I haven't posted The Scarlet-Gypsy Song for some time now, and I thought it time for another excerpt, if you'd like to see more. I personally like this scene because it shows a closer peep at the relationship of at least one of the pairs of twins. :)
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Charlotte yawned and slid off the log next to Darby. He lay on his back, eyes fixed on the canopy of boughs above them. The other four sat next to Lad watching the progress of supper with little energy to do anything else. They had walked leagues that afternoon, it seemed. After convincing Lad that they had indeed come from London and they hadn’t kidnapped Lady Cecelia nee Miss Woodruff, he had dashed off like a man possessed, ready to take them to the castle for an audience with the king. Charlotte’s legs ached at the memory of the miles through the woods and meadows.
“Just how far is this castle?” Darby had asked at last.
Lad cocked an eye over his shoulder and winked. “At the utter end of Exhaustion.”
It had not been a satisfying answer and it held more than a hint of ribbing. Consequently, Darby was miffed and had sulked the rest of the day. Charlotte stole a look at him now. He stared at the deepening heavens, but his eyes held a wandering and wistful look. She knew he wasn’t thinking of stars and planets.
“Sleepy?” she asked, laying down in the lush grass beside him and pillowing her head on her folded hands.
“No.” Darby’s answer came short and clipped.
“Not for that rubbish.” He wiggled his knee and heaved a leaden sigh.
“It’s only tripe and mush, but I’m sure it’s edible,” she whispered.
Darby only grunted and waved one of the luminous fire-flies away. They danced and whispered around Charlotte and it crossed her mind, as truths sometimes will, that perhaps they weren’t the common kind of fireflies, but fairies hunting for things with little star-lamps. The more she thought of it the louder the whispers grew until she felt that if she could only listen hard enough, she could make out words. It was a vain hope though, like trying to listen to a conversation as you drift off the sleep. The sounds were just sweet and indistinct enough to elude her knowledge.
“Darby?” she said in a low voice—not a whisper, for that belonged to the fairies, now that she knew what they were.
“Did you ever reckon we’d travel this far from home?”
Darby rolled over to face her, and there were moist tracks in the grime of his face that, were it anyone else, must be tears. “No.”
Charlotte burrowed her cheek against his shoulder—he was warm, and she realized it had grown colder as the sun sank. “Neither did I.”
Darby held his breath, then let it out in a slow stream. “I wish we hadn’t ever tried to Pounce Miss Woodruff.”
They all wished that. There was no need to agree—it was a statement. Charlotte raised her eyes to the treetops and felt a strange peace wash over her. The trees seemed alive somehow.
“Do you think they have dryads here?” she asked.
“No. They can’t even have proper dragons, much less tree-women.” Darby had been much disappointed that a story-book land had nothing more of a dragon about it than London did. He threw sharp points into his voice and they hurt Charlotte.
“I only wondered,” she said, and nuzzled closer as a breeze swept over them. It was quiet for a long moment as the dusk descended on the glen.
Darby’s arm crept around her, protective and brotherly, and she felt the apology in its touch. “Pax?” he asked.
“Pax,” she answered, suddenly sleepy.