Chapter Ten

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Our meal had been decent enough. We ran out of water in our flasks and decided we’d fill it up at a well when we reached the city of Demina.

                The rest of our trip was quiet. Our stomachs were bursting with food, and I felt that if I opened my mouth, it would all come up.

                We were nearing the city’s gates when Zayden spoke for the first time in twenty minutes. “We’re going to need fake names. Demina is part of the castle’s outer cities. Word about us might have already spread. They’ll be looking for the youngest prince with the Prowess.”

                “Aside from the names, you’re in need of a disguise. I look like a commoner because my dress is torn and dirtied, but you’re wearing royal clothing.”

                “Right.” He said. “Lucky me.” As we walked, he pulled off his chain mail and bracers. He peeled the armor off his kneecaps and ripped the gold lines and buckles off his shoes. He pulled out his cloak and tore the small emblem off the chest. After putting the cloak on, he rolled up his sleeves and untucked his shirt a little. He ran his hand through his hair and then looked at me. He looked…well, peasant-ish now.

                “Do I look royal now?” he asked, holding up his arms to be inspected.

                I gave him a long look. I have always known he was good-looking, but I had assumed it was mostly due to the fact of his neat and clean clothing. As I stared now it became obvious that whatever he wore, he still looked, well, beautiful. I met his gaze and found him slightly smiling, as if he caught me staring for too long. I felt the heat rise in my cheeks.

                “Nope. Just your usual ugly and arrogant self,” I commented, turning away.

                “Ugly? Hah! I don’t know the meaning of the word.”

                I nearly choked. “Who do you take yourself for?” I asked him.

                “I see myself as a gift from god to women.” He said winking. I rolled my eyes. “From the way you were staring I’d think you agree.”

“I wasn’t staring.” I snapped.

“Oh you were.” I could feel his smile, without even looking at him.

“You asked me to.” I said, wanting to change the subject. “Anywho, we need names. Have anything in mind?”

                “You give me one I’ll give you one.”

                “Okay…hmm.” I thought. “Herbert. Herbert Ophelius.”

                “You’re kidding me! A handsome looking man like me can’t possible have a name so…simple such as Herbert!” Zayden looked insulted. “And Ophelius? How about something like Caesar? Or Ryder? Yes, I do believe I like that one. Ryder. Ryder Stone, hero of the land.”

                “No. Your name is Herbert Ophelius.”

                “Fine.” he said, not too happy. “Let me think of your name.” he said. We continued walking as I gave him time to think of a name. Why would you even need to think of a name? It wasn’t important anyways. Anything would have worked.

                We passed through some trees that were losing their color and fruit. A tree with little blue berries hung above us. Zayden – who was ahead of me – stopped in his tracks and pulled them down, tasting them.

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