Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),
Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!
First Impression: Okayy...so this is a pretty cool part here, perhaps my favorite of the whole chapter. It really was one of the best constructed so far, except maybe one little bit towards the very end there where things got a little bit iffy.
Anyway let's get right to it,
No one could have imagined all that was eaten that day.
Claire was fuller than she had been for a long time. Everyone was looking forward to this meal. Except for Léonard. He couldn't taste anything. No matter if it was deep-fried duck or cheese-filled noodle creations. His senses stuck to his plan. Kapellen Castle was not going to be an amusement, but a serious affair.
He had not been nervous for a long time. Nevertheless, he remained lost in thought. What should he do if he was wrong? He had to trust. In the middle of the ballroom, among all the other guests, he had to agree when someone spoke to him. He didn't get a word in edgewise, just like Karoline, who had silently but contentedly emptied her plate.
Okay...this is off to the kind of start you want with a chapter where somethings are going to go down. We already saw the kind of mood that Léonard and in fact the siblings too were in just moments earlier, so seeing him acting like this is certainly very suspicious and also very interesting. I wonder what he's gotten upto.
"Where do we go now?"
Emma was highly motivated.
"To the pleasure garden. We haven't been there yet," Claire suggested.
"What's so special about that?" interjected Stephan.
"It will give us fresh air," Léonard said.
"Where's the dessert?"
Léonard laughed. Emma giggled and Claire looked at Stephan in confusion. Was he actually still hungry? Only his sister jumped to his side.
"There has to be dessert at a feast."
"Later. After all, the last ones are just coming to the buffet now," said Léonard, "Although there was no starter either."
OKay...this just became a discussion about food, which I usually love, but right now I haven't had breakfast yet and this is reminding me I should go eat. That aside...okay, I really like how in this chapter you mix these more random slightly mundane moments with the more exciting ones, here it creates a lovely balance although some other parts I would usually recommend not detailing pointless conversations.
Have I eaten too much? Or drunk too much? What is wrong with me?
"Are you not well?"
It was the woman who had bumped into Claire in Theophilus' shop. Her reflection was terrifying. The glaring green eyes made her flinch and forget her name. This must be how Emma felt when Claire let her eyes wander.
"It's all right."
"We saw each other yesterday, didn't we? In that shop on the promenade."
"Yes. Claire is my name," she murmured.
"Pleased to meet you. Céline is my name," she introduced herself, "You look young. Is it your first party?"
OKay...interesting, same person appearing twice is not something you see too often for a seemingly random person on the street so I'm going to assume that just maybe this woman here has a bit more to do with the plot than it at first appears.
She was shocked at her own stupidity. She was never allowed to say abroad where she came from. The enemy was them. All of them. She wished now that Céline did not know where it was. At the same time, it occurred to her that surely, they had already heard of Regenschloss in connection with the tar pit. Then everything became clear.
She is the wife of the Imperial Territory Leader!
"Really? I'm from Diekathedral."
Claire nodded gently.
"You rarely meet people from the Empire," Céline continued, "It's because of our charisma."
OKay....well I have to say my first impression of her from the other day was of a much sterner lady that would probably cause some trouble, but it looks like she's a decent person after all, of course with high ranking people, they can easily switch their 'nice person mode' on and off as required.
She stood in vain in front of the mirror and returned to the table after long minutes of waiting. There were three missing: Léonard, Karoline, and Stephan.
"Where are the others?"
"Léonard went out for a breath of fresh air. Beforehand an argument started between him and Karoline. I don't know why," Emma explained meekly.
"And you just sit here?"
"To wait for you!"
"Come on, let's go outside!”
Well...that seems to be about right for what might happen in the not too distant future. There has been this tension building between those three for quite some time so this is just building on that and going towards whatever crazy conclusion will happen here today.
"Karoline has been so quiet since yesterday. Even in Weymouth she suddenly became reserved and cold."
Claire strode up to them and looked at a hawk or a buzzard making its rounds above the only castle tower. She knew, unlike her friend, that it might have something to do with his plan.
"What's the big deal? You see, Karoline doesn't talk to me."
"And Stephan?" Emma probed further, "where are they anyway?"
"What do I know?" he croaked, annoyed.
"I've never seen you so curt."
Léonard smiled at Claire.
OKay...so I guess Léonard is trying to downplay everything and be his usual manipulative self as the girls start to ask a few too many questions about what is really going on there. At any rate, its all making things very interesting.
