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Four
The Drawing Room


The sight of Elizabeth set Madgelie at ease for a while. The older woman was a sight for sore eyes. She was dressed in strange robes, but she was the same cryptic woman who challenged her constantly. She met Alfred and Madgelie outside on the main road into town.

“Professor Eliza, you must tell us of your travels,” Madgelie said, ushering her into a building that had become their makeshift base of operations. “Where is Gilbert? I told him to pick you up at the train station. Did he miss you?”

“No. I saw him and my granddaughter too,” Elizabeth replied.

“Really? Where are they?” Madgelie asked.

“Well…They’re in a house,” she began. “You know what? Let’s go meet them. Hitch up Tema to fly us across town. And bring force field boxes. And a portable temporal read out machine.”

The tranquility was rattled. Madgelie and Alfred knew they were in for one of their professor’s wild, yet some how perfectly controlled rides.

“Why does this sound really big and possibly really bad?” Madgelie asked.

“I don’t know, Madge, do you think it’s going to be bad?” Elizabeth replied.

“Just explain when we get there, all right?” Alfred said.

Elizabeth sat on the couch as Alfred went about gathering the items she asked for and prepared to leave. Madgelie stood rigidly at her side, her jaw set with worry. There was so much to ask but she was afraid of the answers. Elizabeth wouldn’t explain until later she was sure.

“Is Gilbert all right?” she asked.

“He is perfectly fine. He and Molly are set up quite nicely in a big house with Gringolet,” Elizabeth replied. Alfred froze nearly dropping a temporal readout machine in surprise.

“How old is Molly?” he asked.

“About thirteen if my memory serves me right,” Elizabeth said tapping her chin.

“You left a hormonal fifteen year old boy alone with an equally as hormonal thirteen year old girl?” he began. “Professor, I know you perceive a lot of things, but you had to have known—”

“Well, I hardly describe Gilbert as ‘hormonal.’ From what I’ve seen of him he doesn’t seem to be very aware of others outside of his small realm of existence. Molly seems to dislike him and they’re not alone. They have another little girl with them and with Gringolet watching, they’re quite safe. Except they bicker constantly. I forgot how much teenagers snipe at each other,” Elizabeth explained.

“I don’t know the rest of the situation, but remember all the times Tema would chaperone us? You couldn’t even get your first kiss. Remember?” Madgelie said smirking at Alfred.

“I’m trying not to,” he replied. He glared at Madgelie, but didn’t quite meet her eyes and left the room. Madgelie’s smirk melted into a wistful half smile.

“I just can’t read him anymore,” she said.

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow, “What do you mean by that?

Madgelie looked down and kicked her leg a little.

“This whole situation has distanced us. We work together more than ever but,” she paused. “I just can’t understand him like I used to.”

Elizabeth smiled, “People grow up, Madgelie. Tragedy changes them.”

Madgelie took a sharp breath and turned to look at her tutor.

“If you still want him you’re going to have to see him for the man he’s become, not the boy you remember.”

“I-is now really the time to talk about this?” Madgelie asked.

“It’s as good a time as ever,” she said. Alfred entered the room and Madgelie looked away. Elizabeth gazed at him and smiled slowly.

“Are you two ready to go?” he asked. Madgelie looked at him at last.

“Yes we are, I’ll get ready to fly,” she said, putting on her helmet. “See you two outside.”

Alfred watched her go and silently followed. Elizabeth got up slowly and sighed deeply as she walked out to the lawn where Tema was waiting. The elder bael, despite its large mechanical leg and wing looked majestic.

“When is Gilbert going to put that nifty little contraption he invented on old Tema here? She probably has a lot of things to say,” Elizabeth said stroking the bael’s nose.

“I don’t know,” Alfred said climbing on behind Madgelie. “He says he has a few bugs to work out.”

Elizabeth made her way to the side of the elder bael, grabbing the mounting rope as Tema swung her large tail to her side to help steady her as she climbed.

“Are we all set?” Madgelie asked as Elizabeth sat down.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Then let’s get going, Tema,” Madgelie said, giving the reigns a tug. Elizabeth was very used to the feel of being in the air, in fact, air travel didn’t rattle her very much, she had been though so much worse forms of transportation. It seemed to bother others quite a bit. For some reason, despite all the years of riding with Madgelie and his brother, Alfred could not get used to the sudden take off and he had his arms around Madgelie’s waist to steady himself.

