It was day after day of walking, we were going to try to pick up horses in the next town because there weren't any for sale in the villages. So it was a long and tiring walk, not to mention that it was getting hotter every day. The bags were heavy, the days were long and warm... it wasn't exactly my idea of heaven, and that's not even bringing my constant paranoia into the equation. Though summer in Tsuna was hardly a walk in the park either... it was boiling in that marketplace, though at least I could wear a short sleeved dress there, here it simply wasn't done unless you were nobility. Only the high class bared their shoulders, it was just custom.

"Can we take a break?" It was the third day, at noon, and everyone was tired again, we'd been walking since dawn...

"Yeah," I answered Nix. "Break sounds good." I just dropped my bag and fell where I stood, laying on the soft forest floor. The ground was warm and nice, and it felt so good to just sit down.

I was always on edge and constantly tired from all the walking... I just wanted to lay there all day. Draven dropped a piece of bread on my forehead, then gave me a meaningful look that said 'you're not eating enough'. I just rolled my eyes and ate the bread, then took a long drink from my water skin. It was running low, which meant that I was going to have to find a river or a well soon.

"How are you holding up?" my irritating big brother pestered me.

"Fine," I said for what felt like the hundredth time. "What about you?"

"I'm fine," he snorted. I knew what that meant, it meant 'you shouldn't be worrying about me'.

I just rolled my eyes again and took any other sip if water. I shoved my hand into my bag, looking for the little pocket where I kept ribbons. I might not be a girly girl anymore, but I still had the ribbons my mother gave me when I was younger. I pulled one out, it was the emerald green one, too obvious, the next one I grabbed was white. I used it to tie my hair up, off my neck and out of my way.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Draven asked, staring at the ribbon.

"It's getting hot," I told him. "I want to tie my hair up."

"The wig will be easier to come off that way," he said.

"It'll only come off if someone pulls it off," I said. "I'm careful."

"I know," he sighed. "It's just- that's moms isn't it."

"Yeah," I touched the ribbon. "It is."

He started to say something else, but I just sat up, back to him, and pulled some dried meat out of my bag. I heard him sigh, but he didn't say anything else.

After having a little glance around, everyone had pulled out food and water too.

"How much further is it to a bigger town?" Tyce asked after a bite of meat. "I'm actually craving vegetables."

I laughed at that. "Me too."

"It's another day's walk," Draven said. "But there's a small inn there we can sleep in."

I could have wept at the idea of sleeping in a bed. Sure, I'd done this sort of thing when Draven and I first ran from the forest nations, then again in Tsuna before we managed to get a place to live. We'd ran, taking barely any money or supplies and lived like the ultimate poor for a few months, so I was used to this... but Lord I missed a warm bed.

"Another day," Finn sighed. "Kill me now."

Nix snorted, then took a long drink of his water. "Don't be such a baby Fi."

"My name is not Fi." Finn did not sound happy. I guess that name struck a nerve; how cute.

"You're not the only one," Nix grinned. "Right Ry? Ty?"

The Emerald ThiefRead this story for FREE!