The accusation that she was trying to take over from within was not even mildly funny. It got her looking back at him with a glare, but he was quick to recant the statement. [+mediumseagreen "Your not helping by being that way and you know it. I know it is a lot. But we are going to have to sift through it and see what actually matters here."] It was like a mess of a bunch of puzzles and they were only looking for the pieces to the one in half finished in front of them.
She listened as he went over everything they discussed up to this point. It did not look good for either of the gentleman. And who knew, maybe they were both worthless traitors, each with their own motive to try and completely ruin her life. At this point, she couldn't completely discount any possibilities.
Finally a plan of sorts came out. Unfortunately she was being thrown back to Nicolai. Florence sighed. [+mediumseagreen "Oh he's open to me alright."] The sarcastic comment was made under her breath. If worse came to worst she could try and seduce it out of him, though he would see straight through that like a window pane. And it would probably just piss him off. [+mediumseagreen "Yeah, I will give it a go... I will ask about what Adrian said before and gage his reaction and then maybe if I asked sweetly enough he will give in and fill in the rest of the blanks."] There was very little confidence in her voice, but it was what it was and the pair parted ways. They decoded to meet back in this room when they were finished.
Florence made her way straight to the guest quarters that Nicolai was being held in. She dismissed the guards, who were hesitant to leave her alone there, especially after Augustus had been very clear about keeping up security. But given she was just as intimidating, if not more so being the sister of the King, they folded and she was left alone with the elf once again. Turning to him, she sighed. [+mediumseagreen "Hello again, Nicolai. You'll never guess what I have heard from Augustus."] It was straight to the point, almost too much so, given how their normal interactions went, but it would be a sign to the restrained man. A sign that she was not remotely in the vicinity of playing around right now. [+mediumseagreen "I have been made aware of what you had to say when you first came to this place. Now I want details. I want to know anything that you can tell me that is relevant to what is going on. How you knew about those routes to the king's quarters, how you knew about the dagger, if you did not place it there yourself, and any other form of proof that you might have that your claims are legitimate."] It was both a chance for her to get information and for him to defend himself in front of someone who just might listen to what he had to say.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+darkslateblue “And yet he may just be using you and Augustine as his ticket out of here. Hitch on the back of a noble cause, claiming to have no motive but to help us and get back to Wistina. And with seven years of somewhere we don't know, he could easily have thought up ways to win over your trust again.”] For every excellent point she made in defence of Nicolai, he was finding plausible responses that Adrian would no doubt throw their way.
When she went silent, he watched her, wondering just what she could be thinking about so intensely as she was free to put forward even the most outlandish of propositions. What she did say had him flabbergasted and his eyes almost bulging from his head. [i He was free from his room last night?] It left him groaning again, this time covering his eyes with his hand as she stated he must have help in the castle, and of course Adrian might. His boot kicked out at the table in frustration though it only shook, too heavy to move.
[+darkslateblue “Oh it's just getting better and better. I won't bother asking how you know he was free, perhaps there is a third person in all this separate from those two who is feeding you all this information. Maybe you're in on it all as a ploy to get the crown!”] His head dipped as he leaned forward in the seat. For a few seconds he was still before shaking his head lightly, looking across to her.[+darkslateblue “I don't mean any of that. I'm just.. this is all so much to take in and process.”]
He stood up, feeling like he needed to not be seated and stationary but moving to keep the mind going.[+darkslateblue “I have one man, who led the rebellion, is a former friend of you and Augustine and Gregory, and was pretending to be the leader of a group of assassins whilst pointing the finger at another man as a real member of said group of assassins. Meanwhile he's traipsing about the castle freely at night knowing exactly where Eugene sleeps and three different routes to get there, and most likely has the help of someone in this castle. But we don't know who.”] It was a rough summation of Nicolai but it would do.
He turned around one-eighty, facing the opposite wall.[+darkslateblue “Meanwhile I have a man who is a commander of Astoria, another friend of yours, who has the knife of a group of assassins locked away in his desk drawer, was attacked by a man who directed us to said knife, and thinks that very same man who directed us to the knife is meant to be dead. Oh, and he may have allies in the castle just like the other man, sleuthing about unbeknownst to anyone.”] He took a few slow steps forward whilst reciting this aloud and at the end he turned to Florence, looking down at her and then to the knife.
