I was training upstairs when I saw Masamba try to sneak into the room. He made a slight noise picking up a candelabra, and threw it as me. I easily caught it, and tossed it back, hitting him in the forehead. It made a welt, as I had hoped. Not enough to really hurt, but at least a reminder...to him, or anyone else who might be watching. I smiled. "Perhaps next time you should try harder."
He smiled back at me. "Ow! What was that for? I see you are feeling better."
"What exactly do you think I spent my time in shadow doing? I am. I went to practice this morning, and it helped to lift a weight from me."
He hopped down, the welt on his head slowly healing. "Ah! So how did the night leave you? I am sorry I couldn't stay."
"I had an interesting talk with Andrevo as he sketched me."
Samba arched one of his eyebrows. "Should I be giving you a "high-five" at the moment?"
Puzzled by whatever innuendo he was intending, I replied. "A high-five? What for?"
"Um...You've spent a lot of time in the forest, haven't you?"
I thought for a moment, then realized what he meant. "Some types of innuendo take a little bit for me to catch on to."
"There is nothing wrong with being a lady."
"And no, I don't need one. Although the first question he had was if I was married."
"Especially if you've got a good arm to back you up." I snorted as he spoke. "Really?"
He looked around before continuing. "Not to sound disrespectful, but I didn't think you would be his...uh...type."
"Perhaps he was just looking out to see if I had other allies...and I would tend to agree with you." I stepped off the treadmill, toweling the sweat off my forehead. "What did you want to talk about? Your little messenger was amusing."
"Haha. So he did talk to you? He's not the most.. uh... trustworthy."
The messenger appeared for an instant, "That's what I said," then disappeared again.
"He delivered his message and then left...although not quite in that method."
"He is, however, very meticulous. Well, the main reason I came to see you seems moot now."
"And that is?"
"Considering your fastball and your jog..." Samba coughed, as if he didn't want to say what came next.
"Ah. I am feeling much better. Although I did not sleep well."
"Too many things on my mind."
"Ah." Samba sat down on the one of the benches and patted the seat next to him. "So, have you made any new friends since last night?"
I sat down. "New friends?"
Samba tapped on my hand in a friendly manner while muttering, "...just checking up, Julie."
"Andrevo certainly seems an interesting one, although I wouldn't call him a friend, yet." Samba snorted, and I smiled at him. "Jealous?"
He laughed. "So, where...does the day take you today?" He scratched at his neck.
"I was training in Arden first thing, as usual."
"I have been back and forth between there and here most of the day."
"You know, when most people say they 'train alot' I just assumed that was, like, once a week."
I looked at him. "How often do you shift yourself?"
He made a bubble on his neck, about the size of the Eye. "Oh. Um...I think I see whatcha mean."
"Oh, I did have something to ask you."
Samba smiled. "Go ahead."
"How well do you know your Uncle?"
Samba pointed at where he entered the room. "Remember when we started talking after I jumped down from up there?"
"Since then we've said more words than he and I have exchanged."
I thought for a moment. "I see. I sent him a missive, asking to meet."
"Would you like me to attend? I don't think I can give any... insight on him. Aside from...well...he's not my mom, to say the least."
"I think it would best be handled between the two of us. I am going to assert my claim."
He snorted. "You know...I should start paying attention to this politicking more. So I won't sound ignorant when I say, 'claim to what?' I have a good guess on the answer."
"Ah. Just had this fear you were throne-seeking."
"Cousin Callyn had made him my regent. While I think perhaps I would be a good ruler, I do not posses the endurance for it."
Samba smiled. "You do know we're friends, right?"
"I would like to think so. If nothing else, you have had amble opportunity to kill me." I smiled.
"Haha. And you," he rubbed his forehead, "the same. So, you do know that when I ask about politics I'm not trying to sound like I've not been ignoring you."
I smiled again, "Just come out with it already."
"Callyn made 'him', my uncle...regent of the forest ardent? Arden?"
"Yes. She deemed I was not 'of age.' The land is, by right of inheritance, mine. From my mother's side. My father was disowned by your grandfather."
"I don't know if you remember, but that's why I ran away. It was given to my younger brother over me when they died."
"Not Zxxlyiax, right? That's right. I just know dad-um's side better than mom's."
"Kaburi, I think it is."
"Your maternal grandfather."
"Mother never had good words to describe them."
"'Them" being anyone. That's why I'm just a likeable fuck."
"Mother was an angry person
"Anyway. I am curious about something." Samba scratched his neck. "Mainly for your safety, but also, well..."
"Feel free to ask. My safety?"
"I wouldn't talk about anything here."
Samba nodded. "You train every day fer real? I thought that was only in movies."
"That I didn't mind someone else overhearing. I do."
"Oh...wait. You sure? Yer not one of those people who *says* such...and happened to hear from a very imp-like person that an audience would be nearby...and so ya just," he stood, "strolled on in." Samba shrugged. It's been a weird day."
"You know what we haven't done in awhile?"
Go sailing? I don't think we've ever gone sailing. What's he up to? "No, we haven't."
"I.. uh.. acquired this new schooner.."
"I assume you wish to do so now, then?"
"what better way fer you to cool off." He smiled. "No time like the present."
"I'll get it set up, you get cleaned up, our buddy will guide ya there. Sound good?"
"Sounds good to me. I'll see you soon."
"You got it." Samba headed out of the room. I stayed for a few more minutes, stretching and cooling down, before heading off to my room to change.
About an hour later, I ran across Samba in the great hall. Finally. He told me that the Harbor was not available, because the Royal Navy had blocked off the port to all non-Navy ships. I suggested we go to Arden instead, and he agreed. We rode out to Arden, and stopped near the Armor. He had wished to inquire about the jewel, and I told him I had hidden it, but I would not reveal the location, as I dd not trust that others would not be able to get the information from him. After a little more chat, we proceeded back to Amber to prepare for dinner.