Chapter 43: Thy Law I
Chloe looked at the small group. One man clearly had albinism. He was a cheery looking man whose stockiness made him look shorter than he actually was. Bald head, thick features, and wide smiling lips. She gathered his name was George.
Elllis was talking to the other man, his companion. Chloe gazed at the lawyer’s frame, wide but lanky. Elllis, she realized, was a very bony man. His skin was very dark, and his hair was greased and styled into vertical spikes. The man he was in the process of berating was younger and shorter, but perhaps just as heavy. He was skinny rather than lanky. Though Chloe had not seen enough people to calculate a reliable average, she judged that this younger man was likely a little below average. She supported this buy watching his stance, which stood a little taller, a little prouder than usual, she guessed to compensate. His hair was giant curls, almost like hers but deep brown. It was also clear that the two were related.
Elllis thrust the rolled up document into the younger man’s hands. “Fine. Look at me, Elliott. I do not care about this. I am just making sure you are not causing trouble for the family.”
“Like the twins?”
Elllis shook his head. “Like the twins used to be. Like before the twins found a place for themselves in this City…as you should.” He began walking away, towards Chloe and eventually the door. “You cannot skirt the laws like this forever,” He called back.
Chloe walked past him and addressed the two younger men. “So? What is all this then?”
“And who are you to ask?”
“I am Chloe Rhye, Fifth Prince of the Solune.”
“Well, I am Elliot—wait, Prince?”
Chloe leaned back so that she was looking down on him, more than usual.
“Prince…. Solune…. Rhye…?”
Chloe smiled, girlish. “Yes?”
“Hang on, hang on. Ellis! Has she met Rhye?”
The older man stopped just in front of the front door. Ammelia, seeing the drama, quietly slid open her window.
“No,” and then continued walking. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him.
“Who?” Chloe said, leaving her mouth open slightly after speaking.
“Hey…no worries, it’s just one of the fringe noble houses, you know?” George grinned. His voice was unexpectedly high pitched, though still quite masculine. “They say Lilllith is like that too, though I’ve heard that’s just as claim made to keep us down. To remove hope of rising up the class ladder from us at the bottom!”
“So there was a remnant…”
Elliott said, “I would guess so. —Hey! Wanna come see them? After we’re done with all this I mean.” He lifted the spray gun.
“Oh, ah…today, I am on call, waiting on the prince’s word.”
“Ah, noble stuff. Too bad.” Elliott tossed one of the devices to George and they began greasing the metal walls of a neighbouring building.
Chloe studied their work for nearly an hour, to the point where she could likely have helped them and done an okay job with it, then she returned to the house. She decided to start setting up her new room.
“Send for them.”
“What is that?” Kent asked.
“I think that’s Chloe,” Anselm replied.
“I’m going to go see,” Senica said.
They were on the third floor, check out each other’s’ rooms. Anselm’s, on the east side, faced in direction of the palace, though there were other buildings in the way. Kent and Senica shared the only other room on the floor, on the west side. In between was a large room, the training area, and the stairs. Senica was headed up, and crossed out of vision just as another bang echoed down.
“Sounds like they’re hitting something.”
Kent nodded, his mind far away, admiring the recent memory of his wife’s form ascending the steps. “I…”
“Anyway, thanks for helping me carry this stuff. They sure gave us a lot, huh.”
“Yes, nothing like an extra blanket, a towel, and what seems to be an army-issue sword to weigh you down.” Kent nodded, and then returned to his side of floor three.
“Whoa, what a nice bookshelf!”
“Yes. I hope to fill it during my time here. I only brought a few books myself. Cover your years, Senica.” Chloe nailed a shelf in place. The ornate designs hadn’t been too hard to carve in. Lilllith was the one who made her stain it with a grey lacquer, adding greatly to the effect.
Lilllith nodded, pleased with the result.
Senica said, “Where did you learn to do that?”
“Make a bookcase? Senica it is quite simple. Ah…my father is a famous builder. Legend has it he built the kingdom’s walls all alone, with his bare hands.”
“Yes, dating nearly a thousand years, I think.”
“Oh. Yes, right. What Kent told me. Hang on, don’t you know though?”
“I…hmm. I always assumed the tales were short, but as I enter adjusted adult years, I feel I should verify such things with him directly. How the kingdom walls really came to be.”
Senica and Chloe talked for nearly an hour, and Lilllith left them to manage her household. This extended conversation deeply confused Chloe, as the Djeb woman had always annoyed her a little. Too talkative, too positive. Perhaps it was their recent change of state, from stranger to sister. No, rather, it is that we have known each other for long enough. Or perhaps so much has happened in such little time that I have developed a need for connection.
“Senica, you’re quite beautiful, but I’ve always found you annoying.”
“Yes. But…I am disoriented. I feel different.”
Senica gathered her emotions, and threw them out of her heart. “I think we all do. Travelling alone disturbs certain temperaments, but ambush and then even imprisonment…you’ve been through quite a lot, Prince.”
Chloe nodded. They stood in silence for ten or so minutes, until Lilllith returned.
“The prince has sent one of his…body guards calling. Chloe, she wants you. In fact, she seems to want everyone.”
“Her, or the prince?”
Lilllith just smiled.
Chloe nodded and, bowing to Senica for their conversation. She noticed, briefly, that the runes on the Djeb’s face were lighter. She cleared her mind, later, and then said, “It is only right. Let us go.”