Previously: With Wyny’s grandmother as the head of the Truth Companions, Nadec gained their full support after proving who she is. They use the rest of the evening to talk about ways to help Nadec with the prophecy, which they still believe is real. Nadec also gained a second servant.
Read all the previous chapters here.
ps: this is the real and raw first draft, including spelling and grammar mistakes, unnamed characters, awkward bits, … If you’d prefer to read a slightly better version, I can suggest going to the podcast section, where the transcripts are. Or you can read the complete 2nd draft version in it’s totality (hey, it’s over 70k words now, a proper novel, weeee!)
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The throne room stood empty. Nadec glared at it from in between the columns at the side. Patat was gone. Where had they taken him? She looked around to make sure no one was in the room, and stepped out to the center. A faint outline of Patat’s cage still marked where it had stood. It must’ve only happened.
Balls. She’d only left the Wobbly Wine Glass twenty minutes before, when the meeting had ended. It had proven to be a good idea to go. She had gained more loyalists, and had more accomplishes to help make the prophecy come true. She’d skipped straight from the inn to her own room. She’d asked her inn keeper to take Meralda with him and give her a room. Nadec expected for things to have changed when she returned to the inn later tonight. Despite her urging the inn keeper not to change her rooms, he would definitely be doing other things. Hopefully Melia can keep an eye on everything. She wouldn’t want Kitty to get lost because of that silly man.
Where had Patat gone? If only she was a sniffer dog, she could sniff and find Patat easily. No such chance. Perhaps one of the Lines she’ll get upon receiving the Crown enabled her to do something like that.
‘He is gone. You won’t get anymore one on one time with him.’
Nadec stiffened. Ther harsh [whatever description i gave it before] voice of Jodec was unmistakable in Nadec’s ears now. Without turning around for the source of the voice, she bent though her knees and began the Skipping process.
‘Ah, hah, aaah, none of that now.’
Her feet got swepped away from under her. She fell hard on her hip, bringing her an invuluntarily grunt. Knees dug into her back, forcing her on her belly. Before she knew what happened, her hands were tied behind her back and she got lifted on her feet. Jodec stood in front of her. She glared at him. Then she glared at the man who held her. She annoyed herself by noticing the man’s good looks. [damnit], can you not do this right now, nadec]
‘So you have been coming here every evening, hah. Sneaky little cousin of mine. Very daring too, hah, very daring indeed, surrounded by people who are looking for you. No more. You little friend gorwak is hidden away now. But I’m not a bad person. I will let you talk to him one last time. Don’t get anything in your smart little head. We will move him around daily, hah. You won’t get the change to Skip to him again. Come on.
The gorwak squeezed the back of her neck, guiding her along to follow Jodec. Patat betrayed her? Did Patat betray her? How else had her uncle known about her coming here? Something else he said made her scrunch up her brows. Did he mean to let her go? It somehow felt like that was exactly his intention.
No one spoke as they walked. Nadec tried to keep track of where they went, but the castle’s hallway soon all became part of a labyrinth in her mind. At one point, they passed an area where the castle was in a mess. It looked like a construction site. She heard two people arguing against each other, shouting loud enough to be heard throughout the hallway, even though they were in a room.
‘This is how Lord Pagewyn wants it, see, this is how he explained. Come on, you were there as well when he said what it looked like.’ A high-pitched female voice yelled.
‘Water sprinkling out of a round metal device sprouting from the wall. Does that sound reasonable to you? The Lord had been going through a lot, we can be safe to assume he might have been imagining things.’ The male voice didn’t shout, but was loud enough by itself.
‘Imagining things?!’ The female voice sputtered. ‘We have been through this before, it is the same thing every night. If you didn’t insist on working at night, we could’ve scheduled time with him again and discusssed it all anew. Instead, we’ve been wasting our time…’
Nade coudln’t hear anymore as they turned yet another corner. So Wyny wanted to install showers in the castle? Nadec guffawed aloud, earning an angry stare from Jodec. The zlurp gave her neck an extra squeeze, hard enough to make Nadec grunt. She still thought about the workers trying to invent showers without knowing what they were. The more Nadec thought about it, the more hilarious she found it. Occasional giggles found her way out, and the more she tried to contain it, the more she needed to laugh.
‘I am not doing this anymore like this. I am going to bed, and tomorrow we will do it my way, and we will listen to Lord Pagewyn again.’
The voice brok out from behind them, followed by a door slamming and the obvious sound of the whole doorway collapsing.
