“I’m afraid you are right,” Kolb crossed his arms, leaning his head back slightly. “Our magnificent Matron has masterfully mollified our Machiavellian machinations.”
“By Jove, did she really?” Wislydale looked shocked. “I say, that’s a spot of bad luck, what?”
There was a pause as everyone turned to look at Wislydale, who calmly held out his glass to his side, where Ung happened to be with a bottle of brandy.
“You don’t agree?” Tunansia asked, her voice smooth as silk. She clasped her hands in front of her as a sneer slid across her mouth. “Perhaps this whole thing was your idea? You didn’t happen to send a letter to Matron about someone’s plans, did you?”
“Perish the thought,” Wislydale smiled, sipping his glass. “I merely can see the opportunities that you all seem to have forgotten, what? Seize the day, and all that.”
“There must be something you can see, cousin,” Pinsnip grumbled, drumming his fingers on the table. “Because to me, it looks like a complete mess.”
“As much as I hate to descend to the juvenile taunts of the schoolyard” Kolb guffawed, slapping his stomach with a large hand, “I’m afraid there is no better response to your statement than that it takes a mess to recognize a mess. I think I understand our cousin’s point. There’s a chance we could shift this situation to our satisfaction. Perhaps pivot our plans to potentially prevail against our pernicious parent?”
“Why bother?” Tunansia whispered loudly, leering at Kolb through her eyebrows and gripping her spoon like a knife. “Isn’t there an easier, and more final way to return the status quo?”
There was a sudden silence, as if Tunansia had let slip with some terrible faux pa. Slowly, like a parliament of owls, every head in the room turned to face Edmund, their eyes flickering in the dim gaslight. Edmund wondered if the sudden silence wasn’t embarrassment but relief, as though they all had wanted to say it but no one else had dared to be the first.
For a moment, Edmund felt the urge to run for his room. Seconds ago no one was looking even near him, and now all five pairs of eyes were locked on him and staring intently.
“My dear Master Edmund,” Junapa lips parted with a slick smile. “I simply must apologize. Here we are talking about adult matters and ignoring you completely. It was dreadfully rude of us, and I do hope you can forgive our poor manners. How are you finding your time at Moulde Hall?”
“It’s interesting,” he said, truthfully. “There seems to be a lot going on. I wish I knew what some of it was.”
“Well,” Junapa smiled kindly, “We should see if we can fix that, shouldn’t we?” The eyes shifted to her, and she met each pair with a look that brooked no opposition. “We are all very well versed in different parts of the family… I’m sure if we all worked together we could help you learn a great deal. What would you like to know?”