“I’ve always wondered what a private investigator’s life was like,” said Mad Eyed Brendon after he and Ellison dropped Matilda off in the center of Krim to go bar-hopping. “I didn’t expect it to be mostly driving around.”
“People die on Krim all the time,” said Benedicta. “It’s no big deal.” She sat on one of the two lower bunks in a four-bunk stateroom on the pirate ship Queen’s Revenge. With Wynefrede, Margarett, George and Pleasance in the same room, it was crowded. And, with one more person than bunks, there was going to be an awkward moment when it came time to decide sleeping arrangements.
Clinio Lind, accompanied by five of his fighters, Ellison, and Matilda, crossed Banking Street and headed down Delves of the Golden Dragon, which was just a narrow alley connecting Banking and Knots Hollow Way. It was lined with three- and four-story apartment buildings, a few with shops on the ground floor offering take-out or laundry services.
The pirates moved everyone down to the mess, located down below the officers’ quarters. It was towards the back end of the ship — the stern — and was right in front of the galley, where the meals were cooked. A couple of captured sailors had been ordered to make lunch for everyone and Wynefrede watched closely each time someone went through the galley door. Maybe there was a knife in there that one of the sailors could steal while the pirates weren’t looking, and free them all.
“We’re royally screwed,” said one of the Royal Season guards. There were about a dozen in the room. Ellison had interviewed all of them before, when looking into the kidnapping of one of the Singletons earlier that season. Now many more of them had been taken, and he still had no clue about who was behind it, or why.
George Bedgbery was forced to give his sword. Pleasance Pratt, her lamp and her handbag with its collection of writing supplies. “She could stab someone with a pen,” said the sailor who searched them. And Wynefrede? She had to give up her shoes. Did they think she was going to whack someone over the head with a flat heel? Maybe. She had been thinking about it.
Wynefrede Aumberden rose from her bunk trying not to wake up either of her friends. She couldn’t sleep and still felt queasy. Her cotton nightgown wouldn’t be much protection against the chill of the night, so she pulled the wool blanket from her bed and wrapped it around herself before she unlatched the cabin door, eased it open, and stepped out into the hallway.
A thin bell clanged and Ninlein dropped dropped the wet sheet she was holding back into the large wicker basket full of wet laundry. “We have to go back to Avourelpolis,” she told Torralei. The two of them carried the basket away from the clothes lines back to the laundry room, then continued up the hill.
In the morning when she woke up, Torralei’s bed was comfortable and familiar. Why wouldn’t it be? She was created to exist on Lamacoln. She stretched under her thin wool blanket and the bed felt larger than it should have been. She was up early and headed straight for the bathroom. She was still unsteady on her feet. Her center of balance seemed off. But that was understandable. She was only born yesterday, after all.
Matilda stabbed Ellison’s steak with her knife and pulled the entire plate over to her side of the table. Ellison grimaced but instead of saying anything to her personally he just looked towards the entrance to the dining room. From where Ellison was sitting, he could see inn owner Quimby Plummer at the front desk. Quimby nodded at him. A second steak should be on its way soon.