Vanessa said that her other errands could wait, and she would understand if Pinkie and Pepper wanted to do anything else before the Ball. They still had several hours before they needed to be there. But Pinkie seemed to have forgotten about the errands she had wanted to run, and wanted to stay with Vanessa and her mullows.
"There's so much to be done around here," she said, but Pepper was drained completely. He was just fine with the idea of going to bed now and not doing anything else until tomorrow, and he would have done so if it hadn't still been the middle of the afternoon. Instead, he had another plan.
Pinkie was occupied keeping Vanessa company, doing her best to cheer the woman up. While they were making a special room for Smithhugh to stay in, Pepper snuck off to try and find their room again.
The hallways, winding as they were, seemed a little more familiar this time. He could almost determine the path taken to get to their room, but when he opened the door he thought was theirs, he found he'd been incorrect. Undaunted, he closed the door and kept looking. Another door, no luck. Another, similar results.
He searched for a good twenty minutes before he finally found the room he and Pinkie had slept in the night before. He was not as interested in sleeping, however, as he was at perusing the bookshelf. This room, like the one at Mr. Morggison, had a ceiling to floor bookshelf crammed full of different books.
Carefully, Pepper read the titles of the books, looking for any titled "The Will of the Princess." Pinkie had mentioned it sounded like a story, so he figured a bookshelf was a safe place to start looking for it.
But none of the books bore that title. In fact, most of the books appeared to be historical, or do-it-yourself type books (IE: Raising Mullows on ten dollars a day, Teaching Pound to Children, and Mystical Herbs and Where to Find Them: A Field Guide), but nothing that even mentioned a Princess. He looked around the rest of the room, to see if maybe there were any more hidden bookcases somewhere, but no such luck. Just to be sure, he perused the titles in the bookcase one more time, making sure he hadn't missed anything.
He was about to give up, when he spied one book on the very bottom shelf, buried behind a stack of books about gardening with seasonal plants. He shoved those books to the side and grabbed the book that was there.
It had no title. Or, actually, that wasn't true. It did have a title. It's just that the title it had once had was rubbed off for the most part, and the only letter he could see was "S". And even then, only half of it.
The book was ragged, as if very old, the edges of the pages were crinkled and some had small tears in them. It looked as though it had been read many, many times. The owner of this book obviously loved it very much. Pepper slowly opened the cover, which was probably once a deep red, from the edges that curled onto the inside cover, but by now, it was a faded brown and not brilliant at all.
The first page was blank, as first pages tend to be, but he turned to the title page and read, "The Somnambulate: A Story of Love and Loss". There was no author.
It didn't have anything to do with "The Will of the Princess", as far as he could tell, but it didn't matter, really. The book had drawn Pepper in, and he decided to keep it with him. Maybe he would have time to read it before the Ball. He slid it into his pocket, for it was quite small and fit easily, and decided to rejoin Vanessa and Pinkie in the special room they were making for Smithhugh the mullow.
Pepper felt quite proud of himself for only making two wrong turns before finding that room. He was learning the hallways! He hoped that they could continue to stay at Vanessa's, until Pinkie did whatever it was she was trying to do, since he didn't really enjoy the idea of trying to learn some new house every night. And Pepper was growing wary of meeting so many new people. As someone who had only recently given up the hermit career path, he wasn't used to so many people, and it was getting hard for him to keep track.
Vanessa and Pinkie were sitting quietly, watching Smithhugh (who had been placed in a fresh pile of trash) as he slept. Vanessa had tears in her eyes, and Pinkie was holding her hand, stroking it softly.
"Hi," Pepper said softly, feeling slightly as though he was interrupting them.
They looked up at him. Vanessa waved, and Pinkie gestured for him to come join them.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Vanessa said. "I'll have to tell the client we can't make it tomorrow."
But Pepper had a feeling that isn't exactly what she meant as far as not knowing what to do.
Chapter 1: Pepper
Chapter 2: Pinkie
Chapter 3: Dune
Chapter 4: Mugget
Chapter 5: Deltiology
Chapter 6: Umbrella
Chapter 7: The
Chapter 8: Exsanguination
Chapter 9: Oubliette
Chapter 10: Ferret
Chapter 11: Defenestrate
Chapter 12: Pound
Chapter 13: Aerodynamics
Chapter 14: Callipygian
Chapter 15: Cosmonaut
Chapter 16: Ensue
Chapter 17: Translucent
Chapter 18: Shindig
Chapter 19: Pseudocyesis
Chapter 20: Plantation
Chapter 21: Filch
Chapter 22: Detumescence
Chapter 23: Gelid
Chapter 24: Murrain
Chapter 25: Homunculus
Full Story at pepperadventure