[+darkslateblue “First thing first; I will go to down and have the doctor inspect Adrian for this branding. If he has it, this solves all these issues. Will you take Nicolai? He seems more open to you, so perhaps he will be more willing to tell you what more he is keeping from us. Maybe you can get something more out of him to help us? What do you think?”] He was throwing out ideas but he needed her help.
[+mediumseagreen "That is also a possibility."] All their encounters with the Taken had been brief, but she did not know how great a memory Nicolai had for that sort of thing. And with the way he traveled, no doubt he could have found the help he needed to forge the blade, so to speak.
Upon the suggestion that Nicolai might be lying, she thought back to their talks. He had changed a great deal. The question was did Florence still think she knew him well enough to tell if he was lying or not. [+mediumseagreen "He was a general. He had an analytical mind and he had seven years to plan to do whatever he pleases..."] The odds seemed to be stacked against him. [+mediumseagreen "I would put nothing past him... however, when we spoke all his looks and words seemed genuine. He wants to return to Wistina with us, to take back his home. We can both relate to that feeling."] That was what was so dangerous about him. If she tried to relate too much, she might just be playing into his hands. After all, getting back home was not the only thing he said he wanted.
There was one last thing, but she was having a hard time admitting it. Letting the silence hand in the air, eventually she went back to it. [+mediumseagreen "Also, if all he wanted was to incite a distrust of Adrian, he has done it. His job is finished, there is no reason to stick around waiting to be tried... but I know for a fact he was free from that room last night and he did not take it as a chance to escape..."] Green eyes back on the desk, she did not look at her friend. She did not even want to know what kind of face he was making at her right now. [+mediumseagreen "That also points him to having some sort of internal help here in the castle. We need to be careful. Though the same could be said for Adrian. He had been here long enough that he has built loyalties. There may be those in his ranks that look more fondly on him than us."] That did not take much. Many soldiers were left over from King Gresham's time, so they were not exactly the most fond of Florence and Augustus who led the uprising against them. In general, Eugene had won them out, but there were a select few who held their grudges against his sister and military adviser.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus shrugged at her suggestion that Nicolai would have difficulty getting such a blade.[+darkslateblue “It is just a symbol. If he saw it before, with Ulrich, then he could easily have a tanner make the scabbard, a weapon smith etch it into the blade.”] For some reason he was still trying to defend Adrian, as if Nicolai could have done this all as an elaborate ruse to get back at the man. In truth, Augustus was playing devils advocate. He had to find the holes in the argument that Adrian would likely make, so that they could find plausible answers for them.
Her quick inhale brought his eyes up to her and he raised a brow in question. Listening to her theory about a branding, he nodded though he only leaned forward in his seat.[+darkslateblue “And if there is not marking, no brand, then we are back as we are now.”] The doctor had never made note of any tattoo or mark such as the Taken symbol, but then again he was not keen on discussing Nicolai's ailment either, so that meant little. They would have to check.
[+darkslateblue “What if Nicolai lied to you? I won't attempt to say I know him like you do, but what if he said it all as part of this idea to blame Adrian and have us turn against him? You know him best here Florence, even if there is a gap of seven years. Can you say with certainty that this is not something he would do, that it is beyond him?”] He had to bow to her knowledge of the elfin man. Her judge of his character, even based off only one talk yesterday, was better than his brief discussion with 'Ulrich'.[+darkslateblue “We have to determine which one is the most credible.”]
Taking in a deep breath, Florence held it in for a moment before letting out. She tried to imagine exhaling all the what ifs so that she could get them out of her head and focus like Augustus said. Everyone was safe, and so long as they thought through this clearly and logically they would stay that way.
[+mediumseagreen "There is a chance he could have put it with Adrian's things, but I do not know where he would have gotten this in the first place. This is not the sort of thing the Taken just hands out lightly."] From what she remembered they were rather selective with their members, at least when it came to recruits who were not a part of the founding guild. Taking in a quick breath, she remembered something. [+mediumseagreen "There might be another way to check. Some of the taken, the founding members. They are branded. This symbol,"] leaning forward she tapped the one on the blade. [+mediumseagreen "It was branded into their bodies. If it is there, I am absolutely certain."] If not, they were back to square one, but they lost nothing for checking the body of an unconsous man.
