On The Way To The Diamond Clock

The city was still a day’s walk away. More when she had to keep pace with him and his two stupid human legs with the stupid floppy toes and feet. Still, they had work to do, and the conversation wasn’t bad. The boy also carried his own pack and hadn’t ever said the word ‘ride,’ so he was doing alright.

The grass was soft, a little too soft after the rain. She was making divots when she walked, which shouldn’t be embarassing, but somehow it was. If she’d been going slower, there’d just be smooth uninterrupted grass behind her. Hell, he was wearing those big boots and he still left no impression on the grass when they were done. On the other hand, he took so long to get dressed. Pfft. Boys.

“Hey, check it.” he said, pointing down into the valley. Up through the low-sitting cloud, a lone spire, with a winking white glitter at its peak. “That’s the diamond clock, ain’t it?”

“Yes,” she said, clipped, huffing a little. She hadn’t spotted it, but still. “We’re almost there. Just a day’s more walk, if we can see it.”

He nodded and spread his arms wide, yawning in air. “That’s good to know.” Then he cast a glance up at her. “You been pretty quiet this whole trip. Your girl on your mind?”

“She’s my – she’s not my -” She said, flustered, blushing. “Look, I just admire her a lot. That’s all.”

He shrugged, stepping downwards. “Hey, fair’s fair. How life goes between centaurs and humans ain’t been any of my business.”

“Well, of course not.”

“We must look pretty silly to you though?” he asked, looking over his shoulder.

“What, you mean the tiny butt, no hooves, no flanks, the way you fall down on rocks and stuff, or – oh, the way you’re scared of touching wet things with your feet, that too? Nah, that’s not strange.” She laughed. “You’re just, you know. Humans. Little, weak, shoe-wearing humans.”

“And you have a crush on one?”

The blush was back. “Shut up.” A beat. “She likes my tail.”

“Well…” he stopped walking, and gestured for her to come close. “You wanna hear a secret about humans and tails?”

She slowed to a stop, then looked down at him. He was the better part of six feet tall but she was on the far side of seven. “What?” she asked, flicking her ears annoyedly. “What secret?”

A gesture with a cupped hand, beckoning her inwards.

She lowered her head, down close to his, so he could whisper in her ear. Like anyone could hear them out here in the woods – humans were so silly and weird and –

He poked her on the nose.