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"That's because you are a rudimentary peasant" Ce´Nedra sneered deprecatingly, riding along Aunt Pol

Garion shuddered in anger. It seemed that every comment he made called for a disdainful gesture, statement or even glances from that brat. Clenching his teeth, taking air deeply with flaring nostrils, he gathered strength to deliver a sharp retort when Mister Wolf put a firm hand on his shoulder.

"Just let it pass"


"It's not worth it. And I have a headache."

"My, isn't that a surprise?" Aunt Pol asked sarcastically.

"Let it pass, would you?"

"You are saying that quite a bit this morning, father. I have the distinct impression that you want this morning to pass very quickly. A pity…" She lifted her flawless face to the sky with a serene smile to take on the warm shine of the sun "It's such a beautiful one"

His grandfather growled curses under his breath. The others sighed; their blood-shot eyes and pained expressions showed that Mister Wolf had not being the only one who had stayed till quite late at night on that inn.

"Well, that's what they get for not listening to us" Ce´Nedra stated with that high pitched voice that made Mister Wolf and the others winced that morning. It made Garion do that every day at any time.

Aunt Pol smiled tolerantly at her and Garion felt like dropping the matter. He was used by now to his aunt lectures. They were quite intense, when he managed to anger her, but once she was done, it was done. But having his grandfather join on the matter was something far more serious. The old man was usually a very nice fellow to have around, but when cranky, it was better to stay on his good side. His anger could last for days on end. He decided to just ride quietly for the time being.

"Isn't that what Garion is for?"

He clenched his teeth. They had just eaten and had being debating who would clean the dishes. Of course the temptation of saying something was too much for the princess.

"Maybe you could do it." He snapped "That way you will learn to do something useful"

"I am, that's useful enough for the Empire" She replied coolly

"We are no longer in the Empire. For the rest of the world you are just a small brat"

The others made strangled noises. Some were laughter; others gasped and even a whistle from Silk. Ce´Nedra had delivered one of the gasps and after the shock passed, the fight began. The shrieking and wailing and howling ended abruptly when Aunt Pol got tired of it.

Garion sighed miserably as he scrubbed one of the casseroles. By now he should have learnt to read his Aunt's reactions. Ce´Nedra´s first comment made the serene expression on her face to banish. He, of course, ignored that opportunity to let the princess plunged herself into troubles alone. He had to throw that retort. Aunt Pol´s eyes shut tightly for a moment when it come out and just opened them again to glare at him.

"I hope you are happy" Ce´Nedra grumbled suddenly, scrubbing the plates. "Look on what you put me in!"

"I didn't do anything. You got yourself in this all by yourself"

"Shut up! Don't you know that when I talk you must stay silent?!"

"Why should I?" Garion snorted "I'm not Tolnedran and we are not in Tolnedra. I meant what I said earlier"

He couldn't finish congratulating himself when something hit him on the head. He reached to the hit spot and massaged it, glaring first at the wooden spoon suddenly lying near him and then at the grinning princess. Garion reached then for the soap and aimed. Ce´Nedra´s eyes widen.

"You wouldn't dare…"

It hit her right on the chest. Garion regretted it almost instantly. He hadn't meant to hurt her. But he sometimes forgot how fragile some woman could be. Rundoring or Doroon wouldn't have broken into a disconsolate weeping.

"Garion!" a familiar voice shouted angrily.

As he scrubbed the dishes all alone now, Garion concluded that Ce´Nedra was far more than a simple brat. She was a curse.