‘It’s not much of a disguise,’ Gren spoke as he poked the fire with one of the sticks he’d gathered. He turned to face Dell.
‘W… what do you mean?’ Dell hoped Gren couldn’t see the blush.
‘I could tell you were a woman when we met, back at the inn.’
Dell opened her mouth to deny it, and saw Gren staring back at her, the outlines of a grin on his face. She sighed. ‘Why didn’t you say?’
‘I presumed you had your reasons.’ Gren shrugged. ‘After all, there are advantages and disadvantages to travelling as a woman, as there are travelling as a man.’ He gave the fire another poke. ‘But travelling disguised as one when you are the other? Well, that just adds a whole load of complications.’
Gren raised his hand. ‘No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I don’t need to know.’ He took the stick from the fire and studied the flame flickering on its end. ‘After all,’ he turned back to her. ‘All I need to know is that you won’t kill me in my sleep, and that is hardly a thing you’d want to forewarn me about, is it?’ He smiled.
Dell smiled back. ‘No. Will you… will you tell the others?’
Gren shook his head. ‘No, like I said, I presume you have your reasons.’ He shifted on the cold hard ground. ‘But I thought I’d best warn you. After all, if I can spot it, someone else is bound to notice eventually.’
‘Do you think the others…?’
‘No. It is hard to tell with Yoll, but he tends not to notice anybody he doesn’t want to kill… or fuck. Hew doesn’t notice much either. So I think you are safe… for now.’
‘How did… how did you…?’
‘Oh, that was easy. Men are idle bastards. Not many of them will walk off into the bushes when they need a piss, not unless they are in polite company anyway.’ Gren laughed. ‘And us, well, it should be obvious that a band like us doesn’t often meet polite company.’
‘I don’t know. I’ve met some… supposedly polite company that were nowhere near as good as you.’ Dell saw the look Gren gave her. ‘Yes, I’m from a good family… a rich family and they’d pay you well for taking me back to them.’
Gren was silent for a while, watching the fire. ‘And you trust me enough to tell me that?’ He spoke without looking at her. Then he turned to face her. ‘You do realise that we are mercenaries, that we will do anything for money?’
Gren didn’t speak, just sat watching the fire.
Dell wondered if she’d made yet another big mistake.