117: Matron Starts Asking Questions


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“Such devotional passion is commendable, I’m sure.” Matron’s voice had a smile buried in it.

“Are you going to give Googoltha the title or not?”

“So you’ll draw blood if you can’t kill? Well, I’m afraid I cannot help you,” Matron said. Edmund could picture the icy glare she was pointing at Tricknee’s nose.

“You are aware of what will happen if I don’t get what I’m after.”

“Allow me to presume. You and the rest of your kin will continue to drift from family to family, frantically borrowing and conning more and more for the debts you can’t pay off. I must say, I’m glad the Mouldes are simply criminals and thieves, rather than parasites.”

There was a pause, and then the door opened and slammed. Edmund sat in silence for a moment, when a gentle knock on the wall touched his ears like a final punctuation mark on the argument. A moment passed, and then the door opened and closed again. Edmund stood, slowly, and took the tube out of his ears.

Great Agreement? He remembered Pinsnip mentioning something similar in the maze, but what on earth could it be? It sounded official, and Tricknee was not satisfied with it, whatever it was.

The next day, when he took Matron her lunch, Edmund didn’t even get inside her room. She flung open the door as soon as he knocked, and grabbed the tray from him with a startling speed, given her age and apparent frailty. The door was about to slam shut in his face, when her head stuck out at him with a sharp frown covering her mouth.

“What do you know about stables?” she asked. Edmund barely had time to shrug and profess his ignorance before the door was shut firmly in his face.

Almost every day after he would receive some strange question that he simply didn’t know the answer to. Sometimes she wouldn’t respond when he knocked, so he left the tray outside the door. Other times she bid him enter and then simply stared at him while he found a place to set down the tray.

Most often, however, she would would snatch the tray, bark a question, and slam the door again. She didn’t ever seem to be as willing to talk as she had that night in the rain. She never mentioned the conversation between her and Tricknee, and Edmund was not willing to broach the subject.

She was testing him, he knew. He wasn’t sure what brought these questions on, but if he was supposed to know the answers he knew he could find them. The best source of information at the moment were his cousins, until he found some books, at least.


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