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A Dangerous con: The Devil is in the Details

  Even a steamy full bath failed to comfort Beryl after their encounter with Nicholas, but Erica had been supportive of her friend.  She took a look at the fur covered tub and jokingly teased, “I think I could make a killing crafting a machine that cleaned fur out of bathtubs.”

   “If it hasn’t been invented yet it should be,” the cat agreed as they reapplied the eyeliner themselves.  They had been applying their own makeup for days.  They knew eventually they should no longer impose upon Erica and bring Nicholas’s attention to her as well.

   Ms. Fairywren was not happy that her friend would not be coming to her directly anymore.  She bit her lip nervously, “You’ll keep in touch by mail, I hope?”

   “I have to,” Beryl said as she inspected her face and then nodded with satisfaction. “You’re the only one with my measurements for new outfits.”

  “Oh yes,” a smile crept across her lips as she envisioned how Beryl would react to what she had in mind.  “But if you need anything else?”

  “I’ll get word to you and others somehow,” she said as she packed her makeup back into a small purse. “Nobody was following me yet, but he may ask questions soon.  I will be under cover.”

  “If you must find me, I will be around the Essex hotel, at least until Lady Moldylocks asks me to depart.”  Most of their friends had already seen them in their new attire and got the awkward questions out of the way.  Mr. Hyde volunteered to be one of her previous ‘regulars’ and Wright said he had funds prepared.  

   Beryl possessed several years worth of savings, but money alone would not be sufficient.  She needed another approach to entering an agreement with Mr. Nicholas.  This was not a subject they felt comfortable discussing with most of their friends.  The only one with a similar experience was Tepic, who had been trapped in agreements before.

  The fox met with her outside the Essex hotel in the garden that night. He listened to the story and scratched at his head, “Cor!  Yer almost walked inter his trap alright.  Good thing yer was able ter put him off a bit.”

  “Well, I can’t outright refuse.”  Beryl said though even with Tepic they skirted around why.  “What can I do?”

  “Reckon Fae’s and Hob’s has been workin’ on how ter get around the terms of their deals fer a long time,” Tepic said with a mischievous twinkle in his gaze.  “Yer said how yer was already agreein’ ter two different things weren’t ya?”

  Beryl blinked at Tepic’s assertion, but quickly realized what he meant. “You mean how he was talking about…being a woman of the evening and I was referring to my job at the hospital?”  

  “Right, well it ain’t yer fault if he ain’t bein’ specific enough and he ain’t askin yer to clarify!”  Tepic grinned triumphantly as Beryl already plotted how she would move forward.  She was not bound by what Nicholas wanted to imply.  She could be his ‘entertainer’ and as for showing someone a ‘good time’ they would want to pay more for…well

  “I’m going to need opiates,”  Beryl muttered as they tapped under their chin in thought.  One of the mannerisms Erica has suggested. They turned towards the hospital from the garden.  “Opiates, laudanum, morphine, cocaine, and anything experimental Kasa and Sonnerstein have been cooking up between them…”

  They could ask for the medication, but they were trying to avoid direct contact with the hospital and the asylum beyond ‘soliciting’ their employees.  Nicholas would become suspicious if they had too many connections to the facilities especially if he heard rumors.  

  Besides, wouldn’t it look better if she had bought them from a disreputable source?  In fact, given his hatred of Bookworm making the items appear stolen was looking even more appealing.

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  1. violet Solano violet Solano June 5, 2016

    Opiates, laudanum, morphine, cocaine! such things are easy enough to obtain from Qismah, and more dangerous things as well.

  2. Myrtil Igaly Myrtil Igaly June 6, 2016

    Fly was sitting on the dock, his legs hanging above the water. His gaze was lost in the fog that was raising from the Vernian Sea and through which ships were moving silently like ghosts above graves in a cemetery.

    Myrtil sighed from the barrel she was hiding behind. She could see the handle of a gun sticking out of the pirate boy’s belt. The others and her had been taking turns watching him, following him around to make sure he would not do anything foolish. But his troubled mind was keeping Fly awake while the girl was getting quite sleepy.

    The sun was starting to rise above the sea, shyly cutting through the sooty sky. Myrtil shook her head and focused back on the boy. Her thoughts turned to Beryl and their last report. The cat was stepping on a minefield and the urchin girl was feeling guilty for sending them into such danger, but all her hopes were currently relying on them and she had to help Fly as best as she could.

    A bond had been formed when they escaped together from the pirate ships they were on – sea pirates for him, sky pirates for her (*) – and she felt responsible for him. Even more now that his sister had been murdered, leaving him truly family-less, like most of the urchins. She understood his need for revenge, but it had to be smart revenge. They would find the murderer eventually. She just hoped it would not be too late…


    (* see Myrtil in the sky with sunstones , The great escape and Above the clouds still shines the sun )


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