Atrocious and Kira stared each other down whilst Atrocious dangled from the warrior’s grasp. It was all dreadfully impressive, but Atrocious just couldn’t get into the spirit of the thing. “I’m hungry,” she said. She was more than hungry, her stomach was growling and also somewhat unpleasantly sore in a familiar, unwanted way.
Taking Atrocious’ words as some kind of acknowledgement of her authority, Kira lowered her down to the floor. “Then eat something and stay out of my way whilst I deal with this robber.”
“Just leave her alone,” Atrocious snapped testily. “Can’t you go five blasted minutes without starting a fight with someone?” She turned away from Kira and started going through Ayla’s bag. She was pretty sure the witch had packed some food in there. She was craving sweet satisfying goodness, something derived from the cocoa bean if at all possible. She went through the bag tossing out dried meats, dried fruits, cheeses, even the fine bread she usually enjoyed greatly. “Why isn’t there any proper bloody food in here?”
“What are you looking for?” Ayla made the inquiry patiently even as Atrocious made an unholy mess out of their provisions.
“Something worth bloody eating,” Atrocious growled.
“Who do you think you’re speaking to that way?” Kira interjected, saving Ayla the trouble.
“This doesn’t concern you.” Atrocious was feeling grumpy. Not the sort of grumpy you feel when you stub your toe, or the sort of grumpy you feel when someone bumps into you when they should have been paying more attention, she was feeling the deep chemical grumpiness that periodically floods the female mind. The longer she was awake, the worse it got.
Kira laid a hand on her shoulder and turned her around. “It does concern me. You’re being very rude.”
“Oh no! The person who chops people in two thinks I’m rude!” Atrocious rolled her eyes and turned back to her search.
Almost speechless, Kira turned to Ayla. “I thought you said she was scared of me?”
Ayla did her best to hide her growing amusement. “Maybe she got over her fear in her sleep.”
“Maybe I should put some of it back into her,” Kira said, scowling at the back of Atrocious’ head. Kira was not accustomed to being dismissed and it was happening twice in one morning. That was almost too much for her ego to bear.
“Yes!” Atrocious made a grunt of happiness as she laid hands on a large block of chocolate. She stuffed the edge of it unceremoniously into her mouth. The rich treat melted against her tongue and as the first traces of the candy slid down her throat she made a soft moan of pure contentment.
Her eyes narrowed, Kira seemed to be back at the edge of her tether. “At least pay attention if you’re going to insult me,” she growled, snatching the chocolate out of Atrocious’ hand.
It was a mistake.
Atrocious turned with a feral expression on her face. Her eyes burned with a primal rage and her upper lip curled in a snarl. “Mine!” She lunged for the chocolate with such speed and fury that Kira couldn’t stop her. Atrocious wrenched the chocolate out of the warrior’s hand, gave her a swift bite for her troubles and retired back to the hearth where she started stuffing the candy into her mouth for all she was worth, leaving Kira nursing her hand, which now sported a chocolate and red ring of teeth marks.
No longer able to contain herself, Ayla burst into peals of laughter. Kira looked utterly bewildered, as if she’d just been attacked by something so small and insignificant she still couldn’t bring herself to believe that it had happened. “Never come between a woman and her chocolate,” she advised Kira. “Especially at that time of the month.”
“Mnpghf fring,” Atrocious muttered through a mouthful of candy.
Determined to save face any way possible, Kira drew herself up to her full height. “I’ll deal with the robber, then I’ll deal with the biter,” she declared, turning to the place Rogette lay. There was just one problem. Rogette wasn’t there anymore.
Kira turned back to Ayla, who was still smiling a broad smile. “Where is she?”
“The spell wore off two minutes ago. She slipped out whilst you two were arguing,” Ayla informed her.
“Well why didn’t you do something about it?” Kira threw her hands in the air and glared at Ayla.
“She wasn’t trying to rob us anymore, so I rather thought I had done something about it.” Ayla still sounded calm, but there was a slight edge to her voice and her smile had faded.
Kira snorted aggressively. “So you let robbers escape and have a servant who bites. Charming. What ever happened to keeping order?”
“I still know how to keep order,” Ayla said crisply. “Would you like a demonstration?”
Atrocious was still stuffing her mouth, but her eyes went a little wider as she caught the gist of Ayla’s threat. The witch was looking at the warrior with a steady, almost imperious look on her face. Kira on the other hand looked almost petulant. Hoping against hope, Atrocious prayed she was about to see Kira get her just desserts.