Castles run day and night, and so do their kitchens. The main kitchen for Castle Draco is huge, it's walls and ceiling stained with centuries of smoke. Even before dawn, the cooks are busy preparing to feed the castle staff: bread is baking, meat is cooking and pots are bubbling and boiling. Even the vampire chef is there one is on duty at all times dealing with the preparation of freshly drained blood from a variety of sources (almost all of which are currently being smoked, roasted or turned into sausage). There are a few small tables set aside for people to actually eat at, although they're mostly used by the kitchen staff themselves or guards on their breaks.
A bustling Gallah woman in an apron places a steaming mug of something and a plate before the albino Korv that wandered to a table. There's a fried piece of bread on the plate with a fried egg on top of it, and it all appeared unbidden, as if this was just the way everyone who wanders into the kitchen this early is greeted.
"Ahh, food," Mortimer crows, clicking his beak at the meal before him. He places his scythe on an unused chair, then rolls up his sleeves and throws back his hood. "Countess Draco knows how to take care of a Reaper, yes she does!"
"Look, I admit the robe is a bit … frilly. But it's all I could find without actually opening any of her drawers or cabinets," comes the voice of Alptraum from one of the corridors that connects to the kitchen; it should be fairly familiar with the castle staff by now, at least. "But, it doesn't make me look like a girl," he insists as he walks into the kitchen. The irony in that comment, though, is that to non-Eeee … in the lacy red semi-transparent zolken robe he's wearing … he does look rather feminine. Perched on his shoulder is a diminutive blue-scaled reptile, complete with a gold mane. Also obvious is that his left hand looks quite normal … but his right is still covered in armor … only without the leather, the chitinous nature and vein like red patterns on it are very obvious. So is the fact that the underside is covered in black scales that have a slightly silvery tint.
"I'm just glad you didn't leave me behind with the rest of your clothes," the little dragon says. "And I still think Melusine did something to Draco's shadow-shroud to create that effect you felt, just to get you two together."
"Pah, I don't see why she would care that much," Alptraum argues. "She seems rather indifferent about me. As for you, I wouldn't dare leave the blade behind. That would be dangerous."
The apron-clad Gallah sweeps by and pushes Alptraum towards the same table Mort is at, "Sit down. Can't be having with civvies wandering about," she says.
The Reaper, who has taken to stuffing his face like a man who hasn't eaten for weeks, looks up. A piece of egg dangles off the tip of his beak, and his brows raise at the sight of Alptraum, his robe, and the dragon on his shoulder. He doesn't say anything, instead continuing to stare with that bemused expression, idly stuffing his face without looking at his plate.
"Hey, watch with the pushing, I'm still tender in spots from the claws," Alptraum complains as he's shuffled along. When he finds himself at the table … and staring at Mort … his ears tilt sideways. "The robe isn't mine," he says flatly, "I needed something and it was all that was available."
"Look at who you're talking too," Kaira whispers to Alptraum. "That robe he's wearing looks like someone was already buried in it."
"Fwar be it for mwe to call a … man on his robes," Mortimer mumbles around half a slice of toast. Letting the toast hang in his beak, Mortimer turns his attention towards the dragon, then leans over to try and poke her.
A bowl of cream, a plate of sizzling sausages and a hot mug of whatever appear on the table as someone else bustles past. A second blur leaves some cheese and very plump looking black blood sausage as well. "Hey, no poking!" the dragon snaps. "And these sausages are mine too!"
"I wouldn't irritate her. She can be quite vengeful," Alptraum warns Mort. He tries to wave the vampiric chef over, asking, "May I get something as well, please?"
"Don't care for blood sausage?" the chef asks. "Porridge will be ready soon, if you want to wait for something warm."
"Oh, I could actually eat this?" Alptraum asks and prods one of the sausages with a chitinous clawtip. His lack of vampiric upbringing shows again. "Well, I'll try this first, then let you know. Thanks."
