Chapter Twenty One- On and On.
Harali continues to stare at me, her attention now completely diverted from complaining about her sexually and emotionally repressed Chosen to the drystone wall we've ended up standing next to. :Completely impossible.: She reiterates firmly, with a slight shake of her head. I simply grin back at her and flag my tail.
:I'm sure I have no idea what you mean!: I say cheerfully.
In the very back of my mind I can feel footsteps down corridors-- and then a burst of sunlight. Given that I'm no longer using Harali as a handy way to piggy-back into her Sam's mind, I guess that the wisps of sensation are from my Chosen. It looks like he's dropping his shields to me again. I hope that it's a conscious thing, and that he really is in less of a snit with me now, rather than him just being sloppy with his shielding.
I resist the urge to make a comment about sloppy shielding as I feel that it may be counter-productive.
Harali merely rolls her eyes once more before turning her head to stare in the direction of the House of Healing. I follow her lead and am greeted by the sight of a pair of Whites-wearing young men emerging from a side door and making their way across the gravel path towards the edge of the field that 'Ali and I are in.
:Hello!: My personality disorder is today manifesting itself as over-chirpiness. Alexander and Samyel produce identical suspicious looks and direct them at me as they reach the wooden fence marking one side of the field. The inviolate personal space thing is still very much in evidence and Sam leans his arms on the fence after covertly checking that Alexander isn't close enough to accidently brush against him or otherwise touch him... say by falling over into him. Now, there's an idea; get 'Ali to distract them and then shove one into the other.
I wonder if I can convince her to plot with me? I'm sure if I marketed the idea with the slant that she would no longer have a pot full of angsty Chosen bubbling away in the back of her head, then she'd be a willing cohort in crime! I make a note to not mention the sickening-as-too-much-sugar fluffiness that will inevitably replace the gloomy angsting. I get the impression that Harali would be as unimpressed with sugary fluff as she is with gloomy angst.
:How are things going?: Harali directs the question to her Chosen- neglecting the fact that the pair of us have been camped in his head for all of the interesting stuff so far today. Well, not really interesting stuff... more like extremely boring but rather important stuff, but that's just my opinion.
"Well, we've found out a lot." Samyel heaves a sigh. "But now it's mainly a case of waiting for Ardin to wake up- hopefully he actually saw who shot him." A brief pause, during which the older Herald closes his eyes and gains a ruminative expression. "I do have my suspicions, however."
I have my suspicions, too. :I think that slimy Darberly did it.:
Alexander and Samyel both stare at me again. 'Ali rolls her eyes. :Great going with the unbiased opinions there, Teva.:
:What?: I glance sideways at her, then return a stare to both of the Heralds. :What?:
"How... how did you come to that conclusion?" Alex is giving me a strange look.
I snort and flick both of my ears before replying. :Because Darberly sounded like the biggest pile of smarmy turds that has ever existed... he had to have done it!: I am very proud of my well thought-out and reasoned argument.
For some reason, I'm getting a distinct mental image from Harali. She appears to be projecting a little scene of herself... banging her head repeatedly against the drystone wall. Um... confused?
Alex's voice interupts before I have a chance to ask the mare what exactly the mental comedy routine is about. "How did you hear him?"
Oh... dear... :I...um...: Well, actually, I'm completely incapable of lying with any degree of believability at the best of times and when I'm caught off-guard like now, it's definitely not the best of times. Although I can't see myself-- obviously-- I can certainly feel the guilty expression flooding over my face as I dart blue eyes from Alex's face to that of Harali's Chosen and back again. :Umm...:
Harali's mental sending gains a realistic horse-head-hitting-stone sound.
"Teva?" Alexander's voice sounds odd, as if he's over-controlling it and I blink slowly whilst trying to articulate something... anything.
Samyel's eyes narrow and he looks over my head, at his Companion. "Harali, what is going on?" The strength of her sending to me increases several notches, but I'm concentrating more on my Chosen... and the two spots of high colour that are gaining hold of his cheeks.
He coughs, the sound punctuating the uncomfortable silence hanging in the air around us. "I had my shields up." Alex's voice is quiet and his expression is neutral. The vague thought crosses my mind that he learnt well in his diplomacy class, but is quickly dismissed. I really should learn to concentrate more. In fact, I should just learn to concentrate, full stop.
A rapid series of expressions dart over Sam's face, none settling for long enough to be recognisable. "So, how did Teva hear Darberly then?" It's a moot question really-- I'm absolutely radiating guilt and 'Ali's head-hitting-wall routine is now strong enough for even passing wild animals to pick up on. "You rented out space in my head?" The question is directed towards Harali, who looks uncomfortable.
:Umm...: She has about as much coherancy to add to the situation as I've been exhibiting.
:I made her--: I blurt out. As well as learning to concentrate and pay attention, I think to myself as I watch Sam and Alex both head towards 'angry Herald', I should also consider investing in a rag to stick in my mouth. A big rag.
"You were in his head?" Yes, Alexander is definitely reaching 'grrr, angry'. Oh dear...
"What am I? Your convenient event relay?" Samyel turns a glare on his Companion, and I get the impression that... words... are being exchanged silently, especially given Harali's defensive posture and the way that both her, and her Chosen's expressions are changing.
I'm left in an uncomfortable silence with my own Chosen. Who is glaring at me. And has his shields up again. Oh dear.
:Well, it was the only way to find out what was going on--: Ha ha! Pass me that spade and I'll dig this hole deeper!
The glare bumps up a few notches. "And you couldn't ask me?"
:You were blocking me!:
"I wonder why?!"
:Because you're obstinate!:
:You heard me, Alexander! Obstinate!: My head is low down now and my ears are pinned back against my head.
"I am not obstinate, bloody horse--"
:I am not a horse!:
"Well, you've sure been showing the intelligence and morals of one!" Oooh, now that is a low blow, mister--
I flatten my ears and produce as much of a scowl as a horse can manage. :Well, I was trying to help you, Mister 'I'm Frustrated Because I'm Not Getting My End Away!': That rag would really be useful... oh... say for about five minutes ago?
"What?" Alexander's expression briefly flashes through hurt, before ascending back into anger. "Just what is that supposed to mean?" It means that I, Companion Teva should shut up. Right now.
:Exactly what it says!--: Out of the corner of one eye I can see Harali staring at me. Her mouth is open. Samyel is wearing an identical expression to his Companion... I honestly can't tell who can Hear me at the moment... is Sam staring becuase Alex is shouting, or because both of us are shouting? :--you, Alexander Malken, need to bed something!:
My Chosen joins in with the gaping-mouth-fly-catcher impressions, a rioting blush sweeping over his face.
:Preferably--: Evil Teva has possessed my Mindvoice and this is not going to be pretty, :--him over there!: I swing my head around and stab my nose towards Samyel, who makes a strangled sound and goes purple. :It'd give both me and Harali some peace and quiet!:
Dead silence-- mountains of the stuff-- descend abruptly and I suddenly realise that my sides are heaving in and out, my tail is lashing from side to side with pent up frustration, and I generally resemble something with rabies. Maybe I could blame some strange incapacitating disease such as rabies for that outburst? Either that, or complete and utter mental breakdown and hysteria...
Harali continues to stare at me as if I'm sprouting a second head-- a quick glance backwards assures me that I'm not-- her mouth hanging open slightly and her mind completely devoid of anything resembling thought. Samyel is compunding matters by looking at me like he's the rabbit at the end of a hawk's stoop, all wide eyes and blank expression, as he stands frozen in place next to his Companion, argument with her completely forgotten.
Um... maybe I was Broadsending, then...
I think that I may be in trouble.
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