The Enchanted Press Part 24
Sen stared at me, a series of emotions playing across her face. Her confusion turned to uncertainty that broke when a tentative smile of gratitude tweaked her lips. The lingering guilt did not recede from her eyes, perhaps it never would, but her inner burden seemed to have lifted a little. A little color had returned to her cheeks, and her wings regained some bounce.
“Thank you, Tims,” she said, her voice breathy and filled with relief. “You’ve given me a gift I can never repay and do not deserve.”
“You deserve it, and remember, I am partly to blame for what happened that night.” I recounted my part in the unfortunate drama.
Sen shook her head, “But you were a child. You couldn’t have known what you were doing would—” She broke off to stare at me in irritation. “Why are you laughing at me?”
“Not at you, with you,” I countered, “You were a child too. We’ve both spent our entire lives torturing ourselves. Don’t you think it’s time to stop?”
Sen looked doubtful, reconciling her habitual penance with my fresh perspective wasn’t easy.
“Will you at least try?”
“I will,” she replied.
A tapping sound brought us back to the moment. I turned to the source of the ruckus. From inside a small barrel, Duncan’s head bobbed up and down as he pecked at the bottom.
Sen swooped over to him and peered inside the barrel. “You ate all the dragon berries!”
Duncan paused, his head reemerging over the side, a fiery-colored liquid dripping from his beak and chin. He suppressed a belch, then pulled a face as plumes of smoke leaked from his beak, giving him the look of a feathery tea kettle. “Ew, that was gross.”
Sen pressed a hand to her mouth, shaking with giggles. “If you think that’s bad, wait ‘till it comes out the other end.”
Duncan perked up at this, a sly glint in his beady eyes. “Excellent! I’ll be sure to hit Shacklen’s men when it happens.”