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The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love You'
By Myra

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bullet Herlikin mulled around the Court a bit while Clopin went to the Center
to have a drink with the men.  Her red dress swished a little as she slowly
walked through the tents and market stands.  She went past their dug in canal and dipped her feet in the water.  They were clean, she had decided to take another bath to refresh herself.  To cleanse the jealousy out of her.  As she walked she used her fingers to spin a ring on her middle one, a nervous habit she often exhibited.
    She made her warm greetings to the women and men that were out and about that evening.  She walked past to where Pipes and Ariel's tent had been.  The spot seemed so empty without their splendid decorations and elaborate blankets.  She stood there for a few minutes, picturing in her mind how not long ago she had been sitting in that very spot learning how to read.  She sighed heavily and moved on her way.
    She passed Colombine and walked up to her, giving her something to do.
"Hello."  Colombine, surprised at Herlikin's somber mood tried to brighten
her up.
    "Hi!  So," she looked in the direction of where Ariel and Pipes' tent had
been, 'do you miss them?"  Herli simply shrugged.
    "I'm really not sure.  I want them to be here to help me......" she
stopped herself short, "I mean talk with and now there seems to be a small
hole in the Court to where they used to be.  I suppose it's yearning for them
to be her, but I'm just really not sure."  She trailed off and looked down at
the ground.  Colombine had kept looking below Herlikin's face, trying not to
make it obvious but Herli noticed.
    "Did you have a quarrel with Clopin?"  Herlikin cocked her head slightly
and lowered her brows.
    "No, why ever would you think that?"  She didn't want to tell about their
shouting match recently, she was sure it was around the Court and back again by now already.
    "Oh, I was just curious."  Her eyes peered once more downward and then
she looked up suddenly.  "Well I have to be leaving you dear, I'm off to walk
the markets and pick up a few things."  Colombine winked at that and left.
    Suddenly Herlikin felt odd.  She tried to determine what it was until she
felt her neck.  She was missing her pendant.  Frantic she hurried back to the
tent to find it on their table, but she didn't remember leaving it there.
There was a piece of paper on it.  She looked at it and read to herself, "To
My Moon."  The writing was much less then perfect but it was written
nonetheless.  It was obvious much effort had gone into it.  She smiled and
moved the paper aside and picked up the pendant.  She saw it was turned up side down and noticed indents on the backside.  She picked it up slowly and narrowed her eyes, running the fingers of her free hand over the grooves.  She knew they had not been their before and she tilted it to face the light.  She saw that the indents spelled something out.  She read the engraved 'I Love You' on the back and her eyes were blurred with joyful tears.  She knew only one person could be responsible and set out of the tent to find her beloved husband.

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    Clopin nimbly jumped into the tent to find it empty, and the table bare.
He smiled to himself.  The engraving was very difficult to get.  When he had
walked into the store he was lucky to find the engraver sitting, working by a
melting candle whose flickering flame would soon blow out.  The man had
become instantly frightened at the sight of a gypsy emerging from the
darkness and picked up a small dagger that was lying near him.  Clopin had to be very gentle and slow with his movement and words but he soon persuaded the man that he would cause no harm and was only asking for help, as any regular customer.  Still a bit jittery the man did as asked, and very quickly, dropping his current project to bid the gypsy's wishes.  Nevertheless he did it beautifully and tactfully.  He handed the pendant back to him and Clopin had paid him, more than a normal customer to reassure the man no harm.  He forced a nervous smile and then went back to his previous work.
    Yes, Clopin had thought this a wonderful way to show his darling wife he
knew how to read.  He imagined her looking at the necklace and wondering what it said.  He imagined her running out of the tent, searching for him or
someone else to decipher the mysterious code.  Yes, he had got her this time, a talent he had acquired and could show off proudly to his Herlikin, as well as everyone else in the Court.  How happy they would all be to know their king could read.
    Clopin smiled smugly to himself and changed out of his performing outfit,
kicking off his shoes which jingled as they hit the ground.  His hat fell
into the floor with its yellow feather slouching over.  Finally in some
comfortable clothing he sat in a padded chair.  He reached over and pulled
his pipe out of his drawer.  Ready to light it he saw something foreign in
it.  He pulled it out and blew the ashes off of it.  He read, mouthing the 'I
Love You' which was written on it to himself.  He grinned knowing only one
person could have done this and he had not been as sly as he had thought.
Although he was sure he had surprised his little wife he had also received
quite a surprise as well.
    He held the small paper in his hand and Herlikin stumbled into the tent,
clutching the pendant in her pale hands.  She spotted Clopin with the paper.  Clopin spotted Herlikin with the pendant and they smiled to each other,
Clopin chuckling quietly.

 

~*End*~

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