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A Relaxing Vacation (We Hope)

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Robinton carefully positions the final bucket to catch the last three drips from the so-called roof and sits down on the bed beside Menolly with a dramatic sigh. “This was supposed to be a nice relaxing vacation,” he says mournfully. “Sunny days, beautiful scenery, a complete lack of duties.”

“You don’t find torrential downpours relaxing?” Menolly asks, grinning at his antics.

“If I wanted to sit in a small room and be dripped on I could have gone to any number of benighted places,” Robinton grumbles. “Really the only redeeming factor is that I don’t expect either of us to be suddenly overcome with inspiration, so we might actually get to sleep, or drink that skin of good Benden I brought along, or -” Menolly jerks as though she’s been struck. Robinton puts a hand over his eyes. “Oh, for - my dear prodigy, really?”

Menolly scrambles for the scraps of parchment they had brought along for just such an emergency. “You’ve been telling me I need to work on my humor songs,” she says. “Here, write down the melody for me while I get the words -” she starts singing quietly, wordless notes, the fire lizards humming in harmony from the rafters, and Robinton quickly begins jotting the tune down. Menolly scribbles hastily on her scrap of parchment, her handwriting not nearly as good as it normally is in the dim light, and finally sits back with a nod of satisfaction, handing the parchment to Robinton. He scans both scraps, a grin spreading slowly over his face.

“This is very good,” he says. “Some of your better work, I think. Apparently torrential downpours agree with you. But I observe,” he adds, giving her a stern look that doesn’t quite work with the amused quirk of his lips, “that we are working on our vacation.”

“It would be far less pleasant to try to not write my scribbles down,” Menolly says, and reaches out to set the parchments on the little rickety table, out of the way of any drips, then loops her arms around Robinton’s neck and pulls him down with her onto the bed. “But now that I’ve gotten that one written, I suppose we could find something else to do.”

*

Some weeks later, at the midsummer Gather, Robinton watches with quiet pride and vast amusement as Menolly causes quite a large crowd to roar with laughter at her newest song, ending triumphantly with them all singing along on the last chorus: “Remind me why we didn’t hire a plumber?