Linza continued studying under the madame. At her day job, she was expected to put in her time just like everybody else until she worked her way up to a halfway decent salary. But at the estate, her talents were acknowledged. Leveraged. Useful. Appreciated.
The madame offered her a job working full time on administration, which did not preclude her from her night job either.
She’d discussed it only briefly with Tanyth, but they’d so immediately tried to beg and convince her to take the offer that she’d had to dismiss their advice as overly biased.
She’d talked it over at length with Grun. She told Grun what she liked and didn’t like about her day job. He helped her uncover everything that was irrational about her resistance to this potential change.
Would she be wasting her degree? Not if she’d be making more money (which, she would be, especially with how successful the sex toy enterprise was becoming).
Would this job be less stable, would it vanish out from under her? Not likely, but if it did, she’d manage.
Would she ever be employable as an alchemist again if her primary work history was estate administration?
Grun’s answer to that had been her favorite of all.
“If you want to be an alchemist that badly, you’ll just found your own lab.”
“How in the world would I do that?” Linza said.
“How in the world could you not? Linza if there is one thing that I know about you, it is that when you figure out what you do want, not a thing on this earth can stop you.”
So, she accepted the job.
She quit the lab.
She cried in the doorway of her little apartment, now empty after Grun had helped her move everything to her new quarters at the estate. She wasn’t quite sure why she was crying, but she let herself do it anyway. Grun put an arm around her shoulder and didn’t rush her.
She eventually found words. “I’m glad for what’s next but… I’ll miss it.”
“Isn’t that how it always is, a new chapter?” Grun had said.
Linza remembered how many chapters Grun himself had started, and she found his hand with hers. “I’d like to visit your father, sometime. See the library, and everything.”
He smiled. “I’d like that too.”
And then he had picked her up and carried her down to the empty floor and fucked her there. They wrapped each other tight, their moans echoing around them like ghosts of all their pleasures past, bidding them fortune and farewell.
One last fond memory as the final page turned and the new chapter began.