It was late afternoon by the time that Seymour reunited with Seoc, who was now sans tapeworms and looking considerably healthier.
“That was a clever bit of trickery you pulled off there, little fish.”
Seoc blushed at the complement. “Thanks, Sey. Though it did no’ actually take very much actin’: I was feelin’ rather sick ta begin with.”
“So,” Seymour pressed him. “Were you able to get anything out of Simon?”
He looked upward, toward the square of red sky visible above the small courtyard in which they now sat. “Weel,” he replied eventually. “That’s a difficult question ta answer.”
Seoc summarized to Seymour the conversation he had had with Simon, remarking upon the strange sanity that had seemed to come over the other man when he had spoken of his brother. Seymour sat silently for a moment after Seoc had finished, his eyes closed and his chin propped on his hands.
“I dinna know what ta make o’ it, Sey,” Seoc admitted. “Do you?”
Seymour ran his tongue along his lower lip. “I think I might, but I need some time to contemplate the matter before coming to any sort of conclusion.”
“Did you know that Henry’s—?”
“Bisexual? Yes, I suspected he might be.” He dug in his pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of parchment. “But enough about that. Here. Look what I found.”
Seoc took the parchment and unfolded it. “A map!”
“It’s a copy,” Seymour confessed.
“I never would have guessed,” Seoc remarked with mild but obvious sarcasm, squinting at Seymour’s shaky lines of ink and chicken-scratch markings.
“Well,” Seymour retorted, “I couldn’t exactly pick up the original and carry it off, seeing as it is made of marble and securely imbedded in the library floor. I know it isn’t very good, but it’s better than nothing, isn’t it?”
Seoc looked a bit conflicted. “You know, honey,” he said with a pained smile. “I think it might be better if you showed me that original an’ let me draw it. No offense meant, but this—weel, frankly, it’s illegible.”
Seymour’s face fell. “Oh.”
“Look, Sey,” Seoc begged him, ashamed. “I’m sorry. That was cruel o’ me.”
“No,” Seymour sighed, glancing at his crude map once more before folding it back up and returning it to his pocket. “You’re right. It would be best to have a map that can be read by someone other than me.”