"So, that wasn't Tim Saunders after all," I remarked as I entered the room. At their surprised expressions, I continued, "I was keeping an eye on you. After all that has happened, I'm not going to let any harm come to you."
Although I was technically referring to Nellie as well (and I meant it for both of them equally), I was looking only at Katrina. She sensed this, lowering her eyes, slightly embarrassed.
Fredrick, who was likely unaware of any of the subtlety, chimed in. "Jon, it is good to see you. Never know when you will never see someone again." Knowing that he was referring to Tim, I asked him to go on.
"Tim and I were heading north to the garrison southeast of Deramas. We never saw them coming."
When he didn't continue right away, I spoke up. "You were ambushed."
"Yeah," Fredrick agreed. "They must have known who we were. That explains the fire and what happened to Tim. I'm guessing someone impersonated Tim, taking some of your spy friends with him."
"That seems to be what happened," Katrina said.
"What do we do now?" Nellie asked.
"I need you to deliver this message to Sir Frances of the Iberan army," I said, handing Fredrick an envelope.
"You've never had me cross enemy lines," Fredrick said, protesting just a little.
"I know," I replied. "But, this war is about to escalate, and that note might soften the damage some."
"What are you going to do?"
"Go after our people. You and Tim were headed up to the garrison. Seems like a good place to start looking. If they aren't there, maybe we can do a little spying of our own."
Fredrick took a step in my direction, waving his arms wildly, which was hard enough to do in such cramp quarters. Katrina and Nellie stepped back. "You won't ever get in there. The spy game is over."
"We don't know that," I said, putting my hands out toward him, palms out. "Whatever the case, though, I'm not about to give up. Besides, we still have friends in Deramas. I'm definitely not leaving them."