"Honestly? I am as cool as a cucumber. Look at me, sitting relaxed and keeping my composure. The two of them lost themselves in one of the gardens. It doesn't matter now."
He crushed the cigarette with his fingers and threw it on the ground. Stamping, he hid it under dust and gravel.
"Come out of your pessimism," he laughed with all his heart, "I hear there's bombe glacée for dessert. That's cause for celebration."
He treated himself to a new cigarette.
Claire didn't say a word. Emma didn't want to beat about the bush either. They did not open their mouths anymore.
"Now we can go to dessert," Léonard said, glancing at his pocket watch after nobody spoke to him while he smoked.
"A great idea!" enthused Emma blankly.
Ahh you can feel the tension building there. The girls clearly know something went wrong and Léonard wants to dismiss things a little too quickly for it to be anything but serious but neither of them particularly seem to feel like calling him out either so there's an awkward stalemate.
The cooks brought perhaps a hundred bombe glacée to those present. It was a fantastic panorama to spot people among all the hills. With freshly emptied stomachs, they wanted to bite into the dessert.
With new hiccups and a stomachache, Claire condemned her friend, who plastered more than she would have liked. Emma visibly enjoyed the champagne that Léonard had ordered. She didn't even feel sick.
"Where are Karoline and Stephan?" asked Emma after a while.
"They must be here somewhere. They just don't want to talk to me."
"You don't tell us why. Does it have something to do with yesterday? Or with this strange book of the Reds? You haven't talked about it for a long time."
Ohh, questions are being asked, and things are starting to sort of happen. It is all definitely very interesting to see here. I am enjoying seeing Léonard squirm, however lightly it is that he's doing that as he's waiting for whatever is set to happen.
Claire smirked at him. He returned it with an exhilarating grin. Emma's hiccup came in response.
Claire was on her way to the toilet again. With all her internal organs spinning as if in a merry-go-round, she slumped in the meantime in the deserted corridor. With the pain subsiding, she couldn't help but bend over the sink.
Black dots floated around the room as she sat on the edge of the toilet seat. She felt better. But her body was exhausted. She could not control her shaking hands and legs. She had been glad that no one was present when she cleaned the basin, now she had to sneak out of the bath.
OKayyy....soo...Claire is either getting a very convenient stomach ache so we can be surprised by these people disappearing everytime, this is just to tell us that Claire is not used to eating a good amount of food and is having some issues, she genuinely just got a stomach bug for some reason or the most sinister thing, someone did something to her food on purpose. I think the second option is the logical and probably true, I hope its not the first one, and I kind of feel like maybe its the fourth one.
"No. He wants to steal the Book of the Reds," Emma grinned.
"You're obviously tipsy," Claire smiled at her friend, "I wonder if he planned all this."
Summoning a waiter was easy; so was choking the water.
Claire was a little disgusted by Léonard's departure.
This heartless, deceitful escape was worse than anything else. He left Emma behind. She could not do the same, even though she would have liked to look for him.
"Are you feeling better?" she asked after a while.
"I'm tired," she huffed, "Where's Léonard?"
"He went outside for a moment," she lied, "Have another drink."
Okay so Emma is just totally wasted it looks like if the fact that she can't remember a thing is anything to go by. I'm also going to maybe assume stealing this book is the whole reason for being here and Emma did actually hear whatever the truth was on that matter, although considering her current state I wouldn't trust her word.
Come to the library on the second floor in half an hour. Léonard.
Underneath was a small, spidery sketch with directions.
"Did he leave you a message, too?"
"No. He told me to give it to you. He wrote very hastily because a man had waved at him from the door. “
"Do you know who he was?" asked Claire.
"I don't know. He looked like a big kid," Emma coughed calmly.
Claire took a few deep breaths in and out until she came to a decision.
"Sit here for a moment, I'll go out and look for Karoline and Stephan."
AHa...so he hopes to maybe involve Claire in whatever it is that he's trying to do. It would make sense, considering she called him out that earlier time, so perhaps he know feels like he needs to do something in order to address that whole situation. So of course he gets Emma totally too drunk to do anything and is going to use Claire to do whatever it is that he wants to.
Before she could leave for him, Claire wanted to find the siblings. Wherever they were, they were not with him. Did they abandon him? They had to look after Emma while Claire went to the library.
