My beloved Zann,
Of course, over supper, I told Wande and Jhus all about the palace, and the things I saw and what my responsibilities were. Jhus just chewed her food and ignored me, but Wande was interested. I even told her about Candur’s plans for me, and she shook her head.
“Does he think you’re a genius?” she asked. It was something I had asked myself more than once.
“I don’t know. It seems like he does, a little.”
“Well, you do have surprising ideas at times, I’ll say that. Maybe that’s how he sees you. Anyway. I’m glad you’re all right. Do you… are you worried? About the danger?”
“Some. I was more worried when I was sleeping in the mud under Sugarside.”
We ate in silence for another couple of minutes.
Wande looked up at me and then down at her food three different times.
She put down her spork. “I don’t know how to say this. I know you… It’s springtime.”
It was springtime. “Yes?”
“So it’s almost snobal season.”
Oh, coldpiss. I hadn’t thought of that. It had been so long since… “Oh, right. That’s true.”
She continued. “And I would like us to get some snobals this year. I don’t know if that’s asking too much of you…”
“No, no. Of course we should do that. Wande, I’ve seen that knife in the leather case in your trunk. Is that from your mother?”
“Oh, that’s nice. So I know it’s important to you. I’ll be fine. I’m sure I can do it. I want to do it. It’s not… I want to do it.”
Wande relaxed in her seat, eyes moist. “Thank you, Ybel. It’s just that… well, you know why it’s important.” She leaned across the table and kissed me. Jhus glowered at me.
I did understand. And I really did want to do the snobal ritual for Wande. I could at least be enough of a man for that. But I wasn’t looking forward to it.