"We're almost to the base Trina."
Trina dragged her thoughts away from the feeling of riding a centaur, to attend to what he was telling her. The mountain rose directly before them, she tingled with the anticipation of almost being home.
"Do you still think the mountains are small, Hoovebrother?"
Hoovebrother grunted noncommittally.
"Come on admit it," Trina prodded, in a teasing mood, "You'd never been to a mountain before today, had you?"
Hoovebrother trumpeted like a horse, "Do you think me a mere wild beast, bound to a solitary territory?" He snorted. "I am not such a one as Shadow, it would come as unsurprising if he shied away from the mountain's shadow."
Trina chuckled, "When do you think we'll be seeing Shadow again?"
"Shadow might never show up." Hoovebrother answered seriously.
"Funny centaur." A familiar snapping voice struck out from behind them.
Hoovebrother whipped around. "I am amazed Shadow has actually arrived at the base of the mountain."
Kaiya leapt off her horse and stalked towards Hoovebrother, furious.
As calm as Kaiya was furious Trina climbed off Hoovebrother and approached. "You'd better not be thinking of insulting the centaur, he's going to be your steed as of tomorrow.
Kaiya's mouth moved soundlessly, the fury on her face, remaining fixed, and apparently barely under control.
Hoovebrother placed his hand on Trina's shoulder. She jumped slightly surprised as his breath brushed against her ear. "I'd rather if you didn't ride Shadow tomorrow, I don't fancy it would be pleasant to have that pig on my back with some sort of guard, even with I imagine it will still come out to be a very long day."
Trina sighed. "Alright, I suppose it can't be helped." She turned her attention and her voice to Kaiya, "Enjoy your last few hours with Shadow, you're probably not going to even see much of him tomorrow." She didn't wait for a response. It was time to start setting up camp.
"I can't believe I agreed to do this." Kaiya muttered angrily; she'd been producing variations of the complaint for the last few hours.
Trina shrugged. "It's not my fault you were too cocky to consider that to stay as far away as possible from Hoovebrother's head.
Kaiya and Hoovebrother sighed in unison at this statement. Neither one of them was particularly pleased with how the day was progressing so far and it wasn't looking as if it were going to get any better.
"I wish today was already over." Kaiya complained.
Trina snorted. "You just like complaining."
"Why did you pick this anyways? My reward for winning at least made sense. We don't know each other; we could have parted ways without me doing anything for you and no harm done, but this? Why this?" Kaiya snarled, her anger mounting. "It's torture!" She shrieked the last two words, causing birds to startle and take to the air with much flapping and screeching of their own.
"Think you could be any louder?" Hoovebrother grumbled grumpily.
Trina patted Hoovebrother's curly head. "You two are impossible."
"You're the one who wanted to put us all through this." Kaiya whined, though she was trying to put all the blame on Trina.
"Shut up, Kaiya, you're giving me a headache. You could have refused the terms, so don't try to make this all my fault." Trina pointed out.
Kaiya did manage to keep her mouth shut, but unfortunately it only lasted for a few seconds. "Can we take a break soon?" She begged. "It's got to be nearly lunch time."
"You have food in your pack." Trina answered resolutely as she wasn't sure that Kaiya would get back on Hoovebrother if they took a break for lunch.
She could feel Kaiya's scowling boring into the back of her head, but a few moments later, Trina could hear her frustrated munching, so she put aside her worries and enjoyed the silence.
Eventually Kaiya finished eating.
"This is boring," She announced. "I thought you two were excellent conversationalists. Why are you so quiet now?"
"Because you're here." Hoovebrother answered meanly.
Kaiya drew breath sharply. "Why you useless mule!" She shouted once she had her breath back.
"Both of you shut up!" Trina screeched in annoyance. "I don't want to hear another word about it. It is what it is, the day will be over soon enough and then you don't have deal with each other ever again. So look forward to that."
They both grumbled but managed to keep mostly silent for the rest of the day.