had the marching rations, with me, in my side pack. That meant that you would have had no food all day. I expect that you didn’t have time for any breakfast this morning since I was anxious to be off so early?”
Nomis sensed that incredibly, he was actually receiving a vague apology from his tutor.
“It’s all right, Master Hiral, sir; I did have some honey Bara this morning and this afternoon I had some flatty-cakes … ” oops! Too late! Nomis trailed off as he suddenly realised that he had said more than he had originally intended.
“Where did you get flatty-cakes from, Laddy?” Hiral asked with curious suspicion.
“Well, … sir … it’s rather a long story,” … Nomis hesitantly began. He had already resolved that he would have to tell his tutor what had happened. However, he had decided that he would leave out the bit about treating another’s patient … just hoping that it wouldn’t ‘come home to roost’, and get him into trouble later. He had not expected to have to begin so abruptly though, so he was a little unprepared.
“Go on, Master Elfin. We have the rest of the night to hear this complicated tale. … ” Hiral sounded in a better humour than Nomis had expected, obviously prepared to hear him fully this time, as opposed to his usual wish for a hurried précis of events.
Nomis told the story of what had happened to him, once Hiral had left him alone on the path by the side of the moat. He related his encounter with Gludog and how he had been coerced into helping with the carrying of the baby pigmy shrew. He told Hiral of all that had occurred in the Hunters’ Tower, carefully leaving out the incident about the diagnosis and treatment of the Patty-chef’s mother. He also left out anything relating to the extraordinary feelings he had experienced, both with Gludog and Drimana, on the way home. He was a bit surprised that Hiral did not interrupt him, even once, encouraging him continue at his pace, without the usual ploy of firing questions to throw him off balance. When his tale ended, Hiral shifted in his chair, and seemed to relax. Nomis was puzzled; there was something not quite right about this interview. It was not following the normal pattern of his encounters with his tutor.
“Hmmm … I see. Was there anything more you wanted to tell me? I know that you’ve left some parts out, but they’re probably not important to the whole. If there were something that is important, then