43: A Sudden Encounter


Image: How are you?, by Yves Lecoq

Edmund fell to the ground, a sharp pain shooting up his backside. Fighting through the blur of pain, he looked up in time to catch a glimpse of something thin and white dash around the corner.

He sat for a moment, dazed, trying to collect his thoughts. When the worst of the pain had gone, he carefully stood up, rubbing the rest of the pain out of his rear.

Curious, the panic of being discovered forgotten, Edmund moved to the edge of the hall and peeked around the corner only to find it empty. There was nothing in the hallway, white or otherwise, that he might have run into.

Could it have been Mrs. Kippling? It had to have been. It was too fast to be Matron and too small to be Ung, though it hadn’t felt quite thick enough to be Mrs. Kippling either. But who else could it have been?

Four people, Matron had said. There were four people that lived with her. At first, Edmund had thought she had meant Carron, and perhaps Mr. Shobbinton, but now he wasn’t so sure.

Who else lived in Moulde Hall? He had simply assumed he would be introduced to everyone, but perhaps not. He would have to ask Ung, or perhaps Mrs. Kippling.

Thinking of Mrs. Kippling brought the memory of his actions in the kitchen back to Edmund’s mind. He considered returning to his room, but the shock to his bottom had made his mind clearer and his heart calmer.

He hadn’t really done anything wrong, had he? The door had not been locked, and Ung hadn’t expressly told him that he had to leave his dishes outside his room. Matron had given him the whole morning to do whatever he wanted. He didn’t need to run and hide like a naughty child. He was Matron’s Heir, and that meant he could do what he wanted, and no one but Matron could stop him.

Hoping he was right, Edmund considered what to do next. He could simply go back to his room and wait for Matron’s cousins to arrive, but with the newfound awareness of his freedom, that option felt almost lazy.

Perhaps he should continue to explore. He still didn’t quite know how to get around the mansion. There was quite a lot of it, after all.

He had already found his way to the dining room on his own, and he knew how to get from the Foyer to his room — it was as good a starting point as any. Besides, he was going to have to get used to the mansion if he was going to be heir to it. Feeling bolstered by his confidence, Edmund made a snap decision. He was going to find the Study again, and read his new books.


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