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Sep 22, 2021 4:48 PM
satine discovers an artifact
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"...a very sensible decision."

(Does she call him on his lack of surprise, or not.)

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"I'm glad you agree, Miss Laurent. I understand it is not a commonly held belief in your field."

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Mr. Parker returns. "She's just going to sleep it off," he says. He casually picks up the knife and places it on a side table before recirculating around his guests.

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"It isn't." She blinks, and then turns away from where she'd been tracking Parker like she'd watch a venomous snake. "But I prefer to keep a clear head."

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"So do I. --But let's not continue discussing this unpleasantness. I have some questions about your performance." And Sano is going to ask some surprisingly insightful questions about jazz.

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She can answer his surprisingly insightful questions about jazz!

Now that Parker isn't watching her and there's no immediate crisis, she can recenter; Sano, who continues to be steadily calm, helps. It's only a few minutes until she's able to stop pretending to be unshaken and instead just have it be truth.

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Mr. Parker has taken Lucas aside, where no one in the party can hear him.

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...or maybe she can't.

Can she still see Ana, at least?

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Ana's still surrounded by her circle of admirers.

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Well that's good at least.

Simone excuses herself from the conversation with Mr. Sano as seamlessly as she can, and makes her way towards Parker and Lucas. Not interrupting them, but closer.

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Parker spots her and his eyes widen.

He takes Lucas by the shoulder and invites him into his study-- with a locked door.

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Augh.

Okay. Nothing she can do about that. Instead she finds someone else to talk to-- Professor Aarons, maybe-- and keeps an eye on the door. 

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Professor Aarons has taken some opium and this apparently makes him want to babble about the Tang dynasty regardless of whether anyone he's around knows or cares what the Tang dynasty is.

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Lucas emerges five or ten minutes later. His anxiety has been replaced with nervous excitement.

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Parker says, in a loud voice, "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm done for the evening. Shoo. I need my rest."

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Simone is not at all sure how she feels about that change in mood but at least they can leave.

 

When she and Lucas and Ana get back to the flat the three of them share, she asks Lucas what Parker said to him, not really expecting an useful answer.

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"He says he knows something that's going to help Ana. I can't tell you the details."

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Is there any way to say 'this is scaring me' that won't make her sound like either an idiot jumping at shadows or a vindictive bitch who just doesn't want Ana to succeed for its own sake?

....there kind of isn't.

(And of course she isn't convinced that she's not jumping at shadows. Parker scared her, but-- not for reasons, really.)

 

".........alright, then," she says instead.

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The next morning, Simone is awoken by a knock on the door.

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Ugh. Okay fine she'll get up about it. "Hello, who is it?" 

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"Package for Lucas Reston, ma'am," a scrawny-looking deliveryboy says. The delivery boy looks shaken.

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"He's out right now, I'll take it."

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"All right," the deliveryboy says and hands over the package.

It's brown paper wrapped in twine.

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She takes the package back to her room. Gets dressed properly. And then just... looks at it.

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There's a wooden box tied with red silk ribbon, with several logograms written in black ink with a pencil-written addition in English. The English says "the parcel from China"; the Chinese she has trouble puzzling out, but seems to say "a prop," "the city of Dalian", and "Manchukuo." The box is about the size of a human face.

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