Lia followed Charlotte until they reached their quarters. Charlotte walked briskly, glancing left and right for other people. Luckily for them, most of the scholars were still out. They stopped at what Lia assumed to be Charlotte’s room. The other girl jerked her head to the side, gesturing towards the room.
Once inside, Lia stood on the side, her eyes subtly shifting from side to side. She knew it was rude to ogle at somebody else’s room. Yet she could not help but become interested in the interior as though the room was enough to tell her what she wanted to know from her classmate.
The room was similar to hers, probably much bare than her paper-scattered floor. Every piece of furniture was placed neatly in their proper places. Charlotte’s room reminded Lia of a minimalist’s home in the modern world, but with more artistic flair. Lia was even more surprised to realize that Charlotte did the designing for her room. She imagined noble kids at this period to be entitled and had a hard time living along without hordes of servants. And she knew Charlotte had hordes or a lot more based on the ones she took with her during the exam period.
Charlotte sat down on the floor and gestured for Lia to do the same. She stared at Lia like a hawk. “Just so you know, I’m not entirely believing this whole mother thing with Ta-- your mother.”
Lia sighed she expected as much. If someone told her something like that she would not believe them either. But what choice did she have? She raised one shoulder in the form of a half shrug, “What I said was true.”
\t“You have to do better than that. How about you start from the very start?”
\tLia considered for a while what would be considered the start. She then started from novel Lia’s early memories and then added her own experiences in the middle. “We stayed in the forest until recently.”
\t“Then why do you want to learn about Sallan? Why are you looking for your mother if she died in the fire like what you said?” Charlotte asked, the hard expression on her face never wavered all this time.
\t“If you don’t tell me, then I won’t know if I can trust you and know the extent of your knowledge.”
\tLia thought it was only fair. She continued her tale about the letter Yolly received and the planned attack at the shop. Charlotte was silent when she finished speaking. “Now I don't know if you are going to believe me. But I agree with you, I also don’t trust people around me so you have every right to mistrust me. But what can I do? You’re the only lead I got. Even if you throw me to the queen, I just want to know the truth.”
“Even if it kills you?”
“I’d rather die knowing the truth than continue living in the sweetest lie,” Lia said.
Charlotte regarded Lia for a while before sighing in resignation. “I’m not on the side of the queen, that’s for sure. Or anyone in my family. And I also don’t think that you are lying. You’re too devoted to someone that is not your own. She’s not your real--”
“Real or not, she is my mother. My second mother. My family. I’d fight for my family.”
Charlotte exhaled as if releasing all of her energies with her. “Fine. Fiiiiine. You got me with that fight for family things. I’d do the same thing. That’s why I want to make sure that you are someone to be trusted.”
“And I realized that I was being judgmental to you. Please accept my apologies. It’s not easy to live in the palace these days. Too many spies, not many people to trust.”
“I take it, it’s the queen?”
“It’s always the queen. You want to be extra careful with her by the way.” Charlotte held up a hand. “Alright, I get it. You’ll have it. We’ll go to our house this weekend.”