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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 65: Hastings 23
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 64: Slade 21
Bookbinders' reputation was well deserved; the food was good, the service first-rate, and the selection impressive. The prices reflected it. But if Bethany would help, it would be worth the price.
And Bethany was quite interested. "Just like the old days," she said.
"I'll have to take your word for it."
"Don't worry, I'll be there with bells on!" Again Lauren wondered whether Bethany was ever serious about anything.
"Don't you want to know the plan?"
"Plan? Oh, Lauren, you know me better than that. I'll be there, I'll do something, and I'll help. Did you want me to bring something?"
"No, whatever you think best will be fine. By the way, I'm impressed with your little collection of knick-knacks. The coin was particularly interesting."
"Well, I had to be certain it was you. I knew you'd see the coin for what it was immediately. How are you doing with the other bits?"
"Well, I'm working on them. I've actually been pretty busy, and haven't had much time to spend."
"Oh, then I should give you some hints."
"Hints? I should write these down."
Almost absentmindedly, she telekinetically lifted a pen from a waiter's pocket and picked up a napkin. "Go ahead."
"Well, one of them does what it was made to do, but goes far beyond where, when, and how. And one of them gives you the power of its namesake. And one of them gives you the illusion of its namesake, a minute, and hour, a day, a week, a month, a year."
"Wait, is that three clues, or four?"
"There were five things, including the coin--the acorn, the die, the paperclip, and the marble."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot! Oh, but I have to keep some things secret. Don't worry; you'll get it. Oh, one more hint: I made them myself."
At first, Lauren didn't get the significance of this; but then she realized that there were two things. One was that, having been made by Bethany, they would in some way reflect her character, her quirkiness. The other was that the pupil wanted the approval of the teacher, and however absurd it would seem to her, Lauren was that teacher.
"You did very well," she said. "You've done wonderful things. I hope you can tell me all about them."
But this was not the time. Lauren had to pay the bill and get to work. Raal picked her up and rushed her home to change, and then delivered her to the construction site.
And as Monday morning arrived, she returned home and collapsed in bed. It had been a long day.
She was awakened quite abruptly by Raal standing in her room. He startled her. "Come on, miss. We've got trouble. Get dressed, and I'll explain on the way."
As he walked out of the room, she threw on her clothes and her armor and her robe, and grabbed one of her rods, her kau sin kes, and her psionic weapons. She was in the living room in a few minutes, tying her shoes, and then following Raal to the cab.
"What's happened?" she asked.
"It's Miss Meyers," he answered. "Arnie the ghoul is about to ambush her at the studio."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #43: Novel Worlds. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: