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Sep 22, 2021 5:22 PM
satine discovers an artifact
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"No, leave me alone. Everything's fine."

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"The more you say that the less I believe it's true!" 

Ugh.

"Ana, tell him to let me in, he listens to you."

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Ana looks very skeptical but says, "Lucas, please let her in."

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"Fine."

The door swings open.

Across his desk is spread a paper covered with yet more Chinese characters, a short letter, and a mask made of white porcelain wrapped in violet silk.

The mask has an oval face, half-closed eyes, and very thin lips, which are half-open, revealing fine black teeth. It is hard to determine if the face is male or female.

He closes the door.

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Great! Great. Simone enters the door before he can close it.

"Lucas, what the hell."

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"Mr. Parker gave me the mask to help Ana with her audition."

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"Yes, I can see that. So that's your big plan? A mask you got from a drug addict at a party is going to somehow get Ana over her stage fright?"

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"Yes."

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"And how, exactly, do you think that's going to work."

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"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio."

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"So it's a magic mask you got from a drug addict at a party." (It's really something how contemptuous she can sound of an idea she knows full well is true.)

She points at the paper. "Do you even know what that says?"

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"Mr. Parker said that it's an assurance of its authenticity. --It is real, I'll show you."

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"No you will not." She takes the paper-- and the mask for good measure-- off the table. (She can read Chinese, Lucas can't, this whole concept is so blatantly stupid, setting aside that she knows it's true--)

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He grabs the mask from her.

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She grabs it right back.

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"That's mine!"

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"Lucas, this says the mask was bought from a retailer in Hong Kong. Parker was lying to you."

(She hasn't actually read it and is pretty sure that's not what it says but he can't contradict her now can he.)

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"Well, if he's lying to me, it doesn't matter if I put on the mask, does it?"

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"Yes, it does, because Parker is an opium dealer who regularly gets attacked by his addicts and I don't want you putting things he gives you near your face."

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"I guess." Lucas shrinks. "I really thought..."

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"Yeah. I know you did." Mask back in the box, with the paper; box in Simone's hands. (She's not going to think about how Lucas really, truly believes in things, not right now, not when it almost got him killed.) "And it's really sweet how much you wanted to help Ana. But you can't keep believing in miracle cures from random people you meet, Lucas, this is going to get you in real trouble one of these days."

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"What are you going to do with it?"

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"I'm going to figure out how to get rid of it such that it won't hurt anyone if it's full of poisoned opium."

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"Right. That. Makes sense. Can you-- tell Ana I did something smarter than what I did?"

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"Yes. Of course."

And then she is going to put the box in her purse and walk back to Mr. Sano's office.

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