He had stared at the painting for a long time. So far it hadn’t moved or changed, though every time he visited the old house it seemed to look a little different. “Master Emery,” a voice said from behind him. “It’s good to see you again. You are here to pick up my research notes?”

“Yes, sir,” he said as he turned to face the man. He took the file and glanced over his shoulder at the painting. It had changed while his back was turned. The girl depicted had unmistakably moved. She was looking directly at him now instead of off to the right. “Where’d you get this painting?” he asked softly.

“I noticed you admiring it,” the older mage said. “I have long enjoyed the art of a particular gallery. I finally gathered enough money to buy one of their paintings. I doubt that you’d make enough on a forensic mage’s salary to afford such a one, but you can always window shop, as I did.” He wrote the name of a gallery down and handed the paper to Emery.

“Thanks,” the younger mage said with a deep bow. He turned to leave and noticed that the girl in the painting now looked anxious. He might make sure not to visit that gallery alone if at all.