"Sky above, Cowlquape! Watch where you're going!" Twig scolded his apprentice as he tried to wipe spilt ink off his tunic. Cowlquape had tripped on one of the many books littering the room they shared, spilling ink all over Twig.

"I'm so sorry prof- I mean Twig!" Cowlquape cried, turning pink from head to toe. Twig's expression softened when he saw his apprentice in distress.

"Don't fret, I think this is a sign that i'm only meant to wear black, don't you?" Twig joked.

"But it's your only white tunic..." Cowlquape wailed miserably.

"Does Sanctaphrax have a shortage of tunics nowadays?" Twig asked his apprentice amusedly. Cowlquape hung his head. Twig gave up on wiping the ink off and instead pulled the garment over his head, tossing it in the laundry bucket.

In spite of himself, Cowlquape found himself staring at his companion, unable to take his eyes away from the taut muscle of Twig's stomach and arms.

"Cowlquape?" Twig's voice startled him. The apprentice realized that he had been caught staring at another man, and flushed bright red from head to toe. Twig cleared his throat, and Cowlquape promptly fled the room.

Once outside, Cowlquape scurried down the many winding alleys of Sanctaphrax, avoiding the rain and not really worrying about where his feet were taking him. He needed to clear his head. The stormy air would do his mind some good.

After wandering a ways and unsuccessfully trying to get Twig's naked chest out of his head.

"Oh, what's the use?" Cowlquape sighed, stopping to sit against a wall. He combed his fingers through his spiky blonde locks, removing the wax that held the hair in place then wiping the makeup off his face. The rain had done a good job already.

It was useless to pretend anymore... The fact that HE was really a SHE wouldn't stay a secret for long.

Cowlquape's Leaguesman father had been ashamed at her being born a girl, so sending her off to Sanctaphrax as a supposed scullery maid had been a blessing in disguise. It had been her mother's idea to dress up as a boy and apply to be an apprentice. Turns out, she was a better actor than she thought. Also, the bulky apprentice's robes made it easy to hide her figure.

Then there was Twig... Blasted female feelings.

"Cowlquape! Cowlquape!" Twig's voice came, and the apprentice swore before pulling the hood of her robe over her head. Twig raced by, then stopped and backtracked.

"Excuse me, miss? Are you all right?" Twig asked tenderly. Cowlquape nearly choked in surprise. Twig truly didn't recognize her?

"I-I'm fine" Cowlquape let her voice rise to it's normal pitch, sounding completely female. Twig held out his hand, offering to pull her up. Cowlquape took it, and in one swift movement, Twig brought the apprentice to her feet and flicked the hood back.

Cowlquape's gold hair slid down her shoulders, bringing a rosy flush to her cheeks. Twig's mouth fell slightly open, but he shut it again.

"Tell me, apprentice. I seem to have lost a young lad by the name of Cowlquape. Do you know of him?" Twig asked. Cowlquape froze, trying to think up a decent lie.

"Aye, I know of him. Troublemaker, that one. "He 'as a good 'eart though" Cowlquape said, adding an Eastern undertown accent.

"That he does. If you happen to see him, send him home" Twig replied, unable to tear his eyes away from her face.

"Aye, I will" Cowlquape replied softly. Twig cleared his throat nervously, and Cowlquape resisted the urge to giggle. Who was being caught staring at whom now? Imagine, Captain Twig, speechless because of a maiden.

"If you find him, I shall be in you debt" Twig raised bent fingers to is head in a polite salute. Cowlquape bowed her head respectfully. Twig then took his leave, heading back in the direction of his office.

Cowlquape watched him go, then pulled a tub of tinted hair wax out of her pocket, smoothing her hair into it's usual duller spikes. Next came the makeup, making her skin look more rough and ruddy.

When finished, Cowlquape her hood over her newly spike hair and checked her reflection in a puddle. Breathing a sigh of relief. The awkward apprentice everyone hated was back again.

With that thought, Cowlquape hitched up her robe, running through the heavy rain at full tilt towards Twig's study.

Pausing outside the door to the rooms they shared, Cowlquape cleared her throat and thought about what she could possibly say to Twig. Things were becoming confusing all too quickly...

Before Cowlquape could decide, the door swung open to reveal Twig himself.

"There you are!" The sky pirate yelled, grabbing Cowlquape by the front of her robe and yanking her inside. Twig then began to rummage around in the drawers of his desk, throwing papers absolutely everywhere. Cowlquape noticed that he had put his ink-splattered tunic back on for reasons unknown.

"Cowlquape, I can't find that compendium of randomly odd weather formations" Twig yelled from under a pile of scrolls.

"Second cabinet in the kitchen, under the compendium of mushrooms" Cowlquape said, realizing she was dripping on the carpet.

"Ah yes! Why we have weather and fungi in the same cabinet I have no idea" Twig said, scattering more papers as he dashed to the kitchen. Cowlquape watched after him, feeling her spirits settling lower.

"Here it is, I knew that something was- Cowlquape! Stop dripping on the carpet!" Twig scolded, Cowlquape suddenly felt light headed. Perhaps sitting in the rain hadn't done her any good... And being close to Twig now... It all made her head hurt.

"For goodness sakes, lad. Have you been listening?" Twig's voice broke through the fog in her mind. Cowlquape looked blearily up at her professor, who was on the verge of dropping a load of scrolls.

"Professor..." Cowlquape began, but was interrupted by the room tilting a very odd angle, then everything going black. The last thing she saw was the blurry form of Twig lunging to catch her before she hit her head on one of the bookshelves.