Something sinister was in the air. It was the coming, fierce danger.
We came along to help him. Aren't we just an alibi? But what about Karoline and Stephan? And who is this Murrhardt? Is he perhaps behind everything and says what Léonard has to do?
No. He does not act on orders from others. He is independent.
Oh we know very well that Léonard is not just using Claire as an alibi. And I love how Claire does not want to leave poor Emma alone in her current state. Well at any rate, this is all just confirming most of what we have already known for some time know with the building sense of anticipation in this piece, but it finally looks like at long last we've arrived at the point where things are set to get really interesting.
Why are you giving me such a hard time?
Ten minutes before the meeting, she almost fell in front of Céline, who helped her up. It must have been luck that she was just at the gate and able to answer Claire's question. She had spotted the two people described by the parking spaces.
A quiet foreboding covered her ability to act. With awkward steps, she ran to Léonard's car. It was still standing there. But there was no one far and wide. A note hung under the windscreen wipers.
We're going back. There's no reason to be on your side anymore, Léonard. After what you have done, there is no way to excuse this.
Oh there we go...now we have ourselves some proper drama. I have no idea why Céline was introduced solely for that moment, but I guess its maybe the one person Claire sort of knows at this party and the most likely to answer her question. At any rate...the twins actions' suggests that Léonard really went all out here and well, things are really starting to get a bit extra exciting, I am very excited to see where things go next here.
The unimaginable became possible. Claire had no idea what to do. She felt everything falling back on her. They had both left Kapellen Castle a long time ago and were on their way to the hotel on foot. She could hardly imagine what a march that must be for both of them.
"I have to go!"
But it should be so beautiful here. I can't see a thing! Everything is so glassy and fragile. If that was his plan, he's too hectic with everything. Does he want to do it alone? But why? Why all these wanton actions? Why don't I understand him?
OKay...I'm not convinced about how she knew they were going to walk back, she only saw the note and someone told her they headed this way, for all she knows the twins doubled back and are at the moment trying to bust Léonard for what he's doing. Also her thoughts there capture her current situation very well, although I have to wonder now....she did leave poor Emma all by herself after all did she? She can't have dragged Emma all the way to the car and back.
It was a small room with many windows. Between them were narrow shelves filled with literature from past decades. A fine carpet lay in the centre, with wing chairs and tea tables around it. A chandelier took Claire's full attention. It was too low and divided the private library into two parts.
Then she suddenly noticed that there was an open book on one of the tables, she thought she was not alone. Embarrassed, she crept unobtrusively to the nearest shelf and memorised the spines of the books. With quick movements of her head, she looked for a second person.
I'm supposed to wait here for Léonard. I wonder where he will come from.
Well considering Léonard's actions did leave her pretty much with entirely no choice, her decision her to just go to the library and do as he said is actually a pretty justified one there, can't really fault her for that one.
She waved, beaming with joy. Sprinting, he reached her and was relieved to see the window open.
"Thank you for waiting for me. I needed someone to open the thing," he said.
"I just got here."
He jumped in. Nowhere was he holding anything.
"Did you hide it?"
"In here," he said tersely, tapping his chest.
"It's more inconspicuous if I transport it like this."
He casually inquired about Emma's condition.
"She's downstairs in the ballroom," Claire replied, "I was going to look for Karoline and Stephan -"
"It doesn't matter. Let's go."
OKay...so see he wanted an accomplice to whatever craziness that he'd just performed, and its strange to see Claire all of a sudden cheerful and happy to do all of this. Is she putting on a show for his benefit? Is it just that she's glad to finally see someone she recognizes? What is going on here?
Léonard looked stressed. What had happened in the last few minutes, Claire didn't know. She didn't want to ask him, he seemed to be on the lookout. He listened attentively by the door as he flinched in a flash.
"What do you have?"
"Didn't you hear?"
He held his index finger in front of her mouth. She heard nothing.
"Gunshots. And screams."
Okay that seems a little too quippy, it the sort of thing you expect in a superhero film...but I'm not complaining, I do love a fun cliffhanger like that and we've finally gotten the excitement I've been hoping for, so well this is setup nicely for it to all end in the final part of this chapter.
Aaaaand that's it for this one.
Overall: Overall, I think this is a pretty good part here. A few very exciting things happening here and it looks like its set up for a very interesting ending in that last part. Well...at any rate, until then, that's all I have to say here.
As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.