Emery followed Morrissey, careful to seem the naïve rookie. It wasn’t long before they were close enough to greet and be introduced to their host, the governor. Emery glanced around, looking for Miles. Then he heard his name and looked up at the man. “It’s an honor to meet you, sir,” he said with sincerity he didn’t feel.

“A pleasure Master Ballard,” the man said, reaching out to clasp his hand. Emery felt his eyebrows twitch at the address usually reserved for children.

“Master Emery,” the young mage corrected, “if you please.” He squeezed the outstretched hand firmly.

“Of course,” the governor said. He looked at Morrissey and added, “Your protégé has a firm grip, Master Robert.”

“As Emery has pointed out he is, in fact, a master in his own right. After all, he graduated – with honors, one might add – from your own academy,” Morrissey said.

“Of course,” the man repeated.

“Do you like cats, sir?” Emery asked, as he bounced on the balls of his feet.

“Cats?” the governor asked.

“We have a ginger tabby at home, named Flamel. She gets into everything – like an inquisitive child at times. And she has such an expressive face. One might almost think she was human… or could somehow… have human aspects.”

“Oh? In-indeed,” the older man said. Small beads of sweat dotted his brow as Emery looked up at him keenly.

“That’s silly though,” Emery said, smiling. “Cats can’t become humans.” He focused sharply on the governor’s eyes and added, “Right?”

“Right,” the man agreed, a tad quickly. Then he turned to leave, muttering, “If you’ll excuse me.”

“That wasn’t subtle at all, Emery,” Morrissey hissed as the governor fled.

“It was supposed to be? I thought I was going for ingenuous.”

“That you were perhaps. Either way you succeeded in flummoxing him and getting him thinking about his erstwhile fiancé. We can’t prove what we suspect he did, he doesn’t know exactly how much we know or suspect and now he’s anxious. He might do something foolish. That’s how we’ll catch him. Watch yourself, Em.”

“Of course,” Emery said, parroting the governor’s condescending reply as he headed off in search of Miles.