Stories on the edge of familiarity

That Time Adren Cared About Being Polite (a Hunter and Prey excerpt)

In celebration of the first draft of Hunter and Prey now being at 20,000 words, here’s an excerpt from Adren trying to teach Nadin the dialect the magical creatures speak:

…he wasn’t exactly a quick student.

“Okay, I think I get it,” Nadin said. “Shall means will and an means if. Except when an means an and not if.”

“Correct.” Then again, maybe the information was starting to soak in.

“But if you can say methinks, can’t you say, I don’t know, mefeels? Or meruns? Why even say I at all?”

Never mind. “No, it’s only methinks. Methinks, methought.”

“Mewillthink?”

This was the fifth time Adren had explained this. She’d counted. “No. Methinks. Methought. No more.”

“But why?”

“Because that’s just how it is.”

“Methinks that’s stupid,” said Nadin as he shoved his hands in his pockets.

“You’re still going to have to learn it.”

“The fairies in Evinad understood me just fine.”

“And you understood them?”

Nadin side eyed her. “Enough.”

“Well, fine. You’re still learning it.”

“What’s the point?”

Was he trying to sound like a whiny child, or did it just come naturally? “Because it’s polite.”

He mostly suppressed a laugh. “You’re trying to get me to be polite.”

“I’ll have you know I’m polite around the people I grew up with.”

“And magical creatures in general, I know, I know.”

“So you better listen to me.”

“Ah, yes, great Adren, of course I will.”

“That’s ‘of course I shall’  from you,” she shot back with mostly irritation, but a private tinge of amusement.

“If you’re so used to it, how come you never use it except when you’re with magical creatures?”

“Speaketh the lad that I have little comfort in the tongue I have known longer than his? Whence cometh he with wisdom I know not? Hath he seen me alone and without him present? What power is this that he may be and yet not be with me at such time he hath met me not?” said Adren, utterly deadpan.

“Fine, fine,” Nadin said, his head retreating down into his shirt like a turtle into its shell. “You don’t need to rub it in.”

She allowed herself the faintest of grins while he wasn’t looking.


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