The Fallen Diadem
“Hold still, will you?” Evey grunted.
“How can I hold still if you’re patching me up like a freaking minstrel cape? Watch where you’re putting that!” Claire cried out as the thread of stitches across her shoulder were tugged tighter. Her skin was mottled purple and green already, even as her blood dribbled out of the split. Evey had her pinned through, straddling her back and holding her down to work on the injury, and the priestess had far more experience wrangling ornery patients than Claire had at bucking.
“Oh my goddess, do you want to have a scar? Is that what you want? To never be able to wear an open dress again without people oogling your muscles? If you don’t let me hide this, that’s what you’ll have to deal with,” the blonde said, and dove in to bite the thread off with her teeth.
“Obviously I don’t want that.”
“Then why did you get in a duel? You brought this on yourself and came crying to me for help.”
Claire had to fight back tears. She sniffled. “I didn’t think he was that good with a sword, okay? I thought it would just be like sparring back at school. That Mark is a street rat animal in a fight. No one ever taught him how to hold back. It’s all that Charlie’s fault. Do you hear the things he says? It’s like he was raised to be a pit fighter.”
Evey smacked her in the back of the head. “Don’t talk about him like that. You asked for the duel and he helped you limp all the way here. You didn’t even tell him that you were bleeding because you were embarrassed.”
“I’m never going to get my post back. Amaranth is going to just keep bouncing me between odd jobs like some kind of flunky…”
Evey sighed and quickly wrapped a bandage around Claire’s wound while the knight cried to herself. “Come on, come on, don’t be down on yourself. It probably wasn’t his decision. You’re getting yanked around because Ascalon likes you. You can look at that as a good thing; it means you’re not really going to go anywhere and you’ll always be kind of in the spotlight, right? If you keep getting the jobs that get special attention, you’ll have opportunities to stand out.”
“But I can’t even win a duel against some random kid…”
Evey pulled Claire around and sat her up so she could pull he rinto a hug. “Claire, it’s okay. You’re just absolute trash in a duel because you never practiced for it.”
“You don’t have to put it like that!”
Evey shushed her and smoothed her hair, knowing full well that only a gentle grip was needed on Claire’s tender shoulder to keep her from shirking free. “There there, no one but me you and Mark need to know that he trounced you. Everyone still knows you’re an expert at Imperial Blade. Just find a drake or a fallen to show off against and you’ll win back everyone’s respect.”
Claire sank into her friend’s embrace and sucked in her tears. “I hate the way you phrased that, but thank you for taking care of me. I can get back to the camp now.”
Evey let her go and even helped her back to her feet and to dress once more. Just before Claire could depart though, she added, “So considering the emergency treatment, medical supplies, and my surcharge for not blabbing, that’ll be five silver. Okay?”
“You’re charging me? That’s more than the last book I bought!”
Evey immediately shot her hand forward, holding Clair back firmly. “The literary trash you consume is not my problem. Why would you think that medical treatment would be free? Pay up! I know you just got your wages, oh high and mighty knight captain of three slaves! Hey, hey get back here, no running away. Claire!”
Ah the deadline, how it approaches. I had meant to write this omake a long time ago, but keeping up the daily chapters took a lot out of me and squeezing in more writing on top was a bit difficult. If any of you have other scenes that happened around Mark you'd like to see played out, let me know in the comments.