Through the Woods (part 8)

Click here to read the previous parts.

Jo started telling Ivaan the plan for escape. “There’s a secret passage in the castle that only I and mother know about. Getting out of it will be easy; it’s the getting to it that’s hard. But if you do as I tell you, it will go from the level of being impossible to being difficult.”

“I’m all ears,” he replied, shifting closer to the bed’s edge.

When Jo had finished, Ivaan could only say one thing- “That is the most horrible plan in the history of horrible plans.”

“It’s the only one that can get you out. Now, we still have a while before midnight, so you better change into servant clothes.”

“Where am I supposed to find the servant’s attire?”

“Give me your clothes.”

“I’m sorry?”

“I need your hoodie and jeans to disguise myself and bring both of us servant’s clothes. I can’t very well just walk out of your room at a half to midnight, can I?” she grinned.

Without meaning to, Ivaan blushed. “Yeah… okay, I guess.” He went into the bathroom and stripped down to his underwear. He opened the door a crack, gathered up his clothes in one hand and snaked that arm through the crack. He felt Jo take the bundle from his hand. He waited for a couple of minutes until he heard the door open. Just then a thought struck him. “Hey! What am I supposed to wear while you bring those clothes?”

He heard her soft chuckle through the door. “You could try mine, or you could just remain as you are now.”

“What the fu-” Before he could complete, Jo was already out of the door.

She’d pulled up the hood low over her head. She made herself as small and uninteresting as possible and tried to avoid the guards and servants milling about the corridors. It seemed like she’d get to the supply closet after all without encountering any servants, but one of the stupid manservants was before her so suddenly that she almost jumped. “What are you doing out at this time of the night? Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he said in his gravelly voice.

Jo broke out into a sweat. She hoped it wouldn’t collect on the tip of her nose and fall down, just like it usually did. She willed herself to remain calm and tried her best to imitate Ivaan’s voice. “I- I was thirsty. I was just looking for some water.” A lame excuse, but the only one she could think of at the moment.

“Could’ve asked one of the guar-ahem, servants outside for it. The water tap’s over there,” he said, pointing in the direction opposite to the supply closet. “And come straight back after drinking your fill.”

“Sure. Thanks.” She hurried off in the direction the manservant had pointed her. She turned a corner and waited behind it until she was sure he was out of sight. Then she let out a breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding and walked as briskly as she could without arousing suspicion, in the opposite direction.

As soon as she reached the supply closet, she quickly began bundling up one pair of manservant’s and one pair of maidservant’s clothes into a tight ball. Except for that little encounter, everything was fine until now.

Or so she thought. It was just a glimpse, but it was enough to confirm Jozsef’s doubts. He knew it wasn’t the Thysia. He didn’t have strawberry-blonde hair.

What will the servant do? Will Jo’s plan be foiled and Ivaan be sacrificed? Or will they somehow trick everyone? That’s a story for another part on another Sunday.


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