[+mediumseagreen "And as for Nicolai."] Florence did not want Augustus to feel as though she was avoiding the topic there. She had just gotten carried away in her previous thought. [+mediumseagreen "I do not think that is it... when we spoke, he mentioned that he was indeed trying to get his revenge on Adrian, but he specifically said that it was not for the pass... It could come back to what Adrian was saying yesterday, but that is speculation at best."] All that could be established there was that there was a motive, even if they did not know what it was.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat He looked over at her confused, the desk and knife between both seated parties as he listened to her. How could she consider herself an idiot for missing some odd tidbit of information told to her so long ago? From the little she had told him of the Taken, he understood their origins. Yet from what Adrian had told him over the years, his childhood was spent in an orphanage with other children, spent being a good older sibling to the younger ones and helping them out. Of course it could be a complete lie told to him to keep him sympathetic to the man who seemed often lost and confused in Astoria.
The more he thought it over, the more he began to doubt everything the man ever told him or did. But he had to catch himself, to stop from blaming himself so much. After all, this was all circumstantial until Florence had confirmed it was a Taken blade, no sense jumping at shadows now. He had to be sensible.
[+darkslateblue “Look Florence, forget it and lets forget what could have happened. Nothing did happen, that is the fact."] He sighed as he saw her still amazed expression, one of concern and worry.[+darkslateblue "Listen, I've posted extra guards every night since Nicolai was brought in and had people in the town watching out for Augustine. We are safe, no-one is getting around this castle without me knowing.”] He was nothing if not overcautious in these matters. Safety was his paramount concern and that had only become heightened with the information. If only he had known how wrong he was about his last statement.
He shook his head as he looked to the knife.[+darkslateblue “We need to focus on what we do now. Lets look at what we have, and what we have is Nicolai, a rebellion leader who is fighting against us and killing Astorians. He turns up out of no-where and all of a sudden Adrian has this knife and information about the castle and how to get to around. Do you think he could have planted this? Do you think he may be doing all this to get back at Adrian for what happened at the pass?”]
Augustus recited the tale that was his life for the last several days. Quite frankly she was not sure how he had held it together as well as he did. But here he was, still managing. The other thing she was not so sure about was how Nicolai had come to possess all this information. She knew from what he had said, he had been a busy man, but she would have never thought he'd manage all of this.
What was probably the most concerning of it all was knowing there were direct routes to Eugene's quarters. No doubt they were left over from Gresham's time. Probably escape routes that were long forgotten, but that was most definitely a problem. This castle was already insecure enough, it was not built to be a strong hold, but as a display of luxury and elegance.
[+darkslateblue "You know what this means right?"]
Looking into his coal like eyes, Florence felt like she needed to sit down. Reaching out to touch the chair in front of her, she brought herself around to use it. [+mediumseagreen "Yes, it means I am an idiot."] hands coming up to hold either side of her face, she shook her head gently. [+mediumseagreen "How could I not have noticed sooner. Even when we first met he told me so clearly that he was an orphan and a mercenary... why did I not put two and two together?"] She did not know if it was the desperation of the time, or his unassuming temperament, but it completely flew over her head.
[+mediumseagreen "At any time they could have been in here, they could have killed me, or Augustine, or Eugene..."] The last gripped at her stomach. That would have been an eye for an eye. Her brother for theirs, but they didn't. And why didn't they? Her mind whirled as she tried to think if there was something they might have been waiting for... Nothing came to mind in that regard, but she did think of another possibility. Something much more sinister and larger in scale. With Adrian so close to the action, they had an easy means of instigating and interfering with a very delicate situation. It would make sense to take their time if they were doing something intrinsic, such as sowing the seeds of war.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus put aside the remarks that they would need to talk later about what contact she had had with the Taken. He wanted the information but if she deemed it not as significant as the knife for now, he would trust her. He was just relieved that his belief it was a knife sporting their mark was a correct one. He had been worried he would interrogate an innocent man about a knife that was very simply just a knife.
