“I found this one day after stealing honey cakes from the kitchens.” She felt her cheeks burn a little. “Cook chased me around until I reached the bottom of the tower to my room and hid behind a suit of armour. There was a small hole there, so I went through.”
                “You’re taking a great risk, you know.” He almost sounded disapproving.
                “Hm, how so?” she asked absently, burrowing into the hole. She peeked behind her to see how he struggled, but he stood outside, looking all serious.
                “Showing a stranger the secrets of this place. I could be anything, I could be a spy from Vharktúm. I could be a child killer.”
                “If you were a child killer you could have killed me in that room and nobody would have ever been able to smell me. And why would a spy come here of all places?” She shared her thoughts. “Yes Papa is a Captain but there is nothing of importance here. Besides you played at the castle and you play for the commonfolk, when you weren’t singing at court, you played with me. I just—I trust you.” That was simply how it was. Elra felt like she knew him. When Papa had banished him from the castle, she had searched the city looking for him. That had been tough. Galantha was big, and there were many places to stay within the confines of the city, inside the actual walls and in the surrounding fields alongside the farms. She’d done it though, she had tracked him down and on that basis alone, and he seemed to have seen something in her. Finally there was a grown-up who actually took her seriously.
                Inside the castle, he had been the modicum of politeness and grace, playing his lyre with a strong sense of emotion. He even fought off one of Esta’s suitors, showing himself to be competent with a sword. He had also been clean shaven and thus handsome. In the taverns was a different matter though. When he wasn’t performing, he seemed prone to outbursts of anger or sadness through drinking.
                “It seems I have much to teach you. Your first lesson is this. When you are with me, you cannot be naíve.” His voice didn’t carry far, he seemed to speak with a practiced quietness.
                Elra kept moving.
                “Watch everything, question everything.” He advised.
                She hushed him as the exit came into view. One her hands and knees she crawled through the hole and looked around. There was nobody to be seen.
                “Come.” She whispered, as loudly as she dared, and quickly slipped by the many doors till she found the one she wanted. The hallway was equally quiet, though spread at intervals were softly glowing lanterns.
                It’s not far from here to my room although how am I going to get him in a bath? She could not ever remember pouring her own water. A tougher task would be justifying a razor if she were to ask of it seemingly for herself. Maybe I haven’t thought this through enough. Elra puffed out her cheeks again. There’s only one thing to do.

The End

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