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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2236201-The-deal
Rated: 13+ · Assignment · Action/Adventure · #2236201
In which Constance shows off her negotiation skills
You wanted to see me?"

"I need some favors,"

"What makes you think I'll help?"

"What can I offer in exchange for your help?"

"Say my name."

"I thought the Damn Girl was..."

"Wasting my time? Goodbye, Mr. Silverbolt."

"Constance, wait. I'll use your name."

"My name only brings me to the negotiating table, Mr. Silverbolt. If we are to deal, I want my money's worth in return. How many favors do you need?"

"Three, all of them pertain to my work."

"My lady."

"You're still going on about that?"

"Perhaps you don't need my help."

"Lady Constance Reynard, please forgive my rude behavior."

"You are forgiven. Now, I was going to ask for a singular favor, but your recalcitrance displeases me. It shall be a favor for a favor, and I decide when we are even. Do we have a deal?"

"Up yours, my lady."

"I suggest you come up with a better idea."

"What do you want?"

"I grow tired of being known for my scholarly pursuits."

"You're a nerd? Can't say I'm surprised. How can I help?"

"Promise yourself to me, and I'll help whenever you need me."

"Which means?"

"We intend to court once my tenure at the school is complete."

"Isn't that a little steep?"

"Not when it solves some of your problems."

"Explain."

"Young women talk amongst themselves. I distinctly heard Lady Victoria and several others say rules be damned. Do you want to be approached all the time?"

"Not really. Get to the point."

"Promising yourself to me will discourage all but the most determined predators. It will also make you more trustworthy in the eyes of the other young ladies. Do we have a deal? I'll give you a few moments to think about it."

"What about Madame Cuttle."

"Who do you think gave me the idea?"

"I'll take the deal."

"Excellent you will declare your intentions at dinner. We don't want anyone to be confused do we?"

"At years end, the agreement is over?"

"Of course."

Part B

The room started to empty after the assembly. Excited chatter followed the satin and lace out the door. A man in a mask watched the procession. The heart-shaped thundercloud with the lightning bolt through it betrayed the personality of the man beneath it.

"You're off to a good start, Mr. Silverbolt. I appreciate the professionalism you bring to the job already." Madame Cuttle said. The impeccably dressed woman approached him with a smile.

Silverbolts armored feet clanged against the stone floor while they strolled down the hall. "I need someone familiar with the grounds and a strong knowledge of plants, remedies, and animals."

Madame Cuttles emerald dress floated around her legs with each step. "Aren't you concerned about where you'll sleep?"

"There'll be time to sleep when I'm dead."

"I see. As for your request...," Madame Cuttle trailed off and giggled. "Constance possesses the information you require." The headmistress refused to contain herself and burst into a fit of laughter.

Why am I not surprised? "Fine, I'll need to borrow her for a couple of hours. Better the devil I know, anyway." Silverbolt said.

"Do you plan to call her by name?"

"The Damn Girl?"

"Lady Constance Reynard."

"No, she's the Damn Girl." Silverbolt insisted

Madame cuttle cleared her throat and gave him a sly grin. "I can't force Constance to help. I wonder what she'll ask for in exchange?"

Silverbolt sighed and mulled it over. What choice do I have? The faster I secure this place, the better. I can't imagine it's cheap to hire professionals. The Damn Girl is the most logical course of action.

"Get The Damn Girl."

"You mean Lady Constance?"

"Isn't that what I said?"

Madame Cuttle massaged her temples. "The parents will want to meet you as well. I will hold an informal dinner. Constance can tell you more about who you should sidle up to..."

"Have the Damn Girl meet me at the stairs," Silverbolt said. He found the marble steps to the second floor and parked on the bottom. Maybe I'll get some answers about the goddess thing.

****
Lady Constance Reynard walked on pins and needles. Silverbolt called on her to assist him with some matter. Madame Cuttle offered a desirable course of action to take. She saw the masked man, and her heart grew wings and soared among the eagles.


