“Gregory sees you.”

The candlelight on Mig’s tray revealed Gregory limping towards her, the thick rope tied around his ankle, his hands outstretched.

“You, Gregory presumes, have brought food for the jailer.”

He laments the lack of soup, but ploughs into the dish most admirably.

“Gor,” said Mig, staring at Gregory with respect. “You eats the bones. You are most ferocious.”

Gregory ate another piece of chicken, a wing, bones and all. And then another. Mig watched him admiringly.

“Someday, she said, moved suddenly to tell this man her deepest wish, “I will be a princess.”

At this pronouncement, Chiaroscuro, who was still at Mig’s side, did a small, deliberate jig of joy; in the light of the one candle, his dancing shadow was large and fearsome indeed.

“Gregory sees you,” Gregory said to the rat’s shadow.

Roscuro ceased his dance. He moved to hide beneath Mig’s skirts.

“Eh?” shouted Mig. “What’s that?”

“Nothing,” said Gregory. “So you aim to be a princess. Well, everyone has a foolish dream. Gregory, for instance, dreams of a world where soup is legal. And that rat, Gregory is sure, has some foolish dream, too.”

“If only you knew,” whispered Roscuro.

Mig obviously doesn’t mean any harm to the princess, but Roscuro sees that she could be a tool to enact his revenge, if she were sufficiently persuaded that doing so would make her a princess.

Then Gregory sneezes very conspicuously into a napkin and…

“Back to the world of light,” Gregory whispered. And then he balled the napkin up and placed it on the tray.

“Gregory is done,” he said. And he held the tray out to Mig.

“Done are you? Then the tray goes back upstairs. Cook says it must. You take the tray to the deep downs, you wait for the old man to eat, and then you bring the tray back. Them’s my instructions.”

“Did they instruct you, too, to beware of the rats?”

“The what?”

“The rats.”

“What about ’em?”

“Beware of them,” shouted Gregory.

Next time: Roscuro begins to enact his plot…

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