Ogg smiled. She must know Box and Spar. But his smile faded as she stood up and backed away.
“You know them?”
“They’re my friends.”
“So you already know about me.” It was not a question.
“No.” This was confusing.
“How did they get to be your ‘friends’ then?”
The way she said the word “friends” made Ogg uneasy. He knew this tone of speaking. It meant he had said or done something wrong.
“They just are.” He looked down. This was not good enough. “Because they gave me this axe.”
“Where did you meet them?”
“At Keeper Twill’s.”
“Back there, across the river.” Pointing.
“Two days ago. No, three. No two.”
Robin looked at Ogg like she had never seen him before. He thought about his answers. They were right, he was sure.
“And they didn’t tell you they were looking for me?”
Robin tilted her head down and gave a look like she wanted a different answer. He thought about the things Box and Spar had told him. He decided to change his answer.
“What did they say?”
“They didn’t tell me, but they talked to each other about finding a girl.”
Ogg tried desperately to remember more. “That she was going to Sunflower, or something about Sunflower. That’s a place, not just a flower.” Ogg hoped that was enough, because that was all he had.
“Damn.” Robin sat back down.
“Why are you mad? Do you know Box and Spar?”
She breathed a big sigh. The all too familiar sign that meant he was stupid or had asked a stupid question.
“Yes I know them. They are the men who killed my father and took me prisoner. The men I’ve been trying to get away from since Padrig died and I ran from the Inn.”
“Oh.” The story she had told was about Box and Spar. Ogg knew that the two men in the story were bad men. If they were his friends, was he a bad man too? He didn’t want to be a bad man, but he still liked Box and Spar. Especially Spar.
“What are you going to do now?” Robin asked. Her voice sounded sad again.
“I don’t know. Try to find something to eat. I’m hungry.”
She looked at him and gave a little shake of her head in disbelief.
“Aren’t you hungry?”
“What about your friends? And me.”
“What do you mean?” Ogg couldn’t figure what Box and Spar had to do with him being hungry.
“What are you going to do with me?”
Ogg was silent. He had lost the trail of this line of questions. Without an answer, silence was best. He wasn’t afraid of getting into trouble for his silence with Robin. She was not like Daddy. And she was little.
“You’re not going to try to take me to them are you?”
That hadn’t occurred to Ogg as an option. How could he do that if she didn’t want to go?
“No.” he shrugged.
Robin looked like she was trying to decide something.
“Okay. Fine. Will you help me then?”
“Help me get to my uncle’s in Sunflower.”
“What’s a yuncle?”
“Uncle. My father’s brother.”
“Uncle.” A new term. He knew about brothers and he knew about fathers but not father’s brothers. He shook his head.
“It’s not important Ogg.” Robin was losing patience, he could tell. “Will you help me get to Sunflower? My uncle will give you a reward.”
Reward. This sounded familiar. Perhaps a word from some story or another he had heard. He thought it was a good thing.
“Will you promise me you’ll help even if there’s trouble?”
Promises were not lightly given. If you promised, you were stuck with it. But he couldn’t think of any trouble that would be a problem. And he did like to hear Robin talk. Liked to hear her stories. And she was pretty nice to him. And he might find Box and Spar in Sunflower, and that would be good. And Robin said she knew the way there, didn’t she? He didn’t know the way, so she was really helping him. This promise sounded like a good deal.
“Okay, I promise.” He licked his fingers and held his hand palm up to Robin.
“It’s a promise. This is how you make a promise stick.” He pushed his hand towards her again.
She reached out toward him gingerly with her hand.
“You have to lick.” Ogg wondered how she could ask for a promise and not know this.
Robin licked her fingers and reached out, touching Ogg’s outstretched hand.
“You have to slap my hand!” he said, a bit exasperated. Did she know nothing?
Robin raised her hand and slapped down on Ogg’s palm with a smack.
“There.” he said. “If I don’t jerk my hand back it’s a promise. Daddy says it’s a lick and a promise and it’s a deal. If you pull your hand back, you changed your mind. It’s not a promise then.”
She nodded, looking at Ogg.
He had explained it well, he thought. He felt pretty good right now; he wasn’t sure why.