“Head to the west, Madge, the house is that way,” she said. The trip was relatively short, as she expected.

“Professor, we’re out of the residential area where is––,” Madgelie paused. “There’s a house in the woods? Why didn’t we see that before?”

“Well, it only appeared moments before Molly led us to it,” Elizabeth explained.

“How did it…?”

“Land and I’ll explain what I can,” she answered. Tema landed and the three dismounted. Alfred and Madgelie waited patiently for an explanation.

“Alfred, take out the temporal readout machine,” Elizabeth instructed. He did as suggested, and turned it on. Instantly the machine began to blare at an alarming rate.

“It hasn’t read like this since the dark matter creature appeared,” he said.

“Which means that house is also a temporal anomaly,” Madgelie said stroking her chin in thought.

“How could we have missed it?”

“Why couldn’t you have just told us that an anomaly was here?” Alfred said.

“Alfred, darling, you know I believe experience is the best teacher,” Elizabeth said. “The house just appeared,” Elizabeth told them. “It’s been in this spot for an hour and a half.”

“When was it built? Who built it?” Alfred asked.

“I can only answer the first one vaguely. It was built sometime in the future, I can’t say when. As to who built it, I’m not sure that’s entirely important,” she said.

“The fact that there are now two temporal anomalies in the same area has to be connected,” Madgelie said.

“Correct,” Elizabeth said.

“Are Gilbert and your granddaughter in the house?” Alfred asked. Elizabeth nodded.

“Is that safe? Is that even wise?” Madgelie said.

“Safe? No, probably not at all,” Elizabeth replied.

“Then why did you leave them in there!” Alfred shouted. “Professor Eliza, I trust you on a lot of things, but you left my little brother in a temporal anomaly while another is about ready to crush us! I don’t see how this is wise or even well thought out at all!”

“Gilbert, Molly and the girl are the only ones who could ever navigate that house in its current state.”

“They’re just a bunch of kids, how could they possibly know the complexities of a temporal anomaly?” Madgelie began. “Gilbert is smart and familiar with these things, but Molly I assume has no formal training for this sort of situation. And I don’t even know who this other girl is—”

“Empress, you must allow me to explain,” Elizabeth said. “All three of those children––even Gringolet––they are the ones who will figure out how to navigate that house. And they are the only ones who can stop the monster.”

“How?” Alfred asked. “You can’t expect me to believe that they will be able to save us.”

“I don’t expect you to, and I can’t explain anything just yet, so you must be willing to wait for me to clear up things as they happen,” Elizabeth said. “Trust your brother’s abilities. For right now we have to protect them. Set up the force field boxes on the perimeter of the clearing. We can’t allow the monster to come for this house just yet.”

“It’s going to come for the house?” Madgelie cried.

“Yes, not right away but soon. Set up the perimeter, and I’ll be right back,” she said.

“Where are you going?”

“I have to tell my daughter what’s become of her child. She has a right to know.”
Madgelie and Alfred exchanged glances. This was the most unsure they’d ever seen their professor. Despite the unease, they began to set up the perimeter. Alfred kept looking up at the house, trying to catch a glimpse of his brother in the window. The shadows inside were the only things that stared back.

-

The drawing room finally began to warm up. Molly and Gilbert hung their coats, helmets and goggles on the backs of two chairs situated against a wall. Molly moved from her seat by the window to the couch where the girl was sleeping. Gilbert settled by the fire with Gringolet. He was going through their provisions.

“Hey,” he said. Molly looked up at him. “Give me the supplies you brought with you.”

“Why?” she asked.

“I need to know how much food we have,” he said. She nodded and brought her pack over to his side.

“I hope it helps.”

“Also…we need to agree on a place to use the bathroom.”

“Why? Can’t we just go…oh, right we can’t leave the room.”

“So, how about that corner over there,” he said pointing toward the far end of the room.

“Won’t it smell? And isn’t this someone’s house?” Molly said wrinkling her nose.

“Yes, but do you have any other options?”

Molly sighed, “I guess not.”

“Then it’s agreed,” he said. Molly looked around at the room, finally able to look in silence. It had a fairly high ceiling and a fireplace toward the back of the room, which she surmised was the back of the house. Just above the fireplace was a large clock. The bottom half of the walls were covered in white wainscoting. It would be lit by lighting sconces on the walls, but the electricity didn’t seem to work. The fireplace was flanked by two large couches with a third couch facing the fireplace.

