Orion and Kangassk left the room together. There were orders to be given and matters to attend to; there was a Tower to be searched from its dungeons deep underground to its observatory among the clouds; there was the thief to be caught… but for a brief moment, everything seemed all right again and both of them could take a deep breath.
“Orion, since you’re giving orders here now, I need to ask you something,” said Kan just in time before the lucky moment was gone.
“Ask away. Anything for you.”
“It’s about the girl who was with the thieves, Edna. She gave me the recipe. In return, I promised her freedom. May I…”
“Yes,” Orion interrupted him. “Where is she?”
“The mages locked her in the closet, she’s been alone there for hours, crying. And Ainan said they had tried some serious interrogation spells on her. Please, Orion, Edna is just a child!”
“I see… I’ll tell the servants to prepare a guest room for her. There will be guards at her door but only for a while. I want her to rest and answer some questions, then she is free to go.”
“Bah! Don’t mention it. After everything you’ve done, after you’ve saved Aster, I trust your judgement.”
A promise is a promise. Kangassk returned for Edna himself, showed the girl to her room, and made sure that a bath and a dinner were prepared for her.
Kan was so tired after the long day that he spoke little and had almost left without saying goodnight. An inking sent by the cold obsidian welled up under his heart just when he was about to leave Edna’s room; he turned around and saw the girl standing there, in the middle of a wide spot of moonlight from the window, her shoulders drooping, her head down.
“Edna?” said Kan, cautious.
She lifted her head and looked him in the eye, a tiny, dishevelled sparrow facing an idle cat.
“You are a guest, not a prisoner here,” Kan tried to explain.
“There are still guards at the door…” she whispered.
“Yes. But tomorrow, after Orion and Aster have talked to you, you will be free to go. I swear.”
She nodded, unenthusiastically.
“Take a bath. Eat. Rest…” Kangassk faked the best smile he could now. “Everything will be fine!”
“No, it won’t.”
“It may seem so now. But tomorrow will be another day… Goodnight, Edna.”
Paypal no longer works in my country, so I can't get money from Ko-fi, Gumroad, and ComicAd.
But now I have good news!
Patreon still works! And I've replaced Ko-fi with Buymeacoffee! that works with Payoneer instead of Paypal. You can even buy my books there now. Boosty still works as well. It accepts Paypal and all cards.