No sooner had Lo’ranan lost sight of Anastasia through the people on the street than one of the town prefects emerged from Dr. Keith’s and approached him.
“Lo’ranan,” he began with the tell-tale voice of one trying to disguise concern. “I was having breakfast with the physician when you brought Trago – a good showing by the way, very grateful to you indeed – and I had the opportunity to examine his wounds alongside him…”
The prefect ran out of air and was forced to take a breath to continue.
“The wounds, Lo’ranan – those to his person affecting his side, but you know this, you found him – they are reminiscent of wounds that doctor Keith and I encountered during the war and we…”
He took another breath.
“Well we just wish to follow up on the case by getting a look at the site – the one where you found him, you know, but of course it’s perfectly obvious which site I mean – just to be absolutely certain…”
Lo’ranan drew in his lips and sighed inwardly as he waited for the point.
“Well, just to ease our minds that is – it’s a terrible thing having troubling ideas in one’s mind, I’m sure you know – so that we can rest more easily knowing the cause of poor Trago’s condition is…”
“An animal,” Lo’ranan cut in when the prefect went to take another deep breath. “Bear most likely.”
“Ah, that’s just it, young sir,” the prefect began again. Lo’ranan’s brow furrowed and his teeth set on edge at being addressed as such. “Doctor Keith believes – and I concur, marvelous how we always seem to be in agreement about important matters – that the appearance of the wounds are not consistent with a bear, which is why I implore you to guide…”
“Excuse me, but is this important?” this time it was Doyle who broke in. He was gesturing with his pipe at a vial of liquid sitting on the edge of the fountain – Anastasia’s tonic.
“Oh! Thank you Doyle!” said Lo’ranan, quickly turning to stride over and claim the vial. “It is indeed important.”
“Lo’ranan if you could,” began the prefect, but Lo’ranan spoke first.
“Master prefect, this tonic is for Anastasia’s ailing mother. It has been left here by accident, and it really is imperative that she receive it without delay.”
“I understand, Lo’ranan – maybe we could…”
“This will cause her no end of anxiety to have lost,” continued Lo’ranan. “So I really must be going to return it to her.”
Lo’ranan approached his horses – which had moved to drink from the fountain after the excitement died down, taking the cart with them – and began to lead them towards the southern road out of Xiphos.
“Sir Lo’ranan, I feel you don’t understand,” tried the prefect.
“Oh yes, completely!” Lo’ranan called over his shoulder in the most comforting voice he could muster. “You need a guide to the location where I found Trago. Look no further than Medwin at the Skeine – he’ll take you right to it!”
And with that, ignoring the final cry of protest from the prefect, he picked up his pace and ran down the southern road after Anastasia, horses and cart following behind.