" Ohhh, what a nice little gentleman! Let me get some scones for the guest, Henry!" his mother said as they seated themselves at the table.

" Thank you, miss, but I must decline. I'm not very hungry right now, so..."

" Nonsense, you've been out in all this snow!"

Henry stared him down, trying to keep his gaze from hardening to anger, resentment, hatred.

This person was...

Without a shadow of a doubt...

The Demon Lord Vasyra.

He had the same face, and walked the same way. His hair, long and black, was tied back into a ponytail.

He genially tipped his head, self-consciously brushed a stray strand of his oil slick black hair behind his ear.

" ...Well, I suppose I can't refuse," he said. " Thank you, ma'am."

She smiled and bustled out of the room to the pantry.

" Your mother is a very kind woman," he said. " I heard from Master Ornstein that she's of a delicate constitution? What a shame."

What sort of farce was all this? It was all he could do not to yell at the man, draw his sword, cut him down.

" Yes, it is," Henry said.

" Will it still be alright for you to come with me to the Order? I don't think our Master considered..."

" Yes, it'll be fine," Henry said. " We have many family friends in town. I was planning to go to the Order myself in the spring, and send the money back home for her medicine."

" Well, it all works out then," Aislin said.

His mother came back with a tray of scones and three cups of coffee.