Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day One-Ninety-Eight: Great minds think alike

Logan showed up again today, thinking I was about to send him spying, but I had to turn the poor lad down. I had my own idea for today: I was going to spy on Robert.

You'd figure that I've had enough of spying. After following Driscol for The Baron, and my emotional turmoil and angst over letter-opening, I wouldn't seem a likely candidate to don the superspy mantle. But, hell, I guess I don't learn - and in this case, I'm spying on family. It's different. Acceptable.

… plus my stomach wants to know what Robert has planned. Dangit, if he's found a way to bring more chow into the castle, then I WANT IN!

I'm not nearly as sneaky as Logan, so I decided to disguise myself again. Go incognito, like, and see if I could catch Robert discussin' his plans with somebody else. Maybe even get him to talk to me, and try to convince me to help him with his poll. I'm sure it's a poll. Why else would he be asking tons of people the same questions? Poll poll poll.

SO. Disguise. Here's what I used:

- A big, bulky merchant's outfit I borrowed from a friend
- A puffy hat
- A fake beard - it was kinda small, but it was the best I could do on short notice
- A nobleman's wig Logan leant me at the last minute - dunno where he got it, and I figure it's best not to ask
- A walking stick, and to pull off the charade I pretended to limp - practiced with it 'n everything in front of my BRAND NEW MIRROR (yes, we have a mirror! My gods, owning a house is AWESOME!)

After making sure that Captain Cedric wouldn't be near my post for a while… which was easy enough, 'cause he seems to have forgotten me, out by the cockroach cup… I donned my getup and headed for the Beefiary. It was just after lunchtime, so Robert was taking a break with a bunch of his pals at one of the tables.

I fetched a plate of tarts from one of Robert's assistants, then sat a little ways down their table. Munch munch munch, listen listen listen. For the first while, there was nothing to hear, really: just a bunch of stupid stories and jokes and stuff.

A half hour of idle munchin' LATER, Robert said something that caught my attention: new sources of meat. He said that yak was dryin' up in the castle, what with yaks moving out of the kingdom, and he'd need a new source of beef:

"Yep, it's true. No more yak. I mean, might last 'nother month or so, but past that? We got rats. That's it. 'n I hear people wanna get rid of the rats anyway! Unhygenic, they say! Picky, says I, but what're ya gonna do. I wouldn't be that sad to see the blighters go."

"Do we only get rats from now on, then?" asked one of the men, a stout fellow with crooked orange teeth. "In the Beefiary? Where's the beef? Ain't no beef in rats, I'd warrant."

"I hear ya," Robert replied. "So I've got a plan."

"A plan?" they echoed.

"Aye, a plan." Robert slapped his hand on the table. "Gonna revolutionize how we do things 'round here. Just you wait."

I tensed. This was it. I knew it.

"What is it?" asked a thin, greying fellow on Robert's right, so slight that the wind would have broken his bones on a blustery day.

"Well," Robert said, "y'gotta keep it hush-hush. Y'hear?"

They nodded. I leaned in, though I kept my eyes away from Robert, lest he catch on.
Robert's voice dropped to a husky whisper. "Well. Y'know the Neck?"

They all nodded. I blanched.

"The king gets ridda people on that thing 'most every week. And, hell, folks go across it by accident all the time, and it's twitchier 'n ever. I give 'em a fifty-fifty chance of survival."

Silence. Waiting. Listening. I'd leaned so far over that I was almost touching the back of one of the guys.

"So… I figure…" Robert dropped his voice again. "Why not stick the body parts in the stew?"

My mouth dropped. I'm sure everyone else's did, too, 'cause I still wasn't looking.

Robert plowed onward. "That's right. Body bits. Who'll know the difference? And it's not like those moat monsters need every scrap of flesh, do they? They can eat each other, can't they? Moat's got too many of the damn things as it is."

I grimaced. Swallowed. Couldn't believe what I was hearing. Robert proposing cannibalism? And not telling anyone? DISGUSTING, DIARY. Pure gross-out disgusting.

Robert's voice grew with his convictions. "It's the perfect way to solve our yak problem. Don'tcha think? And from what I hear, a buncha folks in the Imperium eat each other all the time. Human body's full of nutries or calorients or whatever the hell they're called. Probably make us healthier 'n more productive. The people who live, anyway."

Shudder. Couldn't believe. Wouldn't believe. This had to be an impostor.

"And…" Robert was so loud, so firm and sure, that I could have sworn he was speaking right into my ear. "And if we don't get enough from the Neck…"

Hissing breath -

"… maybe we could kill some folks on our own? THIS FELLA LOOKS MEATY!"

Robert's hand slammed down on my shoulder. I shrieked. He'd been standing right behind me. I soiled myself thrice over, each time a different bodily expulsion. I'll let you figure out what number three was on your own.

They all laughed at me, Robert the loudest of 'em. He patted my arm to stop my quivering, but I could tell comforting me was the last thing on his mind. He didn't even stop laughing when I punched him in the face.

"Get outta here, Drag." He pushed me out of my chair. "I'm not s'stupid I can't recognize you in that ridiculous outfit. And by the gods, change yourself. You smell like a barn."

I ran. Fled. Thank god I was still in disguise, 'cause mooooost people, I think, didn't recognize me. If they did, I would never live down that shriek. I've no doubt I sounded like a castrated woman.

(CAN you castrate women? Like, is there an equivalent? I'm not sure which floppity bits would get the chop-chop.)

So, yeah. There's no yak shortage. Or cannibalism. Robert was just being an asshole. I don't know anything more about what he's got planned, either, which is a right pain. BAH, THAT DICK. I oughta dump a bucket of chum on his head, is what I oughta do.

No more subterfuge. I'm gonna ask him, straight out, what he's planning. Tomorrow. Right after the dinner rush, when the Beefiary's empty. And I SWEAR I won't be leaving that stupid cafeteria 'til I GET AN ANSWER

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to scrub some undies. Libby won't do it for me anymore. She says my undergarments are disgusting.


Dragomir the Guard

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