We were welcomed at the Spire – and any mopping up had either been done or was being pushed out of our sight. Somebody really had run or ridden ahead of us.
I was not going to fire anyone who didn’t give me a reason to. Although I had to be sure, absolutely sure, of the cook.
“Don’t worry about the cook,” Kanesha said, as if reading my mind.
I realized that our minds did touch a little. “Oh?”
“He likes me.”
I grinned. “You spent your entire time here subverting the servants, didn’t you.”
“I spent it subverting anyone I could. For you.”
She had not expected this. “Well. They don’t need to like me, just you.”
That was enough to guarantee we would not receive poison for dessert.
“Some of the servants left.”
I nodded. “Let them. We can replace them easily enough, I would imagine.”
A wedding. Then reaching out to every part of this realm, every single part, repairing, healing.
And finding those who would resist. That part I both looked forward to and dreaded. There would still be fighting.
Yet here, it seemed, we were being welcomed. It was Kanesha who got rushed with well wishers. I stayed back, still on my horse.
I was the distant one. She was the one they loved. It was right that way. Right for the realm, right for both of us, right for the future.
I knew I had never been easy to love and never would be. But finally we were inside.
Not the swan room. Not this time. The queen’s chambers.
A fine lady’s chambers. But neither of us wanted those memories. Nor did either of us want to sleep in Surtur’s bed. We opened another room instead, until both could be altered, refurbished, made the way we wanted them.
The clothes we had worn before no longer fit. A rush was made for a seamstress. Our armor did, somehow, but then Kanesha’s had come out of thin air.
I wasn’t going to ask on that. And I realized we were being stalled.
But it was okay. It was only to allow the cooks to prepare a proper welcome.