The dragon curls her tail protectively around the saucer of cream and attacks one of the fried sausages while keeping her eyes on the Korv. The dragon apparently has the same appreciation for free food as the Reaper does.
Mortimer lets his taloned hand hover, then relents, returning to his meal. After tilting his head back and snapping the toast down like an overgrown pigeon attacking a bread crumb, he clears his throat. "Pardon about that, had to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing, or had spent too much time in the crypts again." He takes some cheese, then begins cutting it into slices. "Looks like you keep some interesting company."
The sausage looks like it can just be bitten into and then sucked on, although there's no telling what's actually in it. It reminds Alptraum of Gunn Smith though, for some reason.
"You have no idea," Alptraum mutters. He picks up the sausage with his hands (he doesn't dare use a fork!), then tentatively bites it.
It's full of blood alright, and something mushy to act as a sponge for it possibly suet. There's a definite pork essence to it, along with a few other things.
"I'm getting one," the Korv remarks. Eying the dragon, Mort slides the cheese over to his side of the table, then nabs a bowl of bread. "One of Countess Draco's spirits, is it? A familiar, perhaps?"
Kaira somehow manages to devour half of a sausage before slurping up some of the cream. "I never thought about how real food tastes, but it's not that bad," she notes.
Alptraum's brow does the dance of discovery … starting out with the expression of 'I don't know about this … ' to 'Okay, it's not bad.'. Since his mouth is full, he can't answer immediately. He just hopes Kaira doesn't say anything embarrassing.
"And Alptraum isn't my familiar," the dragon points out to the Korv. "It's arguable whether or not his spirit belongs to Draco now. Bits of him certainly seem to belong to her, at least."
"And she's overly familiar at times, this one," Alptraum comments as he pokes Kaira with a claw tip. "She's just cranky because there's another woman in my life. You could call her my assistant, I suppose."
"I wasn't aware Countess Draco had become so close to anyone; that's unusual," says the Reaper. "And he's not your familiar, is he? Well, that's also unusual. We Reapers work with spirits, too, but they aren't so … lively." The bird cackles at his own joke, then pecks at a cheese slice.
"Personal Dragon Assistant, yeah," Kaira says after the poke. "I keep track of his appointments for him and play solitaire."
"The Countess and I are friends," Alptraum notes and casts a sidelong glance to Kaira. "This here is Mortimer, Kaira. He's been asking around about the Light and the Shadow. He doesn't believe me when I tell him the Shadow isn't an issue anymore."
"Tell that to the elves," the little dragon grumbles. "After the mess it left. Nasty, evil blob of… " she trails off.
"I told you I would help deal with that," Alptraum hisses at Kaira.
"So what do you do, Mr. Mortimer, besides hoard the cheese?" Kaira asks the Korv.
"Oh I believe you," Mortimer insists, head tilting in that bird way. "It's more that what I believe isn't the whole of it, and I'm not one to leave things half finished. You haven't told me the whole story, of that I'm sure. The Shadow, being one of the most dangerous artifacts in history, isn't something I can just leave to half-truths."
"I also hoard the bread when I can manage it. Besides that, I'm a Reaper," answers Mortimer. "We're the little talked about sorts who make sure the dead stay dead. Some call us a Death Cult, which is true, but not the whole of it."
"Half-truths? I told you; it's not a threat anymore. In fact, it may benefit Sylvania in time," Alptraum comments and wags a finger at Mortimer. "I made sure of that."
"You work with the Godsmiths, right?" the dragon asks. "A spirit-mover, eh?" Kaira gets a calculating look in her little glittering eyes.
Alptraum pokes Kaira again. "You're not replacing me," he warns.
"Of course not!" Kaira says, looking indignant as possible with one paw on a half-eaten sausage. "Just… maybe he'd last longer than a usual person if you… you know… "
"I'm not doing that, either. Not unless he goes on a rampage. If he does, well, then he's fair game," Alptraum comments.
