Dragonhearts - Page 8

“Truly,” I agreed with a chuckle. “I must concur.” I stopped myself from saying more though. The time for my leading her conclusions was long since past at this point.

“I may need your help in the future however,” Elfreda said with a frown.

I did my best to sound non-committal. “Oh?”

“I've wounded more than Rolph's body this day, I've wounded his pride,” she sighed. “But perhaps not enough.”

“My thoughts exactly!” I laughed just to test her understanding of the true meaning behind my words.

She did.

“Stop doing that,” she chided me with a smile. “We both understand the situation here, I assure you, so there's no need for you to pretend otherwise to test me.”

“Humor me,” I said, ironically enough, without any trace of humor whatsoever.

Instead of rolling her eyes as she once would have, Elfreda just nodded. “Very well,” she said, coming to a stop as she did so. “The injury to Rolph's body, by intention, is minor, but I reacted instinctively . . . without considering how much damage I might have done to his pride.”

“Go on.”

“Being bested by a 'mere' girl might have hurt his pride enough to preclude him from ever laying hands on me again. It will be bitter medicine for him to swallow, but it will be a little easier for him as there were no witnesses.” Elfreda chuckled. “Witnesses he knows of, at least,” she amended. “Should the tale ever find an audience, he'd never be able to live it down, and if he knows that, then so long as I remain silent on the matter, he shall as well, and nothing more shall come of this.”

“There's no problem at all then, now is there?” I asked, sounding purposefully skeptical.

What can I say? Just because she didn't need me to lead her anymore, that didn't make me ready to let her go completely on her own way just yet.

Page 8

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