Bitter 42

“If you’re the Mayor,” asked Britta, “why are you at the post office? Don’t you have someone to do that sort of thing for you?”

The devs may have been able to make him suddenly appear behind her, but she didn’t have to just accept teleporting civil dignitaries as the norm.

The Mayor looked a little perturbed at the questioning. He rolled down his bottom lip and peered down at her, brow furrowed. “And what is your name, may I ask?”

She knew he could see her name tag hovering over her head, so this was all a pretence at normal conversation. It took a moment for her to remember what she had called herself.

“I’m B.”

“Like the insect?” He cocked a single bushy eyebrow.

“No, just B. Like the letter.”

The Mayor tapped his chin with the envelope in his hand. They had at least made it look like he had a valid purpose for being here. “And what does B stand for?”

“Nothing. It’s just my name. Like Beyoncé.”

“Ah, I see. B stands for Beyoncé.”

She thought about correcting him, but was it really worth it? She decided not.

“Why are you here posting a letter? Don’t you have staff?”

“I like to get out and about among my people. I’m just an ordinary citizen, after all.” He puffed out his chest and his jewellery clanked and jangled. “If you’ve finished…”

Britta held out the key from her gift box. “What is this?” He looked like the type to know what you do with a big golden key.

The Mayor leaned forward to inspect it. “It appears to be a key.”

“Yes, but what’s it for?”

He leaned back to an upright position. “We have an excellent locksmith just a little further down the street. Megby Limplan. Tell her I sent you and I’m sure she’ll treat you well. Now, if you don’t mind...”

“Do you hand out quests to adventurers?”

Now he leaned further back, like he was trying to get a better all round picture of her. “Perhaps when you’re a little more experienced. Now, I really must get on…”

Britta stepped out of the way to let him get to the counter.

“How can I help you today, your grace,” said the boy behind the counter nervously. He was sweating.

“Ah, Dennis. How’s your Ma? Well, I hope?”

“Yes, your grace. Thank you for asking.” His eyes flicked towards Britta. He looked terrified.

“Here.” The Mayor looked to his left, then to his right, then he handed over the envelope. It looked quite thick for a letter. It had a ‘stuffed-with-money’ feel to it. Did they even have paper money here? Probably only to use as a plot device.

“Th-thank you, your grace.” Dennis took the envelope, his eyes flitting from side to side. He very ostentatiously put the envelope inside his jacket. The Mayor nodded slowly. Dennis slowly nodded back.

Between the two of them they were doing an excellent job of making themselves look as suspicious as possible. They clearly knew she was standing right there watching them play out this charade, or at least if this was real they would be aware of her presence during their illicit hand-off. Even if it was for her benefit, they didn’t need to be quite so obvious.

“Hey, what’s in the envelope?” said Britta, loud enough for everyone in the post office to hear.

“A letter to my grandmother,” said the mayor. “Do you mind?”

“No, I don’t mind.”

“Very well. Good day, Miss Beyoncé.” The Mayor turned around and walked out while the people in the post office made muttering sounds, literally. They were going, “Mutter, mutter, mutter.”

Britta looked at Dennis who looked at the ceiling and began whistling.

Clearly something to investigate further. At some point. The thing about quests in games was they never started without you. You had to trigger them and even then you usually had forever to get them done. She could look into it later. Right now she had to go see a woman about a pony.

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