"Bah, doesn't he look evil enough already?" the dragon complains.
"No more than I do. And I'm not evil," Alptraum points out.
The dragon pauses. "Neither am I then," she declares.
Mortimer glances between the two, head cocking the other way as he munches on toast. After a moment he says, "Well, 'it's no longer a threat' and now 'it'll do Sylvania some good' are quite different, don't you think? Yes, yes, half-truths." His head cocks the other way. "Now, are you debating trying to steal my body, perhaps? Feed on my soul? That would be a very necromantic sort of activity, I'd imagine." He then tilts his beak towards Alptraum's hand. "Some run-ins with the dark leave scars that hunger."
"I'd want a much better body if we were going to steal one," Kaira says, matter-of-factly. "And I was only wondering if you would be able to keep from exploding if we pumped you full of souls. That's not the same thing as necromancy at all."
"Pah, I have no desire for your soul. Kaira just wants a gate for undoing more of the damage that the former dragon owner of the Twisted Keep had done. Her duty is to undo his damage and she's just … pushy about it. Now, if you were an evil Necromancer, you would be a prime candidate for usage as a gate. But since you're not, I won't," Alptraum comments and waves his 'scarred' hand.
"Oh no, not at all," Mortimer says, although he doesn't sound the least bit convinced. He pops a piece of cheese in his mouth, then asks, "So you're in the business of moving souls about, you are? And it sounds like you have quite a few … lingering about?"
"He's so picky," Kaira confides to Mort.
"A few worlds worth," Alptraum comments, "You probably saw the explosion a bit back. I imagine most of Sylvania did. That was about half of it."
"And here you act like you're not interesting and are perfectly innocent," Mortimer says, gesturing at the bat. To the dragon, he offers, "Well I do appreciate his not exploding random persons, and I think the pickiness stems from his appreciation of more … exotic fabrics, if you catch me."
"I am innocent. I have committed no crimes," Alptraum points out.
"He's only exploded two people so far," the dragon complains. "And I like that robe he's got on. Makes him look pretty."
"Don't forget the hog," Alptraum reminds Kaira.
"The Day it Rained Bacon you mean?" Kaira notes. "I didn't want to bring that one up again, frankly."
"And you call me picky," Alptraum mutters.
"Innocent of crimes, perhaps, but certainly not innocent in trafficking in souls or providing the full details of the Shadow," Mort says mildly. While Kaira is distracted, he slowly creeps his hand towards the sausage plate. "And I do agree, he looks right pretty."
"My appearance isn't up for discussion," Alptraum comments and swats the Korv's hand as it approaches the sausage plate, "As for moving souls, there are no laws against it that I'm aware of. I think you're just worried I'll put you out of business."
"I didn't get to see what the gypsies wore," the dragon says, in one of those trying-to-induce-guilt sort of tones. "I'm sure they were all very pretty too."
"They're coming here later. You can see them then, when I won't have to explain you," Alptraum comments to Kaira.
"You didn't explain me to this guy," Kaira points out. "You just let him draw his own conclusions."
"Out of business?" The Korv suddenly laughs, a raucous crowing, even as he shakes his hand out. "Would that people competed for our business! Let me demonstrate." Mortimer reaches out an catches the arm of a passing Gallah cook, and asks, "Ma'am, how would you like to become a Reaper? Long days in the murk, all the dead you can stand, and a stylish robe. The smell's extra, as is the contempt!"
"He's not my mother or father," Alptraum counters.
"I'd rather peal potatoes until I was arthritic and blind!" she squeals, then adds, "With all due respect to you, of course, sir."
"Are you ashamed of me then, Alptraum?" Kaira asks, proving her feminine nature beyond any doubt.
"No, I'm scared of what you and my mother might try to decide about my life," Alptraum answers honestly. "I have enough people trying to boss me around."
