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Author's Note: Hi.


Wyatt Cain ghosted across the clearing, his every sense trained on the youngest princess, his eyes and hears alert for the first hint of-


The Tin Man froze in place instantly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the few remaining palace guards do likewise.

"Blue smoke!"

The ragged line stalked forward once more, the distance to their objective closing steadily-

"Longcoat! Aha!" the Crown Princess crowed as she glimpsed a flicker of movement and spun with a sharp flick of her wrist. One of the guards let out a yelp of surprise as he found himself flung suddenly back across the meadow to land with an undignified thwump just inside the treeline.

Cain could approve of this game. It was like stealth, alertness, and humility training all wrapped up into one, while allowing DG to work on controlling her Light at the same time. Also, he actually stood more than a witch's chance in a rainstorm of winning.

"Blue smoke!"

It helped that the rules were as simple as they got, with none of that Otherside logic dissonance to complicate matters – well, unless you happened to be a headcase whose soul rhythm made it impossible to remain motionless. Glitch had been out of the game at the first sign of smoke, and remained the only one who had managed to land with dignity.



Raw, oddly enough, hadn't lasted much longer. One would have thought that with the Viewer's particular gifts he would have had an advantage – unless he was playing against a princess that tended to get distracted just as a Seeing fellow began to move on the command she'd been about to give. Cain hadn't seen a Viewer that surprised before.

"Blue smoke!"

And now there was just Cain and a sole remaining guard left to cross the few remaining steps between themselves and-


-a brightly smiling princess.

Wyatt Cain was not a man that could lie to himself, well, at least not for long. Especially not when the truth was staring him in the face, radiating more Light than the twin suns. Certainly not when he could feel himself grinning right back like an idiot, making him forget why he couldn't reach forward just at this moment…


"Oof," the Tin Man gasped in shock a blurred moment later, his landing nowhere as dignified as Glitch's. A resigned sigh caused him to look up at the face of an exasperated Viewer.

"DG," muttered Raw with a disbelieving shake of his head, "gonna be furious with self when she realizes what just happened."