“How did it fair?” Yolas asked.
“Horribly. The fool cannot lie but sent me on anyway. I am sure he has one.” said Camellia.
She flopped down in the booth, and stretched on the soft padding. Her limited height made this easy. Yolas watched enviously, shifting his long legs uncomfortably under the table. Camellia gave a great contented sigh.
From her lounged position, Camellia ordered Yolas and herself a pint. He refused at first but drank gratefully when it arrived. Camellia sat on her legs and sipped.
“Any luck find you today?” she asked.
“Not as such. I found a few peddlers but none seemed to hear any whispers. It does not help that you will not let me ask them outright.
“We cannot! If any of these folks do have one and learn its value, they would hike the price beyond plausible, or use it for themselves. We have to be careful.”
“Well. At least you might have found one. We can go together tomorrow and shake him down. He might be able to ignore a hobbit but I dare him to ignore a determined elf.”
Camellia took a long drink. Then she peered around the bar to see everyone’s attentions.
“Sure,” she said finally. “But, let me talk. I want you milling about the shop. Keep his attention divided. I think we can make him slip.”
“Agreed,” Yolas said.
Then he smiled. That damned, handsome smile. Camellia nodded and buried her face in her mug.
The barmaid returned and Camellia ordered enough food for three large men.
“Look, lass. I don’t let any client in the back less I think they’re serious. Your poking and prodding for information isn’t helping your case,” said Bollfus. His arms were folded and his teeth were obviously clenched beneath his wooly beard.
“Do you honestly think a wee hobbit would come here if I weren’t serious?” said Camellia.
“I’ve met all manner of folk with all sorts of agendas, and since you won’t tell me what you’re looking for, I can’t know you’re not trying to pull one with your elvish friend there.”
Yolas was examining a tricky looking crystal phial. At the mention of him, he turned and waved jovially at them.
“Leave before I make you leave,” Bollfus said.
Camellia hung her head and turned towards the door. Bollfus grunted.
A deafening crash made both of them jump. Yolas stood frozen with his hand outstretched. Directly below was the crystal phial, shattered across the stone floor.
Bollfus roared and barreled his way towards Yolas.
“YOU CLUMSY FOOL! THAT WAS MADE BY YOUR KIND, DON’T YOU KNOW?!” Bollfus bellowed. Yolas saw Camellia slip through the back door.
“My dear sir, no artifact of ‘my kind’ would have so heartlessly fallen apart upon meeting stone.”
“OUT! NOW!” Bollfus yelled as he steered the elf out the door and slammed it behind him.
Learning against the outside wall was Camellia. A small ornate ring held carefully in her hand.
“Right on his desk.”