"No offense taken, ma'am," Mortimer assures the woman, patting her arm after letting her go. He then grins at Alptraum, saying, "You see? Or, perhaps you think me jealous you'll steal my vast income?"
"See! You admit she'd get along well with me," Kaira says triumphantly. "More so than with your pet priestesses, I wager."
Mortimer then sort of blanks at the two arguing, and asks, "Should I … leave you two be? You do seem quite familiar, as you say."
"How rich are you?" the dragon asks, suddenly focusing her attention on Mort. "You must be able to blackmail lots of folks."
"Leave Mave and Phlagaea out of this," Alptraum tells Kaira, "Which reminds me … I need to talk to you later, in private, about a request from Mave." To Mort, he comments, "And no, she's always like this. As for money, we have no need for wealth, save for basic supplies."
"Let me explain something else for you," says the Korv as he leans forward and folds his hands together. "Your necromancer, he was powerful, yes? And your dragon-fiend? Rich and powerful? How about the Necromancer King, surely rich and powerful? Where are they now?"
"Power is wealth to that sort," Kaira points out. "Being able to sleep in a nice bed and never worrying about being cold or hungry is what riches are about."
"What do you have to complain about? You can make your own bed," Alptraum points out to Kaira. "It's me who ends up sleeping on the ground in the cold. I make due. I always have."
"Well, you said you'd try to find a way to make me alive," Kaira notes to Alptraum. "What's the point if you can't wallow in sex and luxury for a bit every now and then?"
"What I mean is, they're dead, or at least defeated. Now, combine that with what I have just shown you. No average person wants to become a Reaper, our duty is as desired as cleaning the moat distasteful, but necessary! And as you can see, I have no wealth to speak of. I am, in my way, a powerful man, but I have a terrible job. I have no wealth. I do what most would rather not. Now, you say I worry you may put me out of business. But, knowing what you do of me, why would I care? What could possibly drive someone such as I, or for that matter Charo, to concern ourselves with people who might take our duties from us?"
"Since when do you wallow in sex?" Alptraum has to ask Kaira. "Or even cared to?"
"I'm sure it's something living beings do if they can," the dragon says, and points to Mort. "Even this guy! If he could quit his job and clean himself up a bit, I don't doubt he'd be on the make with every feather-duster in the county."
With a glance to Mort, Alptraum says, "As I told you before, I have no desire to take over what the Necromancer King was doing. Or the dragon. Nevermind that Kaira would never let me become it either. Aside from actually being my friend, as much as we argue, I specifically asked her to make sure I never fell down those paths, and if I did, destroy me as she will Vorgulremik."
"I'm sure I can find some Tengu chicks that are into the gothic look," Kaira mutters.
Mortimer tilts his head at the idea, then begins rubbing his beak. "Not a bad idea, that. But I digress." His gaze flicks to Alptraum, and he nods. "Then perhaps you understand why I am here. I don't carry my scythe because it's a particularly desirable or lucrative business. I do it because it is a necessary business, one we can't simply trust to just anyone. Just as your friend here stays with you to protect you from corruption, so too do we Reapers stay with Sylvania, to protect it from corruption. Now, do you understand why I remain?"
"Because you want my second sausage," Kaira says, thinking Mort meant his reason for staying at the table.
"I wouldn't mind it, but no," Mortimer insists.
Kaira pushes the plate towards the Korv, saying, "You can have it then. You need it more than I do and I should watch my figure."
"Thank you," the Korv offers, before tossing the sausage in his beak and chugging it down. He looks quite pleased after that, leaning back and ruffling his feathers.
"I wouldn't want to turn into a blob after all," the dragon says with a smirk.
Alptraum resists the comment about 'haven't done a very good job, have you?' and instead just sighs. "The Shadow pf Amena… who's name was Muriavan, by the way, is gone, Mortimer. It sent itself into oblivion when it learned that Amenlichtli had destroyed its heart. In fact, Amenlichtli, had violated her pact with him and had him imprisoned in that sarcophagus, then twisted it for her own use. When it left this world, it did one good thing; it left behind something that brings hope for our defense and survival. And no, that I will not go into; it's private." And at the blob comment, he flicks Kaira, then whispers, "You're missing out."
