June 26th 2038
“It’s like you’ve got a death wish, Mia.” Justin shook his head.
“Oh come on, Tin-Tin.” Amia grinned at her brother impishly. “You’re just chicken.”
Justin reached over to ruffle her hair. Before his fingers reached their destination, Amia’s hand shot out and grabbed his wrist.
“Chicken.” She pushed his hand back, still grinning. Justin rolled his eyes.
“I’m not stupid Amia. I know you’re just trying to goad me.”
They stood staring each other down for a moment. “Tell me again what it is you think we should do.” Justin said after a moment.
“Training. I just want some training.”
“With fire arrows?”
“Criers do hate fire, you know.”
“So we really ought to practice shooting fire arrows more regularly.”
“Because the forest isn’t dangerous enough without you lobbing chunks of burning wood around.”
“Stop twisting all my words, Tin-Tin.” Amia gave Justin a playful shove. “I’m going to get some oil to dip the arrows in. You make the target.” Without waiting for his response, she dashed out of the horse stall.
“This is stupid!” Justin called out after her. He dropped down into a squat for a moment and glared at the straw strewn across the ground. “We’ll both end up on fire,” he muttered. His glare softened and a smile played on his lips. “Might be pretty fun though.” He stood.
By the time Amia got back, Justin had a target hanging from the support beam of the horse stall. She glanced at it, gave a short laugh, and held out a fist full of arrows. “Looks like we’re ready.”
“When this goes bad, which it will, you’re the one that has to explain to Dad,” Justin said.
Amia rolled her eyes. “He’ll never know. We’re both crack shots, right?”
Within ten minutes, the initial rush of lighting the arrow on fire faded. Much to their disappointment, shooting fire arrows was basically the same as shooting normal arrows. Except, of course, for the occasionally scorched fingers and smoke bleared eyes.
“Well, I guess we should just call it a day, huh Sis?” Justin poured water on an arrow smoldering in the wooden target.
Amia sighed. “It wasn’t half as exciting as I’d hoped.”
Justin laughed. “Hard to impress a girl who spends most of her evenings hunting down criers.”
Amia nodded and laughed grudgingly. After a moment, her eyebrows jumped, jerking her lips up into a huge grin. “You know what makes shooting a crier exciting? They move.”
Justin bit his lip and started to counter her words. It was too late. Her eyes were wild with excitement.
“We just need to make the target move. It’s hanging from the beam by rope anyhow, what if we just swung it?” She was already darting to grab one of the rakes.
“I always knew you were a little nuts, Sis, but this is a new level. You have any idea what could happen if things go wrong?”
“We just learned that both of us are too skilled for still targets, Tin-Tin. Come on. This is going to be great.”
Before Justin could reply, Amia had the target swinging wildly back and forth. With a grunt, she pulled herself up onto Sampson, who had been basically ignoring them up until now.
“Why are you on Sampson?” Justin growled.
“I ride Sampson. He needs to be used to fire if I’m going to be shooting it.”
“Governor’s pants, Amia.”
She scowled at this. “You know Dad hates it when you say that. No need to bring the Governor into this.”
“Whatever. Give me the bow. This is moving into dangerously stupid.”
Amia dipped her arrow into the torch jutting out of the wall. “Move Tin-Tin.”
Sampson whinnied and stomped. Amia ran her free fingers across his neck. “Shhhh. You’re okay Sampson.”
The target began to slow. Amia nocked an arrow and a moment later the fire darted across the shed and hit the target with a resounding ‘thwonk’. Amia gracefully leapt down from Sampson and grinned at Justin smugly. “I guess you don’t want to try, what with it being dangerous and all.”
Justin glanced between his sister and the still swinging target. His eyes narrowed. He started to say something and then broke out into a laugh. “That was some pretty decent shooting, Mia. Not great, but not horrible.”
She wordlessly extended the bow to him. He looked at it for a moment and then jerked it from her hands with a smirk and pulled himself onto Sampson. Amia grabbed the rake and set the target swinging. A moment later, a flaming arrow hit it, making the target swing wildly. Amia hooted once. Justin climbed down.
They looked at each other for a moment, grinning. “You know… usually I end up shooting while I’m jumping off the horse…” Justin started.
Fifteen minutes later, the horse stalls were on fire.