Jowey came back not long before night fell. She pushed open the doors and the lobby fell silent. She glided across the floor up to the bar and sat down.
“How’s the kid?” She asked.
Martain looked over to her with tired eyes, “You really did a number, Jay.” He told her, “I almost lost him twice. But he’ll live.”
“Did you get his name?”
“Tracey.” He told her and yawned, “and your knives are over there.”
She looked over to where he was motioning, next to the sink was a barrel full of sharp and pointy objects.
“Find anything interesting?” He asked her.
She shook her head, “There was nothing. No scouts, no other solders, no camp, no evidence of any one or thing coming up or down the mountain. It’s strange.”
“With you, what isn’t?” He asked.
“Why now of all times?” She asked and got up marching over to the sink, “The planting would have just happened, and that would make large openings for bandits and murderers alike.”
She threw her cloak off, and pulled her gloves from her fingers as well.
“Leaving a town without a large amount of protection is not only stupid, but risky as well.” She muttered and poured some water into the sink, “It doesn’t make sense.”
“Maybe he hired others like you to help protect the city while the guards were away.” Martain offered as he filled up more mugs.
Jowey shrugged as she started scrubbing the blades.
“I just thought he was smarter than that,” She said, “And they just wanted, Paul. How would they even know he was up here? There are a million cabins from there to the base of the mountains.”
“You find out who the rat is?” He asked.
“Not a hundred percent sure, but I got a hunch.”She said.
“Hunch is better than nothing.” He said.
Down the mountain in the kingdom, princess Dawn sat staring out the window to the mountains.
A soft knock came to her doors.
“Come in.” She called softly.
The doors flew open, and her father the king strode across the floor until he reached her.
“You truly think it’s his?” He asked giving her a sideways glance as he too looked out the window she was staring out of.
“I know it’s his.” She whispered, “He was my first, and no one else lied with me as much as he did. Father, I’m sorry for the dishonour, but I love him.”
Cyrus sighed and turned to fully look at his daughter. She had the same beautiful eyes and hair that her late mother had. She was her spitting image. She too was pregnant before any marriage happened. It broke his heart to realize he’d done the same thing her father had to her.
“Have I ever told you how we came to power?” He stated more than asked.
“No, sir.” She said rubbing her swollen stomach looking up the older man.
“We had to throw out the old king.” He told her, “He was evil. Always taxing, always killing, always wagging war. But he had the most beautiful of wives, all of which he’d stolen from those deserving of them. All of them died in childbirth, children too. Except for one.”
“Which one?” Dawn asked like a child would about a fairy tale.
“Hard to say.” He said, “But the wife survived, as did the daughter. But that woman was a witch, making the child unholy. It was just after the birth that we came in. We over threw the king and I made myself a better one then he. But we let the wife and child escape.”
“What happened to them?”
“I don’t know.” He said, “I heard rumors they she escaped up into the mountains and managed to another country, but it was a harsh winter that followed. If either of then are alive, it’d surprise me.”
“Father,” She asked timidly, “Why couldn’t we just imprison them?”
“They were evil, princess.” He told her, “God would have never forgave him or any of his family. Their daughter would have been the equivalent to the devil if she survived to maturity.”
“I see.” She said, “So we made everything better?”
“Yes.” He said, “Things will be even better once we can get your husband down here, and marry the two of you.”
“Father, why do you bring up our over taking of the kingdom now?” She asked.
He didn’t reply for a moment.
“I have a bad feeling that somehow, their daughter did survive.” He told her, “And that she’s keeping him there.”
“But she’d just be a woman, wouldn’t she?” She asked, “She easily could be overthrown.”
“That’s what trouble’s me.” He told her.
Spring wind howled past the tavern. One by one each of the men were asked up to Jowey’s room to be asked a few questions. The girls were in her room the entire time.
It seemed to be going on for hours. And it had, it wasn’t until well after midnight that Misty came down with four or five empty ale bottles and said,
“Jowey wants to see Martain, Alec, Zuren, Reggie, and Paul. She also wants a few more bottles.”
“Why would she want to see us?” Reggie asked the others.
“Probably to show she has no favoritism.” Zuren said and picked up two bottles.
“Probably right.” Martain said and grabbed another three.
Misty had two more and they all headed back up to her room.
Misty knocked softly.
“Come in.” Jowey said softly.
The door slid open and they all stepped in. The girls were all sitting either on or next to her bed in chairs. The divider was pushed off to the side. And Jowey was sitting in a chair in front of the window with her back turned to the door. There was another chair directly behind her, presumably where the other’s would have sat when she talked to them. Next to Jowey was a small table. There was an empty glass, and it was shown that she was holding something.
Misty grabbed and placed all the bottles of ale on the table next to her.
“Glad you guys could make it.” She said still leaning back, staring out at the moon.
She set down the bottle she had in her hand and picked up another one. She didn’t bother with the glass, and drank straight from the bottle.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Martain asked her.
“Nope.” She told him and took another swig, “For this kill I have to be drunk, or I wont do it.”
She giggled slightly, then went silent.
“You guys would never stab me in the back like that, would you?” She asked looking back slightly.
“W-why would we ever?” Reggie asked thrown off by the question.
She shrugged, “Didn’t think the one who sold me out would do that either.” She told them, “But then this happened, and here we are.”
“I think you’re drunk.” Martain said.
“Not even close.” She said, “I’m just getting tipsy.”
She laughed again then sighed. It was quiet a minute, then she stuck her hand out like she wanted someone to hold it.
“I can’t trust too many people.” She said, “But you guys I know I can.”
“Forever.” Zuren said and grabbed it.
She grinned up at him, then looked back at the others.
“Can I trust you guys too?”
Reggie went up and took her hand from Zuren, “Yeah.”
“Of course.” Martian said and took Reggie’s spot.
“We’ve been through worse.” Alec said and grabbed her hand.
“Paul?” She asked.
“I thought you knew that answer.” He said and walked up to her. He gently moved her head so she was leaning back and looking up at him, he then gently kissed her lips, “You can trust me you’re life, I’ll do the same.
She grinned again like a little child.
“I knew I could count on you guys.” She said, “Come on, let’s drink.”
She put the chair back down on all fours, and handed each of them a bottle.
“Drinking isn’t any fun alone.” She told them, “Girls, you’re dismissed, I’ll the kill the one in the morning.”
They filed out silently.
The six of them sat, silently, in her room. Drinking ale. And watching the moon.