Eye of the Colossus
“So, Xadrian. What is it that you need?” Holly waited for something about blackmail or a request for her to tail and photograph some wealthy man in a seat of power who was potentially cheating.
“Ah, to business then,” he muttered and stretched his back and neck, and then cracked his knuckles. “Very well. This face you see before you? It isn’t the face of the one who requires your services. I’m here on behalf of someone else. Someone with money and power.”
Holly attempted to keep her face passive. “Obviously,” she said. Obviously. Obviously I wouldn’t be introduced to the actual client. Duh. It was probably like this a lot, in this business. Whatever this business was.
“Yes, I’m sure you knew that,” Xadrian said, a grin touching the corners of his lips. “My employer has had a valuable, priceless possession stolen:
“Oh great,” Holly said. “It’s not a simple job.”
“It was stolen, my employer needs it back. Ms. HD, what do you know about the Eye of the Colossus?”
She shrugged. “Nothing, really. I don’t move in those circles. It’s not really my thing.”
“The Eye is a golden amulet with eleven priceless gems embedded within it—it was created by the famous Druiviin artisan, Ko Lapsong to represent the unity of the four races on the six moons, bestowed by the life-giving hydrantium found on Muibaus—aka the Eye,” he paused. “Sorry. You’ve really never heard of this?”
Holly shook her head. “I don’t dig jewelry. But I get it, Ixion is the Eye. So one gem for each race, each inhabited moon, and then the biggest is Ixion?”
“Muibaus,” he nodded. “Ixion is the pedestrian term for the planet.”
That fit. The rings, the attention to appearance, the expensive wines. Xadrian was kind of a snob.
“Moving on. Eleven gems. The biggest is the Eye, exactly. The problem for us and therefore you, is that in less than two weeks it will be moved.” Xadrian studied Holly’s face as though to see if his words were having the right impact. She nodded once to give him feedback. “Once it’s moved, we won’t know where it is and will be unable to recover it.”
“An item, stolen, you need it back before it gets moved and you can’t track it. Great.”
“It’s slightly more complicated than that, however, some of the details that you will need, we’ve got.” He tapped a dark green folder sitting on the table beside his goblet of wine. He paused and swirled the drink around in the glass. He sniffed it and then took a sip. “This folder contains an image of the jewels and the location. We can provide some other tiny bits of intel. For the rest, you will need to scout it out, sneak in, and try to get it back without it being damaged in any way. Or, without your being arrested.”
Holly pursed her lips. “Makes total sense. But before you go on, we should address the elephant in the room. Payment. So far I’m not feeling inclined to do such a dangerous-sounding job.”
Xadrian dipped his head in satisfaction. “You’ll be paid, rather handsomely if I do say so myself.