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June 26th
Idle Champions: Peril at the Greenhow, Part Three 
Posted in Idle Champions.

Previously in Peril at the Greenhow:

Peril at the Greenhow, Part Three

Umberto

The city guardsmen and magister had just left when Harlow opened Umberto’s door. Umberto had been sitting at the desk while he gave his statement of events to the guardsmen, eyes still where they were now - on the broken and shattered window frame. The memory played in his head over and over again. The wind catching the hood and revealing the face of his dead sister. Well, possibly dead sister. What stayed in his mind most of all were her eyes. The eyes that had looked to him for protection as a child. But as she stood on that rooftop all she had in them then was hate.

“We’re ready,” Harlow said when Umberto hadn’t addressed him. “We have the Greenhow Tavern surrounded. When the proprietor, Aeon, returns, we’ll move in and arrest her.”

“How are you so confident?” Umberto said, still not looking away from the hole in the wall. “That it is this Aeon person? Especially after I have given a statement saying my assumed-to-be-dead sister made an attempt on my life earlier today?”

“Aeon is an artificer,” Harlow said, a note of annoyance in his tone. “She could be using any number of illusionary devices to make you see that.”

Umberto finally looked to the aumarr. “But why my sister? How would she even know to use that image? This doesn’t add up. You are telling me to bake a cake, but giving me the ingredients of a pie.”

Harlow put on a smile that Umberto could see was starting to crack. “All will be revealed in good time. Trust me.” Umberto opened his mouth to say something, but Harlow put up a hand to stop him. “Once we have her in custody, I'll make everything clear. You have my word, Umberto. None of this would have been possible without your detective skills to put me on the right path!”

Before Umberto could say anything, Harlow turned on his heel and left the room. “Come,” he said from the hall. “I’ll escort you to the tavern!”

Umberto let out a sigh. Something was off. That roaring fire inside him was dwindling now, nearly smothered by the shadow of his sister. After seeing the crime scene things were feeling like they had before six months ago. The world was making sense again as he viewed it from behind the lens of a detective. But Sliver had turned the world back to chaos. Nothing felt right and nothing made sense.

“Are you coming?” Harlow called from down the hall.

“Yes,” Umberto said, getting to his feet. “I was just stuck in the mud for a moment.”

Aeon

Aeon made her way through the crowded market, being sure to look down next to her every so often to make sure Beaky hadn’t gotten lost or swept away in the sea of people. Deuce sat on her shoulder, playing look out as always, but she seemed to feel the weight of him more than usual. No, it wasn’t that. It was the weight of the deal she had just made. This is really going to set you back, she told herself. It had been a nearly constant thought since leaving Xanathar’s lair.

But not as far back as being dead, she reminded herself.

Yes, this wasn’t the best deal she had ever made. But it wasn’t the end of her time as a spymaster - that was the important part. It was going to be difficult, but Aeon had every confidence in herself that she could come back from this. Hells, if she hadn’t had that confidence in the first place she wouldn’t even be in a position to deal with Xanathar. Or have been in a position to have a murderer after you.

There was a tug on Aeon’s coat as Beaky pulled in closer to her. “Are we nearly there?” A group of halflings passed by and the kenku eyed them. “There’s too many sounds and way too much light.”

Aeon suppressed an eye roll. “It’s not much further now. We’re just-“ She stopped when Deuce tapped her shoulder. The small gold monkey motioned for her to look up, and she followed his gaze, coming to a stop. A small bird flew through the air, its wings flapping in an unnatural way. The sun caught the side of its metallic body, and it glinted for an instant.

This was one of Aeon’s inventions. Not quite a steel defender, but it would follow orders. She used them to get messages out quickly to her agents around the city. It flew with magic, leaving its wings to flap in ways that could be interpreted by the agents.

She counted the flaps in her mind. Once. Thrice. Twice quickly.

“Nine Hells.”

Beaky chirped nervously. “What’s wrong?”

“The Greenhow isn’t safe.” Questions, plans, and actions all ran through her mind. There could be any number of reasons why the Greenhow was compromised, but there were two very likely reasons at that moment. Still, she needed more information. But she also needed…

She looked back down at Beaky. “Change of plans. I’m going to the safe house near Trollskull - do you know the one?” He nodded. “Good. I need you to take a message back to Xanathar and then meet me there.”

Beaky gulped and looked like he might cry.

