Sartore settles into his new, temporary life.
|Maisero and Sartore were slotted to get some rest in one of the cabins that were kept for visitors. Sartore was grateful that he had a separate room from Maisero. It wasn’t long before night fell, and Sartore grew more comfortable with the little cabin and the encroaching darkness, and the mat tucked into a wooden frame that he was going to sleep on. There was a small cut out in the cabin where moonlight fell in, and Sartore thought he could be pretty comfortable in here for a while.
Somebody knocked at the door in the middle of the night. Sartore hadn’t yet fallen asleep, but had seen the shadow move across the window. He wasn’t sure who would be up at this hour, but at the same time, he certainly was, so it must not be that strange. Suddenly, he imagined Maisero creeping up to the door, then himself slipping out of bed to open the door and see the old man bearing over him with some crude weapon in his other hand whose shape was defined by its silhouette, then Maisero raising the weapon over Sartore’s head, and in one fierce movement bringing it down upon him—
“Sartore, right?” Anastasia said, almost whispered, as she opened the door and walked in. Her hair had gotten frizzier since Sartore had last seen her, and she tried to brush away some of the curls that had fallen over her face, but to no avail, as they swung back to their former positions immediately. She didn’t seem to notice.
“How are you?” she asked.
“I’m okay,” Sartore replied.
“I hope this little room of yours has been comfortable enough for you.” Sartore nodded, and stared at her as she formulated her next words.
“How did you meet Maisero, Sartore?”
“Well, I was walking along the docks of the city, wherever Balto was, across the waters, and he found me, told me he wanted to talk to me, and I was mostly lost, didn’t know where I was going, so I said sure, and I waited for him in the morning after some sleep, we went to the library together, and he told me about this magical place on the other side of the water, and we decided to go together.”
“Has he ever acted strangely, or done anything that made you think something strange was going on?” Sartore laughed.
“All the time,” Sartore said, and she started laughing too. But her laugh was restrained, more like a fish hook sent out to the water at a measured distance. She stopped promptly, too, just long enough for the laugh to seem normal.
“I think you should be more careful of him,” Anastasia said. Now her eyes narrowed, and she donned a serious mask, almost creased and wicked. “He doesn’t seem to have your best interests in mind. I’ve been suspicious of him ever since he arrived here, and I think you should be careful around him. Do you understand?”
Sartore nodded, but hesitantly. Something about this conversation was annoying him. And giving him a headache.
“Good,” Anastasia said, then rose and walked out of the cabin, waving goodbye with a cheerier expressiion that she had had her entire stay there. Sartore felt robbed, but he shook the feeling off, and tried getting to sleep.