Photo by Frank Eiffert on Unsplash

You can read the story from the beginning here. This episode is in response to Writing Prompt Number 23

“Miss Marianne was at the shop all day,” Lady Freydis grumbled. “And Martin spoke to her twice.”

Noah winced. “I don’t think Martin is interested in Miss Marianne,” he said. “I mean, Kadogan chased her around the candle workshop with a pouring jug and then she threw a table at him. I’m pretty sure that she’s forgotten about Martin.”

“And then she spent half an hour telling Sir Thomas how attractive he was.” Lady Freydis glanced around her. Printed versions of the social media posts were scattered around Noah’s office. “She suggested that he carried her bag home for her as she was so delicate.”

“That was only to torture Sir Thomas,” Noah said. “And he was hardly going to think she was frail after she threw that table. He was down there and the table missed him by a whisker.” He grinned at Lady Freydis. “Then Kadogan was threatening him with dreadful punishments until Mrs Tuesday had a word.”

“You are progressing with the books,” Lady Freydis said. “And sales are up from the line thing.”

“You mean, online sales are up,” Noah said. “It’s an easy place to sell.”

“But I still lack one book for my purposes, and I believe that Lord Cerdig may own it.” Lady Freydis picked up a print of a post in a startling shade of pink. “What does Lord Cerdig want?”

“He needs money and he wants a wife,” Umbran said, stepping unexpectedly into the room.

“I didn’t realise that you were there,” Lady Freydis said. “Well, I’m married, so he can’t have me. Though I imagine that he requires a wife.” She glanced at Noah. “Fairy domains are better if they are ruled by a couple that are male and female. It’s an old tradition although I believe that Brighton is successfully ruled by two lords.” She looked around Noah’s office. “All these things confuse me,” she said, waving an imperious hand at the walls cluttered with mood boards and the cameras and lighting equipment stacked in the corners. “Follow me.”

Noah looked at Umbran and followed Lady Freydis through the door, stumbling as he realised that he was in a spring glade instead of the clean corridor outside his office. “I’m never going to get used to this.”

“That was deftly done, Lady Freydis,” Umbran said with a hint of awe.

Lady Freydis threw a smug glance at him then walked to the centre of the grove. “I’ve been searching diligently,” she said. “My magic is adequate for the basic searches.”

Noah frowned. “Is that a crystal ball?” he asked.

“It’s a form of scrying glass,” Lady Freydis said. “But it needs a great deal of patience. But the last piece of what I need is within my grasp. All I need to do is take it from Lord Cerdig.”

“What exactly are you planning?” Umbran said. “It sounds… tricky.”

“We could try going through Ferdi,” Noah suggested. “That worked before.”

“Even Lord Cerdig won’t believe that Noah is a double agent after getting reports from Umbran,” Lady Freydis said.

“Just pay him money,” Umbran said. “Add in a container of something pink, threaten him with injury if he hints at coming near you and demand the book.” He looked between Lady Freydis and Noah. “Lord Cerdig has finally paid off his gambling debts, but he’s still short of money.”

“And that’s why I was so attractive to him,” Lady Freydis said. “I have profited greatly from the success of the White Hart. He wanted my money.”

“I believe that he found you attractive,” Umbran added tactfully. “And he feels the need for a wife. His court is lacking.”

Lady Freydis frowned. “I did not realise that he was indebted.”

“Lord Cerdig has worked hard to better himself,” Umbran said. He grimaced. “Though there are a few areas of his personality that still need work. I can act as an intermediary.”

“What’s in it for you?” Lady Freydis asked.

Umbran paced around the crystal ball. “Lord Cerdig has been good to me,” he said. “I’m not sure that I’ll want to stay in York, but he got me out into sunlight – real sunlight. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it.”

Lady Freydis looked at him thoughtfully. “I am running out of patience with this quest. Please contact him and ask his price for his copy of the 1896 Welsh Language New Testament, the one stamped Four Pence on the cover. I’ll add in a large box of edible glitter, pink sprinkles and half a dozen of the latest candles from our workshop.” She frowned. “And I may be able to make an introduction.”

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