January 4, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Lirnilalie was staring at her intently, and, more disturbingly, so was Elelakorra.
Enrie felt like she was missing something, some capitulation of Lirnilalie’s she hadn’t quite followed. But she understood this part, at least. She raised her chin and looked Lirnilalie in the eye and smiled. “I appreciate the offer, Lirnilalie. But I don’t think it would be the best move for me… all things considered.”
She hadn’t expected it to be anything more than a polite brush-off, the sort of thing that meant definitely no, don’t paint me with the same brush as you without being directly rude. She did not want to get in a duel with someone who had been a Princess!
She was not expecting the tight expression on that former-Princess’ face, as if Enrie had actually insulted her, or turned away an offer that Lirnilalie had made in good faith. For a second, Enrie felt a bit guilty.
Then the expression was gone and Lirnilalie’s face was shuttered closed, and in turn, Enrie’s guilt started to fade. Lirnilalie leaned forward on Elelakorra’s desk. “You know how this ends, cousin.” Her voice was meant to be quiet, Enrie thought. In a room with normal conversation, it might have gone unheard by others. But in this room, with everyone staring at the two royal women in its center and nobody breathing a sound, it was loud and brash.
And it seemed, like so many things, not to bother Elelakorra at all. The Voice met the disgraced Princess’ gaze. “I know how this ends. Will you take it with good grace? I see you looking at the papers, Lyirnilalie. You know it’s not going to do any good for you to destroy them.”
Lirnilalie picked one of the sheets of the copy up. “It’s a copy,” she commented, sounded a little amused and a little horrified. “It’s not the original. The paper is too new, and the ink is too black.” She looked at Elelakorra. “You’re sitting here chatting with me as if there’s something to talk about, and all this time, it’s a copy? You knew, didn’t you? But the question is, I suppose, did the little liar know?”
Liar, again. Given the opening, Enrie tried a lie that she would not normally have expected to work, but had hope for this time. Lirnilalie was clearly off-balance and not paying as close attention as she should have; she should’ve noticed how white the paper was much sooner. “You wouldn’t expect the original of a priceless piece of history to be in a library at an Academy, would you?”