“I really am sorry, Ember,” Flare repeated, putting a hand on her sparktressling’s arm. Ember flinched automatically; she did not like to be touched even when she was on speaking terms with the toucher. Flare sighed.
“I swear, it’s only that we weren’t thinking,” she said. “You know we’d never do something like this on purpose.”
“Well, we did…” Sparkle said, making an exaggerated apologetic face. “And for that we are sorry,” she added quickly with a hopeful smile.
Ember shook her head with closed eyes. “I’ll have to speak to Star Dancer at breakfast,” she mumbled. “This cannot be allowed to go un…un….” She glanced at Firefly. “Un…?”
“Uncontested?” Firefly suggested. Ember gave a nod and shrug combination, her eyebrows knotted in desperate worry.
“Do you think Coal’s already heard?” she asked.
Firefly shrugged, but she was not a spy, and her face confirmed Ember’s own suspicions. Ember covered her face with the kachina top she was about to put on. She groaned. “I swear, Flare—”
“I doubt it will bother him,” Flare said dryly. “I’m really rather surprised he hasn’t started such a rumor himself.”
Ember dropped the top with an open-mouthed look of offended horror. She reached out and slapped Flare’s arm with a heated palm. Flare cringed, scowling.
“Ember, you know how he is sometimes—”
“Flare,” Firefly began, coming between her two younger sparktresslings. “I love you, but I must admit you have the worst discretion of anyone I know.”
“What’s ‘discretion’?” Sparkle asked. Ember glared. Firefly sighed.
The kachinas went to breakfast.