The House of the Seventh Minuet XXXI

Spanish: La Mansión del Séptimo Minueto

I rushed back to my room soon after that, and crawled into bed, pulling the blankets close around me. I hadn’t committed to going back to that room, whether with or without the key. There was now a second person missing from the septet, and both Brom and Jean-Marc seemed to have too much to tell me to even know where to start. Dream or not, I didn’t want to get involved.

I returned my phone to its charger and rolled over. I wanted to get to sleep, have a different dream. I didn’t want to go down a rabbit hole into danger.

“Why do other worlds only contact us when they need us?” I groaned after a few minutes of struggling to fall asleep. “Why can’t they just invite us over for tea and introduce us to their pegasus or dragons or something?”

Somehow I eventually settled down enough to fall asleep. When morning came around, I roused only long enough to check my calendar. Grateful that I didn’t have any meetings to log into, I went back to sleep for a couple more hours. When I finally felt rested enough to get up, I got dressed and packed my tablet and a couple notebooks into my backpack, and headed out. I needed to get out of the house and sort out my thoughts, and I figured that I could start by getting breakfast at one of the mountain-side diners.

Autumn was finally kicking in, and the trees were starting to become edged in bright reds and rich oranges. In two and a half more weeks, I’d be meeting Killian and the others in Seattle for the Edvard Grieg concert. Stefan had ensured that the seat he’d gotten for Larsa was next to mine, so that we could sit together. It would be his first time actually attending a symphony, so he was a little nervous– excited, too, of course, but before this, he’d only been to smaller musical gatherings, none of them requiring formal attire.

How’s your Wednesday going?

The message popped up when I was half-way through my waffle with warm apple-cinnamon compote and bacon and eggs.

Just taking it slow, I texted back. You?

Not bad. Easy day at the record store, so I thought I’d check in.

That was interesting to hear– I mean read. Stefan was usually busy with work and music and didn’t always have time to check in unless we had plans or were making them. That’s not to say that I minded, though.

I’m looking forward to your concert.

It took him a few minutes to reply, and the screen showed the bouncing dots indicating typing that whole time.

It’s Killian’s concert, too.

Well, that was shorter than I was expecting.

I know, but you haven’t played with the orchestra for a long time.

Maybe I should, he replied Then I’d get to see you more often.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or blush or shake my head at a comment like that. Stefan did that sometimes– pulling something from far afield, I mean. He’s good at keeping things interesting.

Challenge accepted! I sent back to him.

After breakfast, I spent the day getting to know the town at the base of the mountain. I updated my ID card, found the library and spent some time writing and exploring. I got a new library card– they had a design that looks like one of those due date cards that used to go in the front pocket of books– and even checked something out.

After grabbing a sandwich, I walked down Main Street and peered through the windows of a few shops. There wasn’t much I needed that day, so the most I bought was some meat from the butcher and a few vegetables from the grocer. I could easily pull together a steak dinner with salad and baked potato. It took a few extra minutes to get the butcher to accept that I was only buying for myself, so I was fine with the smaller portions; I wasn’t used to such conversations, since the big grocery stores are more focused on speed.

Once I got back home and had things put away, I had the choice between getting some more writing done or booting up the Playstation 4. I knew I didn’t want to be up late that night, so choosing one meant the other probably wouldn’t happen till the next day. I ended up relaxing with some video games until it was time for dinner.

Later on, while my cast-iron skillet was heating up, I took down the box of keys and looked over the number-seven key. It looked pretty much like any other modern key, which seemed odd for something that someone looking like they lived in the eighteenth century wanted me to have on hand.

“I think this move has my imagination going wild,” I eventually told myself. “I’ve come up with this whole fantasy just around this silly thing. I should have asked Great Aunt Lydia about it sooner. Maybe it’s just for a storage room or something else boring.

Stefan called me later to ask if I’d be online to play our MMO together. He sounded disappointed that I was actually getting ready for bed. I explained that I’d been up too late the night before, which was true; I just didn’t tell him about the owl making me chase it down the hall to a room that only appears at midnight, but not every midnight. I’d I told him about a dream that weird, he’d– well, I’m not sure what he’d do, but I didn’t want to make him overreact.

“How about Friday night?” I suggested.

“Friday?” he repeated, practically whining. “Why not tomorrow?”

I laughed a little. “Because tomorrow– and Friday morning, I should add– I have to get a lot of work done. You want me to get paid so that I have spending money in Seattle, don’t you?”

“You drive a hard bargain, Leila,” he teased. “I’d say you’re so good at writing that you could game all night and still come up with something great, but–”

“But you know I need my beauty sleep,” I finished for him.

“Leila, you’re–” He stopped, catching himself mid-sentence, then changed course. “You always look great, but I want you to feel great, too, so I won’t keep you up. Sweet dreams, okay?”

“Yeah, Stefan.” I agreed. “Sweet dreams.”

The dancing is so beautiful and elegant, don’t you agree? It complements the music well.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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