Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Several pieces of art were hanging on the walls leading to the rest of the cottage, but
they were all hanging below chest height. Finding this whole house very strange, he led
the others into the dining room, complete with what appeared to be a child's dining table
and chair. A small girl in an elegant dress sitting at the table looked up at them in
surprise, and then smiled in a very devious way.
â€œBreaking into my house, hmm?â€ she observed coldly. It was the same voice which
had spoken through the door. â€œThatâ€Ÿs very bold of you. I'm actually surprised you made it
past my door - I should probably have invested in a better lock.â€
What Aiden had thought was a small girl was, in fact, a very short woman and it
suddenly dawned on him that he was standing before a woman from the Rael Islands.
Commonly referred to as the raelani, they were a diminutive people who were in many
respects the same as humans but roughly half the size.
â€œYou are Merin, yes?â€ Nellise inquired. â€œWe have come from the mayor's office to
â€œIs that why you were so insistent?â€ she inquired rhetorically, wiping her mouth with
a napkin. â€œI suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, O laf was bound to send someone
over sooner or later. Four humans seems to be overkill for one little raelani woman,
though. Did he tell you to 'toss me about' or â€žrough me upâ€Ÿ, as is human custom in these
â€œNot at all,â€ Nellise assured her, maintaining her calm demeanour. â€œWe have simply
been instructed to have a chat with you. Tell me, why are you blackma iling the mayor?â€
â€œBecause it's good money, my dear,â€ Merin grinned with a measure of
condescension. â€œThe manâ€Ÿs not exactly a saint, either. I can't tell you what it's been like
for me having to live in a boring little pile of dirt like Bracksford for the past year. No,
Iâ€Ÿm moving on and O laf's indiscretions are going to pay my way. Donâ€Ÿt be too concerned
for him - he knew what he was getting in to when all this started.â€
â€œWe have made an arrangement with him,â€ Aiden said, curious at what her words
alluded to. â€œYou have some documents of importance - I request you to hand them over,
â€œHand them over?â€ she balked. â€œUnless O laf had the sense to conscript or deputise
you, you donâ€Ÿt have any authority, sweetie,â€ she winked. Aiden was suddenly shoved
aside by Colt, who towered over the diminutive woman.
â€œHey, pint-size,â€ he snarled impatiently, â€œif you don't hand over the stuff, I'll smash
your annoying little face in. If youâ€Ÿre innocent, youâ€Ÿll just call for the guards, right? Iâ€Ÿm
sure theyâ€Ÿd be interested in doing a quick search while theyâ€Ÿre here.â€ Merin's smile
vanished instantly, and her eyes widened.
â€œOkay, look, I don't want any trouble,â€ she replied with a tremble to her voice. â€œI can
see you're clearly not as stupid as your friend there, even if you do smell a lot worse.â€
Colt clenched his gloved fist and seemed ready to do as he promised, but Merin quickly
changed her attitude. â€œJust take the documents and go, please. They're in the drawers
behind you, just... don't hurt me.â€
â€œThat's more like it,â€ Colt growled, nodding to Pacian who immediately walked over
towards the drawers. Aiden frowned, looking down at Merin cautiously. Certainly, Colt
was an intimidating presence to the tiny woman, but she seemed to give in a little too
easily after her earlier defiance.