Chenonceaux was not a very large village. For Marchen, the important feature of the area was the Chateau Chenonceau, where Cinderella had gone to her ball. Although Addi grumbled about feeling like a tourist, Sig insisted that they see the chateau before arriving for their meeting with Philippe-Emmanuel at the cafe.
"We should see such an important site in Marchen lore," Sig argued. "Humor me."
Sig and Addi had no problem finding their meeting destination. Philippe-Emmanuel was seated at a table in the quietest corner of the cafe patio, with a slender girl.
"She looks so much like you," Sig murmured as they approached.
"Our clans are all pretty intermingled," said Addi. She smiled a toothy smile at Sig. "And we all have some lupine features."
Philippe-Emmanuel rose with his usual courtesy as they approached. "May I present Mademoiselle Mathilde Louv? Monsieur and Mademoiselle Sigismund and Adolfina Jaeger." He glanced down at Mathilde, then added, "I need to speak to the owner of the cafe, if you will excuse me."
"Philippe-Emmanuel told us that you have been working in with a group called the League of the Fey," Addi said slowly to Mathilde.
"And is this powerful League antagonistic toward Marchenkind?" asked Sig.
"What about Philippe-Emmanuel, then? How does he fit into all this?" asked Addi.
"I'm not entirely sure," said Mathilde, frowning. "He says he's a Marchen, has Marchen knowledge, and is very good friends with Isabelle. I'm not quite sure what story he fits into, if he fits into any story. Of course, people like us," gesturing to Addi, "and hunters like you, Sig, belong in the Marchen world because our ancestors belonged in the Marchen world. It's all in the family, so to speak. Philippe-Emmanuel? His parents are dead, but he was brought up well, and has a small estate to manage. He doesn't seem to have any fairy in his ancestry, but somehow got to know Isabelle, and helps her with Fey business."
"Who is the guardian of Cinderella's story?" Addi asked.
Addi saw Philippe-Emmanuel returning to their table before she could ask any more questions. She turned to him instead. "What is our next step? We would like to meet Isabelle, of course."
"I'm glad to hear you say that. Isabelle has confided in me her own suspicions about the strange circumstances recently, and since the two of you are in deep enough from your own explorations, it would be beneficial to all of us to compare notes about what you know."
Sig asked ingenuously, "And are you the keeper of the story of Cinderella?"
Philippe-Emmanuel started slightly. "What? Oh, no. I believe my family is like all of yours, steeped in Marchen traditions. There were farmers in the stories, as well as hunters and..." he paused and cleared his throat. "Isabelle told me she would like to meet tomorrow morning, when you feel refreshed. So perhaps we should discuss where you two should stay tonight."
Addi thought that Philippe-Emmanuel did not look happy about the other three being able to have their own conversation for the entire evening, but people who knew Ulfer knew better than to argue about their ways. And Mathilde's dictate was actually completely true. Perhaps, thought Addi, she was making too much of his possible concern. She herself didn't trust Philippe-Emmanuel yet, nor did she trust Mathilde completely. Ulfer were generally fiercely loyal to their own above all, but Addi was not naive enough to think that any one of her kind was completely beyond treachery or deceit. She knew Sig was smart enough to be aware of that too.
"Thank you for a lovely tea, Monsieur," Addi smiled. "When and where do we meet tomorrow?"
Addi and Sig glanced at each other. It was basic fairy lore that fairies generally favored gathering at the top of hills, and sometimes even made fortresses for themselves there. On the other hand, fairies also had power near rivers, and this town sat neatly beside one. She and Sig would object to meeting at her home, and at least on the hilltop, they would be able to observe if anyone was nearby to overhear. Addi closed and opened her eyelids, letting Sig know she accepted this plan, and Sig announced their agreement to the other two.
"Until tomorrow, then," said Mathilde briskly, rising from the table. "I've arranged for one of my uncles to give us a ride to our little settlement. It's not very far away from the town, here."
Sig and Addi gathered their belongings, as Philippe-Emmanuel wished them a pleasant evening. Addi was already looking forward to what she wanted to learn from Mathilde.