"Who's the killer, mam?" One of the serving girls asked.
"Well, it's not you, so you can relax; though I'd stop taking the silver-ware if I were you." Deanna responded; the girl jumped in surprise.
"How did you kn-" She started to say, but cut herself off too late.
"Lillie, it's not important." Harriet said off-handedly. "Besides, we already knew."
"Of course; now, go away please." Lillie practically ran from the room.
"Now, who killed my father?" Harriet asked. "I can't imagine who would, or could, do such a thing, he was so well liked."
"Why don't you ask your mother." Deanna said.
A puzzled look came over Harriet's face, but Deanna was hardly paying attention to her, instead watching the widow, who had jumped when Deanna had spoken.
"Are you insane? Why would my mother kill her own husband?" Harriet objected.
"Greed, perhaps? I don't know her motives," Deanna said. "But I do know that she stands to gain the most with his death, and, as you said yourself, he was so well liked."
"Mother?" Harriet said, turning to her. "Please say it's not true."
But her mother wasn't listening. She had turned white as a sheet as soon as the accusation came out into the open.
"I must say, you did an excellent job concealing the deed. I had dismissed you as a suspect considering your grief, but you weren't really grieving, were you?" Deanna said.
"Stop it!" Harriet said, covering her ears. "My mother would never do such a thing! How dare you accuse her!"
"Harriet," Her mother said quietly. "Be a good girl and shut up."
Harriet sat there, open-mouthed at her mothers words. "Mother?"
The woman was looking at Deanna, steel in her eyes. "You caught me; didn't think you'd be able to figure it out."
"Why did you kill him?" Harriet asked quietly before Deanna could speak.
"He stood in the way of my inheritance." She said simply, as if that explained everything.
"What inheritance?" Harriet asked.
"Your father had inherited this Inn, and he had promised it to his wife, who would get it upon his death." Deanna interjected. "By the way, I wouldn't drink your tea."
"Why?" Harriet asked, unconsciously glancing at her tea-cup.
"You stood to inherit part of the Inn as well." Was the answer.
Harriet stared at it for a moment, before slowly turning back to her mother in shock. "You wouldn't? Please tell me you didn't."
But her mother stared back, unconcerned. The tears she had been crying not five minutes before had suddenly vanished from her eyes.
Harriet stared at her mother in horror. "You would kill your own daughter? For a piece of real-estate?"
Silence was her answer, and that was more than enough. Harriet stood and walked to the other end of the room. Her shoulder's were shaking.
Deanna stepped outside the door to wave some of the local guard that patrolled for the local Duke. After explaining what had happened.
They came and arrested the widow, who showed no concern or remorse for her actions.
Harriet watched in tears as they led her mother away to the jail.
* * *
"How did it fall off?" Cayle asked as he, Cadman, and Alroy stood in a semi-circle looking at the fallen wheel.
"I don't know; it's your wagon." Alroy said.
Cayle bent down and raised the wheel so that he could examine it more closely.
"The foods ready." Finn said from where he was sitting over the small campfire he had constructed while the others had been obsessing over the fallen wheel of the wagon.
"Oh, thanks Finn." Cayle said; he set the wheel back down and walked over to get some food, Cadman and Alroy following.
"We'll fix the wheel tomorrow." Cayle said. "I don't know about you, but I just don't feel like fixing it tonight."
"Procrastination is man's best friend." Cadman said with a grin.
"I thought that was dogs." Finn said. They all started laughing, Finn, after a moment, started laughing as well.
* * *
Deanna walked over to stand next to Harriet, who hadn't moved from her spot in the doorway since they led her mother away.
"I'm sorry," Deanna said, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. Harriet turned to her, tears standing in her eyes.
"How could my mother do such a thing?" She asked in a quiet voice.
Deanna shrugged. "Greed is a powerful thing."
Harriet wiped the tears from her eyes. "Well, I'd better get started on the dishes if we're going to be open tomorrow."
She headed off for the kitchen, but Deanna stopped her. "You can take some time, you know. No one will hold it against you."
"No, it has to be open tomorrow." Harriet insisted. "My father never left a customer out in the cold, and nor will I."
Deanna smiled. "Alright, if you feel that's best. I don't think I'll trouble you for the night, I'll be heading off now."
"Alright." Harriet said. "Thank you for finding my father's killer. Even if it was my own mother."
Deanna didn't know how to answer that, so she just nodded and got her things together, since she never checked into a room, and left the Inn.
She went around and got Krennan ready to leave.
"Well Krennan, I solved it." She said quietly. He snorted in response and she smiled at him before mounting. They walked out of the barn, and when they were clear, she let him break into a run.
* * *
Harriet watched her from the window, her face frozen in pain and grief.
She turned to find the strange man who had been there only a few days prior to the stranger, seated at one of the tables.
"You did well." He said.
"My mother was arrested, you never said she would have to take the fall." She said.
He shrugged. "I thought it was implied. But well done anyway, you managed to peak her interest for longer than I thought possible."
Harriet curtsied like a school girl, a smile on her lips. "It's from years of getting my father to do what I want."
The man smiled in return, creasing the area on his face where his scar sat.
"You did well, and so I will help you with your parents' debts, as promised." He said, taking out his purse and pouring some of the contents onto the table. It was all gold.
* * *
The night went by quickly, Deanna rode most of the way, stopping occasionally to rest Krennan, and then she would be off.
"Well, this pattern seems familiar." She commented as she stopped once more to water Krennan and to get something to drink herself.
She sat down and started eating some dried fruit and a biscuit that she had, noting the tastelessness of the fruit.
"I really should have requested some more food from that Inn." She muttered as she ate.
Soon, she was off again, heading for another Inn to get a meal that actually had a taste.
* * *
The next day, Cadman and Cayle started working on re-attaching the wheel to the wagon; also trying to figure out why it kept loosening and falling off.
"OK, hopefully that will fix it this time." Cayle said. "Who would have thought that this one wheel would give us this much trouble."
"Did you ever think of getting a new wheel?" Alroy suggested.
"This was the new wheel." Cadman said. "We'd been having trouble with the old one so we got this one; maybe the problem is the wagon?"
"I don't know." Cayle said. "There is nothing wrong with the wheel or the wagon, they just don't want to stay together."
"Maybe it's operator error." Finn muttered just loud enough for them all to hear.
Finn glanced at them to see they were all staring at him. "What?"
* * *
Deanna began her usual pattern, stopping at Inn's, pubs, and any other place where Herndon would have stopped, but with no luck.
When she stopped for the night in the woods, she thought over everything.
Since no one had seen him, that means that he must have either bought them, or taken a different route than the one she's been on.
She sighed, really hating this.
She leaned up against Krennan and pulled her blanket around her shoulders and fell asleep. She'd worry about that in the morning, but for right now, she needed sleep.