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Chapter 2.

However opulent the room, the carpet is inexplicably sticky beneath Balthier's restless heels. Through the window beside Fran, he cannot see the city for the cloud. Balthier looks instead at the fresh document before them.

'It's done. The child's future's is assured, whatever happens to me. To us.'

Ffamran's calligraphy looks a child's beside Fran's practiced hand. Basch steps forward to mark his witness and ordinance both, as magister. 'As wedded, will you not assume your still-waiting inheritance?'

'Beneath that contract of marriage is Ffamran's will. Everything to my legitimate offspring, and free of my touch.'

Fran looks out the window. 'If you would stay here, I would not object.'

'I will not stay here, not even if you would.'

Balthier's haste makes him harsh, regrettably: Fran's nod barely masks relief. 'I prefer not to birth our child in a city where we do not make our home. We fly elsewhere.'

Balthier kisses Fran clumsily, as though he never has before. Her belly swells hot against his; the child kicks.

'...fly very fast, presuming?'

Fran keeps his hand. 'As we always do.'

In congratulations, Basch kisses Fran's cheek, shakes Balthier's hand. All other bondage that pair leaves behind.

Continue to Chapter 3

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