Her question about its origins brought a sigh from his lips.[+darkslateblue “Nicolai told me where to find it. Or at least who's room to search. Of course at that time I thought it was Ulrich. I thought he was lying, he knew who I was and was just trying to stop the.. questioning.”] He did not want to say interrogation, but she knew he had roughed the man up some.[+darkslateblue “But he kept repeating to go find it, just find this knife. I told him I didn't trust a word he said. So he said he would give me information that would prove he could be trusted – at least on the knife. He told me odd things and information that.. well, stuff he shouldn't even know.. about Astoria.”] He sighed and stared down at the knife for a few seconds, licking his dry lips and closing his eyes slowly just to calm himself.
It had been days of pent up frustrations, taking this weight on his shoulders, that to tell her was quite liberating.[+darkslateblue “Florence, he told me an exact route from the castle gates to Eugene's bed chambers. And not just one route but three, each different and precise. He knew the strength of the guard, patrol routes, what times they changed over.”] He looked up as he said this, catching her eye as he leaned on the table.[+darkslateblue “I thought he was Ulrich, and coupling the information with his identity I had to check. It would get rid of my doubt and prove him to be an opportunistic liar. But he was right. In Adrian's room, I found a drawer in his desk that was locked. I had to break it open and.. well, I found that in there, exactly like that.”] He shook his head as he indicated the knife.[+darkslateblue “I wasn't sure until your reaction just now that it was one of [i 'their'] knives.”]
He moved back a little to the chair that had been left up against the wall, sitting down with a huff he let out a light groan of discomfort.[+darkslateblue “You know what this means right?”]
Augustus was quick on his feet, making his way through the intricacies of the castle to the room that was deemed his. Florence did not think she had been in there in years, and she guessed it had been nearly as infrequent for her friend as well, because it looked just as she remembered it. But if there were ever a place to speak and keep it quiet, this would be it. It was out of the way of the business that was castle life and with such a thick door, not much leaked out.
She nodded; Florence had no intention of letting this leave the room unless they both agreed to it. And right after Augustine, Eugene was the one she wanted to keep out of it the most. So they were already in agreement there. Once he had her confirmation, he opened the desk and pulled a white cloth bundle out. It took him just that little bit longer to unwrap the package, having only one hand to do it with, but when he did Florence's jaw dropped.
[+mediumseagreen "God damn it."] Augustus eyed her with a mix of curiosity and confusion. He had expected her to need at least some explanation, but she seemed to understand at a single glance. There was no way a handful of battles was enough to commit such a small insignia to memory. Not after seven years.
Seeing his look, she grimaced. [+mediumseagreen "... Since we are sharing secrets... I may not have been entirely upfront with you about [i all] of my contact with the Taken..."] He knew they were after her and Augustine, be she had intentionally led him and her brother to believe that was because Vincent had hired them. [+mediumseagreen "But that can come after. Where did you get this?"] Had Nicolai passed it off and said it was Adrian's, or perhaps had it been found among his belongings after receiving a tip off from the elf. The latter would be much more damning... unless it was planted... She needed more details.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus looked across to Florence as she came over, the doctor giving them space as he went back inside to speak with Captain Liam and apprise him of the news about his commander. The dark eyed individual looked close to being sickly himself and his mouth flapped for a moment as he lost his focus. In a way he had been hoping for Adrian to pass away. It would make life so much easier to push this information under the proverbial carpet and ignore it. Nicolai could argue all he liked, with no evidence and no-one to back him he would be beating his head against a brick wall.
But the man lived. And that meant the complete opposite. Now he would be forced to confront not only himself, but everyone else and he was rather dreading it. Thus the reaction when Florence spoke to him.[+darkslateblue “I know what I said and I believe I should follow it. But you are right that I should probably wait for him to wake.”] He looked at the door to the infirmary, still open, though with no sight of the red-eyed man within.[+darkslateblue “I thought it would be much easier once I knew how he would progress. I thought I had it planned out but for right now, I'm lost. I hate it.”] He had always been one to have answers or know for sure what he wanted to do. This feeling of hopelessness, being lost and confused and unsure made him a little bit fearful.
Taking a deep and calming breath he closed his eyes, regaining his focus over a few key seconds. His eyes opened and looked across to the one person he could trust with any information. Especially sensitive things like this. Julia was his soulmate, but she did not need to become wrapped up in this. Florence was very much in the thick of it.[+darkslateblue “I need to show you something.”] He replied in a neutral manner before flicking his head for her to follow him.