"Only because you were too drunk that night," Kaira counters.
"Do you really care?" Alptraum asks.
"Hmmmmm." Mortimer pops another piece of toast in his mouth, then studies Alptraum's hand with renewed interest.
"It's a dragon thing," Kaira claims. "It upsets us to see others enjoying themselves without us."
"Well, I wouldn't say it was without dragons last night," Alptraum notes with a smirk. When he notices Mortimer staring at his hand, he notes, "I was injured stopping it. Small sacrifice to make to protect a world."
"So it is," Mortimer says with a nod. A pause, and he remarks, "You two seem rather close."
"Who, Kaira and I? She's been inside my head. Hard not to be," Alptraum answers.
"We have a good working relationship," Kaira claims.
"Yes, I keep her out of trouble and rescue her from danger," Alptraum notes.
Alptraum tilts his head and whispers very quietly to Kaira, "That reminds me, when you have a chance, I want you to check in my chest again and make sure it's all still intact. I'm a bit paranoid."
"Interesting," The Korv remarks. "Well," he begins to stand, popping the last slice of toast in his beak before gulping it down, "I need to see to a corpse." "You didn't let Draco bite you there did you?" Kaira whispers back, then turns her attention to the Korv. "I take it you'll be around until you have all of your answers?" she asks.
"Of course not! Would that have been bad?" Alptraum asks.
The dragon just shrugs. "I don't know."
"I just might be," the Korv replies. He flicks his hood up, and picks up his scythe. "Enjoy your your breakfast; the dead are less patient than most think." He tips the tip of his hood with his scythe in a salute, then begins hobbling off.
"Mortimer," Alptraum says and rubs his temples with his thumbs, "I can't answer all your questions because some tread on some very personal issues that can't be talked about. I wish I could convince you I'm no threat. What do you need other than an answer of why, to settle this? It's the reason why I cannot talk about; for the sake of another."
Pausing, Mortimer says over his shoulder, "Oh, I don't think you're a threat. Not in that gown, at least. No, I have to find the answers in my own time. Don't mind me; we Reapers are quite used to putting our noses where others don't think they belong. It's for everyone's good, though. You'll see." He waves his scythe a bit, then begins walking again.
"So was what I had to do. Remember that," Alptraum calls after the Korv.
"I knew we'd find a mysterious monk eventually," Kaira claims.
"Monk or Nun? You never can tell with a Korv," Alptraum notes to Kaira. "Remember, we met a male witch named Morgan … so can't always go by names."
"Same difference," the dragon claims, swishing her a tail. "Now, to important matters: what happened with you and the Countess? Did you fight the urge to ken her? I've told you how bad that can be."
"I didn't ken her," Alptraum assures Kaira quietly. "I was far too distracted. I thought experiences with Mave could be … mind blowing. But with the Countess … it was beyond that. There were times I couldn't tell if we were, uh, actually separate bodies."
"Hmmm, definitely sounds like Mel had a pseudopod in it then," Kaira notes. "No accidental physical transformations either then?"
"None that I'm aware of. What do you think she's up to? You're rather certain she's after something," Alptraum comments, then pauses to eat more of his sausage.
"Oh, pardon," Mortimer calls back as he re-enters. The bird hobbles over and grabs the plate of cheeses left, as well as his drink. Then, he resumes leaving mysteriously.
"Maybe she's trying to cement your bond to Draco," the dragon guesses. "Or maybe she was just curious. At least now you can say you've been with two women at the same time. Arkold will be jealous!"
"Why would she care if I'm bonded to Draco, though?" Alptraum has to ask. "I think you're just being paranoid. Melusine has been helpful and she hasn't asked for anything. Maybe her time here has mellowed her from what you remember."
