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5.

So I work my butt off for two days. I make potion blank, I make love potions, I make healing potions, I make a few charms, and then, just for the heck of it, I get out the cookbook and have a bash at a couple of vials of break lock potion.

Janet stops by the second evening, says hi to my mom, who offers her soup, has some of Mom’s over-spiced soup, and wheedles me into going out for a few beers. We go to the Golden Mouse, at my request, pretty much just to avoid being found by Fenric or anyone else: I figure that if Fen or Yanos or anyone like that is looking for us, and we’re not at Sleepy’s waiting to be found, they’ll look at the Rose, and if we’re not there, they’ll assume we’re out of town. Of course the Mouse happens to be crowded tonight. Maybe everyone else is avoiding Fenric just now.

“I have to tell you something,” Janet says as soon as we sit down with our pitcher (well, my pitcher, I paid for it) and two mugs.

“Really? What?” I say, so relieved. A very very different me would have started the conversation that way, and continued with, “I lost my virginity!”

“Really.” She takes a big drink, carefully swallows it, looks around, leans close and says, “I’ve decided on what to call myself as a priest.”

“Oh, good,” I say, the air going out of the ball a bit.

“I know it’s a little ways away,” she says. “I just made vicar, in case I didn’t tell you, so—!”

“Wait,” I say. “You just made vicar? And that’s not the big news?”

“Well, okay, but you just made enchanter, so—!”

“Enchantress. Okay, so what are you going to be called as a priest?”

“Father Jan,” she says, with a proud smile.

It takes me several seconds to realize what’s going on there. “Father?” I say.

“Yes!”

“Well,” I say, and I cast about for a reaction. The first thing that comes to mind is, “You’re definitely tall enough.”

“Are you saying I couldn’t be a Father if I was short?”

“No, no, I—! You can be whatever you want. Really. I’m just saying that you’ll have less trouble looking the part—geez, is that bad? Am I totally blowing it here? Wow. Maybe I should just settle for wow.”

“Oh, Daisy,” she says—he says?—“you’re great. I can just imagine what my dad will say.”

“Did you tell Fenric? He’ll be supportive.”

“He’d better be.” She takes a drink. He takes a drink. I need to nail that down, I guess. “But you’re right, actually, the height and the way the Priests of the Virgin dress won’t hurt.”

“And your higher-ups?”

She laughs. “They don’t know my name. I can tell them they’ve been saying it wrong. Yes. Yes! That’s it. ‘Et’ is my last name. Brilliant!” She chortles a bit. Then she catches my eye. “Daisy,” she says, “you’re fixating on something across the room. What are you fixating on across the room?”

“Nothing,” I lie.

We drink the rest of the pitcher pretty fast. I leave her with the last mug of it, and excuse myself to use the latrine out the back door. I kind of need to, but that’s not why I’m going.

I wait just inside the back door, and it opens to let in a couple big ugly Amazons. I have my wand in my hand. They eye me suspiciously but move on.

I can see the next person coming back from relieving himself before he gets to the door. I push outside and meet him. It’s Yanos. I have my wand to his neck.

“Hi, Daisy,” he says.

“Yanos,” I say. “What a pleasure. I couldn’t help notice you were sitting with Lucette Barnswallow. And my old archer pal Eleanor.”

He smiles in spite of my wand sticking in under his chin. “Gonna put your lock spell on my mouth?” he manages to say.

“No,” I say, “but I can put enough sleep energy into you to keep you unconscious for a week. Why are you at the Mouse? Avoiding the usual crowd?” He starts into his whole smiling-shrugging routine. I stick the wand up there further. “Yes? No?”

“Yes, obviously,” he says. “Look, we need—!”

“We’re having this discussion back at Sleepy’s with the others,” I say, taking my wand out of his neck.

“Tomorrow night okay?” he asks, straightening his tunic.

“No,” I say. “Right now.”

 

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