6.3

“Oh, come on, Ember,” Nilien coaxed. “I’m sure you could try. Listen, Larisse – you remember Larisse, right?”

She was the enthusiastic one, Ember agreed. Rather loud. But friendly.

“Loud and friendly.” Nilien smirked. “She was, ah, one of my good friends back at my old school,” she told Lorque and Riva. “And here she says that they’re investigating the attack on me, ah, ‘like a real crime.’”

“As far as I know,” Lorque pointed out dryly, “attempted assassination is a real crime.”

“If there was an attempted assassination,” Riva pointed out.

“Wild Runes don’t just come from tripping over their shoelaces,” Lorque countered.

“Thank you.” Nilien frowned at the letter. “I know someone tried to kill me, and I know that someone is still trying to kill me. That part’s pretty clear. Just the specifics…” She read through the letter again. “They searched my room, Ember. They might have been looking for that pendant, you know. It could tell us something about the person who tried to kill me.”

You are not dead, and I am here, and the pendant is gone. Ember looked away from her, ears twitching. Nothing is wrong anymore.

“Did you forget someone trying to kill me today?” Nilien’s voice was rising up, louder and louder. “I wouldn’t call that ‘nothing wrong!’”

“Oh, come on, Ember,” Lorque put in. “You’re not being difficult with Nilien today, are you? After she got hurt wandering around with your plan?”

It was a good point. Nilien gave Lorque a grateful, if thin, smile.

If she hadn’t run- Ember started, and then put its head down on the bed, its paws over its nose. What does the letter say about the pendant?

“Well, it doesn’t say anything about the pendant in general, but they…” She scanned downwards. Larisse had spent three paragraphs on the way the investigators were dressed and one on questions about Nilien’s new uniform. But after that “-they were searching everywhere for clues, it’s just that they spent the most time on my room. Apparently, I left a nice hair-clip there. Larisse will send it when the investigators give it back.”

Then they know there is something to find. Ember looked up at her. I do not know if this is a thing I can do. May I sniff your drawer, where it was?

A fox in her underwear drawer was the least strange thing today. “Yes, of course.”

Ember jumped up into the drawer. A few minutes later, it looked up, its ears flat to its head. It is… somewhere.

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