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A Wild Talent - Part Six

Part Six – Sumiko san.

They moved cautiously through the house, checking each room with care. Mark's neatly arranged possessions appeared untouched. Petra considered Jostein's last statement “So just who were you thinking of calling for help?”
He knew she wasn't going to like the answer “Sumiko”
She stopped, put her hands on her hips and turned to face him “Sumiko Mori? Are you serious?”
“You know anyone better with temporal magic?”
She groaned but she knew he was right “She's just so damn... annoying. I mean, you've seen how she dresses.”
Jostein grinned, Petra and Sumiko had an interesting relationship “Kawaii is a respectable part of Japanese culture.”
“Last time she turned up she looked like some gothic Lolita, time before that, a schoolgirl hooker!”
His grin grew wider “Well if your only concerns are her sense of fashion, we should survive.”
Petra sighed “She got a new apprentice yet?”
He shook his head “No, not yet.”
“Pity, Alexi at least kept her from being so... irritating” Sumiko's previous apprentice had graduated two years ago. Petra was right though, he had kept Sumiko occupied. “But suppose you're right, she is the best.”
“Glad you agree, well now if that's sorted, shall we get back to actually finding out what happened here.”

They found Mark and Dieter eventually, in a room on the second floor, Mark's study. Trapped in the centre of the bubble of frozen time, flies in amber. Petra was pacing the room anxiously “There's nothing we can do, we were lucky to drive the stop this far back.”
She took a single deep breath “I know, just feel so... powerless. Who the hell could do this and why?”
Jostein already suspected the answer to both though he wasn't about to let on, not yet “No idea. Looking at it though, it's not Muti, not working alone at least.”
Petra snorted “That's supposed to be encouraging, the idea that we're dealing with more than one megapowers?”
“Muti wouldn't have been this subtle Petra. He'd have just killed everything in the house, or more likely the street. I doubt Muti's here.”
She was less convinced “He's got access to the resources of the Blackshirts, he doesn't need to be here to be behind this.”
Jostein sighed “I know lover, but I can still hope.” The Blackshirts, the well organised thugs of fascist Italy. Fascist Italy, a cancer left in the heart of Europe, that was his legacy. Pride, all from their stupid pride. One day he'd have to tell Petra, but not today.

They spent the next day going through Mark and Dieter's files and papers looking for any leads on where Isuelt's ring might be. They'd not been frozen in time on a whim, they had to have found something. The files were easy, Jostein and Mark had learnt under the same teacher and their cyphers were close enough to crack. The computer, not so easy. Jostein had spent the best part of fourteen hours straight trying to break the encryption, both with magic and without. He'd sent Petra to bed over eight hours ago and just kept going. He didn't hear her come up the stairs. He did however detect her as she walked softly up behind him, draped her arms around his shoulders and kissed his check. “You need some sleep. I've got the rest of the power back on and made you something to eat.”
He stroked her hand “I've almost got it.”
“Well then, I can finish it for you in that case. Now eat and go get some sleep. You exhausted with a full blown evil magi running round does us no good.” She chuckled slightly “Besides, Sumiko will be here in a few hours. You'll need to be around to stop me killing her.” Jostein knew he wasn't going to win any fight, so he ate and curled up on the sofa.

Petra left him as she worked on the files. He'd fallen asleep almost as soon as he lay down. She smiled, he looked cute laying there. She kept going for several hours. She was sure she nearly had it when Jostein's phone started to vibrate. It annoyed her, she was going to ignore it, but it would wake him, so she picked it up. Damn, she'd be arriving in five minutes. Petra was going to wake him, but he looked so peaceful and well, he deserved some more rest. She went back to the files, working furiously. One thing she didn't want was Sumiko's 'help' to crack them, she'd do it herself even if it killed her. She was good, she knew she could do it. A combination of skill and magic, just needed to find the key.

Petra heard the car pull up outside, a few final key strokes, she was sure this time. She watched with satisfaction as the walls started to fall, one by one, the final layers of encryption unravelled. She allowed herself one quiet cry of triumph before heading downstairs to greet their visitor.

A shortish woman, who appeared to be in her late twenties was supervising as a middle-aged cab driver struggled to unload a surprising amount of baggage. Her neat shoulder length hair was jet black and without even a single kink. But it was the outfit that drew your attention. A strapless burgundy corset over a bright yellow flared tutu miniskirt, with stripped Pippi Longstocking tights up to her mid thigh and white vinyl go-go boots.. She turned to face Petra, placed her hand over her mouth and shyly giggled. “Nimostu o motte kudasai?”
Petra crossed her arms purposefully in front of her “I know you speak much better English than my Japanese. And no, you can carry your own bags.”
Sumiko grinned evilly and blew her a kiss “Well I see two years have not much improved your manners Petra chan.” She turned back to the stunned cabbie, bowed slightly and handed him wad of notes “Keep the change deary.” She waited for him to depart before commanding the bags.
Petra watched as they lifted from the ground and slowly flew themselves inside “See, much simpler.” Sumiko walked up the steps after them, but paused briefly to smile and blow Petra another kiss as she passed. Petra rolled her eyes, this was going to be a long day.

* * "Gabrielle" - Girly, confident and fun * *