There was also a side table and a few chairs lined up against the back wall furthest from the fireplace. Along one side of the room, two large windows with seating on them opened to the perpetually dreary weather. The dim lighting made the cheery deep reds and soft yellows in the room seem impossibly dull. Molly decided that as soon as she could turn on the lights she would insist that they do so.

“Are you warm?” Gilbert asked as he pulled out a few cans.

“Yes,” she said pulling on her sweater sleeve. Gilbert didn’t seem keen on talking further. Gringolet was asleep, and so was the girl. How long had that girl been sleeping? She arrived sleeping, there was all kinds of shouting and she still didn’t stir. Molly knew that some children weren’t easily shaken from slumber, but this girl was simply impressive. Molly studied her. The girl had long, brown hair, it was a little wavy and splayed lightly across the couch cushions. She had a round face and a few freckles. It seemed she was wearing a pair of pajamas. Molly wondered if she had any other clothes.

“Gilbert?” she said. She waited for his response but got none. “Gilbert!”

“What?” he said. “I’m a little busy.”

“Well, you can talk and count can’t you?”

“No. I can’t. Is this an emergency so dire that you have to tell me right this minute?”

“Yes, sort of.”

Gilbert put down the can he had been holding, crossed his arms and turned fully to face her, “Well?”

“I was just wondering…who do you think this girl is?” she asked. He threw up his hands.

“How should I know? I know as much about this whole thing as you do.”

“Well do you think she’s related to the Empress? Maybe her niece or something.”

“Madgelie doesn’t have a niece. She doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. I’ve met all of her family,” he said. “I’m not discussing this anymore. And no more ‘emergencies’ until I’m done counting our rations, all right?”

“Fine…” she said and turned away from him. “I don’t know what your problem is anyway. All I want to do is talk.”

“And all I want to do is get this counting over with! We’re trapped here with no food, do you really want to over eat one day and not have enough food the next?”

“I’m sorry, okay? Finish what you’re doing and we’ll talk later,” she said. He sighed and turned back to the food that he had arranged in front of him. Molly turned back to the girl and moved a stray lock of hair from her forehead. She wondered if the girl’s mother was very gentle. Or was she an orphan? The thought pained Molly. For all her differences with her parents she couldn’t imagine life without them. Did she have any brothers or sisters? Having a brother or sister would be fun, she was sure. She wished she had some.

Dwelling on the identity of a sleeping child didn’t stay interesting to Molly for very long. This silence and lack of talking made her feel antsy and a bit lonely. She wished Gringolet was awake, maybe she could draw with him.

“Gringolet…” Molly began.

“Don’t wake him, he’s sleeping,” Gilbert said.

Molly huffed and rubbed her arms, “Well how long is it going to take you to check all our food?”

“I don’t know, not much longer.”

Molly slid off the couch and knelt beside him, “Well, hand me something, I’ll help.”

Gilbert stared for a moment and then shook his head, “I’m fine by myself.”

Molly put a hand on her hip and held out her other hand expectantly.

“Let me help! I can’t just sit here whining the whole time.”

“Well at least you acknowledged you were whining,” he said handing her a can.

“Where do you want this?” she asked.

“That’s canned carrots, put those over near the canned tomato paste. Really, tomato paste? That was a weird choice.”

“I like the taste of tomatoes,” Molly said. “How are you keeping track?”

“I’m making a list of what we have,” he said, pointing to a notepad that lay next to him. He handed her a bag of dried apple crisps.

“There really isn’t much left,” he said. “Let’s get this done.”

There were only a few more cans, boxes of dried goods and water canteens remained. As soon as Gilbert had a working inventory, he was satisfied and he nodded in approval. Together they loaded the food into one of Gringolet’s side bags.

“Okay, I know I don’t know much about temporal science, but can you try to let me help you with reasonable and mundane things? Like you would have gotten this done so much faster if you let me help,” Molly said in a high-pitched voice.

“I don’t like your tone of voice,” Gilbert said, closing one eye. “It sounds exactly like whining. But what you asked wasn’t unreasonable, so I’ll be more mindful of it. The only reason I didn’t ask you for help was because you looked so miserable.”

