So that’s the current deal: the crown will try to humour my wish not to be approached because of my shuttle, while becoming my in-laws. I can’t tell how the king and queen really feel about Rowan, but I do think Rory and Finn actually are thrilled to have younger siblings. I’m a single child, so I don’t know how it is to be a younger sibling, but I have overheard some of my classmates talking about it. So how will they treat us? Will they be picking on us? Or will they be doting? Or even both at the same time?
As if he’s reacting to my thoughts, Rory suggests Rowan and I do some fighting training.
“You both seem to be handy with the bow. As for close combat… Rowan seems to have some experience with spears. Aster… hmm… I think you should start learning to fight with a dagger.”
“You can see that just by looking at us?” Rowan asks.
“Yes, it’s a skill you pick up over time. You should learn that too, little brother, it’s a must-have skill for a merchant.”
“I will do my best!”
Having someone dote on him seems to motivate Rowan. Maybe I should pamper him a little.
“That’s good to hear. I’ll make the arrangements for the next time you drop by.”
“I’ll be right back,” Finn says as she storms off. Her guard follows her.
“Erm, what got into her?” I awkwardly ask.
“She’s preparing for an undercover outing,” Rory answers, “I’ll go and do the same.”
He nods and leaves the room with his guard. Now, we’re alone with the king and queen at the table.
“Tell me about Dewick’s current state and Fezzoxa,” the king asks.
Rowan describes the current situation to the king. After finishing, he turns to the queen and asks her: “So, Queen Grace, allow me to ask, how do you really feel about me?”
“To be honest,” she answers calmly, “this is a very complicated matter. But in the end, I’d like to have a friendly relation with you.”
She smiles, it’s a sincere smile, but it has a slightly pained expression in it. I think she speaks the truth, but there’s something big they’re not telling us… Maybe it’s just me being more distrusting towards them just because they’re royalty.
The door opens and both Finn and Rory, along with their guards, enter the room again. Their clothes quite similar to mine, but it’s still slightly adorned.
“Let’s go,” Rory says.
“Be careful!” King Cian says, “I mean that to all four of you.”
“Yes, sir,” both Rowan and I answer.
The royal couple and their guards leave the room. Finn gestures to her guard and states: “This is my friend and guard, Emily Greer. That guy is Rory’s guard…”
“Howard Greer,” he answers.
Both Emily & Howard seem to be Ailuranthropes. Judging from the same last name, I think they are siblings.
Rory leads the rest of us back through the maze. Cyril follows us, after a while it moves to Rowan’s shoulder to sit there with his hind legs. He keeps staring at me. It’s as if he’s wary of me…
“Cyril really likes you,” Finn states, she seems a bit jealous of Rowan.
Mittens displays the map he created earlier on my eye implant. It seems we’re going back to the town hall. Rory takes a different turn and leads us to a room not unlike the room we were just in. Looking behind us, the door blends into the wall perfectly. On the other side, a door can be seen. Opening the door, a dressing room can be seen. The mirror surface, suggest this is room here is already a hidden room.
“This is a private suite in a higher class inn,” Rory explains, “we’d like you to lodge here while whenever you’re in the capital. I’ll arrange everything with the inn.”
Rory pulls on a string. Several moments later, the innkeeper enters the room. She gasps in surprised upon seeing Cyril riding on Rowan’s shoulder.
“You can probably guess, but those two are valuable guests of ours,” Rory says, “they will drop by from time to time.”
“The room will always be available to them,” she answers, “but…” she hesitates to continue.
“I get it,” Rowan states, “unlike the rest of you, I don’t exactly look like I belong in such a high-class place. I stick out like a sore thumb.”
“That’s why we’re going shopping!” Rory laughs, “but first, let me introduce them to you: that’s Rowan and Aster.”
“I’m Cassidy, the innkeeper. Welcome to the Golden Dove.”
We leave the inn and re-enter the tunnel and to take a door to the surface. Now, we move along the streets. Rowan is quite figety while we walk along.
“What’s the matter Rowan?” I ask.
“I’m not sure if we can afford those clothes,” he answers.
“Don’t worry about that,” Rory chimes in, “we have already prepared a budget for you.”
“But…” Rowan tries to protest.
“Just let your older siblings pamper you this time.”
🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒 🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒 🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒
After passing by several stores, we enter one.
“Good morning!” the clerk greets us.
“Good morning, Sean,” Rory answers, “how is business?”
“Prince Rory, Princess Finn, business is going well, thank you for asking. How can I help you today?”
“I’d like several sets of clothing for the two of them. I’m sorry to ask this of you, but we need at least one set each today.”
“That is not a problem, we have several sets on hand that we can change to match their size.”
The clerk gets Rowan’s and my sizes and has someone change the clothes accordingly. After finishing, they give us each a set of clothes and show us to a changing room. They’re made of fine fabrics.
“I have to remind you can’t beat those fine clothes for cleaning,” the clerk explains.
“You can’t?” Rowan asks.
“You can’t, the fabric would break too quickly.”
“There no need to worry about it,” I say to Rowan, “I have a solution to that problem.”
I guess, I need to show Rowan how to operate the washing machine soon.
“What do you mean by beating the clothes?” Finn asks.
“Commoners usually beat their clothes while washing them. It’s the most efficient method for people that don’t have a high level of Favol’s blessing.”
“It actually requires a certain level of skill,” Emily states, “I believe, in the castle, there are at most six people that are entrusted with the task of cleaning the royal laundry. Lesser skilled people might accidentally break the clothes.”
“You sound like you’re speaking from experience,” I say.
“Yes, that happens from time to time. I actually lost several pieces of my favourite clothing.”