By sort of popular demand, this is a tense Tuesday teaser! Still don't know if I'll get this chapter done before I go out of town - it seems rather unlikely at this point. We'll see. Enjoy the teaser in the meantime!
“Alice, would you accompany Isabella to the stables? I would rather not have her wandering around alone. I shall be there shortly.”
“Of course,” Alice said with a smile. Edward leaned over and kissed my cheek before taking his leave of us. Alice and I made our way through the crowd and down the platform’s wooden stairs.
“Oh! My pennant!” Alice suddenly exclaimed. “I left it on the bench.”
“Go ahead and retrieve it before it is lost,” I said. “We can meet in the stables.”
“Are you sure? You could come with me.”
“I would rather not go back through the crowds,” I explained. “I can already see the stable door from here, and I will be perfectly fine for a few minutes.”
“I will be quick,” she promised, and then disappeared back into the crowd.
I walked into the barn and was immediately assaulted by the intense smells surrounding the horses. I had entered the opposite side of the building this time, and Volvo's stall was at the end closest to me. I could not help but smile at his impatient nicker when he saw my approach. I reached out and stroked his nose as he gobbled the carrots out of my hand.
As Volvo enjoyed his treat, I became aware of a group of three men at the far end of the barn. There were so many stalls and the barn was so long, I could not hear what they were saying, but I could see the three of them tilting back tankards of – presumably – ale and laughing loudly. One tall man with short cropped blond hair seemed to be directing the others in conversation, and laughing the loudest. He leaned against the side wall of the stall, facing my direction. The other two had dark hair and were older than the first. They were likely all competing knights, though I could not see them well enough to identify them. I assumed they were celebrating the outcome of today’s games. They quaffed their drinks and looked inside the very last stall on the same side of the barn as Volvo’s abode. As they peered inside the stall, they would laugh heartily and often.
I tried to ignore them, though I did notice they seemed to glance over at me frequently. I tried to keep my focus on Volvo as I fed him his snack, and wondered what was taking Alice so long to join me. The knights were speaking to each other as they stood near the opening to the last stall in the row, but I could not make out any of their words. Their laughter grew suddenly louder, and I let myself look over to them.
Can't be good....you can almost hear the Psycho music.