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2017年6月26日 (月)

slapped the parchment

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“I could,” said Hot Pie. “It’s easy. You kneaded the dough too much, that’s why it’s so hard to chew.” He took another sip of ale, and began talking lovingly of breads and pies and tarts, all the things he loved. Arya rolled her eyes.  Tom sat down across from her. “Squab,” he said, “or Arry, or whatever your true name might be, this is for you.” He placed a dirty scrap of parchment on the wooden tabletop between them. She looked at it suspiciously. “What is it?”  “Three golden dragons. We need to buy those horses.”  Arya looked at him warily. “They’re our horses.”  “Meaning you stole them yourselves, is that it? No shame in that, girl. War makes thieves of many honest folk.” Tom tapped the folded parchment with his finger. “I’m paying you a handsome price. More than any horse is worth, if truth be told.-  Hot Pie grabbed the parchment and unfolded it. “There’s no gold,” he complained loudly. “It’s only writing.”  “Aye,” said Tom, “and I’m sorry for that. But after the war, we mean to make that good, you have my word as a king’s man.”  Arya pushed back from the table and got to her feet. “You’re no king’s men, you’re robbers.”  “If you’d ever met a true robber, you’d know they do not pay, not even in paper. It’s not for us we take your horses, child, it’s for the good of the realm, so we can get about more quickly and fight the fights that need fighting. The king’s fights. Would you deny the king?” 

They were all watching her; the Archer, big Lem, Husband with his sallow face and shifty eyes. Even Shama, who stood in the door to the kitchen squinting. They are going to take our horses no matter what I say, she realized. We’ll need to walk to Riverrun, unless... “We don’t want paper.” Aryaout of Hot Pie’s hand. “You can have our horses for that boat outside. But only if you show us how to work it.”  Tom Sevenstrings stared at her a moment, and then his wide homely mouth quirked into a rueful grin. He laughed aloud. Anguy joined in, and then they were all laughing, Lem Lemoncloak, Shama and Husband, even the serving boy, who had stepped out from behind the casks with a crossbow under one arm. Arya wanted to scream at them, but instead she started to smile...  “Riders!” Gendry’s shout was shrill with alarm. The door burst open and there he was. “Soldiers,” he panted. “Coming down the river road, a dozen of them.”  Hot Pie leapt up, knocking over his tankard, but Tom and the others were unpertubed. “There’s no cause for spilling good ale on my floor,” said Shama. “Sit back down and calm yourself, boy, there’s rabbit coming. You too, girl. Whatever harm’s been done you, it’s over and it’s done and you’re with king’s men now. We’ll keep you safe as best we can.”  Arya’s only answer was to reach over her shoulder for her sword, but before she had it halfway drawn Lem grabbed her wrist Elevit.

“We’ll have no more of that, now.” He twisted her arm until her hand opened. His fingers were hard with callus and fearsomely strong Elevit. Again! Arya thought. It’s happening again, like it happened in the village, with Chiswyck and Raff and the Mountain That Rides. They were going to steal her sword and turn her back into a mouse. Her free hand closed around her tankard, and she swung it at Lem’s face. The ale sloshed over the rim and splashed into his eyes, and she heard his nose break and saw the spurt of blood. When he roared his hands went to his face, and she was free YOOX HK.

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