Malistaire bit the end of his quill out of habit, then spit it out and raked the feather bits off his tongue with his fingernails. He turned to Cyrus, who was watching in amusement.
"What are you looking at?" the Necromancer demanded.
"Nothing," Cyrus replied.
Malistaire decided that was a satisfactory answer, and looked back at the parchment on his desk. "This is a little ridiculous."
"What do you mean?" Cyrus asked.
"I'm looking at all these categories - kindest, best eyes, best smile, best hair, most huggable, most kissable lips - and I want to put Sylvia down for every single one," Malistaire replied, sounding like this was the single most distressing thing in the universe.
Cyrus rolled his eyes, smirking. "That form is ridiculous, but do you know what's even more ridiculous?"
Malistaire eyed his brother curiously. "What?"
"How sappy you are," Cyrus replied. Malistaire sighed.
"I'm not being sappy," he said. "I'm just being honest. It doesn't make any sense that we're only allowed to vote anyone for a single category. I want to put you down for both worst dueling partner and most uptight Conjurer."
"Those are really categories?" Cyrus asked, not fazed in the least.
"No," Malistaire answered. "I was just expecting a spectacular reaction from you."
"Nice try, but the last time you got a spectacular reaction from me, it took much more effort than that," Cyrus said.
"No it didn't. All I did was drink a cup of tea," Malistaire pointed out.
"Hey, you two," Gloria said, walking over to their table.
"Hi, Gloria," the twins said simultaneously.
The girl chuckled. "So, what are you doing in the library this fine afternoon?"
"Nothing much," Malistaire replied, looking back down at the parchment.
"Listening to Mal being sappy about you-know-who," Cyrus said.
"Again?" Gloria asked.
"You know it," Cyrus responded.
"What was it this time?"
"You know about those polls we have to fill out for yearbooks, right?" Malistaire asked.
"Well, you see, I'm faced with quite the dilemma," Malistaire began.
"Here we go," Cyrus commented, rolling his eyes again.
"I'm looking at all the categories - kindest, best eyes, best smile, best hair, most huggable, most kissable lips - and I want to put Sylvia down for every one," the Necromancer finished, completely ignoring his brother.
"Honestly? How can you get much cheesier?" Gloria said incredulously.
"I'm not being cheesy! I-"
"Hey, are you guys throwing a study party without me?" said a familiar voice. It was Sylvia.
Malistaire hurriedly flipped the poll over so that it would look like a blank sheet of parchment. "No."
Gloria shook her head. "Nuh-uh."
"Nope," said Cyrus, completely at ease.
"In fact, Cyrus and I were just leaving," Malistaire said nervously, grabbing his brother's arm as he did so.
"We were?" the Conjurer asked, one eyebrow raised.
"Yes," said Malistaire through gritted teeth. "We were."
He yanked a very confused and amused Cyrus from his seat and dragged him to the front door. "Goodbye, Gloria! Goodbye, Sylvia!" the Conjurer said as he was pulled from the building.
"Bye!" the two girls said. As soon as the twins had left, Sylvia turned to Gloria.
"I heard every word he said," she blurted.
"Cheesy, right?" Gloria said
"Yes," Sylvia chuckled, "It was cheesy. Cheesy, but sweet."
"Girl, what am I going to do with you?" Gloria teased.