After dinner, Rowan and I are led back to our suite in the Shining Dove. It’s late, so we’re preparing to go to bed.
“Mautgrass seems like quite a good product to sell,” I state, “if you like, Mittens and I can help you with starting a Mautgrass business. I even have some ideas on how to cultivate them here, but those will have to wait until we finish our pilgrimage.”
“I’m happy for the offer…” Rowan reluctantly answers.
“You don’t need to hold back. Unlike making stuff from thin air, flying barely takes any energy. Besides, you should act on the hints they’re giving you.”
“Hints? Oh, right. So they were giving me hints on what do stock… You’re quite good at picking up these things. You get along with almost everyone.”
“You think so? Back at home, I don’t get along that well with people my age. I still don’t know why.”
“You don’t? I think that’s quite hard to imagine. You’re such an obliging person…”
“I have my guesses, but what do you really think about gaining new family members?”
“I like the thought of it, but they are still like strangers to me. Finn and Rory seem easier to talk to. But with Grace and Cian, I mean, father, it’s kind of hard to forget they are the royal couple.”
“I don’t know how it is. I assume it will take some time. If you ever need someone to talk about it, I’m here. I appreciate you wanting to stand on your own feet, but let me take care of you if you need it.”
“Thanks, there’s just… Nell and Granny…”
“What about them?”
“They’ve raised me, they will always be my family. I don’t want to lose them. Can I really accept Rory and everyone?”
“I think you can. Just keep everyone you loved ones close to your heart.”
Mother… it’s not like we haven’t seen us for longer than usual, but somehow I miss you…
“If it’s true it’s just the effect of the tea, I don’t need to officially adopt Rowan…”
“Cian, dear, I have already agreed to it. Besides, he is a fine boy and I have taken a liking to him. Adopting him would give him and his betrothed the protection of the royal family. And there’s the matter of Cyril, too: he’s more or less glued to Rowan. If you don’t do it, it will create problems for everybody in the long run. And you don’t want to be breaking your word to Aster this soon? Loyalty goes both ways.”
“Speaking of Cyril, where is he?”
“He’s still with Rowan. As I said, he is more or less glued to him.”
Suddenly, Cyril jumps towards me.
“Oh, Cyril! You startled me!”
He climbs on my head and starts petting me with his stubby paws.
“I thought you didn’t like me, Cyril. Thanks for cheering me up.”
“Cheering you up? What’s the matter”
“My mind wandered for a bit. I was just thinking about my mother… I didn’t think I’d miss her this fast… It’s quite usual for me to see her for months…”
“We’re here for you.”
We move to bed. Cyril curls up between us.
“Say, why did you think Cyril didn’t like you?” Rowan asks.
“He was staring me at all day,” I answer, “as if he was seeing me as prey or an enemy.”
“I think he was just checking you out. He’s never seen someone like you.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t know, it’s just a feeling. Just by looking at him, I think I know how he feels.”
Is that an empathic connection?
“You should prepare some place in the Speeding Kitten for our new companion”, Mittens adds.
“New companion?” I ask.
“It doesn’t look like Cyril is willing to part with Rowan,” Mittens explains.