Cerys did not have much of an appetite for sweets at just that moment, but when the bread pudding was brought around, the aroma of cinnamon and warm raisins was too enticing to pass up. She finished her bowl and looked over to see Peter only picking at his. She got up from her seat and stood behind his chair. Bayani was hardly eating, either; not only his dessert, but also his dinner, had been picked over.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered, bending down between them.
Peter shook his head, and nodded slightly towards the baron. Cerys knew what that meant; he could not talk about it with Lexavier right beside him.
“Do you want me to take you to the bathroom?” she whispered, closer to his ear this time. They both knew what the phrase really meant, that it was about getting to talk in private without arousing suspicion. With as many siblings as they had, sometimes it was useful to have a special code.
Peter simply waved his hand, almost as if he were shooing away a bug. Later, it meant. Sometimes he liked to bide his time, in case there was more than one thing that he wanted to talk about. It made sense, but it also made Cerys burn with curiosity about what was on his mind.
Fortunately, the baron did not keep the group waiting for long. He soon rose and bade the diners at his banquet a good evening, and then took the exit behind where he had been seated. James told his friends to follow him and his father, and led them into a wide hallway. The manor house was finely decorated, but not so elaborately as to seem to show off any sort of riches. There were fine rugs that covered the stone floors, though they had clearly seen many ages, and paintings hung here and there among the banners. The baron seemed to be displaying hos nobility alongside his humility, and Cerys found that somewhat endearing.
Baron Lexavier led them down several more hallways, most of them not nearly as wide as the first one. There was a door in a lonely hallways that he eventually stopped at. He reach down into his collar and pulled up a ribbon of deep crimson. At its end was a key, which he used to unlock the door and open it onto a comfortable-looking study.
“Do come in,” the baron said to his guests, gesturing for them to enter before him.
Cerys peered inside. There were armchairs that must have been passed down through many generations, and low tables laying in wait for a tea tray to warm their surface, and even a few shelves of books. It was as classic an image of a study, with all of it shades of brown and its earthy tones, as she could have hoped to see. Seeing no reason not to, she stepped past the door and into he room. Himeko followed close behind, and then the others.