Umberto

Harlow looked annoyed. Umberto had been waiting with him on a rooftop overlooking the entrance to the Greenhow tavern for nearly four hours. The sun had well set by then, and Umberto was starting to worry more about the rumbling in his stomach than if this Aeon person would actually show up. It didn’t help that there were some delicious smells from the tavern below. He did his best not to focus on it or try to figure out what ingredients he was smelling.

“Tluning hells, where is she?” Harlow said through gritted teeth. “She must know we’re here.”

That wouldn’t have surprised Umberto. In fact, he had suspected that from the moment Harlow had brought him up to the rooftop. He had pointed out three other buildings that guardsmen were set up on to keep a lookout for her. Not to mention the other out-of-uniform guards spread out through the street, connecting alleyways, and even in the tavern itself. Umberto couldn’t help but consider this sloppy work. It felt rushed.

If this Aeon person were half as skilled as Harlow had made her out to be, she wouldn’t need him to point out the guards.

“Err, perhaps you and I should go into the tavern. Get a change of scenery and keep an eye on things in there.” Plus, Umberto could finally get a bite to eat.

Harlow looked as if he might protest, but then his shoulders sunk, and he nodded. “Maybe that’s a good idea. You all have things under control up here?”

The guardsmen all nodded.

“Good,” he said, then turned and headed for the stairwell door, passing Umberto.

“We should probably disguise ourselves,” Umberto said. “Err, they know what you look like after all.”

Harlow’s hand went for his coat pocket, then stopped. “You’re right. I could wear a hood or something?”

Umberto chuckled, making a note in his head. “I have a disguise kit in my pack downstairs. Come, I will turn you from tulip into a rose.”

Aeon

All eyes were on Aeon before she even got to the Greenhow. Just as she wanted.

The Waterdhavian guards thought all they needed to do was take off their uniforms to blend in, but Aeon could still see it. She could see it in the way they sat, the way they walked, the way they breathed.

Deception and guile were her skills. They were just pretending like they had them.

She let out a breath as she touched the first step up to the Greenhow alone. She had a plan. Things were in place. But, like so many things had been in her life, it wasn’t a guarantee. She took the next few steps quickly and flung open the doors to her tavern.

“Greetings, ladies, gentlemen, and variations thereof!” She threw her hands up in the air as she walked towards the front of the room and the middle of the bar. Everyone turned in the same instant to look at her. She saw eyes she recognized, others she didn’t, and a few that were there to arrest her. One set in particular fell into the former and the latter.

Hello, Harlow. That disguise won’t work on me. I hope you enjoy the show.

“Step right up! Not only are all rounds on the house tonight, but I’m selling all the juiciest, most life-ruining secrets of Waterdeep for the low, low price of free!” A few people raised their brows. A few others even stood. One old man who had already a few too many walked straight up to the bar and ordered another drink.

“Who wants to know which Masked Lords are having affairs? Or which stores are secretly being robbed by a gang of underground goblins? Or better yet, which one of the undercover guards in here is the easiest to pay off?” She said the last one directly to the disguised Harlow.

To her surprise, this antagonizing worked even faster than she had expected.

“That’s enough,” Harlow yelled as he stood up from the back table. He ripped off the wig and false nose, tossing them to the floor. The other man at Harlow’s table, also disguised, looked at Harlow with a furrowed brow. “I am placing you under arrest to later stand trial for-“

“Why wait,” Aeon said, cutting him off. “Deuce! Bring him in!”

The front doors burst open again, and in walked the magister from earlier that day, Deuce on his shoulders. The little gold monkey battered the bearded man and pulled on his cloak almost as if he were piloting the magister.

Aeon stepped forward and pulled out an empty chair from a table. “I couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t any magisters among your undercover guards outside.” Guards in uniform and weapons drawn filed into the tavern behind the magister. Aeon responded to this by taking a seat. “So I decided to bring one myself. It is customary here in Waterdeep for magisters to pass sentencing in the moment, isn’t that right, Aumarr?”

Harlow stared daggers at Aeon but held up a hand to stop the guards.

Aeon got comfy and put her feet up on the table, crossing them at the ankles. “By all means, proceed with your accusation so the magister can pass judgment.”

Harlow looked down at the other man at his table, who looked back at him expectantly. For a moment, the aumarr didn’t seem to know what to say. He was sweating. And it wasn’t because of the wig.

What was your end goal here, Harlow?

The aumarr straightened up and stepped forward towards the middle of the room. “This woman,” he said, pointing an accusing finger at Aeon. “Is a liar, thief, and manipulator.”

