Lemma the Librarian: Diminishing Returns, Part 3

She shrugged. “They remind us
of… him. None of us like going in there, or remembering… so we locked them
up and threw away the key.”

“Ah.” I shifted
uncomfortably. This was obviously a sore subject, and I never know how to deal
with that kind of thing. “I was just wandering around. Looking for Iason,

“Oh, he’s down in the
smithy,” said Brea. “Sharpening his sword, I think. Or maintaining
his armor. One of those warrior-y type things, anyway.” She laughed, and I
had to as well–it was infectious! Plus I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who
was as much a warrior-y type thing as Iason. I was going to have to call him
that at the next opportunity.

But even while Brea and I chatted on
our way down to the smithy, I couldn’t shake a nagging thought. What had Mira been
doing in a dead-end corridor? Was she trying to get into the sealed rooms? Or
had she been coming out of them? She was the former Lady of the manor,
after all–she might have a spare key.

That night, in the comfiest bed I’d
slept in since, well, the last time I was here, I found I couldn’t let go of
those suspicions and sleep. Well, part of it was the suspicions, part of it was
Brea’s snoring–while Iason elected to spend the night in the barracks where
Iola’s trainee guardswomen slept, I decided to take Mira’s former room, where
Brea now slept, apparently alone. I’d wondered why, but now I knew: she snored.
And I don’t mean she snored loudly. I’ve had to share rooms with people who
snored loudly. No, she snored like a dragon fighting a bear who
was made of dragons. During a mountainslide.

Well, when sleep won’t come,
snooping is the next best thing, right? I’m sure that’s a saying. Somewhere or
other. Look it up or something, you can’t expect me to do all the work
for you.

Anyway, I decided to check out those
rooms, maybe figure out what Mira was after. Quietly I slipped down to the
hallway I’d encountered her in before, and crept along it.

Bingo. There was a light underneath
the study door. She was up to something in there!

Carefully, slowly, so as not to
alert Mira or anyone else who might be inside, I tried the handle. It turned.
Triumphantly, I flung open the door–

“Welcome, Lemma,” said
Mira, sounding almost like she meant it, which was not a good thing. She
was perched on Brinksmoor’s desk, something softly glowing next to her hand.

“Mira! What are you doing in

She smiled nastily. “Waiting
for you, of course.” She held the glowing thing up toward me.

“What!? How did you get that!?”
I cried. Or, well, tried to. What came out of my mouth was more like
“Whuhhhhhhhooooowwwwwwwmmmmnrfm…” as the pretty lights danced in
front of my eyes, inviting me to drift away into their endlessly fascinating
depths, so easy, so seductive, and it wasn’t like I could resist anyway, I
could never resist…

To be continued…

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