I took my time walking back to the campsite. When the men saw me, there was a cheer. Baruka was just pale as a ghost. Kent was not sleeping anymore! He was sitting there next to Baruka on the ground with his dagger pointed at her. It was then that I remembered that Baruka still had one of her daggers in those sheathes she kept under her robe. I really messed up! Kent could have been hurt, but he wasn’t. Baruka must have had had no intention of using them, or she would have escaped too.
I went straight to Captain, who you can imagine was furious with me. He had some choice words, including that I was a fully, fully full who fully’s with ugly fulls. He wasn’t wrong! I handed him Baruk’s sword, and I told him what Baruk said. “Fine,” Captain goes. “I guess now we will have to do it your way.” He said it like he was mad, but there was this hint of jubilee in his voice. He told me to get lost, so I cleaned up my ax quickly, and then I hesitantly returned to Kent and Baruka.
I thought Baruka was going to scream at me, but she just looked at me without saying anything. She looked completely shocked. Then her gaze fell to the campfire. “What happened?” Kent asked. I looked at him with daggers of my own! What are you asking me that for in front of the lady?
“He got away,” I fibbed. Kent rolled his eyes. He was about to call me out, but I looked from him to Baruka and repeated, “He got away, okay?”
“Fine, you fully fool!” he snapped back. “Can’t even keep watch!”
“Captain already chewed me out,” I pointed out. “I don’t need that from you too!”
“Could have gotten me killed!” Kent mumbled, but he finally put his dagger away and laid back down. I thought I heard snoring, but I am also pretty sure he still had one eye open.
I looked at Baruka’s face, lit by the campfire. I just stared at it while the others began to settle back down. It got so quiet you could hear every wind that blew through the trees. Finally, I got up and sat next to her. I thought she’d push me away. “Sorry,” I muttered, barely above a whisper.
“He woke up that man when he got up,” Baruka began to explain, indicating with a nod that Kent was the man she was referring to. She still wouldn’t look at me, but she said, “He bumped into the man, and I thought he was going to tell me to run, but then he knocked me over so he could get away. Why did he do that?”
“He just wasn’t thinking!” I insisted, “I am sure he was sorry. I mean, if he were here, he would be saying, ‘I am so sorry! I just wasn’t thinking!’”
Baruka did not seem impressed, and I wasn’t sure what else to say. Then, purely by coincidence, I remembered she still had that dagger. I reached out gently and pulled her robe open. She looked at me now, her eyes sparkling in the firelight. I reached under her robe and grabbed the handle, gently pulling it out, so I did not cut her. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “I’d forgotten about that.”
I held it up under the light of the stars, then I took her chin, and I pointed her face towards me. I pulled her face closer to mine. Closer, closer, gently urging her to come forward. My eyes were fixed on her lips. Then I lifted her dagger. It flashed against the light of the fire. I put it right up against her face, and I shaved that fully mustache of hers right off! It was like a complete transformation! Have you ever kissed someone without a mustache? You really ought to try it sometime! Not that I got a chance that night. No, not that night because Kent started fussing and just ruined everything.