Aeon chuckled. “Tell the room something they don’t already know.”

There were a few laughs from the tables.

“Silence,” Harlow said with a raised voice. “You want me to tell them something they don’t know - how about this? You got yourself in deep with the Xanathar Guild. You… you promised them information but came up short. This infuriated the Xanathar Guild.” He paused. “…and they started making threats! If you didn’t get them what they wanted, something bad was going to happen. But you couldn’t deliver - you were in over your head playing the role of a spymaster in bigger leagues.”

He turned to face the guards and the magister, a confident grin spreading across his face. “What was she to do? The Xanathar Guild is too big for her to contend with. It wasn’t a problem she could just make go away. Unless she set things into motion to weaken them. Even destroy them.” Harlow began to pace in the small area between tables. “The Xanathar Guild has one big rival. The Zhentarim.” Several people shifted at their tables. “If she could make it so the two factions went to war - her problem might be forgotten about. And if the Zhentarim won, her problem would be completely taken care of. And even if they didn’t, the Xanathar Guild would be weakened to the point that she and her agents could swoop in.

“So she planted sending stones in her music box trinkets and made sure they ended up in the hands of Xanathar agents so she could track them. She used them to follow her victims to the opportune place and strike.” Harlow seemed to be enjoying his lie. “The first several would just be to start suspicion. Then, she would start leaving calling cards for the Zhentarim - so the Xanathar Guild would piece it together that all of their murdered agents had been killed by their rival.

“And to really sell it. She used her skills as an artificer to disguise herself with illusions to look like one of the Zhentarim’s most infamous agents. Sliver Thornheart.” Harlow stopped in front of Aeon, looking down at her with a smile like he had already won. “You really thought you could pull all of the strings like a real mastermind. But you’re nothing but a-“

“No,” came a voice from behind him.

Harlow looked as if a arrow had struck him in the back. “What?” He said, turning around to face the speaker.

The man who had been sitting at Harlow’s table took off his own wig and peeled off some fake sideburns. Impressively, the mustache stayed. He stood and let out a sigh.

“I said no.” He looked at Harlow with a hard gaze. “None of that is true.”

Umberto

Umberto looked to the magister. “Please disregard what you just heard. This woman is not part of the murders.” He paused, looking Aeon over. “She may be guilty of other crimes, but not this one.”

“How dare you,” Harlow said, walking towards him. “You think you can just come here and-“

Umberto put an opened hand in front of Harlow’s face when the aumarr reached him. He looked past Harlow to Aeon. “Can we speak in private? Perhaps in a back room?”

Aeon smiled. “I like you.” She gestured to the door behind the bar. “We can use the storage room.” With that she got up, and made for the bar and Umberto followed, moving past Harlow.

“I’ll not allow this,” Harlow said, sounding more and more like a petulant child. “Guards! Arrest both of them!”

Before the guards could move further into the tavern, over half the people at the tables stood, each drawing hidden weapons. Umberto froze, as did the guards and Harlow.

Aeon smiled at Harlow. “You didn’t really think I came unprepared for a fight, did you? Say hello to these agents of the Xanathar Guild. You know, the guild that you claim has it out for me? They’re under orders to protect me. At all costs.” She looked back at Umberto. “Come on. Let’s talk.”

Umberto couldn’t help but be impressed. This woman was clearly on the wrong side of the law, but he could still admire her complete handle on the situation.

The storage room was more of a storage closet with a staircase in the back leading down into a darkened basement. It was cramped, but Umberto wasn’t planning on pacing or making a show like Harlow had. He was here for information, and there was plenty of room for that.

“Err, thank you for agreeing to talk,” he said as she leaned against the opposing wall, arms crossed.

“Well, you seem to be the only one of the guards that is willing to believe me.”

He shook his head. “I am not part of the city guard.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I am here as a favor to an old friend to help solve the case of these murders. Murders that I am very confident you did not do.”

She cocked her head. “I’m happy to hear that - trust me, I am. But how can you be so sure?”

“Because I believe I already know who the murderer is.” The fire was back, and his mind was beginning to clear once again. “Harlow was correct about the music box, yes?”

Aeon nodded. “I’m not happy that little secret is out, but yes, it’s true.”

“Err, so you heard what happened the night of the murder?”

Aeon smiled. “Hey, Beaky,” she called down the stairs.

An albino kenku emerged from the darkness, his eyes shifting between Aeon and Umberto. He made his way quickly up the stairs and shivered next to Aeon.

