“We believe…” He stopped, clearing his throat. “We believe that the Queen is no longer alive. We think that Bent or Konstantin killed her. I’m very sorry. Please understand that you have the deepest sympathy of the Kanin people, and you will always have our full support. But our mission here is complete and, like our Trylle allies, duty requires us to return home to serve our own kingdom.”
“I see.” She lowered her eyes and swallowed hard. After a moment, she said softly, “Then there seems to be no reason for either of you to remain here. Send my gratitude to your King for your aid, and I trust that you can see yourselves out.”
Ridley opened his mouth as though he meant to say something, but there was nothing he could say. Lisbet left us alone in the room with a heavy silence covering us.
“So that’s it then?” I asked. “We just leave?”
Ridley let out an exasperated sigh. “What else would you have us do?”
“Finish our job!” I snapped.
“We have!” he shot back, then lowered his voice. “The Queen is dead, Bent is dead, and Konstantin is gone, leaving without a trace, and he’s almost certainly moving on to his next target. We can’t help the Skojare any longer. We need to get back and protect our own people.”
He softened and stepped closer to me. “As a tracker, you know that you don’t get to pick where your job is or when it will begin or end. You just do the work that is given to you, and then you move on.” He put his hand on my arm. “This job didn’t work out the way either of us had planned, but it’s time to go home.”
I nodded, hating that Ridley was right. There was nothing left for us in Storvatten. The only thing we could do was head back to Doldastam. I finished gathering my things so Ridley and I could start the long journey home.