"And, hm, would you mind checking me over internally just to be sure nothing was messed with?" Alptraum asks a moment later. Maybe he's a bit paranoid too.
"I don't know that fey can 'mellow' over time," Kaira notes. "They aren't big on personal growth. I'll poke around in you when we're in private. Do you think you're a father now?"
"I have no idea," Alptraum admits with a shrug, then finishes off his sausage. "And oh, Mave had a request of me. She wants me to direct you to serve her."
"With an apple in her mouth?" Kaira asks, before chewing on the rest of her sausage.
"No. She wants you to be subservient to her. She also wants me to shift myself to look like a Barinala for her, now and then," Alptraum explains.
"Subservient?" Kaira asks, looking up at Alptraum. "I understand the words you said, but together they don't make any sense."
Trying not to laugh, Alptraum says in a whisper, "She wants you to submit to her, Kaira. She wants to be the alpha-female and have you treat her with respect. I'm telling you this because it may be worthwhile to play along with her request to uncover what her ultimate plans are. I have ideas, but… Anyway, how difficult and dangerous would it be to completely shift my body color, should I need to?"
"Color is easy," Kaira admits in her own whisper. "Except for your eyes. And do you really want me to go along with this… request? To humor her?"
"Not yet. But maybe. I'm trying to determine what she's up to and it may require both of us to find out, is all," Alptraum whispers back, "Anyway, I'm just giving you a heads up on this. I'll find out when she wants this to happen and get back to you."
The dragon looks uncertain, but says, "Well… if it's to manipulate her, I can be okay with it. How did your visit to your gypsy family go, by the way? Trouble free?"
"Aside from an accident with Tulani, it went rather well," Alptraum answers. "I, uh, kenned her. She's fine and I'm fine … it was just an accident."
Kaira stares at Alptraum for a bit, and very nearly purses her lip. "You kenned Tulani! How did that happen? I didn't think you two were even fooling around with one another."
"I needed food. She agreed to share a bit of her blood. It just sorta happened. Now I at least know that when biting something … it's very easy to ken," Alptraum admits sheepishly.
"You never bite people though!" Kaira says, sounding a little shrill. "Never before! Not for feeding! I didn't even think of that! How did she react?"
"I know I normally don't! But I had no choice. I couldn't get away from the tribe," Alptraum says quickly and tries to hush the dragon, "And I won't again after that happened! She freaked out, is how she reacted. She turned into a dragon and left for a bit. She's better now, but, geh."
"Was she upset while she was a dragon?" Kaira asks. "She didn't say changed for long, did she?"
"No, she wasn't upset as a dragon. It made her feel better. She stayed one most of the night, I think," Alptraum answers.
Kaira sneezes suddenly, and then asks, "You mean she slept as a dragon?"
"I guess so. I'm not really sure. Why?" Alptraum asks.
Some time later, a pink beak pokes back into the kitchen, "I don't suppose there's more bread? And some of those sausages? You, ma'am, any more wine?"
"She's supposed to be careful about spending long periods in dragon-form," Kaira explains. "It can mess with her head and behavior. She could end up wanting to be a dragon all the time."
"Here," a busy cook says, and hands the Korv a sausage-in-a-biscuit and some more mulled wine.
"She doesn't seem any worse for wear … well, other than being a bit snarky," Alptraum comments. "She'll be fine."
"Keep an eye on her," Kaira advises. "The first thing any dragon wants most is something belonging to another dragon."
"Death's blessings, ma'am," the Korv thanks the woman, then he vanishes again.
"Well, that's not a problem then, is it? There aren't any other dragons around that own things," Alptraum points out.
"Melusine owns you," Kaira points out. "From a draconic viewpoint, anyway. And Tulani saw you first, as it were, while being a dragon too."
"How does Melusine own me?" Alptraum has to ask. "That's silly."