“Because I don’t know what’s going on.”

“Neither do I. I feel like I should but I’m completely confused.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Molly said.

“We have to, that’s why we’re here.”

“Why do you think that we have to? Wouldn’t my parents or the Prime Minister seem more logical?” Molly asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe she knows,” Molly said looking back at the sleeping child.

“Perhaps, but she’s just a child, what can she tell us? Her favorite color? Recite a nursery rhyme? Childish things…” Gilbert said.

“Give kids some more credit. They can certainly do more than you’re insinuating, they’re a bit more intuitive than that.”

“Really? Not from what I’ve seen.”

“I take it you don’t like kids.”

“Not in the slightest.”

Molly rolled her eyes and walked over to the girl, “Each child is different. Some learn faster than others. Perhaps you move so fast you don’t have the patience to deal with anyone who is slower than you.”

“Got that right,” Gilbert said crossing his arms. “Why can’t they get with the program?”

“How can you say that? They’re children for goodness’s sake!”

“And I don’t like them.”

“Not every child sits around the house and studies all day like I’m sure you did. You don’t think you weren’t an inconvenience to anyone ever in your life?”

Gilbert started and turned toward her, his face growing red in anger. He marched over to where she sat and towered over her.

“I never got in anybody’s way. Ever,” he said through clenched teeth.

“I don’t believe you,” Molly said leaning toward him. Gilbert drew a ragged breath through his teeth, when the little girl sat up suddenly. Molly and Gilbert stared completely unsure of where to begin. She looked at them for a few moments and then got up, and walked across the room.

“Where are you going?” Molly asked. The girl didn’t answer right away, instead she pulled a chair closer to a wall sconce so she could reach it. She pulled it and one of the wall panels near the fireplace slid out of view to reveal a door.

“Where are you going?” Gilbert asked this time. The girl turned to look at both of them, squinting her eyes.

“Bathroom,” she said. The girl walked toward the door and opened it. Sure enough there was a bathroom inside. She closed the door and Gilbert and Molly stared in amazement.

“Isn’t that the back wall of the house?” she asked.

“Yes. Yes it is,” he said.

“Then how is that room there?”

“Perhaps it’s one of the concepts of spatial theory?” he said.

“Huh?”

“It goes like this: say you have a hose, right?” Molly nodded. “When you look at it you see a green strip. But when you cut it open, you have a whole area inside that you can hide things in and water can run through. So the assertion is that space can exist in a similar way. You can’t see it, but in reality it’s just arranged a different way.”

“You just lost me,” she said narrowing her eyes trying to allow the concept to sink in.

“I figured as much.”

The girl emerged from the room and closed the door.

“Did you wash your hands?” Molly asked. The girl nodded and climbed back on the couch. “Wait! Who are you?”

She was just a hair too late, the girl had gone back to sleep.

“Ugh…I almost got her talking.”

“That’s not what I saw,” Gilbert said.

“Well now we know how she can help us. She obviously knows this house better than we do.”

“So if the house and the monster are connected, and she is connected to the house, then… she must be connected to the monster.”

“But how?”

Gilbert closed his eyes, “I don’t know…”

Gilbert sat on the ground with Gringolet. Molly guessed from his withdrawal that he no longer wished to discuss anything with her. She grabbed one of the afghans from a couch and retreated to a window seat. The house had force fields and compressed space in one place. She looked up at the clouds and she fell asleep turning a myriad of possibilities over in her head.

-

Gilbert fell asleep on a couch across the carpet from the girl. She didn’t stir all night, from what he could hear. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. This was not unusual. He was constantly traveling and rarely in the same place twice. He turned a little to inspect his surroundings. Gringolet was awake and navigating the room with ease, Gilbert noted that the room was much larger than he had noticed, large enough for his bael to move comfortably. It was traditionally, yet sparingly decorated.

Molly was sleeping soundly in the window seat. He turned away from her and no sooner had he done so did she wake with a start. Her sudden movement caused him to sit up. She got on her knees and pressed her hands against the glass and looked up at the sky. After a moment or two she sat back on her legs and bowed her head.

“What is it?” Gringolet asked placing his head beside Molly’s leg. Molly patted Gringolet’s head between his horns and sighed.

