After a long silence, I focused on her again. She’d been sitting apparently motionlessly while I thought.
“How is it that you think I’m willing to commit common burglary?” I put my hands on the desk, quietly. They are meaty enough I don’t need to do more than show them, usually. Sure, she had special… assets. I didn’t think she could take me. I also had reserves she didn’t know about.
“I’m not asking you to steal the sapphire, Mr. Dennessey.” She leaned forward, and the facets of her eyes gleamed as she moved. “I’m asking you to assist in returning it to the rightful owners. I am, shall we say, their agent.”
“Again, I’m going to call bull…”
She cut me off with the wave of a foreleg. “I can prove my bonafides. Check your email. I’ll wait.”
I swiveled slightly and pecked my keyboard with a fingertip. The big monitor lit up, and I scowled at it. In my old office… But that was gone. New office, new computer, new email, carefully monitored by my overseers, I was sure. The email box had several unread at the top, but the one that caught my eye was from a very familiar name.
That’s the one I clicked, and a single glance at it was enough. I turned back to her. “I’m satisfied, as far as that goes, that you’re here with the MAAC’s blessing.”
The Magical Arts and Alchemy Committee was paying my munificent salary, providing the office we sat in, and was responsible for the keylogger on my computer as well, I was sure. I had much preferred being an independent agent, but the events of the previous year had put paid to that dream. And the alternative had been returning to my family, tail between my legs, to rule a clan of Black Orcs who loathed every fiber of my being. I’d swallowed my pride, a gulp that had been eased by several factors. Even so…
“How do you know Peters?” I asked, with genuine curiosity as well as the intent to make sure the email was authentic.
“We met in Belize, she was working. I was… at loose ends. I may have helped her out of a sticky situation.” Her shrug did interesting things to her body. “I owe her and vice versa. Are you satisfied?”
“Sounds like something Peters would do, yeah.” I didn’t remember her talking about Belize, or a giant blonde, but the email sounded like her, too. “So. What’s the background on this stone, and where is it now?”
“The Commander of the Channel Fortress had set only a minimal guard. No-one would try to invade when it was so cold that even the Channel itself had frozen over. Unfortunately the enemy on the other side of the Channel hadn’t received the memo…” She tilted her head slightly. “Do you need a more specific locale? Or will it suffice to know that a small, elite force crossed the ice, and when the fortress fell, the stone disappeared?”
“When was this?” I was trying to think through all the wars and conflicts, and knowing I’d need more details, when she chuckled like a knife chittering across bone.
“Six hundred years ago.”
“What?” I lifted my hands up from the desk. “Centuries have passed, let me guess, and no one had heard from the stone until now? Seriously?”
I was prompted this week by AC Young with “The Commander of the Channel Fortress had set only a minimal guard. No-one would try to invade when it was so cold that even the Channel itself had frozen over. Unfortunately the enemy on the other side of the Channel hadn’t received the memo…”
I prompted ‘Nother Mike with “She unwound the ball of yarn carefully, until…”
You can read all the prompt responses over at More Odds Than Ends, or join in on the fun yourself!