Loading... Chapter Twenty Six
"You're cheating." Amilia playfully accused as she handed Daniel her cards.
"Just because I'm a thief doesn't mean I'm dishonest," Daniel said as he shuffled the various suits of clubs, coins, cups, and swords. "Here, would you like to cut?"
Amilia smiled. Her hand hovered over the table as if to spoil his masterful plan. The second she committed to reaching down, Daniel pulled the deck back. "No, not that one," he teased.
Her laugh was echoed by the sound of a knock. That's when he knew this it was all over. No more hiding from the rest of the world and playing truc. He got up from the floor to answer the door and was met with a familiar face that surprised him far more than a stranger would have. "Ah, Lance," Daniel said. He blocked the door almost protectively with his body. "Hello."
"Ah, Daniel," Lance said, mocking his tone. Maybe not such a friendly face after all. "What were you thinking, running off with some girl for so long?"
"She isn't some girl."
Lance coughed out a laugh, and glanced away. "There were wanted posters for you all over town. You didn't even ask the guild for help. Didn't even tell me you were leaving. I was worried you were dead. Then, like smoke you appeared to do the guild's bidding."
The fact that Lance's voice wasn't raised made him feel so much worse. Pointing out that it had been Charlie's request, not the guild's, wouldn't make his friend feel any better.
"I'm sorry. I was in a rush."
"I don't want to hear excuses," Lance said, "You let her cloud your vision, and now you have to come with me."
"They sent you to get me?" Daniel swayed back before righting himself. "I'm not a wayward puppy."
"I volunteered," Lance corrected. "Believe me when I say I'm the one you wanted to show up." He paused, looking at Daniel with a funny little expression. "Why are you blocking the door?" Lance took a step forward to come in, and Daniel placed a hand against the doorway to block his path.
"Que cachez-vous?" Lance tilted his head to glance over Daniel's shoulder.
"I'm not hiding a thing," Daniel said purposely in Spanish.
The boys silently stared each other down for a moment before Lance broke the tension by pushing Daniel's arm away and walking inside. His steps ended abruptly when he spotted Amilia sitting on the couch. She lifted her head, and gave him a nervous smile. "My god," Lance said, "So, you're also alive."
"Daniel," Amilia said, hesitantly stealing a glance over to him. He had closed the door, and was awkwardly standing about until she called his name. Daniel sat down, and the simple touch of his hand seemed to reassure her.
Lance's lips parted at the gesture. It seemed like he wanted to ask something, but held a breath and let it pass. "If Daniel is going to play coy, maybe I can ask you," he said. "Why do they want you so bad? And how did you convince that bonehead to go with you?"
She stared at an empty space on the ground for a moment before she spoke. "I'm not sure. I guess they first wanted me for a helping you out, but when Sebastiano became involved, his money might have weighed in and made me more desired."
"That isn't—" Lance waved his hand. "That doesn't matter. No one seems to care whatever personal squabble is going on. All anyone seems to care about is a shield. Did you guys steal it?"
"No?" She didn't mean to seem unsure about it. But what could be so special about a shield?
Lance glanced from her to Daniel and back. Daniel's expression was slightly less confused, but it was clear neither of them really knew much about it. "You guys don't talk business much, do you?"
YOU ARE READING
Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...