LIAB Epilogue 20
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"Queen?" came the knock.
Jillian sat up on her cot and turned the oil lamp's knob to brighten the room. "No." She rubbed her eyes. Her hat message to King Slately had been sent successfully, but there'd been no answer. Nor had she received a Thinkagram from Don or Charlie since they'd taken up quarters here in captured Brookstone. Now the moon was high in the sky. "I'm almost insulted. Am I gonna have to call them for my chewing outs? ...Chewings out? Whatever. I don't think so."
Duncan nodded. "You need anything before I bunk down?"
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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.
He was sitting up on the floor, leaning against the brick pillar he was chained to, favoring her with his trademark look of disapproval.
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.
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 told...you're expecting?" he asked.
"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.