because I said I'm only human: Saffron, from below


"That's me," Dylan smiled. He gestured over at his familiar. "And this is Lunarian, or Lu, pick your preference." He fell into pace beside her. "How're things going with you?" he asked her, "I keep seeing you around, but you seem to leave a room every time I walk into it!" It was strange. There were still a lot of guards Dylan didn't know, and he had more opportunity than most to run into them. Flynn brought some of his friends back to their apartments sometimes, but he never seemed to see them during the day. The rota system had a lot to answer for.

"Every day," Dylan answered her, nodding. "I've got my route fairly well mapped out now. I keep meaning to add an extra stretch through the woodland past the stable block. I think I must get stuck on auto-pilot though, because by the time I remember, I've usually run past the cross roads." Lunarian drew level with them smiling his stupid tiger-smile. "Alternative explanation..." he put in, "your an idiot and your brain stops working at inopportune moments." Smug git. Dylan kicked gravel in Lu's direction as he pulled away, laughing wickedly.
"Bloody cats," Dylan muttered to Saffron as Lunarian disappeared around the next bend. "It's like they're pre-programmed to be dickheads."

The morning sunlight glimmered off the lake, blinding them. Dylan dropped back a couple of paces and put himself between the glare and Saffron. The last thing they needed was for one of them to run into a tree. Lunarian would have a field day.
"Yes!" he enthused. They jogged passed the training arena where some of the noble kids were having their lessons. "Plan for the day is a jog and a swim. Then I'll have some lunch before training, and my brother promised to do some boxing with me before dinner. He's been busy lately, so we've missed a few sessions."

A thought struck him. Dylan glanced at Saffron out of the corner of his eye and bit his lip. Did he dare? She might say no, and then he'd feel like the biggest idiot in the castle. He sighed. He'd still feel like a tit if he didn't. What ifs were the worst.
"I don't suppose you fancy grabbing lunch with me?" he asked, his voice catching a little in his throat. "I was going to skip the mess hall and raid the family cooler. Then we can walk down to the training yard together. I know we'll probably end up going separate ways after that, but it'd be a relief, honestly, to talk to someone who didn't have four legs and stripes."

Dylan smiled at her hopefully. "What do you say?"
photo by Smit Patel at unsplash.com


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