He rallied himself and put everything down to his overactive imagination, and trudged disconsolately on towards his tower. He was lost in thought, about the very real threat from last night and the small bluestone, when he entered a grass-roofed tunnel. It was part of a small mammal’s run by the wall. He stopped abruptly in his tracks. He was taken-aback by what he thought was another vision at the far end of the long, shady tunnel. The light was beginning to fade a little as it was nearing sunset. He wondered whether Pelydryn was about to appear again, as the figure at the far end appeared to have an aura about it.
He suddenly realised that he was holding his breath almost willing something extraordinary to happen. So, he felt a little deflated, when it turned out to be merely a silvery-white haired young female. Judging by her silver-grey gown that had simply been reflecting the last rays of sunlight, and what looked like brown hose, she must be from the Kitchen Tower. Nomis could not quite remember what he had heard in the Orphanage many years ago, but he thought that the Spryds who came from that tower all had carrot-coloured hair, not white.
The young maid turned out to be extremely attractive, and his heart immediately began pounding with renewed vigour. She had likewise been a bit startled at first, but as Nomis approached, she waited calmly, appraising his appearance and manner favourably. Nomis remembered his best manners and bowed. Trying to be as nonchalant as possible he said,
“Oh, hello. … My name’s Nomis, I don’t believe we’ve met before?”
Her face registered a brief glimpse of disappointment before she retorted a little tartly: “My! … What a corny thing to say! Do you always speak to strangers like that or do you practise sounding daft for fun?”
Nomis was rather startled; no one had ever said anything remotely similar in reply to his well-tried method of introduction before. He began to blush quite profusely and tried to cover his awkwardness by stammering an apology.
“Well, I’m … er … sorry … if I’ve … er … offended you in any way.”
She cut him short with a merry giggle that broke the formality of the situation. However, when he looked down directly into her blue-