“It’s cheese, sir,” said Thelonius. He shifted his feet and shoved his hands into the pockets of his habit. He couldn’t decide which intimidated him more: the abbot, or the abbot’s desk. They bore certain similarities, even if one was flesh and blood and the other a carved chunk of graniculate.
“Why?” asked the abbot, going a darker shade of red. Before him, lying on a square of cloth, lay a pale lump. It emitted a strong odor.
“Er” Thelonius said. He squeezed his fingers against each other. Sweat trickled over his elbows. “I wish to be onk of cheese.”
The abbot didn’t move, but his desk did. It shifted on its monstrous stone feet. Until now, Thelonius hadn’t quite believed the rumors. Suddenly he felt sure that the desk had been blessed by the 15th Cardinal after all. He forced himself to remain stationary. Stone-like. Nice desk, he thought, lovely giant rock. Please don’t hurt me.
“Don’t be absurd,” said the abbot. “There’s never been an onk of cheese.”
Thelonius hesitated. He scuffed his feet. “Precisely.”
The abbot seized an iputian rapier from his quill pot and stabbed it into the cheese. Thelonius jerked as if he felt the pain in his own stomach.
“Awfully soft,” said the abbot, pulling the rapier out of the cheese and sniffing the white gore clinging to the metal. “And stinky.”
“Triple cream,” Thelonius countered, trembling. “Mushroomy.”
The abbot’s tongue flicked along the rapier, harvesting cheese. His eyebrows went up, then down, then up. He sneezed. “That,” said the abbot. “I.” He lay both of his hands on his desk and blinked at them. He blinked at the lump of cheese. He blinked at Thelonius.
“I’m glad you think so,” said Thelonius.
“Now, now,” the abbot smirked and shook his finger. “Don’t put words in my mouth.”
“Where did you get the… supplies for this, hmm?”
“Eberard? Why, he’s not even from here, is he? He’s over with Lulodik. Why’d you need him? What’s he onk of again?”
Thelonius thrust his hands deeper into his pockets.
He didn’t put much stock in the rumors. The whole desk thing was a fluke. He took a shaky breath, then shrugged. “Cows.”
The abbot sat bolt upright. His face went the color of his desk. “You,” he sputtered, staring at Thelonius. Then all the red came rushing back and he clutched at his quill pot. He snatched a tiny rapier in each hand and drew his arm back to throw. Thelonius yelped and dove under the desk.
It had seemed a good idea in the moment. Good, solid cover. The abbot wasn’t as bendy in the middle as he used to be.
The desk shifted its feet.