The Ballad of Troy & Roe, Part 3
Roe began to worry, when she heard Troy rattling off the French words, only a few of which she could catch, that she was going to end up with something bizarre and disgusting, despite the fact that she was generally an omnivore and interested in new foods. She didn’t want to embarrass herself on a date, though. At least she didn’t hear “escargot” in the jumble of French.
Still, it was too late to interrupt him while he was talking to the waiter, so she kept a smile on her face. When Troy handed the menus off and the waiter left, he turned back to her with a smile, but then there was a long pause. Roe kept her eyes from flicking to the window in search of Link. She wouldn’t see him, but she still felt self-conscious. “So,” she said when the pause had gone on for long enough, “how’s school going?”
“Oh… pretty well,” he said with a shrug. “Now that there’s no one trying to look through my illusion.”
She laughed awkwardly and gave an exaggerated shrug. “Sorry again about that. We’ve had some bad experiences.”
“Hey, no harm done. I probably wouldn’t have made any friends if Corrie hadn’t noticed, anyway. I’m pretty shy.”
Roe nodded. “I might not have made friends yet with anybody besides my roommate if they hadn’t noticed what was going on with my visions.”
He seemed to perk up at that. “Have you had any interesting ones recently?”
“I’m afraid not. I’m learning to control them a little better, though.” He seemed interested, so she explained about her lessons with Professor Strega. It was a topic she really liked discussing—she’d been having dreams and visions for so long with no one to talk to them about that now that she was not only surrounded by people who understood about magic but was also learning to control it, it all came pouring out.
By the time she’d finished her explanation, the first course had arrived. To her guilty relief, she appeared to have a straightforward salad, mixed greens with bleu cheese and… something weird. She speared the gelatinous yellow thing with her fork and held it up, trying not to look like she was inspecting it. Well, it didn’t look like a snail. When she popped it into her mouth, she discovered that it was a pickled beet. Okay, weird, but not too weird for a salad.
Of course, now there was another pause, and they were fishing for a topic again. She made a mouthful of salad and chewed it, hoping Troy would suggest something to talk about next, but he didn’t. Eventually, she swallowed and asked, “So, does being a Djanaea give you any magical powers that humans like me don’t have?” She hoped she’d pronounced the name of his underwater race correctly.
“Not that I know of,” he said, frowning. “I think the illusion that we do to allow us to breathe and move above water is more sophisticated than what humans are able to do, but I don’t know if that’s a special ability or just a more complicated magic that humans haven’t worked out yet. I guess I’ll learn more later, when I take higher-level magic classes.”
Roe nodded. “Maybe Link knows,” she offered, but that conversation topic didn’t seem to go anywhere, and they returned to their salads.