“Breakfast will be served in half an hour but is there anything you need until then?” Kati asked, clearly the more confident of the two maids.
“No, I don’t think so. Thank you,” Beth said.
Kati nodded and ushered Inga out of the room.
“Are you happier about me being here now?” Beth asked Isabella quietly.
She was silent for a while. “I’m glad about the fact that I know a lot of the people here. If we were staying anywhere but Altsina, I would have major objections.”
“That’s... good,” she said, nodding slightly.
“Many of those here owe Robert for something or other; I shouldn’t think anyone would give you any trouble. People are still scared of me anyway.”
“I persuaded Evil into releasing me from here, after I seduced him of course,” she replied, a small smile unfurling on her lips.
“Ibby!” Beth exclaimed before bursting into a fit of giggles.
It wasn’t long before they’d both collapsed on the bed, breathless from laughter. Beth didn’t even know what exactly was so funny, but it felt good to giggle like a small girl again.
When the giggles eventually subsided, Beth lay there, staring at the ceiling.
After a while of silence, she quietly said, “Do you think we’ll ever get Robert back?”
Isabella rolled onto her side. “Beth, we will. It’s just a matter of finding where he is. Even if we can’t get him out immediately, we should be able to get you meetings with him so you can talk to him.”
Beth nodded, wanting desperately to believe her.
“Come on,” Isabella said, touching her arm gently. “We’ve got time for a very quick tour before breakfast.”
Beth nodded, standing up from the bed. Isabella led her from the room and back down the corridor, pointing out communal rooms such as libraries, sitting rooms and games rooms.
When they ran into Lucius, he seemed to have calmed down and had changed. He was now wearing a sort of robe. It was white and simply decorated with red around the shoulders. He was also wearing a black cloak that hung over only one of his shoulders. He had a long dagger strapped to one thigh and another hanging from his hip.
“Mother, I won’t be joining you this morning; I have business that needs seeing to,” he said, rather stiffly.
“You’re just avoiding your father, aren’t you?” Isabella asked, raising an eyebrow.
Lucius sighed. “I’ll explain later.”
Just as he turned to leave, Isabella said, “Is Storm still Evil’s guard?”
“Most of the time,” he nodded.
Isabella grinned as Lucius left.
“Who’s Storm?” Beth asked.
“An old friend.”
At that moment, a bell tolled throughout the halls.
“Come on,” Ibby said, leading her away.
The corridors almost instantly became a bustle of activity, everyone heading in the same direction. A few people grinned and greeted Isabella, welcoming her back, though hardly anyone even cast a glance in Beth’s direction, for which she was grateful.