Chapter 166:

The Detective Leads the Way

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Odell and Hal walked with Tancred and Rym down the busy streets in Nun’s northern section. The detective led the way while the Hobusian prince walked in step with him. Hal and Rym followed from behind while shaking their heads in unison.

“Let me tell you, Odell, my boy, that was a tough case to crack!” Tancred said as he regaled Odell with a story of his past work. “But, once I saw the letter, it all came together! The girl had been tricked into killing him, then she was offed after by the true villain!”

“True villain?” Odell asked as he followed along the story with genuine curiosity.

“Yes indeed! You see, a powerful adversary wished to take the deceased's business—believing it had been mismanaged. Of course, I easily uncovered the tracks!”

“Wow!” Odell said as Tancred went into details of the case.

“He's quite excitable,” Rym said to Hal as they followed several steps behind.

“Too much for my liking,” Hal grumbled.

“Isn’t he your teammate?”

“Temporary teammate. I suspect after this mission, we will part ways.” Hal said with a blank face that Rym was unable to read. She could not tell how he felt about the prospect of his words.

“Are you eager to part ways?” she asked.

“I have those I need to care for back home; our ways were bound to part eventually.”

“Oh, you seem rather young; who do you need to care for?”

Hal frowned before giving up the information.

“Sisters,” he said while trying to keep it brief.

“Ah, I see! I have five other sisters myself, so I know the feeling.”

Hal nodded and quickly tried to change the subject.

“Can…” he asked, but Rym was already talking.

“That’s wonderful! You’re so young, but you must be working hard to take care of your family,” she said while wiping a tear from her slitted eye, “My sisters only want to goof off! It’s hard being the responsible one! At least one of them has been doing better lately, but the others won’t listen to a word I say. Do you know what I mean?”

Hal made an understanding nod.

“It would be best for them to realize the struggles of responsibility,” he said.

“I hear you! They were always running around without a care in the world!”

The two, more Rym than Hal, began to banter about sibling troubles while Tancred and Odell continued to talk about the old detective's past cases.

All were blissfully unaware of the events transpiring elsewhere within the city as they continued to the casino that Tancred believed to be important. Odell and Hal would soon realize that the chosen path would be just as difficult as the one their teammates went through.