Sisters of String and Glass, Part 26

Chapter Eight – continued

She had to get out of the markets, had to hurry home as quickly as her feet could carry her. She’d already given too much information to Adrian. She couldn’t risk spilling any more secrets. Besides, she’d already told Madeline everything she knew about Adrian. The man was still as unchanging and consistent as she remembered.

Abigail had no idea what Adrian intended on buying, or how far away the stall was, or how long it would take him to make the purchase. So, she ran towards the fountain, weaving around people as quickly as she could.

The merchant stall she was looking for was practically deserted. Very few could afford the fabrics, so the man sat reclining in a chair with a book in his hands. A handful of neatly folded fabrics were settled on his table, shimmering in the weak light as clouds began to scuttle by.

He caught her eye as she approached and quickly stood to offer a small bow.

“Greetings, Miss. Are you interested in some of the finest fabric in the world?”

Her breath still labored, she nodded, and her hood slipped a little off her head.

“Yes, sir,” she said breathlessly. “I’d like a yard of the blue and a yard of the white. Please. As quickly as you can.”

The man nodded and jumped into action. “Your mistress is in a hurry?”

“Yes, sir,” Abigail said quickly, taking peeks over her shoulder as the man worked quickly to cut the fabric and fold it up for her.

Finally, the man smiled and handed her the two fabrics with another bow. She hastily paid, not bothering to haggle over the price. The man was likely inflating the prices since she was in such a hurry, but the Olidan coffers could handle it. After all, the king paid handsomely for his cousin to not only take up permanent residence in the city so he could have family nearby, but to also spend much of each year in the cold waters of the sea with the mers.

Abigail took a quick glance around and breathed a small breath when she didn’t see Adrian. Of course, the man still had her basket, but it was easy to replace. Her heart hammering, she quickly wound her way back through the markets, fighting hard to not run, her ears listening carefully for Adrian’s voice.

But she never heard him, never saw him. Before she knew it, she was passing through the gates to Olidan Manor. Breathing heavily, she slowed her stride and tucked the fabric into a pocket on the inside of her cloak. She didn’t want Muriel to claim them for herself, and definitely did not want to wander back to the markets.

She bit her lip as she approached the doors. How she would explain her sudden disappearance, she wasn’t sure. She just hoped Adrian wasn’t going to come knocking on every door, looking for her.

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