"You don't understand women or dragons very well," Kaira points out. "All that matters is that Tulani saw you first as a dragon, and then another dragon comes along and gets your attention."
"If anyone owns me, it's the Countess," Alptraum points out, then shakes his head, "But very well, I'll keep an eye on her. So, is this why you're also all upset when I talk about Melusine?"
"I'm above such things," Kaira claims, holding up her tiny chin. "I'm upset because I know she's a horrible person deep down. All dragons are. Except for me."
"Right, of course," Alptraum says and nods. "And oh, I have a question … my right hand. The scales now have a silver tint. Is that because of, uh, what happened with Tulani?"
Kaira turns to examine the scales more closely. "Eeeeenteresting. You kenned her in her normal form, didn't you?" she asks.
"Well, yes, obviously. Biting her as a dragon would be a bit hard," Alptraum comments.
"This is why you should only ken things you're going to devour," Kaira says, clucking her tongue. "Since Tulani is alive, you may have a slight sympathetic bond to her physical state."
"Er, is that bad?" Alptraum has to ask. "What does that mean?"
"Just that you might be a little more sensitive to her moods," Kaira says. "Or urges and cravings. Felt like … oh, I don't know … scratching the furniture? Craving fish or cream? Purring?"
"Not lately, no," Alptraum comments, "I'll keep you informed, though. So … if I kenned you I would act dragonish? Does this also mean since Melusine kenned me, she's sensitive to my moods?"
"Well, yes, that's probably one of the reasons she kenned you," Kaira notes. "And with me… uh… not sure that you could, since I'm not exactly physical. You'd have to do a spirit-kenning on me, and then maybe project that into a reverse-physical-kenning… which is how you change others anyway, mostly."
"Why would Melusine want to be connected to my mood?" Alptraum asks and prods Kaira with a fingertip. Of course, the then also prods her with a very slight extension of the shadow, to see if it finds any contact with her at all.
There's contact, and little electrical zot as well. "What's with everyone wanting to poke me all of a sudden? And she'd want to know your mood so that she'd know what mood you were in, of course. I'd think that was obvious."
"She could ask," Alptraum points out and shakes his hand a bit. He finishes his sausage quickly, then stands now as well and stretches out in his frilly robe. "And I should get back to the Countess. I know it's a bit … sappy, but I would like to spend a few more minutes with her before she gets up for the day. It's comforting to be close to her."
"I guess that means I'll be going back into the knife for now," Kaira notes. "Thanks for the sausage and cream though. It was almost as good as the massage."
"Yes, sorry. Next time I'll be coming into see you. Want me to check in before or after my next meeting with Melusine?" Alptraum asks. To the chef, he asks, "Oh, can you give me a tray of what the Countess usually has for breakfast? I'll take it to her." To himself, he mutters, "And probably feed it to her… "
"Her morning fruit and porridge is just about ready," the chef says.
"So, not even going to let me spy?" Kaira notes. "Oh well. If you have questions, then see me beforehand, otherwise I'll want to know what happened afterward."
"I'll take it to her," Alptraum says to the chef. He then gently lifts Kaira off his shoulder, then kisses her lightly on the cheek. "Thanks for not yelling at me over my mistakes," he says. "As for you spying, that depends on if she agrees to let you watch. I imagine I can't exactly sneak you in."
"Awwww, well that's okay," Kaira says. "Bring sausages with you when you visit me though. I'll leave it to you to figure out how."
"I was also thinking about bringing the Korv and letting him see what we have to deal with," Alptraum says with a smirk. "Maybe he'll appreciate what I had to do a bit better."
"I'll have a Tengu handy then, just in case," the dragon notes, and starts to look a bit more transparent as she starts to fade out.
Whistling, Alptraum collects the Countess' breakfast and heads back into the hallway. "I hope she's not awake yet," he notes absently to himself on his way up the tower, "I … well, maybe it would make her smile if she woke up and saw me, is all. That's probably silly."