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Summer's Rule by Jaye Patrick
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Summer's Rule by Jaye Patrick
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Season of Change Book 1.


Summer slept the day away and by nightfall felt better; not perfect, but improved. Mr Miysuki had given her some wonderful tonics to drink and she’d soaked in the spa to ease the sore muscles. The Asian medic explained he’d put six stitches in the laceration along her cheek-bone, two in her lip, and another three above her eyebrow. He’d done similar work on Winter, and clucked his tongue at the violence done, even as he admired their strength of purpose to fight, survive, win. He being the peaceful man who’d trained them, of course. She resisted the urge to go to the dungeon, to Duncan, she didn’t want to know what he thought of them fighting and she was sure he would lecture her, like her father had done this afternoon. He hadn’t been as virulent as she’d expected; disappointed, yes, shocked at the result of the fight, but he’d… accepted it as a part of who they were, forever testing each other. Summer hadn’t raised the topic of Winter with him, she was perfectly capable of keeping an eye on her sister and would know if she planned to leave. She was deter-mined Winter would not leave without her, whether she liked it or not. And if her father moved to do something, anything to Winter, again, she’d intervene. For the first time, Summer acknowledged that she was more loyal to her twin than she was to her father and while that thought unsettled her, she knew in her soul to be true. Tonight, she still felt tired, though less achy. She figured she’d be more able to cope with Duncan in the morning. Maybe she’d take him a book to read, or at least ask him if he wanted one. Winter had given her a new resolve, she realised, to test and weigh the emotions be-hind the words. To seek out the truth rather than accept what another said. Duncan, she thought as she snuggled beneath the covers, was a safer bet to try out her resolve. obooko.

She fell asleep thinking of him, and what they’d done together, before she glimpsed Noddy in his mind and with the words he’d said to her: Don’t hurt them…

Duncan came awake at the sound of the door opening. He’d tuned in to whoever opened the door: Summer, slow and quiet and Sanders, the guard, quick and noisy. This morning, he heard slow and easy. Summer returned and he was surprised at how much he’d missed her. A day and a night felt like a week, a month, forever. He rolled out of bed - he’d shower later - for now he was… was… “Mother of God!” “Morning, Trio.” She said, her eyes lit with amusement at his shock as she slid his tray under the bar. He ignored it as he stared at her battered face. He slowly shook his head at the damage. Some of it looked like it would scar, especially the row of stitches along her cheek. The right side of her face was swollen, her eye barely open and the bruises, shades of angry red, sickly purple-yellow with black, turned beauty into a mess.  He turned away as outrage seared through him.