KatieParticipantApril 22, 2019 at 7:53 amPost count: 4
“No,” Lyra said, planting herself and refusing to move, despite the fact that Bishop seemed determined to wrench her arm from its socket. “I’m not going. I refuse.”
The ranger chuckled. “You promised, princess,” he reminded her, the smug grin on his face saying he was taking great pleasure in doing so. “You wouldn’t break your word, would you?”
She gritted her teeth, fighting the instinct to draw her sword and drive it up through her companion’s ribcage. “Fine,” she ground out. “I’ll go. But if I’m going, so are you. I’m not suffering alone.”
Abruptly Bishop’s smile disappeared. “No,” he said. “You wouldn’t.”
Lyra flashed him a deadly smile. “Try me.”
His eyes narrowed. “You are playing a very dangerous game.”
She just looked at him, unimpressed. “Is there any other kind worth playing?”
“Ugh, fine. I can never win with you, woman.”
She rubbed at a spot of scales on her arm absentmindedly. “No, you can’t,” she said. “But it amuses me that you keep trying.”
“Why did you agree in the first place?”
She threw her hands up. “It was his face! He just looked so sad!”
“Sad?” Bishop repeated disbelievingly. “You thought he looked sad, so you agreed to subject yourself to sit in a fancy dress in front of him so he can sing to you while your ears attempt to make a desperate escape from your head?”
“It’s stupid,” she conceded, “I know. Okay? I haven’t been making the best decisions lately. Like agreeing to travel with you.”
“Hey!” he said indignantly. “I will have you know I am a delight to travel with.”
At this, Lyra cocked an eyebrow. “A delight? That might be stretching it just a bit far.”
“I know you think I’m delightful, ladyship.”
“Not your personality,” she remarked, noticing too late the mistake she’d made.
“Ah, but you find my other attributes delightful, is that it?”
“Bishop,” she warned, “no.”
“You’re not having fun? I, for one, am having a delightful time.”
“Say the word delightful or any variant one more time and I’m going to unrelentingly force you off a cliff.”
“Well that certainly wouldn’t be de—”
“Alright, fine. I cease and desist. Happy now?”
She huffed but nodded. “Yes. But only marginally.”
“Ooh, marginally. Such big words you’re using, ladyship.”
“Keep this up and the next big word that leaves me lips will most likely be an expletive. Or several.”
Bishop’s eyes darkened to that shade of molten gold she knew all too well. Quick, change the subject!
She cleared her throat. “Uh, so, yeah, we should probably go.”
Bishop’s eyes gleamed knowledgeably. “Oh, so now you’re excited. I bet I could make you more excited. What if I held a private concert…just for you?”
Lyra tried desperately to ignore the desire igniting her from the inside out and fixed him with a glare. “You wish, pal.”
He just looked at her. “One of these days, sweetness, you’re not going to be able to resist me. And when that day comes…” He didn’t bother to finish the sentence, but then, he didn’t have to. She knew exactly what he was implying, just by the look in his eyes.
She huffed indignantly. “You keep dreaming, buddy. Maybe one day your wish will come true…but more likely than not it won’t.”
Bishop only laughed. “You lie, ladyship. To me. To yourself. Tell me, is it really so easy to convince yourself you have no feelings for me?”
“Seeing as I don’t,” she said, lying through her teeth, “I don’t need to convince myself of anything. My conscience is clear.” Liar, liar pants on fire!
“Uh-huh,” was all he said, however.
She cast one last longing look at the gates out of Windhelm but squared her shoulders back and forced herself to move towards the Palace of Kings.
“I thought you needed to wear a fancy dress?”
“I’d rather stab myself in the eye than put on anything other than armor. If he has a problem with that, he can compose a depressing sonnet about it. He is a bard, after all.”
“Not that I blame you, but I bet that sonnet he ends up writing ends in oh, sorrow! Her attire was not correct!”
She raised an eyebrow. “And that is exactly why you’re not a bard. Did you come up with that on the spot?”
He paused. “That obvious?”
She shook her head. “A wordsmith, you are not.”
“I bet any song I compose would at least prevent a person’s ears from bleeding.”
Lyra laughed. “I’m not sure about that. I think maybe bards should die off. I’d be more than happy to sacrifice them all to Alduin if it’ll get him off my back.”
“I don’t think he wants them, either.”
She sighed. “You’re probably right. Well, I still hold out hope.” She kept walking until she almost smacked face-first into the enormous set of double doors leading into the palace.
Standing there, she stared at the doors with something close to panic. She turned back to Bishop. “Please, don’t make me do this.”
He grinned. “But then you wouldn’t suffer, and that wouldn’t be any fun.”
She narrowed her eyes into slits. “You’re evil.”
“Yes, yes, I am. But you love it.”
“Don’t bet on it.”
Entering the palace she took a left to a darkened stairwell down into a brightly lit room that seemed to be host to bards like Alec. Indeed, that seemed to be the room’s sole purpose. “You know, I have to say, Ulfric doesn’t seem like the bard-loving type.”
“I agree. Especially when one of said bards is an Imperial. I’m shocked Alec the beloved ‘Prince of Song’ hasn’t gotten his throat slit yet.”
“Tempting. To all parties. Maybe one of these days.”
As she took her seat, thus ensued the most unbearably, uncomfortably long ordeal she’d ever had to sit through. Every time Alec’s eyes met hers, he would wink. Every. Single. Time.
If you wink at me one more time, I’m yanking your eyelashes out, Lyra thought.
By the time Alec’s song was finally finished, he’d winked at her a grand total of twenty-seven times.
She could feel her own eye twitching in irritation.
Lyra and Bishop made their escape out of the theater as fast as they could, before Alec could think to make some sort of speech to her as a close to his ‘performance’.
Outside, Lyra rubbed her brow. “Did you see that? How many times he winked at me?”
“He was winking at you? I just thought he had something in his eye.”
Unable to help herself, she laughed. “I thought so too—until he did it throughout the entire seven minutes. If he did have something in his eye, he wasn’t very subtle about it.”
“I wasn’t aware subtlety was needed when you have something in your eye.”
“You know what, let’s just stop talking about this. I need a drink.”
“Finally you’re talking my language. It’s on me.”
And it was. A solid round of drinks until neither of them were able to speak without slurring their words.
Eventually it got so bad they just stopped trying.
As the night began to draw to a close, it occurred to Lyra that she’d never remembered being this happy before.
She couldn’t remember ever feeling happy.
And the fact that the ranger, taciturn, stubborn, and kind of an asshole sometimes, caused this emotion in her…
Something stirred inside her chest, and despite the fact she continued to deny it, she feared the truth in Bishop’s words.
He was closing in on her defenses and she was so very, very close to crumbling.
If only she had any chance of catching herself before she fell.
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