For all their immense size, the airships of Loess were nearly soundless, even the Jade Dragon, ancient as she was. The whirring of the great solar-powered propellers was inaudible from within the gondola. We might have been standing still, for all the passengers could tell. This is one of the attractions of airship travel, and one of the reasons people choose the slow, ponderous cruisers over faster, more modern conveyances.
An uneasy silence hung in the air between us as I waited for Jax to contradict the Captain. Moments stretched into long seconds, but my heretofore ingenuous companion said nothing. He only looked at me.
“I knew she was trouble,” he said at last, his voice like the memory of rain in the stillness.
“You’re telling me this is true?” My voice spiraled up in that way I hated, the way that made me sound fourteen instead of twenty-four, and I bit the inside of my cheek to bring myself back down.
Jax hesitated. “It’s true,” he said slowly, “that your father created the compound. It’s true that it was used on Verdure, and it’s true that he was convicted of treason. This is why your mother left, why she came so far.”
A few things fell into place then, pieces of an unanticipated puzzle. Our flight from Verdure, before the poisoned rain began to fall; my mother’s withdrawal and eventual withering away. My brother’s solicitude, and the private tutors, and the tight watch he kept over me. His refusal to allow me to attend the Academy, where, one supposed, I might learn the true history of our family, and — And what? Ruin his reputation? I shook my head. That last made no sense.
Something in Jax’s posture caught my attention. He was watching me, apprehensive, as if he hardly dared breathe. The Captain made a sharp sound in her throat.
“You don’t think he did it,” I said.
“No,” said Jax. “I know he did it. The question is, why?”
This post is part of the Jade Dragon series, and follows Harp Strings (which you may have missed if you’ve been coming here from Trifecta). It was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt:
You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:
1: causing physical or mental discomfort
2: not easy : difficult
3: marked by lack of ease : awkward, embarrassed <gave an uneasy laugh>