They ended up staying for nearly a week.

Aislin's fever kept getting worse, no doubt because he was barely eating and in a depressive haze. It was like everything hurting him was in some of kind of negative feedback loop.

Henry didn't want to go out and get a doctor because any actual physician would take one look at him and know he was a demon; that would invite troubles of its own.

When he went into town to gather news or buy supplies, no one acted as though anything was amiss; when he asked one young lady if she'd heard of any large fires happening recently, she mildly responded that there simply couldn't have been any because it had rained.

There were no military officers investigating, no sign of any trace of the culprit, and no signs anything had even really happened at all.

It unsettled him.

When he got back to the inn, he helped Laurana with laundry and a little bit of cooking for the dinner service before going to his room.

" I appreciate the help, Henry, I know you've got a lot on your plate right now," she sighed sympathetically as they peeled potatoes.

" I've greatly extended my stay, so it's only right to do a couple things to help you out," he replied absently. " You're a single woman running a small inn on a busy road. I figured any help would be appreciated."

A pause.

" Not to talk down to you," he amended. " I just want to help where I can."

" No, I... Thank you. It's hard to find considerate folk around these days," she said.

" At least it seems the country is at peace," he remarked, singularly aware of the irony of this statement.

" That reminds me... Today some army men from up in the capital came by and they were awful rude," Laurana said thoughtfully.

" Army men?" Henry asked.

" Mhm. They damn near tore the place apart. Said something or another about there being fugitives and a demon spy on the run hiding from them," she said with a sigh.

" And what did you tell them?" Henry asked, not letting any misgiving show on his face as he picked up another potato to peel.

" I told them they were being ridiculous, and to get out! They were looking for some blonde demon man and tried to bust in all the guest rooms, and I told them the only people I've got staying with me right now are you and that little blackhaired girl that's sick! It's ridiculous! I've never been madder at a man from the capital, who do they think they are, that they can go running around and hollering and throwing stuff around when someone's invalid- I didn't let them in your room of course because I didn't want her to be bothered- I'm thinking of writing a complaint and you ought to take it up to their headquarters for me, you can go in because you're a knight-"

He stilled her hand.

" You've near cut yourself, calm down," he said mildly.

She seemed to realize she was incensed, and huffed, relaxing slightly.

" I can't stand it when men are rude," she said. " If they come back I'll beat them out of here with a skillet."