'She won't send anyone out until she's sure they'll survive the unspeakable horrors that await them,' he continued in a cheerful voice. 'Within reason.'
'Within reason?' Cuthbert repeated doubtfully. 'Is that the horrors are unspeakable within reason, or...?'
'Oh, give it up, Will,' the tree muttered. 'He's onto us.'
That, Cuthbert was certain, had not been the wind. He peered at the tree.
'Who goes there?' it called to him. 'Friend or foe?'
'Uh,' Cuthbert said, his eyes darting nervously across the bushes and trees as he tried to decide if he wanted to be associated with them. After all, he was new here and he didn't really know anybody yet, and he didn't know who was cool...
'Here,' the fishmonger said with a wink as she dumped a fat and - ew - slimy fish into Cuthbert's hands. 'The first one's free.'
He tried not to shudder as he slipped the fish into his pantaloon pocket. He could feel it sticking to his leg. 'Thanks,' he said, though he couldn't muster much enthusiasm. 'That's... Thanks.'
'Why can I only ask one question?' he asked, frowning. 'That seems oddly arbitrary. I mean, you're both here, we've been having this conversation so far. Why would you suddenly stop talking to me?'
The guard on the left shrugged. 'I think that counts as two questions, mate.'
Cuthbert clamped his hands over his mouth in panic.