Dutch: Het huis van het zevende menuet
I quickly learned that one of Kadri’s favorite things was to eat when she was excited– and she was actually pretty excitable. Granted, she had just been on an extremely long journey, so I really couldn’t fault her for being as hungry as she was. She finished off most of the sandwiches while we were talking, though I noticed that there were a few she didn’t care for at all; the little ones with the chicken and cucumbers and whatever sauce the chef had come up with seemed to be her favorites. She also finished several biscuits with jam and butter, and quite a few cookies and petit-fours. I wondered whether she’d still be hungry for dinner later.
Evander managed to ask the question I was holding back from asking for fear of sounding rude, which was how old she was. I was surprised that she was a little bit older than Leila in years, having been born about thirty-two years ago. At the same time, Evander explained that her species matured a little more slowly than humans. So really, she was very similar in age to Leilla and I, even though I barely saw her as mature as Larsa. Leila didn’t fault her for that, though, seeing as how she’d actually succeeded in meeting the person she’d set out to find.
In a way, Kadri was as sweet as sugar, and I really didn’t have it in me to dislike her. She was thrilled to have met leila, and Leila already liked her. It was a perfect match, whether it was because of magic or legend or anything else. They were getting along great, they already understood each other, and they were looking forward to spending time together. Seeing that things were going well, Blackthorne and Justin took their leave to check on other things around the castle.
I got used to Kadri asking a lot of questions. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand things; it was actually to her benefit to ask, so that she could make sure she understood. She even understood that Leila needed to get back to her house, if only for a short time. We needed our oboes, and until she found the eighth key, she had to get the number-seven key. She was eager to help in any way she could, even though her means were limited.
According to Evander’s calculations, our worlds wouldn’t be in conjunction again until what would be Sunday night on earth. It was going to be a bit of a push for Killian and Larsa to get back to Portland in time for work, but it could have been a lot worse, I guess. The important thing was that we got to one of the musicians’ homes in time for the conjunction, because Castle Thorne didn’t have a connection between the worlds. Or at least, we assumed not. All that talk about timing and getting here or there at a certain time had Kadri wondering why we were even at the vampire lord’s castle if it interfered so much with all our other plans.
“Well,” Leila explained, “Brielle wasn’t going to make it if she didn’t get something that would actually nourish her soon.”
And when Kadri asked what we meant by that, I definitely felt like we were explaining everything backwards. “Leila, can you just start at the beginning of all of this?” I suggested.
“What, like back to the beginning of the ballad?” she asked teasingly.
I smirked and shook my head. “No; maybe the beginning of your involvement in all of this.”
“That would be when I inherited the house, wouldn’t it? But we’ve already established that.”
“Yeah, but not the part about Brielle.”
“That is true, Lady Moss,” Jean-Marc added. “If you recall, the moment you met me, I told you that one of our musicians was missing: our fair and lovely cellist.”
“You have a point there,” Layla conceded. “So her story is kind of concurrent to mine. when I first found out about Tierney Ríocht, Brielle was already missing, and none of us knew why– not yet. And then a couple visits later, I found out that another musician had gone missing while trying to find her.”
Kadri listened intently as Leila went on explaining.
“And by the time Stefan and my other friends came here with me– remember I told you how that was unintentional?– well, Sir Maël had returned. He’d found her, and he explained everything to us. Remember that young vampire who stopped by a little while ago? He has a fledgling: Ingrid. Well, she and Brielle are in love, and they didn’t want to be a part anymore, so Brielle let Ingrid turn her.”
Kadri’s eyes went huge. “Really? One of the musicians turned into a vampire? Can she still play music?”
I looked to Evander for answers.
“When she is feeling better, I’m sure nothing will hold her back from playing her beloved cello,” he told us.
“Does that mean we have to find a way to cure being a vampire?” Kadri asked.
Leila gave me a warning glare when she saw that I was about to laugh at the question. I froze.
“No,” Leila said. “There’s no going back from that. She’ll be able to play, but she’s kind of weak right now. She needs to feed a lot in order to gain her strength back. Sir Maël tried feeding her as much as he could, but it wasn’t enough, so Lord Thorne had me brought here to help with that.”
“He had you kidnapped,” I clarified, wanting it to be known what had actually happened.
“And he really didn’t have to,” Leila insisted. “I would have helped out if he’d just asked nicely. Either way, I’m here now, and I’m going to help until she’s well enough to be nourished by regular blood, not just mine or Blackthorne’s.”
“So your blood is something special?” Kadri asked her. Leila nodded. “wow, I guess I have a lot to learn about vampires, especially since one of the musicians is going to be one forever now.”
“Do you not get vampires in your part of the world?” I asked.
She shook her head. We know they exist, but they don’t come near where the Haltija live. We’re very, very far from any of them.”
It seemed to me that Kadri had a lot to learn about everything. It was going to be a lot of work to help her catch up, but at least she was willing to learn.