink. Make time.” She smirked as she stepped back and gave herself a courtesy sniff. “Phew, I stink too. Come on.” She tugged on his left arm. “The water will cleanse us for the day and it will only take a few ticks.” 

He allowed her to drag him to the water’s edge but yanked free when she splashed right into the brook. “Whoa, don’t get your clothes wet!”

“But they need cleansing too,” she stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. 

What was most obvious to him was that she did not understand the cons of traveling in wet clothing. “If you want to walk in a sopping wet dress that’s fine, but I’m not getting my trousers wet.” 

No sooner had he said it, than she had drenched his pants with a well-aimed splash. “Too late. Now get over here and wash. You can take the bandage off your hand but don’t get your arm wet. That should stay dry. I’ll rewrap it when we’re done.”

With a pain in his side he reiterated his complaint, “We don’t have time for this.” But even as he finished his sentence, he found himself removing the wild game from his belt and wading in anyway. She dunked herself under the slow moving water and he followed suit as best he could while still keeping his bandages dry. He had to admit… it was refreshing. The cool water soothed his sore muscles and the blisters on his hand. Even the pain in his side subsided for the moment. Did the mountain agree, then, that cleanliness was worth taking time to observe? It seemed absurd, but he wasn’t going to complain about the respite.

All too soon she stood and helped him up. Standing him on the bank, “Arms out,” she instructed.

Another waste of time… “Why?” She only answered with a stern look and he relented, “Fine.” She stood in front of him and did the same closing her eyes. The whirlwind that wrapped around them next was a startling pleasure. It whipped at hair and clothing with vigor and he closed his eye against the force of it. 

Five ticks and their clothes were as dry as they had started. The wind died down to just a breeze that ruffled his hair and he opened his eye to her satisfied smirk.  “Now, for breakfast,” she announced. “I’ll start cooking the eggs.”

“Eggs? What eggs?”

A gust of wind in the trees knocked a nest over into her hands and she lifted three bluish orbs out of it. “These eggs.” This time he shared her smile. The mountain could wait for eggs.

The End

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