Sorry, but this bit rather tickled me. It’s from the stuff I’m writing today, which is part of one of the “princess stories” Finn used to tell his daughter, and not from the crunchy-hard sci-fi bits with which the main story concerns itself.
Still, I hope you like it. I do.
“Just… one question, before you skitter off,” said the rook. “What’s in that fine knapsack you’re dragging along?”
“Hmm?” said Mak. He knew exactly what the rook was asking about, but he tried to pretend that he didn’t until he could figure out something to say — all he knew so far was that he didn’t want to tell the rook what was really in the bag. Mak didn’t know very much about birds, but one thing he did know was that some birds very much liked to collect anything that was shiny, or pretty. (He knew this because he himself liked to collect shiny, pretty things, as well as things that were odd, unusual, rare, or simply available.)
He wasn’t entirely sure, but he guessed that rooks were one of those shiny-collecting types of birds, and the king’s crown was just about the shiniest, prettiest thing anywhere; it would be very bad if the rook were to see it.
“It’s a… hat,” said Mak.
“A hat,” said the rook. “Interesting. Not yours, I suppose.”
“Oh no,” said the squirrel. “I’m returning it to a friend of mine, before he misses it.”
“I see,” said the rook. “Very kind of you, given the weather and this high roof you might fall from. What sort of hat is it?”
“Oh, it’s very old,” said the squirrel, making it sound like a bad thing. “It’s something his family has had lying around for years and years. I don’t even think they enjoy wearing it all the time — they leave it behind quite often. Still, I’m sure he’d be upset if he found out he’d lost it.” Mak thought he was very clever for telling the rook what he had, because while none of it was precisely right, none of it was exactly wrong, either. Unlike the princess, he didn’t mind at all if he had to tell someone something that wasn’t true, but he liked words so much better if they they did two things, instead of only one.