“I need you to repeat the murder one more time,” she said to him - softer than Umberto had been expecting.

The kenku nodded. A moment later he opened his beak and began producing sounds of two men talking while walking down a street.

Umberto smiled. “This kenku is able to perfectly recall what he heard on the sending stones.” He looked up at Aeon. “That is very clever.”

Aeon smiled back and tipped her top hat to him.

Umberto listened to the kenku mimicry. As he did, he played the scene out in his mind as he had done in the alleyway earlier that day. Connecting the images he had memorized with the sounds of the murder. It played out nearly exactly as he had deduced, with only a few minor differences. When the name of his sister was said, it came as no surprise - in fact, he hadn’t even realized that he had put Sliver in the place of the killer already.

“Stlarn,” said his sister’s voice, and Umberto smiled.

“Thank you,” he said as the kenku finished. “And you believed the killer would be coming after you? To stop you from revealing this information?”

Aeon nodded. “That would be why my tavern is full of Xanathar agents.”

“Err, a reasonable expectation and,” he paused. “A measured response.”

“So,” Aeon said. “What do we do now?”

“Follow me back out there. I am ready to reveal what happened.”

“Sure,” she said. “Why not? Beaky, you stay here.”

The kenku looked relieved and nodded.

Umberto stepped back out into the tense tavern room. Waterdhavian guards stared down Xanathar agents and Harlow still stood in the center of the room. The aumarr stared at Umberto with hate in his eyes. That made Umberto put on a smile he’d seen Brenton wear so often when Umberto was young. It always came before Brenton said, “Let me teach you a lesson.”

“Aumarr,” Umberto began as he stepped up behind the bar. “You said something that stood out to me earlier today. When talking about the Xanathar Guild and the Zhentarim, you said, ‘ Let the tluining bastards destroy each other, I say.’ This seemed odd to me for an aumarr to say. An aumarr of Waterdeep should want to bring those factions to justice, should they not? No offense to those present in the room.”

Harlow’s eyes narrowed as he looked around at the Xanathar agents. “What’s your point? Both are a stain on this city. Why should I care how they get brought down?”

“You see,” Umberto said, wagging a finger towards Harlow. “That’s the thing. I think you do care. I think you care so much you planned it out. And who could blame you? You’re the son of one of the most celebrated members of the Waterdhavian guard - that’s a lot to live up to. But from what I have heard, you’ve fallen short of those expectations.”

Harlow growled. “Is there a point to this? Or are you just here to insult me?”

Umberto ignored him. “You decided to step things up. Make a name for yourself that isn’t just because of your surname. You needed something big. Something people would remember for generations. You needed to solve one of Waterdeep’s longest running problems. The Xanathar Guild.”

Aeon chuckled behind Umberto, leaning against the back counter. “But I thought they were my problem?”

“That is a good point,” Umberto said with a nod. “The accusations you made about Aeon were very interesting to me. When you started, you sounded unsure of yourself, as if you were coming up with the words as you spoke them. But then, at a certain point, you got onto a roll. The story flowed out of you like you knew it already. It was you that wanted a war between the Xanathar Guild and the Zhentarim. You wanted to weaken the Guild or obliterate them in the process. I wouldn’t even be surprised if you hoped to weaken both factions to the point that you thought you could take both of them down.”

Harlow was as red as an apple now. Fists clenched. Face twisted in a scowl. “And what? I hired your dead sister to do the killing for me?”

Umberto felt that thorny vine twist a little, but he ignored the pain. “That was the funny part for me. You had no idea that I would be here. It just so happened that the only Zhentarim agent of renown you had ever gotten up close to had been my sister. That’s why you looked so shocked when we first met. You were already stumbling through a string of bad luck. First Aeon’s music box, then your father calling in someone to do your job, and then the brother of the person you stole the identity of arrives in their place.”

“None of this is true,” Harlow said.

Umberto ignored him again. “I’ve heard what happened that night in the alleyway now, thanks to Aeon.” He gestured to the goliath and she made a mocking curtsy. “And again, if it were not for the fact that I grew up with Sliver, no one would have suspected it wasn’t her.” Umberto stared down Harlow. “My sister never swore. She found them to be filler words used by people who didn’t have anything to actually say.”

