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How right Aglaea was - yes, it could have gone much worse. Secundus could have become fixated on Aglaea's short moment of inattentiveness and punished her for it, rather than catching the thief as he seemed so keen to. "Let us thank the gods he was in a good mood today," Livia agreed with a quick nod, wondering to herself how long that rarity would last. But there were other things to do, namely hear her body slave's explanation.

"You did well," she encouraged, cross for a split second that it had taken a stranger to nudge Aglaea's conscience into coming clean. She must have been more afraid of punishment than Livia realised - but by whom? A wave of malaise came over her and she laced her fingers together, dropping them on her lap. Could Aglaea be scared of her? Of what she might do? Or what if she just did not want to share the bits of her life that were truly private with Livia anymore? That was a distressing thought that Livia attempted to smother at once, shoving it deep into the recesses of her mind. Aglaea was speaking to her now, wasn't she? So she trusted her. They trusted each other. How could they not, after all they had been through together?

With surprising effort she pulled herself back together and focused on the other woman's words. "I'm glad he was honest and helpful," Livia forced out with a weak smile. "I fear that your dominus may want to find him, to interrogate him..." It was hardly a matter for the courts, but she wouldn't put it past her husband to have the poor slave roughed up a bit. "Did he tell you who his master was?" If only they could speak to them first, tell them what had happened and how Rufus could still be of help, go the way of diplomacy rather than threatening words... provided they knew who to address first.

@Echo

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Aglaea could only hope that Secundus's ire was satisfied by his search for the anonymous and certainly elusive pickpocket, instead of growing with each moment he failed to find him. That could only mean that he would return and punish her himself, more severely. Though she took comfort in knowing she was too valuable to him because of her womb for him to punish her too harshly. Livia suggested they thank the gods that it had gone well and the slave responded with a small smile and a "Mm."

If the slave had heard her mistress's thoughts, she would have assured her that she was unafraid of her punishment - she had been fearful of Secundus's possible reaction. Everyone in the household lived in fear of the man, of his intermittent bouts of rage and incoherent rambling. She glanced at Livia as she suggested that Secundus wanted to find Rufus and interrogate him and she sighed. "I only hope that he has some helpful information. Who knows what Secundus would do."

Livia continued, asking whether Rufus had mentioned his master's name and Aglaea shook her head. "No, I'm certain he didn't. Which might work in his favor, Secundus might not be able to find him. All the same, I'm confident he is innocent of any wrongdoing." She gazed at Livia again, trying to gather her thoughts and return to effective service. "Would you like some wine? Settle your nerves?"

@Liv

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