When Luc is asked to locate a child, he knows he's missing something. After all, this is the master of misdirection he's talking to: Pietas. Find a kid. Right...
Just find a kid? That's it?
In this scene, Luc is getting instructions from Pietas, the king.
Meanwhile, the king has brought out his panther and is petting the animal. It's far from tame, and although Luc is quite familiar with it, he's not crazy about being this close.
But then Pietas drops a bombshell.
A Stolen Heart
"Locate the girl." Pietas stroked the panther. "Once you tell me where she is, you'll be free. I don't need you to rescue her. Just inform me."
"I see." Luc did not. "Find this ten year-old missing girl. Tell you where she is. That's it."
"Yes. Then after your Deshai graduates, you can move to Tarth and start that building you've been planning."
"Hmm." This was far too easy. Obviously, he'd missed something. Mentally, Luc walked back through the last bits of conversation. "To clarify, you don't want me to bring her to you. You want me to find her and tell you where she is."
"Asked and answered." Pietas studied him. "Why is this so hard for you? Find her. Tell me. Not difficult. But it is urgent."
"What's so important about her?"
Pietas kissed the panther on the nose. "It's not her so much as her parents. If we find her and then take her to them, we'll have more influence."
Now they were getting somewhere. "And who are they?"
"My sister told you about the FTA, didn't she?"
"FTA." Acronyms filled his world, but this one? New to him. Why did that earlier dread raise its ugly head again? He'd probably be better off not knowing, but Pietas seemed to be waiting for an answer. "Not a word. What is it?"
"She didn't?" Pietas frowned. "Oh, I thought... Never mind." He tugged on the panther's ears. "The FTA is the Forgotten Technologies Arena."
"Forgotten by whom?"
"The ancients. It's secret tech. Forbidden."
"Forbidden." The headache he'd faced for the last hour spiked through his brain. He rubbed his temples. Why him? Why now? "Pietas..."
"Oh, will you stop worrying?" The man looked over at him. "No one's going to get sucked into a wormhole this time."
Luc forced himself to take a deep breath and let it all the way out. "That's what you said the last time."
Would you like to review A Stolen Heart?
The story is complete, and when published, will include a bonus book, Behind the Scenes of A Stolen Heart. In it, I'll share secrets with you about the characters -- things that aren't revealed in the book.
I'm hoping to find reviews and reviewers. Is that you? I have advanced pre-edited copies in epub, mobi, and pdf waiting for you to download on Story Origin or BookSprout.
This version is self-edited and will be sent out for its final edit next week. I'd be happy to get questions if you have any, or if you were confused by anything. An early review would be a great help.
You'll find Luc and Pietas (and his panther) mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.
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