Harlow began to shake. “I did not impersonate your-“

“You must have been so scared when that sending stone fell out of the music box,” Umberto interrupted. “I found it so strange that it was broken and tossed away. But you panicked. You broke it, then realized you couldn’t just leave it, so you put it somewhere you thought no one would ever suspect to look. If you had just left it there it would have been so much easier for you to pin all of this on Aeon. And you realized that. Which is why you started pointing everything you could towards her.”

“You have no proof!”

“You’re right,” Umberto said. “I don’t. But you do. When we were on the rooftop, I noticed your hand went for your coat when I mentioned a disguise. When I was applying your wig and nose, I cast a Detect Magic spell and found an aura of transmutation on you. If I had to guess, you have some item that lets you cast True Polymorph.”

The room went still, and all eyes fell on Harlow. It looked as if the man might suddenly explode with rage. Instead, Harlow seemed to gather himself. He stopped shaking, lowered his shoulders, and let out a long breath. After a moment, he looked up and locked eyes with Umberto. “My biggest mistake was missing that crossbow shot.”

Aeon laughed. “You’re biggest mistake was that haircut!”

Harlow pulled a wand out from his coat. Xanathar agents, even some of the undercover guards, moved to stop the man, but he was faster and the spell was instantaneous. Lavender colored smoke flowed from the end of the wand, covering Harlow as he smiled at Umberto. Then, everyone around Harlow was thrown back against the walls of the room as something massive formed in the tavern.

A shape moved in the smoke. A low growl rumbled through the building as a clawed, skeletal hand appeared. The growing glow of firelight cut through the smoke as the skull of a red dragon came into view. Bits of dead muscle and flesh still hung to the bone, and red glowing firelight filled its empty eye sockets.

The guards yelled in fear as the red dracolich that had been Harlow readied to strike.

Aeon

“Get him, Deuce,” Aeon said as the dracolich began to approach.

The undead creature’s claws dug into and split the boards she had laid by hand years before. It pulled itself forward as if still trying to understand how its body worked.

That’s what you get for choosing something showy, you plinth head.

Deuce leaped from her shoulder, landing on the bar just as Umberto climbed on top of it. It was clear the older man could do magic, but Aeon didn’t know what to expect from him. A moment later, Umberto hunched forward, then threw his arms out with a fearsome roar as he shifted into a large brown bear.

Somehow, she noted, that makes sense.

Xanathar agents and city guard sprung into action, weapons at the ready. They charged the dracolich, for whatever good it would do. Aeon commended them for their effort, but those weapons were going to need a magic touch if they were going to be effective. Especially since the dracolich looked as if it planned to take care of them with a swipe of its wings.

Luckily for them, Deuce had been charging up his energy beam.

There was a flash of white light as Deuce opened his mouth wider than a real monkey would be able to - and an instant later, a blue beam of magical energy streaked towards the dracolich. In the same moment, the bear that was Umberto leaped into the air, crossing the distance between the bar and the undead creature just after the beam struck.

The blast from the beam made the dracolich flinch, its head bobbing for a moment - giving the guards and agents their opportunity to strike. As it shook off the attacks, Umberto’s claws connected with the creature’s skull, slicing deep grooves into the bone. The bear landed on its hind legs with a thud that shook the whole tavern and readied for another swing.

The dracolich that had been Harlow let out an unnatural roar. Somehow, there were bits of Harlow’s voice in the sound. “You’re dead,” came Harlow’s voice. “I’ll kill you all!”

Aeon clocked Umberto’s next attack and gave a quick whistle to Deuce, who instantly understood, as she flipped a switch on her cane. The crystal in the head of the cane began to glow and charge, humming with energy.

The dracolich righted itself, sweeping out its wings and tossing the agents and guards into the opposing walls. As it did, it roared at Umberto, fire forming in the back of its skeletal jaw like a raging inferno.

Umberto responded to this with an uppercut swing of his bear claws. As he swung, Deuce scrambled up the bear’s legs and body, then down his arm, charging another blast. As Umberto struck the lower jaw of the dragon skull, Deuce unleashed another powerful blast - the combined force sending the dracolich’s head up and crashing into the ceiling.

“You’re paying for all of this damage, Harlow,” Aeon said with a grin as the dracolich tried to pull its nose out of the ceiling. She raised her cane and leveled it like a crossbow, eying the sinew and decaying muscle between the dracolich’s ribs. With three quick pulls of the trigger, the cane fired as many bolts of blue, flaming energy. Each bolt found its mark, disintegrating the bits holding together several of the ribs.