That was the last straw for Nadec. Her laughter couldn’t be contained any longer. Tears streamed over her face as she gasped for air in between laughs. The zlurp tried to shake her out of it but it only made her howl more. Jodec growled at her several times to be quiet. With every growl, she managed a second of silence before snorting her way back into full out laughter. Nadec could almost swear she saw the corners of Jodecs mouth tug upwards. Laughter like that was contageous after all.
‘Keep her quiet,’ Jodec grumbled towards the zlurp. ‘No sound in the next area.’
No sound in the n—? The zlurp turned her face into its big belly. Her nose crunched slightly as it got squished. Her whole face felt sucked into the blubber. She couldn’t breathe. As the last of her laughter died, the shakes of giggles were indistinguishable from the trembles to fight against a lack of oxygen. She passed out.
The collision against the hard floor shocked her awake. She blinked as she heard Patat demand: ‘what have you done to her? If you’ve hurt her, I’ll’
‘You’ll what, ‘tat? You are not in any position to do anything. Hah, do not worry about your little princess, she merely had to be contained for a little bit while we walked passed Lord Pagewyn’s quarters. We did not want to wake him up with her laughter now, did we? Hah. There, see, she is awake. You can talk to her one last time. Then you say your goodbyes.’
Nadec struggled to stand up. The front of her head throbbed, a side effect from passing out, as she’d already knew from the past. Once she managed to finally stand, she glared at the zlurp, pulled a face at it’s ugliness. She moved her glare over to her uncle, and let it rest on Patat. The gorwak was still in the same cage. He flew a step backward at her look.
‘What’s that for?’ he demanded.
‘You told him about our meetings?’ She wanted to make it sound accusitory, but it came out sounding more hurt.
‘That’s nonsense, of course I didn’t do such thing. Did he say that to you?’ Patat turned towards Jodec. ‘I know I don’t know who you are anymore, but I never took you to be a full-out liar, not even now. Nadec, think about it, why would I’ve betrayed you? You know I wouldn’t’
The more he spoke, the more guilty she felt. She hadn’t believed him doing it, and certainly didn’t now.
‘Hah, very cute seeing you together. You have five minutes to talk.’
Jodec signaled to the zlurp, but it only stared at him vacantly, obviously not understanding what the gesture meant. ‘Step aside, you towering ugly rock. She won’t run. Isn’t that right, cousin?’ After a reluctant nod from Nadec, jaws clenched and lips pressed together, he uttered a satisfied ‘hah’. The zlurp took a few steps to stand next to Jodec, who grimaced almost inpereptibly, and shuffled aside a bit.
‘What’s the deal with those zlurps,’ Nadec asked him. ‘I never heard of them before meeting the one in the forest. Did you take xlurps and do something with them? How did you make them speak?’
‘Do you really want to use your five minutes to talk about these abominations? It’s only four now, hah.’
Nadec grunted. Frankdamn, he was right. She turned to Patat, who perked up. He didn’t look too good. the wings had lost their iridiscence, and his slimy skin showed incositencies, mottled spots of [not-shiny] areas covering where there were rainbows before. Nadec stepped closer to him.
‘What’s wrong with you? I mean, besides being locked up, but why is that causing your looks to change?’
‘It’s flaming nothing kid. I’m burning moulting soon, it is just a very [awkward] coincidence. Close you flaming mouth, you look like a burning fish.’ The familiar quip combined with his lopsided grin set her at ease, somewhat. ‘I should be burning done with this in a week’s time. If I’m burning still alive in a flaming week.’ His black, liquid eyes flickered towards Jodec.
‘You will, ‘Tat, don’t you worry about that,’ Nadec’s uncle said gruffly, almost relucytantly.
‘I won’t let them kill you,’ Nadec whispered on top of him. ‘No matter what.’ She lowered her voice even more, hoping it was silent enough so Jodec couldn’t hear her. ‘Do you remember what I told you about the plan? Good. I wasn’t sure if you’d heard me, you weren’t very responsive.’
‘About that, I’m bloody sorry. What burning Jodec had told me, still [annoys] me. No time to flaming talk about that now. I grounding remember the plan, and I’m flaming so ready for it. How did Blackie burning do today?’
‘It was perfect.’ Nadec smiled. ‘People are in awe of the appearence of the dragon, and I’ve heard whispers of many looking forward to the next appearance tomorrow.’
‘Enough whispering, hah. Time’s up, let’s go.’
‘No,’ Nadec burst out, ‘that can’t have been five minutes already.
‘What in the names of the Lines is happening here?’ A new voice shouted out. Everyone stopped moving.
The zlurp blocked Nadec’s view, but her heart froze in her chest for a moment, replaced by flutters. It seemed she had been knocked out for no reason. Wyny was awake after all.