“You wanted information?” Peino retorted through the driving rain. “Is that why you shot her, in the hope that, in gratitude to you for having crippled her shoulder at the very least, she would tell us everything we need to know — assuming, into the bargain, that she knew anything in the first place? What a brilliant strategy. Why, it’s almost a pity you didn’t make a decent shot and kill her outright. Think what she would have shared then.”
“Brother, Captain,” Jeneyeru hurried up between the two men, “please, do not quarrel. For me, at least, the expedition was a success. We have much to discuss, but let us do it in private.”
Peino fumed but deferred to his brother’s wisdom, and when Lotye added her own comments — and a voice of experience, probably — the prince gritted his teeth and strode swiftly up the storm-lashed road.
He marched up to the embassy entrance, whipping the slick wet mask off his equally wet face. He jerked a thumb back towards Lafitte as he passed the guards at the sentry houses.
“Clap that man in irons!” he barked.
“Yes, Your Highness!”
“Belay that, no need for irons,” said Jeneyeru quietly as he, too, passed the gate.
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
The embassy guards had much less experience of the moods of the sons of the Dukedom than, for instance, the Citadel Guard back home in Plesz, but they’d heard the tales of Prince Peino’s temper as well as anyone else. Thus, at the word from the Lord Magus, the pikemen went back into their shelters and did not try to arrest Lafitte.
For his part, Peino would probably not be surprised to be followed by the Flying Eorman into the ducal apartment, despite his order. He knew the tales, too.
“Welcome back, milords,” said the valet Thimble as they entered. “Did all go well?”
“We hope so,” said Jeneyeru.
In the apartment entrance, dripping cloaks, coats and hats were handed off to the small faerie, who seemed to have mellowed back to something more like his true age while they were out.
“A messenger came from the lady’s attorney,” he said, “to say the prosecutor wants to know when we’ll be done with Mistress O’Tulvar and that Attorney Arrowwise will stop in after the court closes today. Would your lordships and the lady and the captain care for some refreshment after you compose yourselves?”
“Make it a bracing refreshment, Mr. Thimble, if you please,” said Peino.
“Yes, I believe we could all do with a restorative,” said Jeneyeru. “Let us all dry ourselves and then reconvene in the salon to discuss what we have learned. Captain, I am sure we can find something for you to wear while your clothes are hung up,” he added with a charming smile.