Badger is one of the few people who still seems willing to talk to me. Mind you I could do without breathing in his foul breath in my face. The rest of them are still treating me as if I had leprosy, most because of fear of Livia but some are still peeved at me for either having an actual life for a couple of weeks or for 'not keeping Junia safe'.
Badger strangely just seems to think it is funny and keeps going on about 'pickle' and laughing when he sees me. I suppose he's pretty happy at seeing me get rid of Corinthus, (or least disappearing with Corinthus and not reappearing with him). Actually it's pretty useful because whenever he's harassing me, I just have to say "Corinthus" and the leathery old badger just settles back on his haunches, stares into space with a twinkle in those yellow blotched eyes and lets out a long sigh.
Corinthus' replacement arrived yesterday. He looked set in the suitable mold for his profession, with small weasel like eyes and long bony grasping fingers along with that unusual pale green complexion that they all have. As expected he has an aversion to sun-light and soon ensconced himself in a small dingy room, where he can stay. Although after Corinthus, I expect he'll be giving me a wide berth.
I was working with Abhlach the head gardener when he arrived. A cheerful old bloke who always gives me a friendly wave when he sees me. Then again I think that this is more to do with Livia removing his precious apples trees for her latest drainage system coupled with Livia's new extra distaste for me rather than any sweetness on his part.
One good thing that I did find out from Abhlach is that Junia is off and out of my hair. Not that she bothered to tell me anything about it. She left early this morning with Gaius to Rome, or nearer afternoon by the time they were gone.
"Vita brevis, ars Longa" Gaius said as he left.
Life is short and the Arts are long, which I take to mean that Junia is going to be bored rigid with culture. I think her view is more that life is too short for Art. Not that by all accounts there was much by way of Art on Gaius' last trip to Rome.
Our cook smuggled some food to both of them before reminding me yet again that the last departure hadn't gone so well.
"See Ant," she said "At least she's in safe hands this time. I told you last time that nothing good happens up north and did you listen?"
Livia though bestowed one of her most dazzling smiles on me as they were leaving, which chilled me to the core."
Timeo Danaos et dona ferrentes!