In Red (Chapter 2, page 1 of 3)

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Adelle smiled. She had put a large apron on and was kneading bread in the kitchen.

"Your sister is in bed?"

"Yes. She's exhausted. And I am too, but I can't get myself to sleep."

The innkeeper gave her an understanding look. She took a handful of flour from the sack and spread it on the wooden table.

"You must leave as soon as possible."

"I know."

"Luck is on your side, though. There's an outsider who intends to go away in a few weeks. He might let you go with him. But he didn't come invited, so he doesn't have a vehicle. You'll have to walk for at least six days."

Roxanne's eyebrows were lifted unconsciously, faced with that prospect.

"A few weeks… Won't that be too long a time here? They may already be looking for us."

"No. Your father is away. It'll be a while before he realizes you're not in the castle anymore."

The girl remained silent, relieved to know their father was absent. He never warned them about his comings or goings, and they were never to disturb him during the periods he stayed, so they were constantly in doubt whether he was at home or not. Especially since their mother's death.

She wondered how Adelle could be so well informed. Nonetheless, she was well aware that, in her new life, she would face many unknowns.

Then, someone raised the curtain that covered the door opening.

"I'm done," the young man told Adelle, completely ignoring the other person that was in the room. "Don't give them that feed again and they should be fine."

"Alan," said Adelle, taking him by the arm, "let me introduce you to Roxanne."

He glanced at her, clearly annoyed at having to waste time. He leaned forward to give her a polite kiss and she had to refrain from instinctively moving away. She couldn't understand why he took the liberty of coming so close. Did he mean to hurt her? But, there again, she became conscious of her own great ignorance, and of the fact that she had made up her mind to be guided, as much as possible, by other people's behavior so as not to attract attention. So she received the kiss on her cheek and wisely interpreted in his coldness that it must be the usual procedure on meeting someone. He noticed her strange reaction, but was determined not to fill his head with anything besides his approaching departure and brushed it aside.

"Alan, this girl and her sister are in an urgent need to leave the territory. Would you mind taking them with you?"

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