NaNoWriMo Day 5 Part 2
posted at: 11/6/2014

Matilda looked at him very intently for a few seconds, trying to place the face. She didn't think it likely that a farmer or village tradesman would tell his son to conceal his name and occupation. But her memory failed her and she decided she'd either find out eventually, or not. "And how did you know where to find me? You said you'd been following me all morning, but how could you have known where I was?"

"Oh, Cagil told me."

"Cagil told you? Why would Cagil tell you?"

"I told him that my Pa had sent me to protect you. He knows me and my Pa so he told me where you had gone. He said you might be happy for the company."

"He would."

The rest of the day was passed in uneventful chatter. A great deal of uneventful chatter. Children are the best of all conversationalists, especially when the person they're talking with doesn't have much to add to the conversation themselves. As farms turned to forest and they approached the pass that would lead to the top of the cliffs, Matilda became informed on a great many topics that she never would have thought to consider. Birds and fish and bugs, hills, grass, and leaves were all expounded on at length. The Queen Mother had been living in a world of adults and politics for so long that she had forgotten how much she enjoyed the conversation of children.

When she tried to convince the lad that Sugar Bell really was a donkey and not a mule, he said. "No, you can tell she's a mule because of how short she is and 'cuz of that stripe down her back." The donkey seemed to look at him with a quiet disdain, but he was sure of his point and stuck to it. She would always be a mule in his eyes.

They stopped for lunch at the base of the pass and began the upward journey just after midday. Out of concern for the donkey and the Queen Mother, they decided that the lad should take the reins and walk out front so that Sugar Bell didn't have to carry two people up hill and so that Matilda could ride in the back of the cart, which would be less of a strain on her back.