LIAB Epilogue 20:2/Text

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Brookstone lacked a dungeon. But it had a gaol, and that's where they'd put 'the one' tonight. Most of the rest of the prisoners were confined en masse to their megalogwiffs, but Ansom merited full iron shackles, and his own pair of guards.

"Duncan says you're behaving," said Jillian, looking at him through the bars.

He was sitting up on the floor, leaning against the brick pillar he was chained to, favoring her with his trademark look of disapproval.

"Did Spacerock fall?" he asked. "What of Mistress Wanda?"

Jillian strategically hung her lantern on a peg behind her, where it would shine on the prisoner but leave her in silhouette.

"Privileged information," she said. She wouldn't have answered, even if she knew.

He squinted up at her in silence. His face was dirty, and still bruised from the day's fighting. She wanted to throw her arms around him, but she could only grip at the black iron bars.

"It shouldn't be like this," she muttered.

"On that, at least, we can agree." He scratched his head and ran a hand through his filthy hair, his chains clinking musically.

"Why'd you have to croak? Huh? Why'd you have to charge in and croak?"

His lips parted and his brow wrinkled. He did not seem to know what to say.

"Fine, it's a stupid question," said Jillian.

"Well, it is."

"Yes! Fine!" she snapped.

They spent another few moments just listening to shrill crickets and breathing the latrine-stink of prison air.

"I am're expecting?" he asked.

She looked down. "I guess it's not a secret. Yeah. We're popping an heir. I had to. It was part of the whole Queen deal."

"How soon?"

Jillian shrugged. "Depends on when we get home. We've got a Turnamancer." Vanna had worked to accelerate the popping process in Faq, and could finish the job when they got home. "Soon."

"All to establish a new Royal line," said Ansom. "It seems misguided."

Jillian kicked the cell door. "You wanted it, you stuffed blouse! I told you being a Queen was the last thing I ever intended to do, and it broke your disbanded heart! Now here I am. Here's your Queen Jillian, Prince!"

She threw out her arms, to present herself. Her shadow fell upon his face.

After a moment, he shook his head, grimly.

"Go to dust!" spat Her Royal Queenliness. She snatched the lantern and retreated into the night.