Umberto seemed to understand what she was going for. He grabbed onto two of the ribs and began to pull with a roar that Aeon could feel in her chest. Bones snapped and muscle tore - and with another whistle, Deuce scurried around Umberto and onto his shoulder. As the ribs parted, Deuce fired another beam - this one sustaining longer than the others - into the dracolich.

Bone and sinew disintegrated as the beam cut through what had been Harlow. It roared with pain - Harlow’s voice sounding like the most pained part. After a moment, the beam sliced through the dracolich’s spine, severing the creature in half. The lights went out in the skull, and the skeletal form began to collapse.

Before it could hit the floor, or land on Umberto, the image of the dracolich wavered, replaced by the small form of Harlow - who landed on broken boards with a grunt.

“No,” Harlow said with a groan. “No!” He tried to get up, but the end of Umberto’s staff pressed down on his back.

Umberto’s form returned, Deuce still on his shoulder, as Harlow looked up at him. “Guards,” Umberto said. “Take this man away.”

Umberto

Umberto enjoyed every bite of breakfast the next morning. Aeon had invited him the night before for a free meal and drinks if he wanted them. He had graciously accepted the food but passed on the drink. Alcohol wasn’t something he liked having in the morning. But, after everything he’d been through the day before, he’d given it serious thought.

But, as he swirled the last piece of sausage in the yolk of the perfectly cooked eggs, he knew this was all he needed. Good food did wonders for Umberto’s mind, and he felt as if he could enjoy it just a bit more than he had the day before. Things were different. He was different. No, that wasn’t it. He felt like he had over six months before. And that was a feeling he needed.

Aeon sat down at the table. “How was it?”

Umberto was still chewing the sausage, but smiled and made a warm sound that clearly said, “it was delicious.” When he finished chewing, he added, “like honey from the hive.”

“Good,” Aeon said. “I’ll give your compliments to the Chief. They’re an automaton, but I’ll still tell them.”

Umberto wiped his mouth and mustache with the napkin, then set it over the finished plate. “You certainly cleaned things up quickly.” He gestured to the tavern that looked almost like new. The only hint from the fight with the dracolich were the broken boards of the ceiling.

“Just one of the plus sides of making all of my staff by hand. I get to decide how fast they work.”

They laughed, and Umberto noticed an envelope Aeon was holding.

“So,” Aeon said. “What do you think Harlow’s endgame was with me? Did he really think he could just pin everything on me?”

Umberto nodded. “I believe so. The reason he didn’t have a magister here was probably so he could toss the place and find enough things to make a story. The guards found a magical dagger on him - no doubt the one he used for the murders. He was probably going to plant it somewhere here in the tavern to make a case for a magister to convict you.”

“What a plinth head,” Aeon said with a scoff.

“Indeed.” Umberto eyed the envelope. “Err, may I ask what is in that envelope?”

“Oh,” Aeon said as if she had forgotten she was holding it. “I wanted to thank you. I had a pretty good plan in place last night, but I don’t know if I could have pulled everything off without you. I for sure couldn’t have gotten the guards to let me go without any extra investigation without you. So,” she trailed off as she put the envelope on the table.

Umberto went for it, but Aeon held up a hand. “Before you look at it, I need to tell you. Your sister is alive. Don’t ask me how I know, or how I got this information - because you won’t like either of the answers. In that envelope is the location of where she is being held. Do with it what you will.”

She moved her hand and Umberto found his own moving slower now as he picked up the envelope. The vine began to wilt as a flower of hope began to grow. “You’re sure it is her?”

“As sure as I can be,” she said as she stood. “Just please, don’t go getting yourself killed. You seem like too nice of a guy for that to happen to you.” She paused for a moment. “Before I go. I heard from one of the guards that this was your first case in six months? That you had given this line of work up?”

Umberto nodded, having to force himself to look away from the envelope and up at the goliath. “I… I’m still not sure if I will be picking it up again.”

Aeon gave him a friendly smile. “Well, you should. People like you make being a criminal fun.”

With that, she walked away, Deuce hopping down from the rafters onto her shoulder.

For a moment, Umberto let himself think about getting back to work again, full-time. Taking on cases, solving crimes, bringing criminals to justice - everything. And, to his surprise, there was no fear. No anxiety. No mud around his feet holding him back. Yes, he could do this again. He would do this again. But first…

He picked up the envelope.

“But first, I have something I need to do.”


The End


Umberto Thornheart and Aeon are coming to Idle Champions July 3rd as part of Founders' Day. Keep an eye out for their Champion Spotlights coming later this week!

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