She wasn't going to say it.

Clopin had told her that she needed to behave, especially when this group was travelling through Paris.

'Just smile, and don't hit him.' He'd gently ordered her, when the leader of the group sauntered over.

Yes. Sauntered.

He was ten times as arrogant as her brother.

The leader poured himself a generous glass of some of their most expensive liquor, before pouring more and handing one over to Clopin (who did not look impressed). He tried to hand the next two glasses to Esmerelda and Saphir, only to catch Clopin's eye and sheepishly put them down.

"Sorry sweetheart." He smirked at Esmerelda, "He's very over-protective, isn't he?"

"Don't call me that."


Esme narrowed her eyes, ignoring how her two brothers both smirked identical smirks, turning their faces to hide them. "Sweetheart… don't call me sweetheart."

"Most girls like being called sweetheart." The other leader frowned.

"Not me." Esmeralda shrugged, "I find it demeaning. I'm not your sweetheart, so don't call me that."

"You're an odd one then… because I've talked to a lot of women and they seem to appreciate it."

"Not our Esme." Clopin interjected, almost desperately, "She does prefer her actual name."

"Hmmm." Esmerelda ignored the warning, "I find it less demeaning, funnily enough." She pushed herself to her meet, mockingly bowing at the other leader, "Sorry. I've just forgotten something I need to do."


She slowly turned back to him, a wicked smirk on her face, "Sword-fighting."


When she returned a few hours later, wrist aching from training along with her jaw, from grinding her teeth in anger, her two brothers still appeared to be having a drink with the older man. Carefully, she hid in the shadows, curious over what they were talking about.

It turns out, it was about her.

"You really annoyed her." Saphir sounded annoyed himself.

"Yeah?" The leader scoffed, "Well, she annoyed me first. 'Demeaning'… ha! Like I could 'demean' someone as snooty as her."

"Don't call my sister snooty!"

Fixing her hair, Esme strode back into the area, her back straight and her chin tilted high. She was heading back to her room, only to stop at yet another sly comment from the other leader.

"Getting a bit past your bedtime, isn't it… sweetheart?"

Swiftly, she spun around on one heel and narrowed her eyes at the man, who just smirked.

"You do that a lot. Keep at it, and that pretty face won't be so pretty anymore."

She narrowed them further, as he mimicked her (Clopin and Saphir wincing at either side of him).

(She narrowed them further.) "What?"

"That." (He did an imitation. It was poor.)

She smirked, "Have you ever thought that maybe you deserve the look?"

"What have I done?" The leader honestly didn't seem to see what he'd done wrong.

"Forget it." She rolled her eyes, "Forgive me Clopin, but your friend is clearly too dense to see the truth."

"Hey!" The leader shot to his feet, moving to cut her off, only for both his wrists to be grabbed. One by Clopin and one by Saphir.

"I wouldn't do that." Saphir spoke up before Clopin could leap into his tirade, "Esme fights dirty."

"Good!" The man snapped, "So do I."

"No, I mean she really fights- "

The pair lunged at each other, and within seconds the leader of the other travellers was on the ground, clutching at his gonads as desperate squeaks escaped from his mouth.

"- Dirty." Saphir winced in sympathy, glancing over at Clopin, who looked like he'd aged about ten years since the visit began, "She fights really dirty."

"Let me know when he leaves," Esmerelda sneered down at him, before flouncing back to her tent, ignoring any attempts Clopin made to call her back.


"Yes Clopin?"

"Can you go and ask Julia if she has something a little stronger than this wine?"