Emery sighed as the warden interrupted him for the fourth time. This was why he preferred to work with Hassett. The lieutenant may be curious about what exactly they were doing but he saved his questions for after the work was done.

He closed his eyes, collecting himself, before replying, “Corporal, I have a serious medical condition known as Aural Decay Syndrome. Do you know what an aura is?”

“The – the source of life?” the man replied.

“Close enough,” Emery replied. “So you can imagine what it means that my aura is decaying. When I’m working a spell the slightest interruption could cause my aura to fail catastrophically. I would die – instantly. Do you want that on your watch?”

The warden shook his head, eyes round in horror. His partner, who had interrupted at least twice previously also backed off. Emery inclined his head and turned back to the crime scene, assured that the men would keep quiet now until they weren’t going to be a bother.

“Did you actually mean all that?” Morrissey hissed after the pair of wardens had given them some space.

Emery flashed him a grin but returned to analyzing the trauma at their crime scene. “Of course not,” he muttered. “It was a bunch of hooey. My aura’s not that sensitive. If it was, I’d be in a hospital undergoing treatment, not working as a professional mage. It got them to back off though, right?”

“You are a sly young man,” Morrissey muttered in an admiring tone before returning to his search for the murder weapon.

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