A Checkered History: Part 4

“How dare you accuse me!” yelled the man, pointing a heavily ringed finger at the young delivery man, who responded by bringing his hand to his lip. The very fond of rings noble did the same out of instinctual copying, but quickly shook his head clear and crossed his arms. His brow furrowed, and he ran a hand through his purposefully tousled brown hair.

It was an interesting sight in that room. At opposite ends stood turquoise skinned, amber eyed tajkin nobles, married but clearly not trusting enough of each other to share the same side of the room. Standing in one corner was a meek woman, dressed in the baggy tunic and pants associated with peasants, and wearing a thick leather apron over top. In another corner was a man who, although simply a delivery boy, had always had a passion for detective novels and had quickly fallen into the role of contemplative inspector. He had even buttoned his usually unbuttoned vest and ruffled his coat to better match the role. Next to the shouting nobleman was an older seeming fellow, wearing a thick long coat that completely covered his outfit, and a simply shaped black cap. He had a large, fluffy red beard.

“Well then, if you’re so sure that you didn’t kill that man,” said the noblewoman, a cocky malice in her eyes, “then perhaps it was the hired help.” She turned to the maid with a smirk.

“Syndra? No, she wouldn’t have.”

The noblewoman walked up to her husband, the confident albeit malicious attitude still present.

“And why is that? Sleeping with you is not proof of innocence. I should know.”

Loud gasps came from the delivery boy and the scruffy looking man, but the nobleman simply glared at his wife and the maid sunk deeper into her corner.

“How did you know?” asked the nobleman.

“I’ve seen the two of you. Several times.”

This was enough to make the nobleman blush, and the noblewoman turned to the maid, who by this point had practically melted into her corner.

“Trust me sweetie, he doesn’t stay that good forever.”

“Sorry to interrupt,” said the detective wannabe, raising an authoritative finger. “But perhaps we should consider questioning the mystery man who actually found the body.”

The scruffy man gave a loud, pained cough, and the nobleman knelt down, putting a comforting arm around him.

“Clearly this old man would not have been capable of committing such a violent act, let alone have the heart to do so.”

“Thanks slugger,” said the old, scruffy man, who gave him a light tap on the arm.

“Perhaps,” began the delivery boy turned Sherlock caricature. “Or rather very, very perhaps, our victim was not killed through brute force, but with a firearm of some kind. I must go outside and check the body for signs. . .”

“No!” interrupted every voice in the room save the maid. The nobleman whirled to face the delivery boy, who had begun to make his way to the door.

“Nobody leaves this house until we know who’s responsible!” he shouted.

“I’m still going to have to go with the maid,” said the noblewoman. “What’s her name? Synder?”

The nobleman marched over to his wife, tailed by the old, hunched over man.

“Do not blame her for my weakness!” he ordered, extremely theatrically. It was actually kind of impressive, just how theatrical it was.

“What if you got her pregnant, huh? Then what? That bastard becomes your new heir, and then my parents decide to, knowing that they will not have a grandchild from me, make my sister their heir instead, and I get nothing!”

“Wait,” said the nobleman, who now looked quite sad. “You’re not upset about me cheating on you?”

“Oh, by the great spirits, no.” The noblewoman gestured with her thumb at the delivery boy.

“Did you really think I kept buying all those tacky clocks because I liked them?”

The nobleman returned to his side of the room silently, taken aback, and actually quite upset that his wife was only upset about the potential of lost fortune, rather than the actual affair. The maid, however, became energized.

“You were sleeping with her?” the maid shouted at the delivery boy.

“So? You were sleeping with vanity boy over there.”

“Yes, but you and I, we were going somewhere. We were probably going to get married!”

“We still can! As soon as we’re out of the lives of these sultry nobles, I’m going to drop it, as I’m sure you are too.”

While the other three were arguing, the rough man put an arm around the nobleman, and whispered in his ear.

“Things seem to be heating up.”

He allowed a moment for dramatic tension.

“I think you want to be ready when things get hairy. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down. Again.”

The nobleman blinked rapidly before responding.

“I keep a rifle in my bedroom. Here’s the key. Hurry back, and I guarantee no one will be accusing us anymore!”

The man wished he hadn’t said it so loud, but he took the key and hurried to his room regardless. Behind him, he could hear the nobleman return to the argument.

“So if I have a bastard, it’s a tragedy, but if you do it’s just all fine and dandy!”

“He wasn’t going to get me pregnant, idiot. He’s a dwergaz, I’m a tajkin. Come on!”

“We used protection!”

A chorus of uncomfortable exclamations followed as the man went into the bedroom and shut the door behind him. It was extremely ornate, truly a noble’s room. The sheets were rich, green velvet, and the stone drawers were finely and ornately carved, probably from the satrapy Bokal to the North-West. The rifle the nobleman had mentioned was hanging above his bed, outfitted with a gilded handle and barrel, but this was not what he had truly come for. He checked the drawers until he came across a stack of papers. There were several certificates of purchase for valuable decorations, including a few clocks. The man stuffed them all of them into his pockets, opened the room’s window, and climbed out. Once to the city street, he walked up to an albaz boy, pretending to be dead on the ground.

“We’re good. Get up.”

The boy got up fast, although he regretted it, a cramp forming in his back from laying in the same position for so long. The rough man pulled out the certificates. He had been planning on giving the boy one or two, but he was impressed by the boy’s dedication, and found himself giving to him all the clock related ones.

“Thanks, sir.” said the boy.

“And thank you. Now get out of here, before the cops show.”

The boy ran off, and the rough man ditched the cheap coat and hat. After getting a little further he also ripped off the fake, fluffy beard, revealing his actually quite finely maintained mustache and goatee. Milvatedyn, as was the tajkin man’s name, left for the stores where the items had been bought. He was going to get a refund before the item had even been delivered. As for what would happen when the store went to recover the items, well, that was for those involved to figure out. Money back guarantees had a price, and that price was him.