I am disguised with Paula as we walk into the Pallaire, we get our usual seat and our orders are taken.
“I can’t believe you two have the stomach to eat.” Victor comments as he sits.
“Why won’t we be able to eat?” Paula asks with her mouth full.
We both stare at him as we wait for an answer.
Erin chuckles “Don’t mind him, he keeps thinking of you two as helpless girls.”
“Even after watching me kill people twice my size?! Aren’t you adorable?” Paula’s eyes twinkle in mischief.
“Where are the others?” Erin asks.
“We can’t be seen together outside, it’ll attract unwanted attention.” I answer Erin.
“How then do we….” I kiss him as he tries to ask, he tenses surprised at first then relaxes.
“We are being watched, be careful what you say.” I whisper as I peck his lips again.
I hear Paula grumble and Victor turns his face away.
A small guy, drunk walks to our table and laughs out loud.
“Is this what our kingdom has turned into, a couple of men kissing. I can understand if it is done in private but how dare you show such vileness to the world?” He drinks his wine and spits on Erin.
“Shame to you! Shame to both of you!!!” Erin stands to hit him but another man moves and hits the drunk man. He slumps and he holds him.
“I am so sorry about my friend here, he is just drunk and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” He bows and leaves.
“I swear you dressing as a man brings more trouble than a lady in a whore’s attire.” Elena whispers as she joins us.
She offers her handkerchief to Erin and faces me.
“I have missed you. How come you don’t come as often as before?” She sulks.
I grin “Things have been a little bit harder than usual. Is Diane pressurising you to sell yourself?”
“As long as I live in the Pallaire, I will always be regarded as public property.” Elena says with a sad smile.
I pat her back as another person disrupts us.
“What on earth is going on here? You kiss him and how you hug her?! How did you get them both to stay with you?” He asks in awe.
“I am good looking, strong and rich.” I answer back and Paula groans and Erin chuckles. Elena winks at him and he turns away embarrassed.
“What do you have for me?” I ask and she slips something into my hands.
“That’s the token Ini spies use to recognise each other, those two men trying to pretend are not looking at you are his personal guards. They are highly skilled in sword fighting and shooting arrows. He barely lets them out of his sight, for him to let them out today means he knows who you are and he has no intention of letting you leave here alive.” She whispers as she pours me a drink and pecks my cheek.
“Then what you are doing is much more dangerous, they might think you are involved with me.” I ask with my brows raised.
“Is that not why you created the impression of you being a Val so they think you might be deceiving me?!” Elena smiles shyly as she plays with the button on my chest.
Erin coughs uncomfortably and I laugh while I hold her hand as If to pretend that I don’t want her to know my identity.
Elena has this image of being an innocent helpless girl even though she’s not.
“Smart one, are you now?” I smile at her proudly and I whisper into her ears.
“Tell Akka to stand down” I say to her as she stands up coldly, slaps me and runs to her room crying.
Everyone looks at us strangely and I sigh as I smile back.
“What was that about?” Erin asks.
“Elena should consider working at the theatre, she has a gift for the dramatics. She only did that to throw suspicion off her.” I adjust my hat.
“Those men there are going to try to kill us the moment we leave here, so Paula try not to kill them, I need them alive.” I say and she nods.
“Wait… Who are they?” Erin asks.
“Ini close guards.” I pass the token to Victor.
“Give this to Shem the moment we leave here, no matter what you hear, don’t turn back.” I tie my shoes properly.
He looks at Erin and he gives him the go ahead.
“What are we going to do?” He asks.
“Actually, I’ve changed my mind.” I grin.
“Paula… Please challenge that man to a twark. Let’s make this easy for them.” I wink at Erin.
“Please walk me through your thought process.” Erin rolls his eyes.
“If Paula challenges him, he would not have a reason to attack us in the dark, this is a public place, Paula fighting with him would make a beautiful scene, causing the distraction I need to be able to have a chat with Diane.” I reply as if it was obvious.
“Why do you want to talk to Diane?” I realize how stressful it is to have to continuously explain your plan.
“We need power, we need to start from somewhere, if we have the Pallaire, that’s one thing we have and Nuke doesn’t.” I say to him.
He nods, “what do I do?”
“If I’m not back by the time Paula kills him, challenge the other to a twark.” I say simply.
“Aren’t you afraid that he’ll kill me?” He raises his brow.
“You underestimate yourself Erin. I’ve seen you move, there’s no way tortoise over there can kill you.” I say this with sincerity.
“He could be a better fighter than you think.” He argues.
“Attack his left side, he bends slightly there which means he has an old injury, he won’t he able to win you.” I smile.
“That’s not my point… I…” I kiss him again.
“I know, I worry about you too but I trust that you can win him. I’m not calling you soft but you haven’t seen the things I have… You have to warm yourself up to the ugliness, and it will get ugly. Power is good but the cost of that is a part of yourself. The sooner you realize this, the longer you can live.” I say and signal to Paula.
She carries a drink and pretends to struggle and be drunk, she slips and falls on one of the guard’s legs.
She screams in outrage as she challenges him to a Twark.
I slap my palm to my head.
“She really has no tact.