“Lightgaze, wait!” Snowdrop called out as she hurried after the cub. No matter that her legs were longer than his, with a cub’s inexhaustible energy he managed to get away from her again and again. It made cubsitting interesting, to say the least, but she nevertheless liked both the task in itself and her little charge.
Lightgaze laughed and whirled around mid-step. “Catch me!” he called back at her. The next moment he tripped and fell backwards with a short yelp of surprise.
Snowdrop didn’t cry out but hurried up to reach him, kneeling down next to him. The boy seemed more shocked than anything else and looked up to her with wide, light blue eyes. “Are you hurt?” she asked gently, but not overly worried – it had not been a hard fall.
Lightgaze blinked and shook his head. For a moment he was at a loss for words, and then grabbed the hand she extended to him, pulling himself back to his feet. “No,” he simply stated.
The maiden smiled and messed up his light hair. Lightgaze did not cry much and most of the time when falling down simply got back to his feet with a single-minded determination not to let himself get brought down by anything. Actually, the few times she remembered him crying had been when he had been frightened during a thunderstorm.
“That’s what you get for running without looking where you are going,” she chided mildly as she got up and took his hand.
“Why?” Lightgaze asked, turning his earnest gaze up to her.
“Because then you can’t see where you’re putting your feet,” Snowdrop replied.
“Because you don’t have eyes in the back of your head.” Snowdrop started off towards the Craft trees again, thinking that was an answer that should satisfy the curious cub.
Her hope was destroyed the next moment as Lightgaze asked on: “Why don’t I?”
The mental image almost made Snowdrop snort with amusement. “Because elves don’t have that,” she told him. “Animals don’t either. It’s just not intended that we walk around backwards.”
“Why? Lynx does it a lot.” A small pout was appearing on Lightgaze’s face.
“Aww, cubling.” Snowdrop squeezed his hand. Lynx was a talented hunter and scout – and above all he was an adventurous and boisterous elf, so to a younger brother he sometimes must appear larger than life. “Lynx is a lot older than you. When you’re older you’ll be able to do such tricks, too. You’ll just need to practice.” Then she added: “But he’s not doing it because it’s necessary, just because he wants to show he can.”
“But I want to, too,” the cub insisted.
“I told you, you can,” she repeated. “You’re just too little for it yet. You’ll become more agile when you grow, have better balance and more experience, so then you can do it.”
Lightgaze’s pout deepened. “I don’t like waiting,” he complained.
“Most people don’t.” Snowdrop shook her head leniently. “But there are some things where you just have to wait, and growing is one of them.” She gave him a wink. “I should know, I’m just done with it.”
She was rewarded with a little crack in the pout, a grin lighting up in his eyes. “Still isn’t fair,” he declared emphatically, and she couldn’t help but smile.
“Maybe it isn't, but that’s just how it is.”
The young huntress shrugged. “Some things are. There’s no use looking at what’s behind them – you just have to accept it.”
Lightgaze gave this another few moments of consideration but then, inevitably, it followed: “Why?”
She rolled her eyes in desperation. “Because I say so.” Snowdrop’s patience was long, but not unlimited.
“Oh,” Lightgaze said, falling silent and walking at her side, and for a bit she enjoyed blissful silence. Not even Lightgaze could question such a definitive statement.
“But why do you?”
Or so she had thought.