Tea time

“Did you come up here to see my son?” the Baroness asked.

Dahlia nodded, even though it wasn’t true. Not that she didn’t like to see him. She came up often enough to do so. But sometimes she had an ulterior motive. And that was the real reason she was up here today. Though she hadn’t expected to be found out so quickly.

“I think he is with Fletcher in his chambers. You know where that is?”

Dahlia nodded again. The Baroness smiled at her, then returned to her drink and papers. Dahlia swallowed.

The woman looked up again. “Would you like some tea, Dahlia? Yellow chrysanthemum.”

Dahlia nodded a third time. Nemissa gestured to another seat as she gave Dahlia her cup.

Completely comfortable, Dahlia took a sip.

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Brothers

“Is she…?”

Zamir pushed his hair back, the gel once keeping the dark waves from his face long since having lost their hold. “What took you so long? You couldn’t call?”

Shachaf must have realized what that meant, because his urgency fell off the map immediately. He looked away, then back at Zamir. “Car broke down outside the towers’ range. I didn’t even get your message until…”

Zamir sighed. Shachaf cleared his throat.

“Did she ask for me?”

His brother was an idiot. Always hoping for the favour of a woman who had never liked him. Zamir wanted to lie for him too, but he couldn’t do so in the way Shachaf would want. “She didn’t say much, near the end.”

“Ah.”

They both stood there. Zamir wished he was anywhere else. He wished he could have been out there, stranded like Shachaf. He would have even done so alone, swapped places with him.

“I’m glad you made it,” Zamir said.

And Zamir would be the only one.

Chuck it

“How do you get it to come back?”

He shrugged. “No idea.”

She chucked it. It slammed into a tree, twenty feet away.

“Guess it doesn’t matter if you can’t aim at a clear space.”

She sighed. “Probably not.”

Waiting for him to throw, she watched with her arms folded across her chest. He threw the boomerang as he had looked it up earlier.

It didn’t come back.

Continuing, not suspicious

Vidvan’s master was a very calm individual. Collected, informed, content. One wouldn’t think he was stressed at all by being in control of the largest city in the known world.

But that was the known world. There was plenty that was unknown. Vidvan pointed this out, his master nodded, and mentioned that they would soon fix that. Vidvan figured he meant that they would learn more about the outside world and fill in their maps. Vidvan studied these maps, written accounts of the places, known ways to travel through the different environments. He compiled his notes and would give them to Iqbal, who would either throw them back in his face or (after a bit more pleading) hand them up further to their master.

Who would take them and eventually read them. Then he would return to Vidvan’s chambers, papers in hand.

“Vidvan.” Calm, with a slight smile on his face, his master. “I want you to add this into your primary research.”

Vidvan wasn’t sure how that would work at first, but he nodded nonetheless. “As you will.”

His life within the walls was exactly what he wanted. So no one would guess when Iqbal helped him outside.