Suspicious: Kanin part 4

“I suppose you’ll be wanting a reward then?” Anika’s uncle said rising.

“Not if you aren’t offering it.” Kanin said, holding his gaze on the man’s eyes. “But since you did…”

Anika’s uncle’s mouth twitched into a put on smile, that looked more like an upturned scowl. “As you wish.” he said, a hidden bitterness to his voice that likely only Kanin heard. Her uncle snapped his fingers and a servant appeared as if from nowhere. Her uncle whispered in his ear a moment before the servant nodded and glided away again.

“Now.” her uncle said again, “Might I get the name of the man who saved my beloved niece?”

Kanin stood silent for a moment. “You first.” he said defiantly.

“Duke Lyman.” the man said, with a tone that Kanin should be impressed to be in the same room, let alone speaking directly to him.

“Kanin.” he then said rather briskly.

“Not much for manners are you?” Lyman asked, narrowing his eyes at Kanin.

Kanin shrugged unbothered by the comment. “Not much need for it in my life.” he said in a blasé tone. The Duke probably didn’t realise Kanin could hear him putting pressure on his teeth.

The Duke forced another half-hearted smile. The two stood in a deafening silence for a few moments before the servant arrived again with a pouch of coins. The Duke held it in his hands pretending to check the weight. “This should be sufficient.” he underhand tossed the pouch to Kanin who let it plop onto the floor, taking a hop back while it was airborne. “What on earth are you doing?” The Duke said seemingly shocked and offended.

“Force of habit.” Kanin said, taking the coin pouch and tying it around his belt. “Well, kid.” Kanin said addressing Anika. “You’ll be safe here. Big tall walls, guards all over, and nobody knows you’re here.” he said. “Maybe we’ll see eachother in the future.” he turned and headed for the door.

On his way out he passed a banner that sent the hairs on the back of his neck and the tips of his ears on end. A strange feeling he knew he was missing something deeply important but not what that thing was. Something about the symbol on it. He shook off the feeling the best he could and continued down the long hallway. Still doing his best to focus on the muffled talk behind the closed door.

The words became harder and harder to understand after The Duke had sent Anika off and began to have a heated talk with a gruff voiced man. It hadn’t taken long for The Duke’s mask to slip when one of the hoi polloi wasn’t ‘listening’ but there was no doubt what he’d heard the men say. “How did she make it here?”

Kanin repeated that to himself over and over as he neared the front door. The phrasing kept slipping off his mind. The dullness of his thoughts kept answering him back “I brought her.” At the front door a guard shoved Kanin bodily onto the walkway. “Move on.” he said.

But that shove rattled something loose. He was surprised she was here at all, as in… and then it all hit him. Where he knew the banner, the fake emotions and icy feeling coming from The Duke. “He’d sent the men after her, he’d killed her parents and I delivered her right to him.” he said aloud, slapping himself on the forehead. “...vögeln.”

Kanin turned on his heels and stared at the guards at the door, and took a deep breath.

(to be continued)

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