Day 55. 143 pages, 71,999 words.
Gornack the Deconstructor had an extremely impressive name, but was always let down by his appearance. He dreamed whimsically of being able to look good – or at least passably evil – in a voluminous black robe, but cruel fate had conspired to make him look, on such occasions, like a junior accounts manager on his way to a fancy-dress party. And black robes were out right now, anyway, unless you happened to be a Damorak.
Gornack the Deconstructor, patently, was not.
He’d never been up to Vaulting Blue Apartments, and would have felt uncomfortable for no other reason. The slowly-revolving prism was one of the newest Skybases in Capital Mind’s endless sky, and by far the most exclusive. If not for its shape and external colouration, it would be clearly visible from the ground by the naked Molran eye and therefore in violation of long-standing laws. Vaulting Blue’s residents were rather proud of this. Besides, this was not the only reason Gornack the Deconstructor was uncomfortable.
“A little Courage,” Spied’jjer ‘Spider’ Merdokk returned to the sitting room with two round glasses of thick, amber-tinted Skeg’s Courage. “This particular series came from Master Talduri himself, and was aged in a rune-carved barrel of Forest Garden Bluetower wood. The spell has infused into the liquid and lends a feeling of tranquillity to even the most troubled mind.”
Gornack accepted the glass and waited until Merdokk had seated himself before raising his hand in a toast, and taking a large mouthful. The Spider did the same, his crystalline blue eyes twinkling in appreciation.
“You didn’t even sniff it,” he remarked. “Either you trust me implicitly, or you have a more sophisticated toxin-detection system than I.”
“You’ve gone to a lot of trouble just to poison me,” Gornack replied, “and I like to think you wouldn’t contaminate a bottle of Skeg’s worth a hundred thousand yachut to do so.”
“You might be surprised how much trouble I would go to in order to dispose of a competitor.”
“I’m easily surprised,” Gornack shot back, taking another sip of the delectable liqueur, “and I wasn’t aware that you’d gone into the Deconstruction business.”
The two Molren regarded each other for a silent minute. Gornack examined the collection of earrings studding Merdokk’s small, pink, webbed ears. He also took note of the silvery spines that decorated each of the Spider’s ear-ribs – the unmistakable hallmark of youth. He wondered if Merdokk was likewise identifying the numerous signs of fading Second Prime in his visitor.
“Did you have the chance to look at the documents I sent you?” the Spider said eventually, leaning back and folding his lower hands in his lap.
“Yes,” Gornack the Deconstructor pulled out a slender computer-pad and called up the diagnostic sheets. “I didn’t know it was this big,” he admitted. “I didn’t know they came this big.”
“It was the biggest one on record.”
“The police know it’s gone, of course. They noticed it was missing almost immediately. Said something about soft-space,” he lowered the pad and regarded Spider curiously. “They’re baffled.”
“It doesn’t take much,” Merdokk spread his upper hands as if revealing a headline. His Courage sloshed in the glass. “Jewelled undershirt of classical sculptor’s model Predora goes missing,” he spread his lower hands. “Known rare undergarment collector Malzix Ghor spotted near scene,” he spread his lower hands a second time. “Police baffled.”