I coughed awkwardly before looking at my disheveled clothes.
"Is there anywhere I can get cleaned up?" I asked, scratching my head, "And maybe eat something? I'm starving."
Eversio nodded, and started to walk again.
"There's a separate ward in the castle for military officials. There's probably an office somewhere where you can set up shop. Feel free to take anything you find, it's all up for grabs around here."
I followed, glad to find that there was a separate entrance, and walked through the narrow hallway and up a set of spiral stairs.
The wing that we emerged into was considerably different from the main hall, considerably less modern and to some extent more suitable for hell's palace.
The architecture was heavily gothic, with small stained glass windows that cast multi-coloured light into the space and various gargoyles sitting by the high doorways.
The middle of the chamber, surrounded by railings, had no floors, giving a view of the courtyard below. There was a huge statue on the wall across from us, a hooded angel holding a sword above his head.
When I looked back to the path I found that Eversio had disappeared somewhere.
"Where did he go?" I muttered, peeking into the nearest doorway and finding an empty room.
THE PRINCE DOES THAT A LOT. HE PROBABLY FOUND SOMETHING TO DO.
"What do I do then?"
JUST FIND A ROOM AND GET SETTLED. HE WON'T SHOW UP AGAIN FOR SOME TIME.
"What are you going to do?" I asked, looking around.
RAID THE KITCHEN. I THINK THERE'S CAKE.
I was confused about how a disembodied voice could eat but said nothing, continuing my walk down the hall.
I glanced at the heavy oaken doors as I passed them, eventually finding one that read HIGH COMMANDER on a little plaque and pushing my way in.
I was instantly hit by a cloud of dust. When the horrific mammoth dust bunnies stopped attacking for one second I managed to look around, and had to say I wasn't too disappointed.
It was a pretty big room lined with bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling, even with a sliding ladder to reach the topmost volumes. Books and letters seemed to spill from them, stacked in piles everywhere and shoved into every crevice where they could fit.
There was also a fireplace and a huge armchair, not to mention some very antique-looking black oak furniture. On the other side from the office space I could spot a huge wardrobe and a four-poster bed.
Serious upgrade from sharing a bunkbed with Izzy.
I managed to find a broom and duster in a supply closet and cleaned up a bit, making the air considerably more bearable, and found, to my delight, that there were indeed clothes in the closet.
A few moments later, standing in the large (and modern) ensuite bathroom I was more than a little weirded out.
I'd had to go hunting around in the wardrobe for clothes that seemed remotely to be my size, and that had seriously narrowed down the selection.
I had somehow managed to wrestle on of the dresses and, even though it had a convenient slit for my tail, it looked so out of place that I had to keep staring.
It was black, with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a high, lacy neck that almost reached my chin. Luckily the skirt didn't poof out too much, but there were so many layers to it that I felt like I would trip on it.
I wasn't a dress person. To be honest, it kind of itched, and smelled faintly of mothballs.
I had to swallow down my pride and smooth down the skirt, trying not to think about whether somebody had died in what I was wearing.
I realized that a thread had come loose from one of the sleeves and, trying to pull it out, only ended up unravelling a considerable amount of fabric.
I groaned and headed out of the room, walking down the hall in the hopes of enlisting some kind soul's help.
Naturally, I rounded a corner and slammed right into Eversio, grabbing at my head and hoping I hadn't gouged his eye out with one of my horns.
He looked fine.
"Watch where you're going." he muttered, rubbing his forehead.
He was definitely fine.
"Sorry." I replied, annoyed, "I was just trying to find some help around this place."
"Did you set something on fire?" he asked, sighing.
"Break a mirror?"
"Flood a toilet?"
"Fine." he said, slowly, "What is it?"
I held up the thread.
"It...kind of came loose."
He took it from my hands, sighing.
"I would say I didn't see this coming, but that would be a lie."
I shot him a glare.
"Do you have any scissors? Or a knife?"
"Just wait a second."
With an impressive dexterity he tied it close to the cuff, and then gestured towards it with his free hand.
"You can cut it now."
I raised an eyebrow.
He looked at me as if I were unbelievably stupid.
I stood in disbelief for a moment before trying to concentrate on moving my tail towards the thread.
It didn't work.
Eventually I just grabbed my tail and, to my surprise, the forked end easily cut through the thread.
"Crude, but effective." Eversio muttered, dropping the severed thread.
He stalked off and I looked in amazement at my tail, wondering what other surprises were in store.