Chapter 11
After the missteps and the fiasco of dinner, the impending momentary silence ceased, and the tavern returned to some sembalnce of normality. Most of the patrons didn't even notice anything amiss, since they were otherwise occupied or incapacitated. The rest of them figured it had nothing to do with the separation of their purses or lives or both. So, it wasn't important.
Hazel made some interesting movements, that baffled the mind as to how all strategic parts could remain covered by the lack of clothing. Jonesey and Billy, having cleaned up most of the mess on the floor, they did what most beings of their nature did after a good meal. Jonesey laid out spread eagle on the floor behind the table, and Billy assumed the position of his tail around his nose on top of the strange man's belly. Sonorous snores cut through the clamor of the gathering.
Of course, then again, Wren, who was still quite conscious, didn't get it. Angel had done many and asundrious things that would suggest unladylike exposures, and Wren still thought of her as a pillar of virtue.
Pixel was not in the least bit interested in the show thereof. Pip was mildly interested. Shadowmance was rather cooled off by way of a particular pitcher of ice water poured down the proper piece of clothing. So, the obligatory gauking and slobbering was halted in the name of good taste.
wren suddenly found himself remarkably clean. Hazel frowned in chagrin and turned to Mandee, who stood behind her grandma with her hands clasped together and a bright sparkling smile on her face and a charming light in her eyes.
"Get the customers their food, you useless lout!" she snarled.
Mandee jumped startled and rushed off to the kitchen. Hazel shook her head. The effect didn't go unnoticed by Shadowmance, despite his cold wet situation.
"Good help is so hard to come by," she remarked, "But what can I do. She was my daughter's only daughter, and her parents met with such an untimely end at the town's big bonfire," she replied with a mischievous grin, that showed a set of sharp perfect teeth. She swung around with flowing cape and hair.
Shadowmance went to follow, but he got a bit tripped up by a dainty foot. He turned and glared at his delicate assailant, who sat back in her chair with an unsuccessful attempt at looking innocent. "I have professional questions for her!" he complained.
"I'm sure," Pixel answered, "I think she's a bit out of your league."
"And what do you know of my league?" he remarked.
"Her magic does what it is suppose to."
"All the more reason I need her to teach me a trick or two."
"Sit, boy!" she remarked.
He gave her a charming mischievous smile. He narrowed his dark eyes at her and remarked, "You keep this up, and people will think that you have feelings for me."
"Keep dreaming," she laughed, "I need some useless pawns for this quest. Better to risk your life than mine."
Mandee returned shortly with four delicately balanced plates of the most appetizing meals that any of them had ever seen or smelt. It didn't hurt matters that they hadn't eaten all day and were vastly hungry. Billy, who appeared to be in a deep noisy slumber, instantly woke up to the tantalizing smell and crouched for the attack. Shadowmance gave a dark glance in his direction, raised a casual hand, and spoke a strange word. The dragon pounced his attack, hit an invisible barrier, and slid down to rejoin Jonesey in slumber on the floor. The young necromancer gave the young lady at the table a self satisfied smile.
"I did pay attention to some of my lessons," he replied.
"You just didn't learn any of the good stuff," the half elf remarked.
"Hey," he complained, "We were getting there."
So, without further words or ado, they dug into their meals. Once the plates were properly cleaned, Hazel returned with a slip of paper.
"This can be taken care of at your earliest convenience," she stated.
Shadowmance looked up at her questioningly. "What is this?" he asked.
"The bill," she replied flatly.
"But Mandee said that it was on the house," Pip pointed out.
"That was your first plate," she answered, "I don't stay in business by serving up free meals."
"Indeed you don't, my good lady," Wren answered as he took up the slip of paper. His eyes widened and he counted up on his fingers, then he shook his head. He, then, dug into his pocket, where he kept his purse, but there was nothing there. He looked through his other pockets desperately, but he found nothing. He looked to his companions. The male members held up empty hands. Pixel looked indifferent. Wren turned a shade of pale.
So, as it turned out, Pixel removed a familiar looking purse from her pocket and paid for her meal and a room for her and Jonesey. the rest of the party (except Billy, who got rather tied up and put back in the mayonnaise jar before he could run the bill up further.) spent four hours in the kitchen doing the dish duty, then they retired to the stables, since that was all their hard work would afford them.