A solar system

He was almost disappointed to know that Fletcher wasn’t going to show him anything with his rainbow coloured magic. He tried his best not to show it.

“If you enjoy this lesson, you should ask your friend to join you again.” Fletcher said, right before they started.

The Baroness’ son cocked his head to the side. “Which one?”

“The surly older boy.”

“Golden?” He was never certain what to say about the boy called Golden. Though, despite saying he didn’t want to do anything with anyone, Golden did spend a great deal of time trailing along after them anyway. So he nodded. “Sure! You think he’d like this?”

Fletcher’s lips twitched upwards. “I have a funny feeling. But I will let you be the judge of that.”

Then Fletcher took the cover off of the solar system and he was utterly distracted from the thought of anything else.

Interested learning

Golden​ shouldn’t have felt so interested, but there it was. “What is all of this?”

Fletcher didn’t stop what he was doing, arranging the instruments on the table. “I teach the young baron in his spare time. While I can’t teach him magic, which is my specialty, I can still show him the things I have seen from all of my travels.”

Golden sat on the other side of the table. He should have left, really. Well, that was only how he felt about it. What about that one? he wanted to ask, but the fact he had already asked a question stuck on his tongue. He felt more like scoffing and walking out. He struggled against it.

“Once this is put together, it will show an outside representation of the sky.”

“What?” The question left him before he could think about it. Golden continued to not think about it. “None of that looks like the sky.”

“And it won’t, from what we see down here. It took me long enough to come up with a physical representation…” Golden wasn’t sure what he was talking about now, but eventually Fletcher got back on track. “Would you like to stay and watch?”

Then the Baroness’ son would know. Golden got up and left the room. If Fletcher said anything after him, he didn’t listen.

Train your face

The Baron’s son had a way of almost looking like he wasn’t present in the room. Golden could have hit him. However, he knew enough to know that hitting the Baroness’ heir would be a very bad idea. He was suspicious enough of the people around him to not want to deliberately make any enemies. He would leave this place on his own decision, not because of anyone else.

“Are you all there?” Golden asked. Hitting him was beneath him (because of his position, because of how much younger he was), but Golden didn’t have a problem asking about him all out.

The younger boy frowned. “I… take it you aren’t talking about a physical injury?”

Golden rolled his eyes.

The boy sighed. “Ma’mer says that too. When I’m not interested in something I look dumb.”

That was not what he expected. “Really?”

“Not what she said, but sort of. I can’t help that.”

“Yeah you can.”

That got the Baron’s son’s attention. “You can?”

“Expressions are something you can train,” Golden pointed out. “You’ve just got to pay attention to what you’re doing?”

“Pay attention to my face?”

Golden left him to return with a bowl of water. He placed it in front of him. “Look.”

The Baroness’ heir did. Then he bit his lower lip. “Do you think I can figure it out?”

“Anyone can figure it out. Just do it.”

“Thanks, Golden.”

“Whatever.”

It was only later, much later, when Golden thought about it, that he realized how he really felt about that word. The concept. Thanks.

It didn’t feel so bad. He smiled.

Too young to know

Learning was quite easy. Vidvan enjoyed it. Which meant when his master wanted him to do more than simply carry out errands for the household and put him to work learning, Vidvan was ecstatic. Which unfortunately tended to make him a little more talkative than he should have been.

“You might be favoured by him, but don’t you start thinkin’ that means anyone here will be going easy on you.” The maid’s scolding would have meant more if Vidvan wasn’t already examining her. “What are you looking at?”

“I was trying to determine what you served master for lunch.” Vidvan pointed out the small stain on her apron, otherwise clean of anything but dust.

The maid scowled and swatted the back of his head. “That will only work for so long, little one. Keep your tongue in check. Eyes too.”

Vidvan wasn’t sure what that meant, but decided to get out of dodge before she could start to consider that he was running afoul of either of those things again.

When his master decided he could get more than his money’s worth

The crate had probably been forgotten at some point when they were moving the labs. Vidvan frowned, on his hands and knees, staring under the shelf at where the box had been shoved. He reached out and grabbed it.

“Vidvan?”

He hit his head on the bottom of the shelf, wincing. “Yes, master?”

Only after he said that did he realize how strange it was. His master didn’t usually come down here. At least, not that Vidvan knew. And not in a capacity where he could sneak up on unsuspecting children.

“What are you doing?”

Vidvan pulled the box the rest of the way out from under the shelf, showing it to the man. His master knelt down to take it, opening it up to look inside.

While Vidvan’s curiosity demanded he look in, the lack of permission held him still. His master looked at him, twinkle in his eye. “Good. I like that expression. It means the instructors are doing their jobs well. How are you liking your instruction?”

Vidvan cleared his throat. “I… wish it went faster, master.”

His master nodded. Closing the box, he straightened his back. “I have a proposal, Vidvan. Would you like to hear it?”

“Yes! Master!”

It was a good proposal.

The one regular human being

The gift she received for her sixteenth birthday was a rifle. Leondra had considered the implications with a degree of separation.

Her father had given up on her showing any instincts of the beast. Goodness knew that her mother had already done so. Her sister said it happened. Plenty of people in the world didn’t have it. This family always did though. Hunters, the lot of them. With nails as good as claws and teeth to bite and eyes which were always feline in quality, let alone appearance.

Leondra had inherited some of the appearance, though in a completely human-looking way. The gun was her father’s way of saying there were other ways to hunt.

She accepted this wholeheartedly.

No one in her family knew how to shoot, so she decided to teach herself. That lasted three weeks before she decided she needed someone with some knowledge in the procedure to teach her some of the basics. There were things she could suss out. But considering the power suddenly in her hands, she decided this wasn’t something to mess around with.

Time to find someone who knew what they were doing.