Caidy and Tyala walked out of the popular Corner Sweets Bakery in the Corner, each a silver coin poorer, but three sweet buns richer. They were nibbling on one bun each as they walked out and strolled up and down the alleys of the Corner. It was a popular place in the Market District, particularly well-known for the sweet shops. They alleys wandered up and down and curved around, shops opening up off of them, before eventually broadening up into the streets of the Market District.
“I don’t think my Papa is interested in ending the feud,” Caidy said around a mouthful of warm pastry flavored with cinnamon, raisins, and honey. It was sweet and sticky and stuck to the roof of her mouth, so her words were a little difficult to understand.
Fortunately, Tyala could understand her just fine, and even spoke the same way as she sucked the honey from her thumb. “I don’t think my parents are in the mood for that, either. Well, Mother, at least. Yesterday morning we found out my father’s seed of magic was stolen.”
Caidy shook her head. “I don’t know if my father has it or not. He doesn’t share those things with me. For the longest time he wanted to keep me out of it, but now I think he thinks it’s time for me to learn how it’s done.”
Tyala nodded. “My mother’s getting to be that way, too. What do we do?”
Caidy shrugged. “I don’t know. Run away?”
Tyala laughed. “Where would we go?”
“I don’t know. I don’t have any family anywhere else. It’s just Papa and me.”
“I have an aunt,” Tyala offered. “She lives in the capital. We could go to her. She wants nothing to do with this feud, either. I’m sure she would help us, take us in.”
Caidy nodded. “That’s a plan. A good plan.”
“It’s also our only plan,” Tyala reminded her.
“Yes. For now.”
They found a little wrought iron bench outside of a small cafe. The smell of salads, fresh breads, stewing meats, and coffee flitted out every time someone opened the little glass door. It made them even hungrier, so they started on a second sweet bun after they finished their first.
“Do you think we could talk our parents out of the feud?” Caidy asked. “Seriously, do you think that’s possible?”
“You’re my best friend, Caidy, but I think you’re an idealist. My mother lives and breathes this feud. My father doesn’t care for it too much, so I know it’s my mother who takes care of everything. She’s probably the one who has those criminals do things to you family.”
Caidy nodded miserably. “And it’s got to be my father who has had things done to your family.”
Tyala took a bite of her sweet bun and slowly chewed it. “I’ve told my father I don’t want to be part of the feud.”
Caidy shook her head. “You’re going to have to say that again,” she said, laughter in her voice. “I can’t understand a word when you have food stuffed in your mouth.”
Tyala laughed and nearly choked. Caidy pounded on her back until her friend swallowed the bite and cleared her throat. She coughed a few times, looking a little red faced, but quickly recovered with a few breaths of air.
“I’m okay,” Tyala said, wheezing a little as she reassured her friend. “I said, I’ve told my father I don’t want to be part of the feud.”
“What did he say to that?”
“My father supports my decision, Caidy, but he wouldn’t dare breathe a word of it to my mother. There’s really nothing he can do. It’s not really his feud. He just participates for my mother’s sake. But he doesn’t want to get mixed up in it more than he already is. But he can’t do anything. We can’t do anything, Caidy. Nothing at all.”
Caidy frowned. “This is a hard one.”
Tyala nodded morosely. “I guess we should run away.”
Her friend looked glum as she picked off a piece of her sweet bun and fed it to the birds. She didn’t feel like eating anymore. And the sugar was starting to make her stomach turn. “I guess. My father won’t be happy. There’s no one else to take up the feud after he’s gone.”
“Well,” Tyala said, forced brightness in her voice, “after that happens, we can come back and proclaim the feud over. My mother will be too old by then to want to argue with us.”
Caidy nodded thoughtfully. “That might work. And we might want to think of recruiting your brothers so she can’t turn them against me.”
“Ah, yes. I forgot about those brats.” Tyala shook her head. Her twin brothers had been the bane of her existence ever since they had been born. Everything was always about them and Tyala always had to take up the slack. They were growing boys, and old enough to take care of themselves. But they were the little princes of the manor. They could get away with murder.
Caidy patted her friend’s shoulder sympathetically. “At least we all know they adore you.”
“I guess that’s one mark in their favor.”
“So, are we agreed? We’ll run away to your aunt’s home?”
Tyala nodded. “Absolutely. We’ll work on our plans for that and then we’ll pack up and leave in the middle of the night.”
Caidy nodded in agreement and they resumed devouring their sweet buns with renewed vigor. But she couldn’t deny a twinge of sadness at the thought of having to leave her beloved father in order to avoid a feud she didn’t believe in.