“I could have sworn I felt the sun on my face,” she said. “I was just dreaming is all.”
Gilbert rolled his eyes. All that excitement for a dream? Honestly, what was this girl’s malfunction? He placed each booted foot on the ground and got up. He walked over to Gringolet so he could rummage through his pack.

“Good morning,” she said. He glanced at her and looked back down.

“I’m having the canned corn, what do you want?” Gilbert asked.

“Can I have the raisins?” Molly answered. He reached in and threw her a box. He walked over and sat in front of the fireplace. The fire had gone out but he liked to eat alone. Molly, unaware of his habits, sat right next to him eating her raisins in silence.

“Why do you have to sit so close to me?” he asked. She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.

“What’s the problem?” she replied.

He narrowed his eyes, “You are too close.”

“I’m not even touching you. I can’t even breathe on you from this distance.”

“Can you just sit with the girl?” he asked. Molly grumbled, but didn’t budge.

“I don’t think we should call her, ‘the girl,’” she said.

“Can you move?”

She raised her chin and scowled, “No. I don’t want to.”

“It would make me very, very happy if you moved.”

“I’ll move if you name the girl.”

A mischievous grin spread across her face and Gilbert forced himself to breath evenly. He coughed and turned his gaze toward the wall.

“I don’t know any good girl names. What do people name their children? After family or something?” he said.

“Yes, sometimes,” Molly said. “After grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, great grandparents…”

“I get it. Let’s name her Lucinda.”

Molly smiled again, this time without the edge of mischief.

“Whose name was that?” she asked.

“Why do you have to know? Her name is Lucinda if we have to name her,” he replied.

“That’s a great name. We can call her Lucy for short!”

“Are you going to move?” he asked glaring at her. Molly rolled her eyes and moved toward Lucy’s couch and sat on the end. She stared intently at him and he ungraciously ignored her. Finally she began to eat. At last he had some––

“Who did you name her after?” Molly asked, her mouth full of raisins. He celebrated too soon.

“Why do you have to know?” Gilbert asked.

“Was she an ex-girlfriend or something?”

“I ask again: Why do you have to know? It’s personal information.”

“If it was so very personal, why did you give her that name?” Molly said. Gilbert sighed and grit his teeth in frustration.

“My mother. It was my mother’s name are you happy now?”

“Is it really that bad to tell me something simple like that?”

“I don’t even know you!”

“Then why don’t you get to know me?” Molly said, jumping up from her seat.

“Because I won’t even see you again after this! So what’s the point?” he said.

“Is it that hard to make a friend? How did you get your other friends by saying, ‘Oh, I’ll only see this person for a little while so no point in getting to know them?’”

“I don’t have any friends. I don’t need them.”

Molly stopped talking and Gilbert was glad. He ate in sullen silence.

“Everyone needs friends,” she said. Gilbert turned to her and glared.

“I thought we were through with this? I don’t need anything or anyone so drop it,” he said.

“You don’t need me, Gilbert?” Gringolet said coming from across the room. Gilbert started at the sound of his cracking voice.

“That’s not true and you know that,” he said. Molly grinned and crumpled her finished box of raisins.

“See, even your heart of stone will bleed for someone. Don’t tell me you don’t need friends, you obviously do. It wouldn’t hurt to have one more friend, would it?” she said.

“Not you.”

“Well…” Molly said, trailing off. It was obvious from the way she rolled her eyes that she was trying not to yell at him. “Fine. But I think you’re my friend and you can’t change that. So there.”

Molly smiled and bounded across the floor to and stood over Gilbert.

“Get away from me…” he said. She only grinned more and leaned in closer. He felt his fingers making depressions in the can he was holding and his jaw clenched. A soft yawn turned all three heads toward the couch. The girl was awake. Molly went over to her and knelt so she was at her level.

“Good morning, how are you?” Molly asked. The girl stared for a while.

“Fine,” she answered.

“Do you have a name?”

“I’m hungry,” the girl said. Molly turned to Gilbert but he shook his head glared at the wall. Molly looked back at the girl who was waiting expectantly.

“What do you want?” Molly asked.

“Anything.”

“Give her some canned peaches,” Molly told Gilbert. He agreed and fished some out of Gringolet’s pack and opened the can. He handed it to her and Molly gave her the spoon she brought in her own bag. The girl ate slowly.

“What’s your name?” Gilbert asked. The girl didn’t answer.

“What is your name?” he repeated, louder this time. She looked at him but didn’t say anything.

