Sir Turquin and The Missing Princess

Excerpt from a story that my sister and I started writing together. 

 

Nigel Crumpworthy, master of the detective arts and wizard for hire, strode into King Karsheesh’s throne room with a cigar clamped between his teeth. He stopped, turned at an angle of thirty-six degrees, removed his hat and flung it on to the royal coat rack with perfect accuracy. Ah, a real professional, everyone thought.  He took his cigar from his mouth with two dexterous fingers, blew out a languid smoke ring and said,

“Crown. Gold. 24 karat. Aristocratic posture. Attendants arranged in classic Malaking-malaki formation. Distinct lack of antique vases. You must be King Karsheesh. By the way, did you know that one of your maids is stealing preserves from the kitchen at this very moment?” He put the cigar back in his mouth.

King Karsheesh blinked, but he was not a man to be talked down to or intimidated. In classic kingly fashion, he ignored everything that the wizard had said and shouted, “Ah, Nigel! You look just the chap for the job. You know the details, I trust?”

“Certainly. Princess. Grey eyes. Raven black hair. Delicate features. Missing. Likely a cooking accident.”

King Karsheesh had been nodding up until the last phrase.

“Mm, Princess, …eyes …hair…features …yes… cooking accident?!

The wizard simply smirked. The King stroked his chin.

“Well, yes. I suppose we might have thought of that.”

The wizard said, “Naturally, you just assumed that she was stolen. A pretext for expanding the empire, yes?”

“A pretext for expanding the empire, no,” returned Karsheesh coolly. “You overstep yourself, Mr. Crumpworthy.”

Nigel shrugged. “As you say, sire.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? Get going.”

The wizard got going. On his way out, he stopped, and tapped his cigar on the shield of one of the guards. The ash trickled down onto the royal carpet. The guard glared at him. “Hat,” said Nigel Crumpworthy, and it sailed off the coatrack and into his hand. He tipped it at the guard insolently and left. 

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