I continued my normal routine over the next few days. Things almost felt normal after what had happened with Luna. Though it was probably due to the fact that I hardly ever saw him. There were some days that I completely forgot he was even there. I only remembered when the Natale’s asked me to take his supper to him. Even then, I never saw him without his helmet.
So, I focused on work. I made sure to get all the things required done. And I helped wherever I could. I was glad to do something more than what I was used to. Sure, the tasks of laundry and cleaning weren’t often what I did at the palace. But I remembered going and helping out when I was little. As I grew older, more responsibilities began to demand more attention.
As I passed Mr. Natale’s office, I glanced in and saw him working over some papers. I stopped in my tracks and watched as he rubbed his head trying to figure something out. Curiosity took its course and I walked in and looked over his shoulder. It was the financial budget. A few things he was doing was causing the Winter Tavern and Inn to dip into the negative. But I also noticed a few errors in the calculations.
“Mr. Natale?” I called softly.
He was pulled out of his focused state and turned towards me. “Elora. I’m sorry. Do you need help with something?”
I shook my head. “No, but I wanted to ask why this was put down twice?”
I pointed to one error. He looked it over and let out a groan of frustration. “Curse these old eyes. I can’t seem to keep things straight anymore.”
“Can...” I was hesitant to ask. “Can I help?”
He looked back up at me, hopeful.
“I was well educated at home.” I admitted. “I think I can straighten things out.”
He moved to the side and held the quill out to me. I began to work. Pulling out a fresh page, I began to write things down a second time and asked questions on things I wasn’t certain about. For the next few hours, we worked together to fix the finances. I even suggested some things that would take the price of certain things down a bit.
“Are you sure about this?” He asked at one of my suggestions.
I nodded my head. “At home, we used fire bricks for heating. Sure, they cost more than wood, but they last ten times longer than wood, so you wouldn’t have to buy as much as you think. You’d save money in the end.”
He nodded. “Alright, I’ll talk it over with my wife and give it a shot.”
I smiled, probably one of the first since I left home. “I’m certain these changes will make the Winter Tavern and Inn even better than it already is.”
“I don’t doubt it. You’re a smart young lady, Elora.” He stood up and walked out of the room.
I soon followed, but a weight fell on my chest. And I noticed that it had gotten heavier whenever my mother’s name was used. I missed her, but at the same time, I felt guilty for lying about who I was. But I kept justifying it by telling myself it was for my safety. I kept repeating it in my head over and over again, hoping that it would sometime stick. But it only reminded me of lying to the kind couple that took me in.
How long had I been there? I had lost track of the days. I still needed to get to Alovia, but I didn’t feel confident in getting there through enemy territory. I was fully ready to spend the rest of my life helping at the Winter Tavern and Inn. I knew I was at least safe there.
“Elora!” Mrs. Natale called to me. “There is a large crowd tonight. I need your help in the Tavern.”
“I’ll be right there!” I called back and made my way over.