“Listen you little pipsqueak, you will answer when I tell you to. What. Is. Your—”

“Daddy says not to tell strangers your name,” she said. Gilbert was through, but Molly didn’t give up so easily.

“We gave you a name. Is it all right if you call you something else?” Molly asked. The girl nodded, spooning the peaches into her mouth to an unheard rhythm. “We named you Lucinda and we’ll call you Lucy for short. Is that all right?”

The girl nodded, “It’s a great name.”

“When you tell us your name, we’ll switch,” Molly said.

“I like this one.”

“Well, you must have another name. Your daddy gave you one right?”

“I don’t know you, so I can’t tell you what it is.”

She drank the sweet juice out of the can and smacked her lips.

“Okay, I’m done. Here you go, Mister,” she said handing Gilbert the can. “Thank you for the food.”

She fell asleep promptly. Molly sighed and pulled the blanket up to her chin.

“Who do you think her parents are?” she asked, her gaze meeting Gilbert’s. He shrugged.

“Scientists perhaps. How else could she know about the bathroom?” he said.

“You don’t need to be scientist to know where the bathroom is,” Molly replied.

“You need to be a genius to put a bathroom in a compressed dimensional space,” he said.

“Do you think temporal scientists live here?”

“I think it’s obvious that they live here. I’m half guessing that the girl might not even be a girl at all.”

“That makes no sense. If she’s not a girl, then what is she?” Molly asked crossing her arms.

“She may be a top secret experiment. It makes sense if you think about it. Your grandmother disappears for a few years and reappears suddenly with this girl. I think she’s part of a big secret operation of some sort.”

“What kind of experiment? And why does my grandmother have to be involved?”

“How should I know any of that? She may only be transporting her, I don’t know if she’s involved at all.”

Molly turned back to the girl and smoothed her hair.

“Why do you like kids so much?” he asked. She looked at him and shrugged.

“I think they’re fun,” she replied.

“Do you want to have kids or something?”

She looked up and shook her head, “At least not until I become a world famous artist. I want my paintings up in the national gallery and receive a high ranking commission.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re an artist.”

“Yes. I draw every day.”

“Are you any good?”

She laughed, “I’ve been told I’m all right. My images are a little contrived and my perspective and anatomy are inconsistent. I don’t compose my images very well apparently. But I have a lot of heart.”

“I have no idea what you just said.”

Molly patted his shoulder, “Well now you know how I feel when you talk science.”

Gilbert looked over to one side and crossed his arms, “Well you didn’t draw yesterday at all.”

“Yes I did. Before I left my house to evacuate I drew something,” she replied.

“Well, why don’t you sketch today?” he asked. Molly waved her finger.

“It’s only nine something, I have time,” she said pointing over his shoulder at the clock above the fireplace. Gilbert glanced back and stared at the clock in confusion.

“What do you mean? It’s three fifteen,” he answered. Molly tilted her head and narrowed her eyes a bit and looked at the clock again.

“We’re both wrong it’s seven forty-ish.”

Gilbert unfolded his arms, “Don’t take your eyes off the clock.”

He turned and stared at the clock. “What time do you see?”

“It’s still a little past seven forty. What does that mean?”

Gilbert paced around and kept glancing up at the clock, grumbling a little.

“Well, what’s going on in here?” she asked. “Are we in trouble?”

“I’m not sure. Either all the clocks are broken or time’s not flowing like it normally does,” he said finally. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if we’ll be hurt, if it will affect our aging—”

“What? You mean I’m going to turn into an old hag in here?” Molly shouted.

“No! I don’t know! I’m…” Gilbert trailed off and went over to a window box and sat down.

“You’re what?” Molly said, following him. “You’re what?”

Gringolet lumbered in front of Gilbert, blocking Molly’s way.

“He needs to think about this. He will explain when he is ready. While you wait, you can show me some of your drawings,” the bael said. Gilbert saw Molly cast him a concerned look from the corner of his eye. He knew she wanted to demand an explanation, it was all in the way she stared at him with her mouth slightly open as though she was going to say something. Fortunately for him, she decided that Gringolet was right. She went to her pack and pulled out her sketchbook. They settled by the fire, she and Gringolet spoke in hushed tones about form and drawing from memory. He tuned out their discussion after a while and racked his brain for answers.

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