Roman rolled his eyes. "Yes, I would have missed another cotillion. Perish the thought, Stefan."
"Hey, you have a responsibility to this family," he was informed sternly. "I did it, now it's your turn."
"I think I'd rather pass, personally. If you'll pardon me, I think I'm going to pass out now." He made it to his bedroom and fell onto the bed for some much-needed rest.
None of them did much for the next few days. Roman got to spend most of the time in bedhe didn't really have a choice when it came down to it. His mother spent hours at his side, talking about the various eligible young women of Threshold, trying to find out if there were any he particularly likednot that it mattered all that much, but it would make things easier for her. Nadya spent a couple of days resting before taking up some of the lighter household chores, staying closer to home than usual and getting under her mother's feet. Melantha was not at all pleased to find her usual mobility restricted, and was out and about again as soon as she could physically manage it. She spent a lot of time looking at the map when no one else was around.
A couple days after the adventure, Ivan Kiprusoff returned with twenty-five silver coronae.
"Son, I sold the amber to the Baron. I subtracted a small commission from this; here's twenty pieces, I kept five for myself. I think you should go tomorrow and try to get the rest of it. It's probably already gone." He seemed quite intent on the subject, but then he often was where money was concerned. Roman agreed to go and retrieve the remaining pieces. He had no inclination to navigate Dog Alley on his own, and went looking for Nadya. He reached the Petrov household around mid-day and found Nadya and her mother shelling peas.
"Hi!" She found herself pleased to see him, and introduced him to her mother, who curtseyed. Roman gave her mother a significant glance. "We have some more business to conduct, don't worry about me." Nadya then escorted Roman a short distance from the house, where they could talk more privately.
"My father sold the piece of amber," he told her. "I think we should go find Melantha and get the rest of it."
"That means we have to go to Dog Alley," she said dubiously
"Couldn't we stand at the end of the road and yell really loud?"
"We could, I think that may in fact cause more attention to be drawn to us," he replied seriously. "I don't think they'll be that hesitant to leave Dog Alley to kill us."
"I was joking."
Oh. "It's daylight, I think we should be reasonably okay. Besides, we're obligated, we have to. Can't just ignore it, she's part of it all, and she's got the rest of the amber. And the map," he remembered. "So when can you get away?"
"Pretty much any time. I'm not really doing anything too urgent, my mom doesn't have my company regularly, so she wouldn't miss me."
No time like the present. They crossed the river and headed toward the place where the three of them had last parted.
That same afternoon, since she was feeling better, Melantha decided it would be a good idea to try to find out more about the other two. Time was running out if they were going to get to the valley before the Night of Fire. As she left Dog Alley, some of the neighborhood toughs watched her and whispered among themselves. No laughter, no insults this time, but a steady, predatory stare. It had only been a matter of time; she was wandering around wearing armor and a sword these days, after all.
The Kiprusoff dwelling was easy enough to find. She scoped out the neighborhood a bit, trying to think of a way to get in touch with Roman. They certainly weren't going to let her inside. Maybe she could pose as a messenger?
As she neared home, she saw her two acquaintances on a convergent course, clearly looking for her.
"Hello," Roman replied. "Good news, my father sold the amber."
"Your father?" she said dubiously, not happy that anyone outside the three of them knew about it.
"Yes. I couldn't very well do it; he's the one who knows the contacts."
Roman and Nadya stood out in a crowd; people were watching the three of them. "You guys are going to get me killed. This is probably not the best place for us to talk."
"Maybe an inn?" Nadya suggested.
"In Dog Alley?" Roman sounded skeptical.
"No, we want to get away from Dog Alley. Let's just go that way." They walked north until they found a suitably quiet place to talk. "Your father sold the amber. Great. How much did he get?"
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