Dr Gnome part 3

So tonight just got half a chapter (more or less) done. Trying to get everything finished in time for the writers group tomorrow night. Will get tomorrow’s part up before heading the writers group.

4

At nearly noon, Alchemy Pong drove the carriage up to the front doors of The Lady’s Pleasure. The bellman, a small troll in a dashing grey suit, stepped up to the carriage. Alchemy jumped down. “I’m not sure where you folks throw trash around here. If you would please find somewhere to put this I would appreciate it. Also if you could see to the horses, the ones behind need mending then see them to the local orphanage.”

“Very well m’lord,” the bellman stammered, staring at the three dead trolls and the dead goblin in the back seat of the carriage.

Alchemy reached in and grabbed the small chest. “If you could please take my bags to my room as well.”

“And the name sir?”

“Pond, Alchemy Pond.” Alchemy turned and walked into the resort to locate Mister Sellingford.

***

“Master Pond, I’m so happy to see that you made it safely,” Sellingford said as he closed the door to his office. The resort manager appeared to be a half breed of some kind. Alchemy spotted the tale tale ears of elf blood, but the short curly red hair spoke of brownie genes, recently in his family tree. The man was only slightly shorter than Alchemy, with a graceful way of moving, more like a dancer than a resort manager.

“Oh, there were a few bumps in the road, but nothing I couldn’t handle,” Alchemy smiled as he set the chest down in a chair near the man’s desk.

“I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of arranging our lunch in here,” Sellingford gestured to the small table that was laid out with lunch. “It is a bit more private.”

“Private is good.”

Sellingford walked over to the table. “Then, please have a seat. I’d have you know that I am head of the Buteamore secret police, the hotel manager is just my cover.”

“So has any progress been made in finding Hydd Berryman?” Alchemy asked pulling out his chair.

“So far, none. I have the local constabulary working on it, but they haven’t found anything that would be of any use,” Sellingford settled at the table opposite Alchemy. “We checked the house he rented on the edge of town. There are signs of struggle, and his secretary Miss Willowstaff is missing. It appears that there was more than one assailant on Miss Willowstaff.”

Alchemy picked up a large piece of dragon fruit and bit into it. Juice ran down his dimpled chin, but the fruit was sweet. “Who were the last people to see Berryman?” he asked, whipping the juice off his chin.

“Berryman was part of my afternoon gaming friends. We get together every afternoon for either cards or dice. The last time I saw him he’d just lost a round of black nave to Major Havestan. So other than myself, there was Major Havestan of the troll army, and Professor Drys.”

Alchemy finished off the fruit. “So what is Drys a professor of?”

“His field is ancient magical culture,” the police officer replied.

“And what’s he doing here in Buteamore?” Alchemy picked up another piece of fruit.

“There are several ancient cities that have recently been discovered in the jungles around the valley. He’s investigating them.”

The wizard set the fruit down on his plate without biting into it. “And he still has time for games in the afternoon?”

Sellingford looked thoughtful. “I never thought about that. I just assumed he had assistants or something, that worked when he wasn’t around.”

Alchemy shook his head. “He might, but most research mages, especially ones that research ancient magics, tend to be very tight about their research. I doubt he’d let anyone into the sites before he gleamed all the information he could out of them. If they’re really ancient sites and not something more”

Sellingford set his salad fork down. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

“When can you arrange a meeting for myself , the major and the professor?” Alchemy picked the fruit back up.

“We all have a drink after dinner in the bar here.” Sellingford said. “I suppose I could introduce you then.”

“That’d work nicely,” the wizard said. “Now I’d like to go over to Berryman’s place and look around.”

“I’ll summon the chief constable to escort you. We are still in control of the site until we find out what happened to Berryman and Willowstaff.”

“Very good.” Alchemy replied catching the bit of juice running down his chin before it dripped onto his blue silk shirt.

***

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