Lloyd could sense the worry in Lyn and Cantrell’s eyes as they watched him. He straightened, resisting the urge to give in and collapse onto the ground. His vision still blurred, he stumbled as he stepped forwards. “Well. What are you both staring at?” he snapped.
Lyn took a step towards him then halted. “Are - are you okay?”
He shoved away her hand as she reached out to steady him. “Fine. I’m fine.” Gods, Cantrell must think he was such a mess, nothing like his reputation would suggest.
Lyn shifted from foot to foot, nervously biting down on her lip. “If you’re sure… I need to go home.”
He was about to nod in agreement - it was starting to get light - when a thought brushed against his mind. His eyes glazed slightly as he focused on it. The right corner of his mouth curled in concerned anger as he lurched forward, grabbing her wrist. “Are you bloody insane? With Trevalli back it’s not safe. If he even suspects the truth he’ll kill you!”
Gods, he was an idiot. Lyn knew the dangers of her position perfectly well, and right now she didn’t need him pressuring her into a decision. His face slackened with regret as he released her wrist. “Lyn, I’m sorry, I swear. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
The silence stretched on for a moment before she grinned at him. “I get it. You’re an overprotective old man.”
He rolled his eyes at that. “Positively ancient.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll spare your failing heart as much worry as I can. I promise I’ll clear out if Kyden starts sniffing around too much. I really do need to go though. It’s been hours.” She pulled him into a tight hug. “I won’t do anything you wouldn’t do.”
“Reassuring as always I see,” he muttered dryly.
As he watched the dark haired girl walk away the stench of his bile filled his nostrils. He turned to Cantrell, who had been watching the scene in silence. “I can offer you a room for the night. I assume you bought one from Aron before our unfortunate bar fight and I would hate for you to lose money because of me.”
The assassin chuckled, sending little tingles down Lloyd’s spine. “A thief who cares about other people’s money? You continue to be full of surprises.”
“Careful or I might rescind my offer,” Lloyd teased as he began to carefully make his way back home. He had never noticed before how uneven the roads were. But now he was tripping over every single stone. They walked in companionable silence through the twisting maze of dusty streets as Shorebridge continued to go about its business around them.
They were jostled by the crowd of ordinary citizens as they made their way past brightly lit homes, colourfully decorated stores and carts of delicious smelling food that reminded Lloyd that he’d never gotten the chance to eat anything at the tavern. The two men passed a duo of patrolling guards, an old woman with a basket of flowers, a group of small children sharing a sticky candy outside a shoemaker’s. As the crowd thinned out to allow another patrol to pass Cantrell halted by a vendor. Exchanging a handful of coins for two sandwiches he handed one to Lloyd. “I can hear your stomach growling from here.”
Lloyd considered denying it, but his mouth was watering from the smell of warm food. Although he wasn’t about to ask what kind of meat was in the sandwich he had to admit that it tasted as good as it smelled. “Thank you,” he said sincerely.
The two men finished their sandwiches as they turned down a side street, entering through the open doorway of yet another rundown building. Lloyd led the way down the hallway past wooden doors with thick locks on them. He made his way up the flight of stairs at the end, taking care not to step on the moldy patches dotted here and there. On the top floor the doors were further apart, but with the same thick locks. They stopped outside the door at the end, the only one without a lock and Lloyd swung the door open, stepping aside to let Cantrell enter first. “Home, sweet home.”
Despite his sarcastic words the small apartment was nicer than what the rest of the building might’ve lead a visitor to expect. A small bed was shoved up under the large, almost clean window. A sofa covered in cushions rested against the opposite wall. Next to the sofa stood a tall shelf that was crammed full with well-read books. A plain rug covered the middle of the wooden floor, with a small table placed on top of it. Three closed doors took up most of the space on the wall across from the entrance. Lloyd pointed to them from left to right.
“Kitchen, cupboard, bathroom. You can have the sofa. Spare blankets are in the cupboard. There might be a knife or two in the cupboard as well, so watch out for that. I don’t have a lock because I find it invites amateurs to try and prove they can pick it, and anyway no one would try to rob someone living in a building like this. Now that should answer all your questions, so if you’ll excuse me I’m feeling rather tired.” And with that monologue over he collapsed onto the bed, blacking out before his head even touched the pillow.