"Mmm." Smoke curled one arm up to touch Master Corydalis's forearm. She hadn't meant to mock-faint into his lap: she'd been aiming for his shoulder and missed. Now that she was here, she hadn't quite figured out how to leave. He had a very comfortable lap. Lying in it was probably taking too much advantage of the casual atmosphere. "No, you sound like you have everything under control. Although, wait, I am a concerned about my apprentices, who will be arriving tomorrow. I normally have them run errands for me and do independent work, but I'm not sure that's advisable given the atmosphere. Could I -- I don't know -- get a local assistant? Someone who know their way around and could keep my boys from stepping into any hornets' nests?"
"Certainly that can be arranged." Master Corydalis was still smiling at her, with that devastating smile he'd employed at their first meeting. His legs shifted under her. He had a very
comfortable lap. Those long legs and strong arms provided plenty of support.
"Thank you, sir. You're very kind." I can't get up now,
Smoke told herself. That'd make it look like I flopped against him just to extract a promise or something. I need to make getting up look natural.
"How far is it from Courthall to the Trade District, do you know? I've not gotten my bearings in Hallston yet."
"Not far. Two miles or so, perhaps. The address you gave for Curry This might be two and a half. We're in the Crown District now."
"Oh, are we?" Smoke straightened; the draka gracefully assisted her, as if strange people fell into his lap all the time. Maybe they did. She gazed out the floater window on her left, away from him, and watched the Crown District. It had a lot of ancient mansions and manor houses. To Smoke's eye, they were over-ornamented and sprawling. She liked the height and grandeur and cleaner lines of Crescent Bay's skyline better. As residences for a single family, they were imposing. She couldn't imagine the army of maids needed just for dusting. "Are we going to pass the Palace?"
"Not exactly. You'll be able to glimpse it on the right, when we reach Candid Street. But we'll be several blocks shy of it. We could ask the driver to detour, if you like."
Smoke turned to look past him. He'd obligingly leaned back so she could see out his window.
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