The meeting came to an end. Lotye more than welcomed it. There hadn’t been anything for her to contribute. The matters of Captain Lafitte were far too important for her to give her opinion to them, even if she had had one on them. Those problems were for other people to take care of. And when Aeto Arrowwise finally entered the apartment and filled it with a stream of words, there wasn’t anything for Lotye to say. The problems her lawyer and the two nobles spoke about were her own, but she had no say in them. Whenever she opened her mouth to say something, someone else had already taken the word. So she just nodded whenever it appeared adequate and endured the patting and kind words of Aeto Arrowwise.
After everything the lawyer was needed for was done, she left again, just a fast and with just as many words as she had entered. No matter her personal bias against lawyers in general and her slight annoyance with this one’s way of talking to her like to a child, Lotye felt that she was in good hands with Lady Arrowwise. Still, only moments after the door closed behind her, Lotye couldn’t remember half of what she had said. More to the point, she hadn’t even really listened to half of it. What stuck with her, though, was that she had to stay at the embassy because prison wasn’t considered safe enough for her after the happenings of the day. Great, I manoeuvred myself in so much danger that even a cell isn’t good enough for me now. But at least I don’t have to go back. Still entertaining that thought, Lotye nearly didn’t hear Peino as he declared her stay a second time.
With the brothers and the Captain out of the room to make sure the crossbows would never be found and used as evidence, the meeting now officially closed. Lotye downed the last drops of mead she had in her glass and then followed Thimble to the room he had prepared. The golden hairbrush she had played with all the time during the meeting stayed in her hand without her even really taking notice of it.
The room was small, but bigger and cleaner than most she had ever stayed in. It was better than the nook she had slept in at her parent’s hut, better than the small chamber in her master’s house and far better than any of the rooms she had ever rented in any tavern. All in all there was no reason not to be content with it. She put the hairbrush on the small bedside table.
“Thank you, Thimble. I won’t need any more help now. Good night.”
As the Faerie left, Lotye sat down on the bed. Outside, the evening grew darker and turned into to night, but the storm continued to rage. She slipped out of her shoes, but ignored the nightgown laying ready for her. She didn’t intend to sleep fully clothed, though that was what she usually did. Out on the streets, there just wasn’t much use for nightgowns and such. Here, she could indulge herself in this luxury, if just for one night. Still, she didn’t change, as she didn’t intend to sleep just now. There was still too much going through her head.
She laid down. The mattress was soft, so soft she felt as if she was sinking into it, and certainly not made of straw. Even with all her limbs sprawled over it, she couldn’t really fill the bed. Her open hair fell over the white linen pillow. Everything was soft and warm. It was an unfamiliar feeling , but not an unwelcome one. Lotye sighed with pleasure, closed her eyes and listened to the storm outside. Just lying there like that, where the rain couldn’t reach her, gave her a feeling of safety and comfort. After a while, the voices in the other rooms died down.
For a few more moments, Lotye staid in bed. When she finally swung her legs out of it, she had fought a hard battle against her senses which had told her to stay where she was and to relax a little bit more. But in the end, curiosity won and made her walk through the dark room on tiptoes until her fingers touched the wood of the door. Careful not to make the least sound, she opened the door a bit and took a peek into the apartment. There was no one in sight. Opening the door a bit more, she quickly slipped through the gap and pressed against the wall next to the door. Only a a nearly inaudible creak of the floor boards told of her movements.
Just as careful, she continued to sneak through the apartment. She always stayed close to the walls, only avoiding the doors with a slip of light shining through beneath them, which she assumed lead to the brothers’ rooms. That way she went round the couch and the coffee table in the middle of the room and walked past the shut windows. When a sudden squall rattled at the blinds, she nearly jumped, but didn’t let go of a single sound. Tentatively, she let her fingers run over the side tables in her way and the small trinkets on them. Once or twice she though to feel the cold of precious metals or gems. Yet, not a single item wandered into the wide sleeves of her shirt or the pockets of her vest
Lotye reached the door of the apartment. She laid her ear against it, but couldn’t hear any voices behind it. With a quick movement, she opened it. The hall was only dimly lit and void of people. A perfect chance to just walk away. There certainly were guards and embassy staff in the building, but with a bit of luck, they would be too busy with the weather outside to take not of young woman.
Maybe Lotye could just walk out and disappear into the storm. She looked down at the bracelet around her wrist. Maybe she would be able to find someone to help her with that. It couldn’t be so hard, in a city seemingly full of criminals, could it? Maybe she should just try. With one foot, she had already made a step out of the apartment. It would be easy.
Then everything they had done that day came back to Lotye’s mind. The rush of adventure side by side with the famed Ereonis brothers. The good food, the nice clothes, the comfortable bed that still seemed to call out to her tired limbs. Don’t make yet another stupid mistake. She turned back.