2.17 – The Beginnings of Madness
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Chloe’s PoV

If I could find the Relics of Life and Death before MorcuCorp did, there was a possibility I could use them as bartering pieces. I wasn’t completely clear on how. But if I had them, I might get a hold of the upper hand, so to speak. I could threaten to destroy them at the very least! That might convince them to turn a blind eye on Donovan. Maybe even

“What’s this about?” Donovan demanded.

I jerked around. I hadn’t realized they’d followed me! “Stuff,” I responded. I averted my eyes.

Donovan quirked an eyebrow. “This has to do with MorcuCorp, doesn’t it?”

“Maybe.” I shifted uncomfortably. The last thing I needed was Donovan too close to the people I was trying to keep him from.

Donovan’s eyes widened. “Maybe you can help us!”


Donovan and Lucy shared a glance. Lucy whispered something to him.

“Okay, so this MorcuCorp company is just bad news. They’re ripping off the locals and, in some cases, stealing from them! Luf—someone asked me to take a look into the company’s tax records and see if I can find anything that would work as blackmail to make them leave Egypt alone.”

“Blackmail?!” A second after the word left my mouth, a nasty little voice from the back of my mind muttered, And what do you do? “What kind of blackmail?”

“Just enough to get them to stop this black market trade!” Donovan insisted. “But for that I need to see their records, which I can’t because they’re in their headquarters, which I can’t get into because it’s super secret and I need to bribe the guards to get into with a metal I can’t even find!” He took a deep breath. Lucy nodded emphatically from beside him.

“And what are you doing in this?” I asked her, hands on my hips.

She held up the camera I’d given her months ago. “Documentation.”

That’s not a bad idea. I turned around and paced a few steps, turned again and took a few steps back. I looked up at the sky, pondering.

If I could get my hands on the company’s tax records, a whole realm of possibilities could open up. What would I do with that information? It would depend upon what was there. If I can find some proof of tax evasion or something…An interesting idea. I shook my head. An idea for later. First, I would have to see if the information could actually be obtained. A thought occurred to me.

“Wait!” I whirled around. “How did you two get caught up in all this?!”

“Uh…” Donovan glanced at Lucy. “Just…uhm…I…like helping out the locals…and at first…at first it was just, like, expor—searching through…places for…missing objects, you know, that people had lost. And then Lucy started her photography and I didn’t want her out doing that alone, you know, ‘cuz the desert’s dangerous and I didn’t want her getting hurt. Then she started getting noticed by people at the bazaar for her photos and then Ms. Luf—someone said they wanted us to help def—find proof that MorcuCorp was destroying the unique heritage of Al Simhara.”

Donovan carried on, with Lucy nodding along beside him. I stood, rubbing my chin and reading between the lines.

The two of them had been into the tombs and ancient ruins scattered throughout the desert around Al Simhara. Performing missions for certain people, finding missing objects (doubtlessly ancient relics, perhaps family heirlooms), and exploring cordoned off government land. You’ve got no right to judge, that nasty little voice whispered.

I sighed and stared out over the desert while Donovan babbled on. Night had truly fallen, darkening the barren landscape. The moon was starting to rise above the dunes.

What if we could do it, I wondered. What if we could somehow find this “secret headquarters” that MorcuCorp has? What if we found something? I shifted my foot, watching grains of sand flow done the dune, gathering more grains and speed along the way. What if I found their financial records, bank accounts, routing numbers…what if? What if I could ruin them from the inside?

“What metal did you need to find?”


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