Kael didn’t need the potion to tell her what he was asking; what she did need was some way to tell her if she wanted to agree to his proposition.
“Maybe not tonight?” she offered, hoping that would go over as she meant it.
From the rueful look on his face, probably not.
“I just moved in here,” she tried. “And I don’t even know where everything is yet. In a week – next Yorday? – I’ll have drinks to offer you that aren’t potion reagents.”
“I have to admit, with most women I know, being turned into a frog isn’t a real worry when I consider going to their place for drinks.” He smiled, as if he was making a joke.
She wondered if anyone really knew how to do a transformation potion anymore. She wondered if she did, considering how well her last two potions had gone.
Two potions in a thousand years did not a trend make, she told herself firmly. She smiled at Dennor, trying to remember how such things were supposed to go. It had been longer than a thousand years for that, all things considered.
“I don’t think I’m the sort of woman where you have to worry about that, either. Perhaps maybe…” Now what sort of potion might be considered flirtatious?
She realized she had no idea, other than the very obvious. “I suppose I might slide something in to make you a little more… suggestible?”
She could brew a potion to make him do everything she wanted, but that was not generally, as far as she knew, considered flirtation. Besides, she seem to have gotten the right idea across. He raised his eyebrows and smiled at her.
“I have to confess,” he admitted, “I’m torn between telling you that you wouldn’t need any sort of potion to get me feeling, ah, suggestible and asking you what ingredients would go into such a potion. Not that I have any talent for brewing such things! But I’ve found that the more I dig into Hoijera history – into the history of this land in general – the more that I find that we’ve lost. And that’s a lot. Not just potion recipes, whole schools of study. Like this building. If this is an exact replica, than how could it possibly have been this tall?”
Kael noted that everyone seemed a little unclear on the tower and its antecedents. She wondered if that was something Joaon had done, or if it was a residual effect from the potion she had used to send them all asleep for a thousand years.
She wasn’t going to ask this man about that. Instead, she smiled her best mysterious smile – the one that had gotten just about as much use as her don’t bother me, you pesky mortals expression. “Potions, of course.”
“Potions… cure diseases, or at least get rid of symptoms. Sometimes they can get rid of something, or change someone’s mind, or, I don’t know, make some nice fabric. You can’t build a tower with them!”
“You can’t. But the great potion-masters of the era could. And more. Maybe, if you’re very nice, I’ll show you a sample… but for that, you’d have to show me a private place, outside, away from anyone else.”
Dennor leaned forward over the table. “Done. Not tonight, you said. Next Yorday? I’ll be here.”
She raised her eyebrows. “We’ve gone from conversation over drinks to a secluded place and a potions demonstration? Remember, I said you had to be very nice. After all, what sort of honor to my namesake would I be if i just passed out potion knowledge?”
“Well, you’d be a very good scholar. Scholars do tend to share knowledge pretty freely,” he offered – no, cajoled.
“I’m beginning to think you’re far more interested in my knowledge than in me.” She made it sound like a bad thing, but if the truth was to be told, she found it interesting. In the past, most people had just wanted the results.
“Well, I am a scholar,” he admitted, although he looked more like he was having fun. “Most women I know would be pleased that I was more interested in their mind than their body.”
“Well,” she teased him, “I am Kael, a potions master, and I follow my own rules.”
She thought it was probably the first time – no. No the second time – that she had said something like that in jest. Joaon.
She thought about his letter. About him, waking up here away from everything he’d ever known. About her whole tower here, pulled away from their lives.
Her whole life had been the tower. Her whole life had been potions, or so she thought.
Her whole life had been, she thought, being the center of an operation that was known to have the best potions anywhere in the accessible world, being the potions-mistress, yes, but being known as the potions-mistress.
What was she going to do now? And, more importantly, where was Joaon?