The Lyte Brigade celebrates its successful first assignment with a victory feast back at the inn. Normally, Mr. and Mrs. Lyte wouldn’t be thrilled to have a party of six eating for free, but they figure they’ll make an exception to celebrate a milestone for their children. The Lyte Brigade sits at its table in the corner of the dining room, jubilantly buoyed by their first success and a resounding victory in battle.
The other five take a brief break in their festivities to watch Tancred challenge Sally to a chess game one more time.
“Yes!” he roars triumphantly, leaping to his feet and punching the sky as he moves his rook into checkmate position.
“Ahem,” he says as he catches himself, cautiously peering down at Sally, lest his celebration has offended or upset her.
Instead, she is looking up at him, once again smiling that toothy smile of hers. “I taught you well,” Sally declares. “Count Bunnyescu didn’t think you’d beat me so soon.”
She promptly snatches up one of Tancred’s fish-on-a-sticks.
Ever the gentleman, Tancred allows this to pass without comment. Sally hops down from the chessboard, circles the table and climbs into Matilda’s lap.
“I think we fared quite well,” Falcata says. She frowns as she considers her words. “Or perhaps those bandits were just that inept.”
“That’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility. What an unkempt lot of brutes they were,” Tancred agrees. “But yes, we were quite impressive, weren’t we?
“I got to ride a badger and a unicorn! Even my Mom never got to do anything like that when she was adventuring!” Pela says.
“I’m proud of us,” Matilda says. “I—Nolan, are you crying?”
“We did it,” Nolan says quietly as tears stream freely down his face. “We’re finally a real guild.”
“Oh, come here,” she tells her brother. She throws her arms around him and pats his shoulder.
Sally also puts her arms around her brother, not wanting to be left out of a good hug and silently insisting that Count Bunnyescu also be included.
“You did good, Captain,” Matilda tells Nolan, wiping away the tears that have started welling up in her own eyes.
“Amara, there are some people here to see you,” Mrs. Lyte announces.
A familiar figure is standing in the doorway, holding a cake.
“Katherine!” Amara exclaims eagerly, surging to her feet and hurrying across the dining room. She smiles down at the two girls who have accompanied Kat. “Dunstana, Miss Ginger.”
For the moment, at least, she makes no comment about Kat’s conspicuously much-shorter and newly-shorn hair. She eagerly leads them back to the Lyte Brigade’s table to introduce them to her guildmates.
“You all know Katherine, of course,” Amara says. “Allow me introduce her sister, Dunstana Darkstone—”
“Captain Dunstana Darkstone,” the pirate girl interjects.
“—and Miss Ginger Breadman, one of the finest young bakers in Porthaven,” Amara continues. She points to cake box in Kat’s hands. “And this, of course, would be my cake. Why, thank you, Katherine.”
Kat thrusts the cake into Amara’s hands. “Here,” she says tersely.
“I like your hair, Katherine,” Amara says, a rather smugly unladylike smile creeping across her face.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Kat answers.
“It’s really quite fetching,” Amara continues, breaking out into a wide grin. “It frames your face quite nicely.”
“I look like a dude,” Kat mutters.
“Nonsense, Katherine!” Amara insists. “It makes you look quite handsome.”
“Handsome just means that I look like a dude,” Kat protests.
“Was there, perhaps, an incident with the Ray of Frosting?” Amara asks.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I do believe it has a tendency to pull to the left,” Amara continues.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Ginger glances over at Dunstana. “I can’t believe that happened twice,” she says.
“It. Was. An. Accident!” Dunstana declares.