It was a very fast journey, at times almost breaking into a light jog as he thought it best to do this now, and quickly, or he would change his mind again. He needed her judgement and her thoughts and he took her up to the little office he had in the castle, one Eugene had insisted he have if he was to live outside of the grounds. From the few keys at his waist he pulled out the thick brass one, the only one to open this door, and with a heavy thunk the lock was turned back. Opening the door it groaned at the hinges, not used often and showing it. Inside was a neat room. Well organised and uncluttered if a little dusty it was very much Augustus' office, and as Florence closed the door behind her – at his instruction – he moved around the large desk, taking out a further key, this one much smaller. It opened one of the drawers of the desk and he took a deep breath as he looked in at the contents. This was still a big decision for him, yet he pushed through and took out something wrapped in a white cloth. From the missing dust on the table, he had done this many times before now, over the last two days.
[+darkslateblue “I don't need to say it but I will; this is between me and you and no-one else. I will not even tell Eugene about this because hopefully we can sort it ourselves without him knowing.”] Placing the item onto the table he hesitated only a few moments before pulling back one side of it to reveal the blade of a short dagger – or rather the scabbard, as the knife was still inside. Throwing off the other covering, it revealed the full item to Florence's shining green eyes. She would not take long to notice and without a shadow of a doubt, that sat prominently within the cross guard of the dagger and facing right at her, was the emblem of the Taken.
Nodding along to what the doctor had to say, Florence was glad for the news. The man was no soothsayer, so he could not be exactly certain what the future held, but she knew him to be the type to hold his tongue until all reasonable doubt was eliminated. Looking to her friend who had heard all the same words, she could tell her was not wholly relieved by the news. There was still much that weighed on his mind.
The green eyed woman gave Augustus space and time enough to find his center, then she joined him to the side. The doctor was happy enough to give them their privacy, as he still had the captain to attend to. [+mediumseagreen "Does this mean that you will set things into motion, or do you plan to wait for him to wake?"] Still very much out of the loop, she had no idea what type of clarification he needed before he was confident to move forward. It was eating away at her, but she remained respectful of his choice and did not press for any more details not matter how much it was killing her inside.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus had just arrived before Florence, looking to Adrian who was still quite unconscious and not looking likely to wake up. He immediately moved for the doctor, taking a hold of his arm to gain his attention.[+darkslateblue “I got your message, he will live?”] It was only moments later than Florence came sweeping in and asked the same question, so the doctor smiled and directed for them to move away from the bed. He was always trying to keep his patients comfortable and discussing their health whilst hovering over them was not his idea of helping.
[+darkgoldenrod “Captain Liam, I will come speak to you in a moment.”] The captain had been messaged also, arriving well before Augustus and Florence and taking a seat on a nearby bed. He had been patient but he was not of the others rank and therefore authority, so the doctor would report to them first before he assured the captain of his superiors life. Directing the other two with him over to the doorway he led them outside, standing off from the open door.
He was ever so tempted to use some theatrics and prolong the discomfort of waiting for his prognosis, but they each had a deadly stare he withered under.[+darkgoldenrod “The simple result; he is closer to life than death.”] He felt some of the tension ease from the duo, and he relaxed also.[+darkgoldenrod “He broke the fever just before lunch and his temperature is returning to a more normal state. Now I don't want you thinking this is it. He still has a very deep and critical would and will need time to recover. But,”] he raised his hands in an almost unknowing manner,[+darkgoldenrod “should he continue like this he should make a full recovery.”] He smiled, glad to have another patient who would live after days of waiting to give a death prognosis.
Augustus looked in part relieved that the man would live, though he was feeling a little trepidation that with the man's survival meant the choice he did not want to take. He sighed as he stepped away, hand running through messy hair and letting out a deep breath.
After the night before, it was even more difficult to push the current situation out of her mind. She could see no way for both Adrian and Nicolai to come out of this unscathed. Whether the hit was taken physically or to the reputation, someone was going to be in some trouble. And while before she had been inclined to hope that it was Adrian who came out on top, those feelings were muddled after the Elfin man's visit to her. Yet another complexity that she did not need.
But her suffering was ended abruptly, and much sooner than she thought it might be. A messenger came. He passed along that the doctor's word was in and that he thought the man would survive. Sure, that did not mean he was awake just yet, but at least they would not have to sit around and wonder if he was going to die. It was morbid, even for her tastes.
