Emiliana didn’t seem pleased by that information, but she chose not to argue.
Ibai took her hand again, but then paused, thinking. “Oh, I almost forgot to ask: is there anyone else you want me to bust out of here before we go? The more the merrier, I say!”
“...No,” said Emiliana.
“Are you sure? No other hostages or anything? It seems odd that you two would be the only ones.”
She kept a flat expression and shrugged. “If there are any others, they weren’t with me.”
“Hmm.” Ibai tilted his head and squinted. “That’s funny, because I heard one of those soldiers earlier say that I had ‘an Elroy’--as if to imply that there was more than one. I forget how many children House Elroy currently has, but it seems a fair bet that you’re one of them and that more are being held hostage here right now.”
That seemed to put Emiliana at a loss for words.
Chergoa spoke up for her. ‘The rest were killed. Very recently, too, so it’s not surprising that those soldiers didn’t know. Please don’t ask her any more about it. She’s been through considerable trauma already.’
“Ah, that makes sense, then. Oh, and I’m sorry to hear that.”
‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Chergoa, abruptly changing her tone. ‘So what’s this you said about going on an adventure? Because that sure sounded interesting.’
Ibai’s face lit up again. “I’m glad you think so! Let’s go find some fun stuff to do! See if we can put her mind at ease!”
Ibai jumped all three of them up a few floors and immediately ran into another group of unfamiliar soldiers. These ones were already in the middle of subduing a handful of Blackburn guards, and they were all facing the other way or otherwise too busy to notice the new arrivals. Even their reapers didn’t seem to sense Ibai’s presence yet.
“--word of an aberration in the building!” one the soldiers was yelling. The target of his anger was a Blackburn servant with a half-melted face, pinned against the wall alongside his reaper. “If you know something, tell me now!”
As Ibai looked over the scene, his smile waned. That servant’s name was Rafael, and Rafael was a dynamite checkers player.
After a beat, however, Ibai’s smile returned, even wider and toothier than before.