You are a noblewoman. He may rule the physical battlefield, but the arena of words is where I live. "You wanted to see me?" Constance asked.

Silverbolt spat his words out like venom. "I need some favors."

A monogrammed handkerchief polished the ruby choker. Constance adopted her noble tone, reserved for dull social events and official business. "What makes you think I'll help?"

A groan escaped from the mask, and his gauntlets scraped the stairs in frustration. There was a hint of defeat about his words. "What can I offer in exchange for your help?"

It would be wise to gauge his temperament. Constance derived satisfaction from the moment. She tapped her parasol on the cold stone, straightfaced. "Say my name, properly."

A soft growl echoed off the steel covering his face. "I thought the Damn Girl was..."

Time to put this nonsense behind us. Constance turned, nose in the air, and adopted a regal gait with everything she could muster. "Wasting my time? Goodbye, Mr. Silverbolt." Now I'll see how badly he needs my help. The sound of his frantic steps caused Constance to smile.

"Constance, wait. I'll use your name."

"My name only brings me to the negotiating table, Mr. Silverbolt. If we are to deal, I want my money's worth in return. How many favors do you need?"

The Superhero loathed being in her power. The steel grey eyes shot poisoned daggers at her. "Three, all of them pertain to my work." His voice cracked with pained words.

I do owe him for the Damn Girl thing. Lets see how he handles a little payback. "My lady." Constance's blizzard cold tone reminded him. She hid a smug smile and continued to walk. "I am properly addressed as, My Lady."

Silverbolt forced himself to speak in a quiet tone. Each word carried his bewilderment to her hungry ears. "You're still going on about that?"

Constance stopped in front of a group of younger girls and growled. "Perhaps you don't need my help." Let's see how you get out of this one.

He growled and punched the wall. A pair of bricks shattered under the force of his blow. Silverbolt spoke through clenched teeth, and his words grew razor sharp. "Forgive my rude behavior, Lady Constance Reynard."

"You are forgiven. Now, I was going to ask for a singular favor, but your recalcitrance displeases me. It shall be a favor for a favor, and I decide when we are even. Do we have a deal?"

Silverbolts middle finger shot up faster than Constance could blink. "Up yours, my lady."

I assume this is an offensive gesture, if not a confusing one. Madame Cuttle said to ignore such behavior, as it should beneath a lady's notice. "You act like a man with options, though your actions suggest otherwise. I suggest you come up with a better idea if you find a deal with me offensive."

She giggled as Silverbolt tugged at the back of his head with both hands. His sense of honor and duty prevented him from leaving. "What do you want?"

"I grow tired of being known for my scholarly pursuits. It would be nice to shed that abysmal reputation."

He mocked her with his laughter. "You're a nerd? Can't say I'm surprised. How can I help?"

Under the harsh words, Constance sensed some empathy for her plight. "Promise yourself to me, and I'll help whenever you need me."

"Which means?"

"We intend to court once my tenure at the school is complete."

"Isn't that price a little steep?"

"Not when it solves some of your problems."

"Explain."

Just a little bit further. I better ease off the teasing if I want to succeed. Constance crossed her arms and shot him a winsome smile. Silverbolt groaned a little. "Young women talk amongst themselves. I distinctly heard Lady Victoria and several others say rules be damned. Do you want to be approached all the time?"

"Not really. Get to the point."

I better show him what he stands to gain. "Promising yourself to me will discourage all but the most determined predators. It will also make you more trustworthy in the eyes of the other young ladies. It would be prudent to mention the nobility may look more favorably as well. Do we have a deal? I'll give you a few moments to think about it."

Silvberbolt paced and swore under his breath. "What about Madame Cuttle? Doesn't promising myself violate the rules or something?" He was grasping at straws, and he knew it.

"Who do you think gave me the idea?"

"I'll take the deal."

Constance's mind did somersaults and cartwheels. She held on to her icy facade and spoke in her noble tone. "Excellent. You will declare your intentions at dinner. We don't want anyone to be confused, do we?"

"At years end, the agreement is over?"

"Of course." By then, it will be too late.



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