In Search of Spice

In Search of Spice by Rex Sumner

Book: In Search of Spice by Rex Sumner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rex Sumner
Tags: historical fantasy
history. I loved your mother. She was very special to me.”
    Sara’s eyes narrowed. Suzanne’s eyes were suspiciously bright and damp. She was trying to equate the country’s leading courtesan, who had ‘history’ with her father, with a girl who had known her mother and loved her.
    “I never understood how you received an invitation to the Autumn Ball. Father wouldn’t say a word. I was very suspicious.”
    “Your father is a dear but I let him down badly, long ago. The Church hates me, once I had too much influence. If they knew we saw each other they would make political trouble for him.”
    “Saw each other? Political? Just who are you, Suzanne, and why don’t I know?”
    “I’m just a girl from Galicia who ran into trouble with royalty. Not your father, a Galician bastard. The reason you know nothing about me is I operate a sizeable chunk of your spy network for Luce.”
    Sara sat down on the bed with a thump and stared at her. Suzanne smiled and went on.
    “So, it must have been Rotherstone. The bastard. What did he do?”
    “He, he, he set a priest on me, a magician. Persuaded all the guards who saw me that I was an assassin.”
    “Hmmph. That would have been Bessin. He’s a hypnotist rather than a magician, not much difference really. Damn good. That’s bad news. No wonder you’re in hiding. This is a good place for you in that case. Does Luce know you are here?”
    “No, we had several alternatives laid out and she knows this is one of them, but she doesn’t know which one I chose.”
    Suzanne had stripped off her dress while she talked and was now rinsing the make up off her face. She wound her hair into a rope, tied off the end with a little chain with weights on. Sara stared at it.
    “Makes a good weapon, unexpected too.” She winked again. “Right, while we are on the ship, I shall report directly to you rather than through Luce. What’s your name and rank on the ship?”
    “Ah, Sara, I’m a topsailsman but my fighting position is archer on the poop.”
    “OK Sara, I shall ask for you as my personal assistant when you are not on duty. That way we can discuss matters with no interference. I doubt that I can be your boss, though, in the fighting, as I am not much good as an archer. My bouncers get in the way.”
    She smiled, grabbed a long cloth and started winding it around her chest to keep her breasts under control. She rifled through the Fourth’s clothes, selecting a uniform with a surprisingly good fit.
    “Hmmph. Needs a bit of needlework, I’ll do it later, this will do for now. Pass me that belt. Right, how do I look? Ready to face the music?”
    “You look fine, more like an officer than Reilly did. Not sure whether to call you sir or mother!”
    “Make it Fourth. Give me a hat and let’s see what the Captain has decided.”
    “Come in,” said Captain Larroche heavily, knowing damn well who was at the door. He raised his eyebrows, though, when Sara started to followed Suzanne into the room.
    “If you please, Sara, I wish to speak to Suzanne alone,” he said icily. Sara jumped and retreated, not having thought it through and wanting to support Suzanne.
    The Captain stared at her for a moment. Damn, with the paint washed off she looked like a competent, efficient officer, nothing like the strumpet he expected.
    “Madam, we have a mutual problem here. We both equally regret your presence but I cannot afford to either turn back to return you to shore or to provide you with a boat even if you could sail it. We are under a very real threat from Spakka pirates until we are well away from shore, which have never allowed a Harrhein ship to sail away.”
    Suzanne regarded him levelly, nodding once.
    “Nevertheless, you have murdered an officer of this ship and there needs to be a trial.”
    “The death was an accident. I intended to flatten his nose, that’s all. Well, maybe I wanted to cripple his love life as well.” Suzanne bristled with suppressed anger. “I’ve been

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