Picking up from last week’s snippet:
(Note: first round edits of this book are still in progress. As Charley says, “Squint.”)
“Please, sir,” Draethlen said. “I – I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” Marsden asked, perplexed.
“I – I drew my sword…” He looked up at the warrior, desperate to please him and even more desperate to stay with Senzu. “Please, sir, don’t send me away.”
“Send you away? Why would I send you away?”
Draethlen looked down to hide his tears. “Because I drew my sword and… I…I won’t… It will never happen again, I promise. Please let me stay.” He looked up at him again, his eyes begging for another chance. “I promise I won’t be any trouble.”
“You’ll be the first cadet who wasn’t, at least, the first one who was worth anything.” Marsden’s chuckle was warm and he reached out and pulled both of the children against him. “You are not going to be sent away, Draethlen. What you did… Son, I didn’t realize it, but you are a Natural Warder.”
“My Warder,” Senzu added.
Marsden chuckled. “Let’s let him get used to one concept at a time, little lady. Now, come on, let’s go sit down and have a chat, shall we?” His voice was gentle but firm, and Draethlen found himself obeying, yielding to the warrior’s will as Marsden put a hand on each of them and guided them across the square to a small café.
Marsden put a plate of cookies on the table, along with three tankards of milk. “Here we go,” he said as he sat down. “Now, first things first. Draethlen, you did exactly what you should have done. You responded to a wizard in trouble.”
“A… a wizard?” Draethlen looked at Senzu, awed. She was a wizard?
Marsden chuckled. “Yes, Senzu is a wizard,” he said, as if reading his mind. “She is one of the apprentices at the school.”
Senzu smiled shyly as Draethlen stared at her.
“I – I never met a wizard before,” he said.
Marsden chuckled. “You’ll meet a lot of them at the Academy once the new term starts, but for now you and Senzu will be the only two there.”
Draethlen nodded, slowly pulling his eyes away from her to look back at Marsden.
The warrior took a cookie from the plate and nodded to the other two. “Eat up. Just don’t tell Vinadi I spoiled your appetite for dinner.”
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