Henri bumped against the stable wall, twenty paces away, making the harnesses jangle. From the middle stall, Thundercloud stuck out his muzzle and snorted, like the horse found this amusing.
“Not a good idea,” he said.
I grabbed an apple from the bin and balanced it on my head. A watermelon would have been better. “Just aim for the apple.”
“You sure Katya fixed the power increments, non?” he asked, his knobby throat bobbing as he swallowed.
“I’m sure,” I coaxed.
He drew the elektrum string taut. I flexed my fingers, feigning ease. If he didn’t pass this test before our next mission he faced disavowment. His arms dropped and the strap of the quiver slipped down his scrawny shoulders. The Akasha powering the bow whined as if begging for release.
“Jesse.” He shook his head. “I have a better idea. We trade places.”
“I passed all the tests the first time.” My breath rattled out when he eased the string to resting position. The more he stalled, the more I began to think this was a bad idea. “I swear the kinks have been ironed out.”
“Well, I…Are you absolutely…you know?”
His gaze drifted over the bull’s-eye with its scorched edges and large holes everywhere but the center mark. “What if I miss?”