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4.

We try out the special room for people who need to sleep over. Lali and Gurth bicker for a few minutes in the far corner, then have a make-out session that is loud in spite of their effort to keep it quiet. Fenric is much quieter in another corner, making out with some archer he knows from somewhere. Padric wants to smooch with me, but he’s shy about doing it in the same room with everyone else, so he settles for awkward cuddling. I can tell he’s in his head: he practically mutters to himself while I’m laying my head on his shoulder. Finally he sort of sighs, mutters something that I hope isn’t “I love you,” and ten seconds later is snoring. Jan just lies down and goes straight to sleep. Zelin is sitting near the door, reading a cheap novel of the sort they print in Thomasport. Lucette tries to sleep near her, then moves over near us where it’s dark, can’t sleep there either, goes back out to get another drink, and is on her way back into the sleeping room when she bumps into me on my way out.

“I’ve had it with him,” she says.

“I have too,” I whisper. “Who have you had it with?”

“Gerard,” says Zelin, not looking up.

“How did you know?” asks Lucette. Zelin sort of shrugs. “He’s a frickin’ monk,” says Lucette. “No, I don’t want to know if he wears anything under the robe. Who have you had it with?”

I look back into the dark room. “Oh,” I say, “just guys. In general.”

“Even Padric?” Zelin asks quietly without looking up.

I sigh again. “Oh, I don’t know.”

“Well, you’d better get some sleep,” says the Elf. “We’ve never been below Six, and they say Vladimir’s is on Fourteen.”

Lucette and I look at each other. “And why,” asks Lucette, “do we want to go there again? Just remind me.”

“Because,” I say, “we are going to be sorceresses.

She thinks about that for a minute and then says, “You guys want to split a bottle of wine?”

 

We do that. We go back to one of the empty bars and have a bottle at a corner table. And there we are, an hour later, finishing our last glasses, having figured out pretty much what the meaning of life is. “We should go get some sleep,” says Lucette sensibly.

“Yeah,” I say, and I follow that with, “Oh great.”

Lucette and Zelin look up just in time to see a group of eight or so pass by the little room we’re in. We know some of them.

“That’s Stacy,” says Lucette.

“Stacy?” asks Zelin.

“Anastasia,” says Lucette. “Anastasia Kappa.”

“One of the Three Graces,” I say.

“The Three Graces??”” Lucette repeats. “Oh, I see. Stacy and Penny and Peach. Well, Stace is the one with all the brains, of those three.”

“You’re smarter than all three of them together,” I say. “Which isn’t that much of a compliment.”

“No, it isn’t, but I’ll take it anyway,” she says. Zelin gives a tiny elfin snort.

“Anyway, that’s not what the ‘oh great’ was about.”

“What was it about?”

“It was that guy Gregor or something, wasn’t it?” says Zelin. “Gregorio.”

“Yup,” I say. “Well, let’s get some sleep, Luce. But Zelin. Don’t let us sleep too long.”

 

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