Macbain slammed open the door to the office Underby had been recently using as his own. As she stepped in, a furious expression upon her face, he surreptitiously slipped the papers he had been working on under some other things on his desk; this action was not quite as subtle as he hoped, but she either didn’t notice, or didn’t care.
“Oh, Macba-” he started to say when she cut him off cold.
“Where is he, Underby?”
He straightened up in his chair slightly. “Who?”
“Tenk, don’t play coy with me man. I’m not some floozy demanding the release of my pimp.”
He stared at her evenly. “I told you already.”
She held out the telegram, as she said “Oh?” pointedly. He took the thin sheet from her and looked it over briefly. He looked up at her. “Well?” she asked.
“Why Macbain, when did you receive this telegram?” he asked, casually.
“And, what have you done about it?”
“I’ve told Odnar to come visit then come looking for you.” she said, testily.
He stared at her. “That’s…it…?”
She folded her arms. “Oh, you want to know if i’ve made a public announcement that the mayor has gone missing? Rounded up a witch hunt perhaps? I was just on my way to do that now.”
Underby stood. “Macbain, this is no time for your trademarked wit. The questions is: did you send any help? The man has been gone from town for more than two days… he could be dead!”
Miss Macbain laughed coldly. “Oh Underby… Is that really how we are going to play this game?”
Underby observed her. “I see. I get it. So this was all some elaborate ruse.”
“This ridiculous title of yours.” he said. “Did you really expect anyone to buy that?”
Her eyes blazed suddenly. “THAT is perfectly legal, I assure you.”
Underby smirked. “Oh? Not according to current law it’s not.”
Macbain’s head tilted slightly. “Current law?”
His smirk slid into a full-on smile. “Go look at the books. A law was passed in 1875 which wiped any of those sorts of hereditary titles from the books.”
Stargirl Macbain narrowed her eyes, “You think I didn’t….oh, I see.” her expression changed, and a look of cool passivity passed across her features. “So that’s the game we are playing?” She sagged slightly, and raised her hand to one side of her forehead.
He stared at her, annoyed. “Macbain, if you knew, you would leave well enough alone. Believe this, if you have never believed anything I have said before.”
She sighed. “Osgoode, there is something you should know.”
He shifted feet. “What.”
“The songs in my head have changed… whatever you are doing it’s making Loosestrife very, very happy.”
Underby blanched suddenly, regaining much of the look she had originally known him to hold. “I…” he said, then sat down unexpectedly.
After a long pause, he said: “Sit Macbain… sit. I have to tell you a story…”