The man froze when he saw them, and Emery gasped, throwing her arm out as if to shield Beth. For a moment, no one moved.
The man's eyes roved over them. Little by little, his shoulders relaxed, and he reached up to run his fingers over his thick, white beard. Suddenly, he started cackling. "Hehehe! If one of you is insane, it's the bigger one." He shook his head at Emery, an amused twinkle in his eye. "Hehehe! You got guts, young lady, sneaking her out! Half the city will be after you! Hehehe! But you gave them the slip, didn't you? Hehehe!" His shoulders bounced with each chuckle and he was clearly enjoying what he considered a good joke. Suddenly he stopped and grew somewhat serious, placing a finger over his lips. "Shhh, now. There's too many people this direction." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "But if you go the other way, and take the first hallway on your left, and then the second door on your right..." He pointed past them, tapping his finger against the air. "...then you will find yourself in a back alley. God speed!" He dropped his hand to his side again and turned away, heading back in the direction he came. "Hehehe! She's a brave one. Brave or stupid...Hehehehe!"
Emery looked at Beth, and Beth looked at Emery. Then, as if reaching a decision in unison, they turned and ran, following the directions the old man had given them.