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Fic for Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief Books

Fic: Omniscient

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Fic: Omniscient

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Title: Omniscient
Author: an_english_girl
Word count: 410
Genre: Friendship, humour
Characters: Costis, Aris
Summary: What is troubling Costis about his promised offering of ten gold cups?

The bar maid brought their wine, and Aris poured two generous cups. “Sense of honour appeased?” he asked, raising his own cup and grinning at Costis.

“I suppose so,” said Costis, taking a thoughtful sip. The wine was good – nothing like that potent stuff the king had got him drunk with all those lifetimes and less than six months ago – but still good. “That is-” he sighed. “I've fulfilled my promise to the goddess. I even paid for one of them myself.”

“There's a 'but-'” Aris observed. “You were looking like a forlorn puppy when I found you, and I'm guessing it wasn't just because that priestess was shooing you out of the place like a mother hen tired of her chicks.”

Costis laughed. “My archaic is too limited to tell exactly what she was saying, but that's a good summary of it. No … yes … well-” He flung up his hands. “Now I'm in the king's debt for nine gold cups. You know. On top of everything else.”

Aris fiddled with his wine cup. “He doesn't see it that way. I mean, that's nothing out of the royal treasury. You said, he said, he drinks out of them all the time. I know,” Aris added. “I'm not a squad leader in the palace without noticing some things.”

“I know too,” Costis nodded. “But it's just the whole thing. I promised, and he's paid for it, and-”

“He believes in it,” Aris pointed out.

That doesn't help,” Costis retorted, trying desperately to steer his mind away from the memory of the night on the roof, and the voice out of nowhere. Taking a large swig of his wine didn't help either, for the king's voice echoed in his mind.

“You're drunk, your majesty...”
“I am. What's your excuse?”

Aris sighed. “Does it help that you're not the only one?”

Costis looked up from swilling his wine around the base of the cup. “What do you mean?”

“Well-” Aris paused. “Quite aside from my not having been hung for catastrophically failing to protect the king from assassins, I was summoned from my guard post at noon-time, presented with, er, several gold coins, and told the whereabouts of a very nice, quiet, reasonably priced wine shop.” He gestured about them. “This one.”

Costis put down his cup with a groan. “You mean...?”

Aris nodded. “He didn't say I was to bring a guest. He just said I might want the afternoon off.”
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