Wanting to see that this was the case with her own eyes, and knowing that Augustus would be in the same boat, the woman made way to the infirmary. Stepping in, she saw the nurse from the day before, but this time the doctor was present as well. Another good sign. It looked as though Nicolai no longer needed his near constant attention. Along with the medical professionals was Augustus, he had beat her here. [+mediumseagreen "So he is going to live? The infection has passed?"] Truly she should have taken the messenger's word for it, but she wanted the validation of hearing it from the source.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The morning went rather smoothly when compared to the last two days. Nicolai was allowed a peasants breakfast of bread and water, though it was up there as one of his best meals since arriving on the island kingdom. The doctor kept close watch over Adrian, as did Nicolai's inside man, each observing how he was progressing with his illness. His skin looked less clammy but certainly more pale that the day before.
Augustus stayed away from most of the morning, not wanting to be in that room when nothing could be accomplished from it. He read reports from the mainland, seeing that five more men had died in the attack on Nicolai's camp, another seven injured but expected to survive. The group had left the camp, some twelve of their number killed and a half a dozen more taken prisoner. The rest had ran away into the hills, scattered like vermin when someone approaches. At least that was one concern he could forget about for the time being. They had broken the rebellion's camp, taken their leader, things were firmly in their hands. Though if he wasn't careful, Nicolai would be held up as a martyr for future attacks on Vollenberg.
When the guards he sent to check on Adrian and Nicolai returned, he found each had interesting news. Nicolai was requesting his audience, to speak with him as he had that first day. He couldn't do that, not right now, even with what he knew or thought he knew it would not help all that much. On top of that, the other man reported that Adrian was faring much better. He had broken the fever and the doctor was giving a very positive prognosis for his further health, having sent word via a servant to inform Florence, believing her visit showed she wanted to be kept up to date. Augustus told the first guard back to Nicolai with no message – the man could stew for a little time. Meanwhile he headed off to the infirmary to hear the news directly from the doctor.
Shuffling back to bed, she could hear that Nicolai was lingering at the door, but before she turned around he was gone. Hopefully straight back to where he needed to be. She could just imagine him making his escape now that he had his fill of toying with her. Such thoughts did not last long, as she did not last much longer. Florence was quickly to sleep, much quicker than she should have been knowing that a dangerous man was on the loose, but it was what it was.
The woman slept soundly through the night and a good part of the morning as well. It was not till there was a knock at her door that she woke. Rising and returning to the door, she found Augustine standing there. He expressed concern that she had not come out yet; he thought she might have been unwell. Putting his fears to bed, she assured him that she was feeling fine. Though, she found this the perfect occasion to bring up his trip to the dungeon. Calling him, he was a little skeptical about what she could want, but listened to his mother all the same.
[+mediumseagreen "Augustine, until all the dust clears, I want you to steer clear of Nicolai. I know that you think it is safe because you knew him, but we cannot be sure until we have all the facts."] It was the peak of hypocrisy.
Eyeing her, he found it terribly suspect that she knew about his meeting with the elf. He chose to ask her outright. [+coral "How do you know about that?"]
Smirking, there was a perfect catch all for that. [+mediumseagreen "I am your mother, I know everything. Now please promise me you will keep to yourself. I do not want you getting attached to him again just for something to happen."] He had been so hurt the first time, to the point that he hated Adrian, who he had initially taken a liking to. And that was back when they had no reason to suspect the mercenary of any foul play.
Crossing his arms, the boy knew that was just code for 'I don't want to tell you, so I am not going to.' His guess was that it was Gregory though. That old man really did know everything that was going on. Augustine had never seen anyone with such a mastery over their network. [+coral "Fine..."] He had already promised Augustus along the lines of the same thing, so it was not hard to do it again, but the blond did hate to be bound this way.
[+mediumseagreen "Thank you."] She wore a caring smile as she closed the distance between them and placed a swift kiss on his forehead. [+mediumseagreen "Now go on. I know you are probably just dying to spend some more time with Flora since it won't be much longer till we leave."] That got him leaving fairly quickly, not wanting to be subjected to any more of his mother's teasing. As he found the door, she sent one more thank you his way. This one for checking on her. He really was a sweet young man.
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