"What? Who are you?"
"I am Galena, handsome warrior. I am here to offer myself to you for the night."
"And to snare me for the rest of my life as well, eh?"
"Oh, no, I would never wish to hold you against your will."
"Perhaps not. But I choose to decline your offer anyway. I wish to sleep. Please go back home."
"But my Gypsum—"
"Hey!" Feldspar's harsh snarl cut through the night and the very short distance between tents. "Can't you hear, girl? He said no and I say no! Trot your furry little bottom back to town and stay there. And tell the rest that they will get the same lack of welcome!"
She hesitated. She may have looked distressed or disappointed, but such expressions are difficult to convey on Riotori faces.
Feldspar growled again and left no room for argument. "Move it! You interrupted my sleep!"
Disconsolate, the lass slumped slowly back to town. She saw another who was on her way to the tents. She did not pass along the message. Let this one suffer the same humiliation she had. A sudden cunning thought entered her mind.
"Do not bother the one in the tent on the left. He is unfriendly and uninterested. The other one, though, Feldspar, seemed he might be more receptive."
The other nodded and moved on. She did not believe for a minute what she had just been told. It was an old trick. The truth was likely to be the opposite. Then again, she knew Galena had played the game before as well, and might be trying a double deception.
So when she came to the tents she crept into Feldspar's. She knelt beside and started to whisper an endearment. But he had not fallen back to sleep and she was interrupted almost before she began.
"No! We have been warned about your approaches and the rules of your town. We have no intention of making such an important choice this early in our quest."
"But Feldspar—what a wonderful masculine name!—you will never find a woman more beautiful and loving than I. Share this night with me and I will make every night beyond a delight."
It was dark, so Feldspar could not determine if she was as beautiful as she claimed. But her voice was sweet, her growls and lisping snarls delivered in a high pleasing tone.
"Perhaps that is so, but I still choose to look farther and longer."
"Brother, get rid of her and let me return to my sleep," growled Gypsum with harsh impatience.
The girl, still on her knees, began to weep. "There are so few men that come this way. I may never find a suitable one to give all the love and passion that I hold."
Gypsum was a sucker for a woman's tears.
"What is your name, girl?"
"A lovely name. Neither of us will sleep with you. But we will remember your name and mention it to young men that may wish to travel in this direction that you are a maiden of wonderful charms and a girl to be treasured. Now go back home and hold onto hope that soon you will have your heart's desire."
"Oh, thank you, Gypsum! My gratitude is forever yours!" Then she got off her knees and forced herself to walk proudly and with her head up back to her home.
"Nice tactic, Brother. Maybe now we can sleep."
The two settled down to do just that.
Five minutes later, in a sleepy voice, Gypsum asked, "What was her name?"
"Galena, I think."
"No, that was the first one. This other one's name."
"Don't you remember?"
"Huh! Guess not."
"Oh well. Maybe we'll remember in the morning."
They both were soon asleep.