The Evening Dress

Darting between the walls, Edmund crept as quickly as he could through the mansion until he reached Junapa’s room. Hers was the furthest away from the sitting-room, and with the short-cuts he knew about he had the best chance to get to her room first.

Panting slightly, he pulled aside the small latch that covered the peep-hole to her room just as her door snapped open to reveal Junapa standing in the doorway. She strode swiftly into the room, and then stopped, her eyes fastened on to the top of her bed.

Edmund was glad he had thought of the clothing. Junapa stepped closer, reaching out to the extravagant dress that Edmund had lain on her bed. He had found detailed rules in the library about proper clothing etiquette for when hosting the patrons and matrons of founding families. After that, he had managed to pick the locks of his cousin’s rooms and steal some of their clothing to measure.

A quick trip to the best tailor in Brackenburg resulted in what Edmund thought was a beautiful looking collection of formal dress. He had been assured by the tailor that the clothing was of the highest quality, and well worth the two paintings Edmund had dragged down to the city from the east tower. For some reason the tailor’s eyes had lit up at the chance to own art that had once hung in Moulde Hall.

Junapa held up the dress, scanning over in intently, her fingers counting the buttons, tracing the lace, and fingering the cuffs to make sure everything was proper for hosting the founding families. After a moment, she heaved a frustrated sigh.

“That little brat,” she muttered. “He was ready for this.”

“That he was,” Wislydale’s voice came from the doorway as he slipped in. He was still dressed in his normal clothing. “I found a similar surprise laying on my bed.” He slowly walked to the far wall, and leaned casually against it, sipping at his ubiquitous drink. “What do you suppose we should do?”

“What choice do we have?” Junapa said, beginning to take off her jewelry. Wislydale watched for a few seconds before nodding.

“I agree. I will manage the affairs here, while you attend to the meal. I’m sure-”

“I will not,” Junapa snapped, as she slipped off her shoes. “I take quite a long time to get ready, while you won’t take two minutes. Go to the kitchens and see what Mrs. Kippling can manage.”

“Probably not much, what?” Wislydale rolled his eyes.

“Perhaps,” Junapa paused. “Perhaps not. Go find out exactly how far our dear Master Edmund has planned ahead. I’m willing to bet he’s forgotten something–and we need to find it fast!”

Wislydale gave a sharp nod, and ran out of the room. Edmund smiled to himself as he darted through the walls towards the kitchen.

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