“If we let her?” Kolb clapped his hands, striking a pose that made it look like he was ushering a customer into a circus tent. “My dear, I doubt very much there is anything we could do to stop her! But for a few lucky breaks of late, she has managed to befuddle our individual efforts at every turn. She’s a wily crafty old stoat, and I doubt we’ll be able to stop her doing anything she wishes. It’s why I’ve been trying to get on her good side for so long!”
“Flattery won’t get you anything, Kolb,” Junapa smiled brittlely. “You’re asking for too much.”
“A fresh start for the man who so loved her daughter is hardly too much, even for a shriveled heart like Matron’s,” Kolb muttered, running his hand through his hair. “Besides, I agreed to let her keep the rest of the money, and the house, didn’t I?”
“With your name on the deed,” Tunansia grinned evilly. “You can’t expect her to agree to that, no matter how much you flatter her!”
“It is a much better deal than you’re giving her,” Kolb shot back. “Just the title? What use is that?”
“It’s more use than her hoarded fortune and this run-down old mansion. And besides, everyone in this room is offering more than anyone else in this family is! And then she goes and gets an heir?” Tunansia hissed, her composure leaking away as she furiously fingered the locket at her neck. “How could she have gotten the idea? She was never so…fashionable. We’re Mouldes; we don’t adopt!“
“I promise you, my fine delectable kettle of stew,” Kolb leaned his head back, “as far as Matron is concerned, none of us are Mouldes. If it wasn’t for the scandal of it, I’m sure she would find a way to have all of us arrested–or at least removed from the family and thrown out of the house.”
“She likes most of us better than the others,” Junapa waved a hand dismissively. Edmund wondered what others she was talking about–how many other relatives could there be who wanted the estate?
“That doesn’t mean much, what?” Wislydale murmured into his glass. “I doubt she likes anyone or anything.”
“No matter!” Junapa snapped back. “If she likes us better, that means we have a better chance of getting what we want!”
“Matron’s no fool,” Kolb’s chunky finger stabbed the air at Junapa as she leveled an icy gaze at him. “She may like us better, but that doesn’t mean we’ll see a dime. If anyone else manages to weasel their way into the will, or lever some legal loophole, we haven’t a chance. And even if they don’t, she won’t sacrifice the estate for sentimentality.”
“I still don’t understand why we don’t… that is… a knife is quicker…” Pinsnip mumbled. There was an uncomfortable pause.