Even a lazy girl can accomplish a lot, with the right incentive.
Henda plopped beside the stone dog, coins on her palm. “Look how much I earned today, Jraen!” She leaned Jraen over, tucking the coins underneath with the others. “Guard these.”
Through the high window, she gazed up-mountain at the temple lights. Stupid Ruby of Knowledge. Always someone coming to steal it, catching the villagers in the carnage. After Mama died, Papa talked about moving. But where? The only things down-mountain were farms and trees and the far-road.
Then last summer, all those people turned to stone. The clerics healed everyone. Except Jraen.
Papa said crying wouldn’t solve anything, but if—IF—she improved in her lessons and saved enough, he’d match half the spell-fee.
Ahael’s uncle turned to stone, and didn’t remember anything. Henda talked to Jraen anyway. She told him about the work she got that day, and showing off her new Trusted vest to her friends. They were so jealous.
Henda summed in her head, proud she could do that now. Five weeks, she guessed. She hugged Jraen. “Mama said you’d always protect me. For now, I’ll keep protecting you.” Remembering his soft fur and doggy smell, she cried, just a little.
Not much longer. She could do it.
Word count: 200.