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Growing Old is Not Equal to Growing Up

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Danny had watched Rhen grow from being a tomboy who chased sheep, fought fisticuffs, and stared at meanies in the eye with Jenna, Peter, and the other boys, into a... well, how should he say it?

He barely recognized her when he saw her again after all those somber months of Clearwater's mourning. Granted, he was then dazed from the loss of blood. Then, more months passed, and she came back to Clearwater with another man in tow.

It was a rich nobleman from the Eastern Empire, and Danny was sure Rhen had grown into a responsible woman with charm and grace.

Oh, Danny was so, so wrong.

It was a fine day for a farmer's fair down at Sedona, and Rhen and her husband had helped the Clearwater farmers set up their booths. Danny was, again, in charge of selling fresh pies, and when buyers dwindled, he and his peers were told to enjoy the festival.

That was how Danny ended up third-wheeling Rhen and her husband. Not that he minded; he enjoyed listening to their stories of magic and adventure.

It was then that they stopped by a line of stalls that sold all sorts of farming tools. Rhen began inspecting them and Danny joined her. The Eastern man only followed them silently.

How wrong of Danny to suggest, "Rhen, we should get these for Old Bill!"

Said tools were slapped with expensive prices, which was typical of the high quality products at the fair. Rhen's shoulders tried to haggle, but even then, they were still ridiculously pricey for a farmer.

"Man!" She sighed. "I love the quality, but the price... if only we could afford these things..."

The shopkeep should've allowed Rhen to haggle further.

"I can buy it for you?" The nobleman held up a bag of coins.

"Uh, no?"

Danny should've taken that as the sign to run.

The nobleman shoved the coins to his wife. "Come on. You can use my money."

Rhen shoved it back. "No. No way."

Shove. "Don't worry about it! My money is conjugal property!"

Shove. "It's not just about the money, okay?"

Shove. "Don't worry about the money! There's more where it comes from!"

Shove. "Forget it! I don't want them anymore!"

The nobleman gasped. "But you said they were high-quality products!"

"The point is, they're too expensive, and none of the elders are going to like the way you're throwing money left and right."

"I'm trying to help you, okay?"

"And I'm trying to save face and save money!"

The nobleman shoved his coins to Rhen again. And Rhen shoved them back to his face. And back to Rhen, back to her husband, back to Rhen...

"Why won't you accept my love, woman?!"

"I don't want to make you our sugar daddy!"

"LET - ME - HELP!"

"LISTEN TO ME, YOU DUMB NOBLE!"

And poor Danny didn't know how to stop them. Rhen grabbed her pocket knife and danced about, a tune accompanying her yells, and when the magic struck, her husband whipped out a stick and retaliated.

People didn't have to pay the arena to see an awesome fight, at the expense of having their town square decimated by a sorcerer and a sword singer from Shadwood Academy.

Old Bill ended up having to stop them, and the couple ended up getting banned from future fairs. Danny, however, was able to haggle the price to half, and they still got the tools. Rhen huffed and kicked a wall in frustration, before marching away with her husband in tow.

Did Rhen grow up? Danny wasn't too sure, for this was the very image of the old Rhen: a tomboy who stood up to meanies, hung out with the boys, and kicked butt when necessary.