Elf Blood, Free Novel, Chapter 16
*So frankly someone should have posted by now — I’m so late with this — but I think my colleagues are equally busy. Sorry. I have a chapter, I do. I even had it up and ready to go, but WordPress decided that Mad Genius Club didn’t want new posts. I’ve been fighting it for a while. Also, there were “family stuffs” TM. So, forgive me. As you see below the plot thickens, or at least Dickens.*
*You guys know we talked about doing a shared world. We went with a whole continent so that Dave can have his jungle and I can have my big city with diners. We’re working on a contract which we should have in a week or two (and yes, we’ll post it for your enlightenment although we haven’t decided yet if anyone not in the group can play. OTOH if it’s very successful, we’ll inevitably enlarge it. For now, here’s the eighth chapter of Elf Blood, book one of Risen Atlantis. And for now it is ©Sarah A. Hoyt 2014. All rights reserved. Do not copy, distribute or otherwise disseminate without the author’s name, and a link to this page. You do not have the right to alter it. You do not have the right to claim it as yours. For permission to do anything other than quote it for review or recommendation purposes, email Goldportpress@gmail.com. This is a work of fiction, all coincidence between it and real people place or events is assuredly imaginary.*
For previous chapters, see here.
It took me some little while to get rid of the fairy princess. When she left, still without my committing to help her or her brother, and I regained the full possession of my apartment, I went over to the window and looked down.
Early morning in Pomae, and in the street below, isolated from light by the looming buildings on either side, people were hurrying along to their jobs.
It made me feel a great desire to go to one of those boring jobs, myself.
That was my first thought, but it was followed quickly by another.
Looking at those people, down there, hurrying to work… There were so many of them.
It’s not that I didn’t care whether or nor Ardghal Parthalan had ever consummated his marriage with his wife. It wasn’t that I didn’t care who might have killed her. I could even entertain a passing thought that if he hadn’t liked the pure-blood elf princess, perhaps he was angling for a half blood. Ardghal was beautiful. I wasn’t intending to get emotionally involved – with anyone. All I needed right now was another encumbrance in my life. Keeping myself alive was hard enough. Besides, look at what love with an elf-king had done to my mother.
But there was the secret gloating feeling that perhaps he’d prefer me, nonetheless. Perhaps it’s human. Or elf. They’re not all golden and devoid of jealousy. Whatever they’d have you think.
The matter interested me, in that sense, and in the sense that it was a puzzle. As it was a puzzle why there were pictures of myself and Ardghal in… intimate congress.
But suddenly, looking at all those people, down there, I was sure as I could be that there was a much bigger puzzle behind this whole thing.
Look, I don’t know how many million people there are in Pomae. Someone once said that half the population of Atlantis was there. I know the numbers change daily, usually upwards.
What I knew, with absolute certainty, is that there were many many millions of people in Pomae.
Some of them, of necessity, sane and not, well disposed and not, must be half elves. I couldn’t be the only one.
And I couldn’t be the most competent one. So, I was a private eye. Supposedly. But the Parthalans didn’t want a ring found or a cat brought down from the tree. They wanted a murder solved. My experience and competency in that area was exactly none.
So, why me. Not just Ardghal, who struck me as rather hapless in some ways, but his wife too had had me followed. The police were sure I was involved in it, and not just as Ardghal’s bit of fluff – which rationally was the most they should think. Then there was Treasa.
No. No, none of this was a coincidence. There was some reason why Chara’s murder, and whatever the trouble might be in the Parthalan household – and what MIGHT it be? Exactly – revolved around me.
The hair rose at the back of my head as I thought the time for the great sacrifice drew near. But why would they fix on me even for that? Being the great sacrifice was not hereditary. Considering they preferred virgins for that, it couldn’t be. Not even in the cases like me, where the sacrifice left a child behind.
So – what?
After a while of looking out the window, I realized I couldn’t go to bed, which had been my original intention. I also realized something else. I had to get out of this place. If I sold the dress I’d bought for the Parthalan party, I could get a ticket somewhere. Not Mud Hole. That would be no more safe than Pomae. I was known. Somewhere, it didn’t much matter where.
I’d heard of wealthy half-elf families who required half elf nannies. I wondered if anyone would be stupid enough to hire me.
Moving rapidly, I bagged the dress to take the cleaners. The consignment shop would not take it in this state. Then I trotted down the stairs to the road, and walked the two blocks to the cleaners. They were in a little alley off the main street.
Before I entered the alley, I noted there was a car parked at the entrance to the cleaners, but I paid no attention. Chauffeurs often parked there to pick up laundry for their masters.
But as I tried to edge past the car, a hand grabbed my arm. I yelped, involuntarily, as the dress went flying.
Something pressed in the middle of my back and a voice I didn’t know said “You. Get in the car.”