The next few days, though he did not show it, were nerve wracking for Halt. Gilan's face seemed set in a permanent, scheming grin. "I need to go the village!" Gilan would announce, then dart out the door before Halt could ask any questions. In truth, Gilan had begged one of the shop owners for a job in exchange for bricks. When the suspicious shop owner had asked for what purpose he was planning to use the bricks, the sandy haired youth would reply swiftly, "I need them for a project." The shop owner had prodded for more information, but the apprentice stubbornly did not yield.
At long last, Gilan put his plan into motion. The supply of bricks he had worked so hard to procure were strategically placed around the house and yard, just waiting for Halt to hit an unsuspecting foot on. Of course, Halt was suspecting something, Gilan knew, but the bricks seemed so obvious an idea, Halt wouldn't be expecting something so pathetically dimwitted. I'm a genius, Gilan would think smugly to himself.
"We are tracking again today, since our attempt from a few days ago was sadly cut short." Halt said shortly, moving from the doorframe of the cabin to the porch.
"It wasn't my fault!" Gilan said for the hundredth time.
"Technically speaking, it was. You are in charge of your feet, though sometimes I think that's debatable, and it was you who tripped over the log, therefore stubbing your toe, therefore causing you to yell, though the yell was optional."
The apprentice scowled. Halt, pretending not to notice, moved down the steps. Gilan's eyes widened. So close... THUD. Halt's foot made contact with the large, heavy brick Gilan had so carefully placed in the tall grass. Gilan didn't know whether to feel elated or terrified.
Halt closed his eyes, biting his lip. Gilan didn't know whether he did this from pain, or because he was afraid that if he opened his mouth, he wouldn't be able to stop yelling. Probably both. Gilan reasoned, inching away from his teacher, though the corners of his mouth kept twitching upward. Gilan knew the only rewards he would receive for his genius was this short reaction, and a long, cold night in a tree. Tentatively, though finally allowing the smile to appear, the apprentice asked, "Does it hurt?"
Halt, through gritted teeth, managed two words. "Gilan. Tree."
Gilan frowned. "But, Halt! I was proving a point! You told me I could! You said, 'You do that'!"
"I was being sarcastic!"
Gilan forced his face into an expression of shock. "Sarcastic? You used sarcasm? But, Halt, you told me sarcasm is the lowest form of wit!"
Halt's hand met contact with his face. Giving himself a moment to compose himself, the Ranger replied, "It's only the lowest form of wit when you use it."
Gilan dismissed this intended insult. "But, you didn't clarify you were being sarcastic. So technically, I shouldn't have to sleep in the tree, because you told me I could prove my point, and even if you were being sarcastic, I didn't know that, so I can't be blamed!"
Halt gave an exasperated sigh. "Fine. Just, fine. You don't have to sleep in the tree." The Ranger said, trying to keep his temper in check. He then snapped, "Go shoot your bow! Heaven knows you need the practice."
"Yes, Halt!" The apprentice replied cheerfully, heading towards the trees. He's practically skipping! Halt noted with disgust. I need some coffee. Pivoting towards the cabin, he moved his foot forward... SMACK. Of course. The same brick.