A holiday was announced and everyone was celebrating. Those who weren’t made coin helping others to do so. Rues were filled with people who embraced the opportunity for joy. Day drinking was not just tolerated but encouraged and if anyone rejoiced a bit too enthusiastically the Gendarmes were sober enough to give them a place to sleep it off.
Maxi looked out the window of her apartment. It felt as though she hadn’t been back for a long time, which when she thought about it was true. Turning back, she surveyed the damage the League of Spiders had done. Their skill at ransacking was impressive if that was your sort of thing.
It would be a chore to clean it all up and there were certain items that she didn’t need others to see. Those would need to be moved to a safe place before the place could be set to right.
Amazingly, none of those special objects were removed by her intruders. They were criminals but not crooked. Amoral guardians?
“What I really need is a drink,” Maxi said aloud.
Since no one chided her for a lack of responsibility, she grabbed a stylish red jacket and headed out.
The streets were packed with citizens who were already having an excellent time. She passed by a wine bar filled with celebrants who called out to passersby, “Do you have the time?”
To which they would shout, “We do now!” followed with laughter and cheers.
Eventually, she found herself in front of Les Requêtes. She knocked on the door, gave the password, and entered. At the front as always was Mr. Twig. He sported a serious black eye that had already begun to fade.
“How are you?”
He sighed and replied, “Thank you for asking. Very few are concerned with the happiness of the doorman.”
“That’s not really an answer.”
“This is true. But I have made a decision.”
“You’re not leaving us?”
He paused and shook his head.
“Then what- “
Her question was interrupted by an explosion of high spiritedness from deeper in the establishment.
Maxi moved into towards the bar. Business was very good and it took some effort to get to there. The bartenders were enthusiastically mixing drinks and the patrons imbibed with equal gusto.
She was about to order a Sunday’s Kiss with salt when she caught sight of Mistress Rosamund, who waved her to the back. Once the office door was shut, the sounds of merriment were muffled and they could speak.
“I just wanted to apologize for getting you caught up with everything that happened.
Mistress Rosamund fixed her with a hard stare.
“You did bring a whole heap of trouble to my door.”
“If I thought that would happen, I would’ve stayed away.”
“Did you start it?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that. I was part of it but I can’t say I set it off.”
The bar-owner rubbed her eyes, “You do love trouble.”
“Trouble can be fun, but this…”
“Are we solid?”
Mistress Rosamund ran her hands over her colorless hair and posited, “Well, I figure that that trouble was on the way no matter what. So, consider yerself forgiven. Drink?”
The bar-owner took out a bottle of very excellent sanguine brandy and poured them each a generous glass.
“What should we drink to?” inquired Maxi.
“Let’s drink to drinkin’!”
And they did.
“I know you want to, so jest ask,” stated Mistress Rosamund.
“How did you get it like that? It’s not white but more…”
“Yes! Where did you get it done?”
“It’s kinda a long story.”
“Do you want to tell me?”
“Truthfully, I don’t,” she admitted with some sorrow.
“Well, I think it’s striking!”
“Ha! You’re the only one who likes it. Tends to put most folks off.”
“They lack our sophisticated taste.”
They clinked glasses, stared into each other’s eyes, and drank.
“It seems like you came out the other side of all this craziness jest fine and dandy.”
“My fine is good but my dandy might need some work.”
“I got the cure for what ails you,” Mistress Rosamund declared and poured more brandy.
They sat and drank saying nothing as the hum of joy could be heard from the outside.
“Don’t suppose ya wanna tell me what happened to ya?”
“I actually do.”
“It’s better if I don’t. For you.”
“Now ya done just made me very inquisitive, but I’ll respect yer wishes.”
“I appreciate it.”
“And anyways, I got some news of my own. I’m moving.”
“You’re moving Les Requêtes? I can’t think of a more perfect place for it!”
“Not the bar, me.”
“Yep. It’s time to move on.”
“Are you going to work for the Gendarmes?” Maxi asked.
“I heard you were working with someone from the Department of Méfait Des Morts.”
“And jest where did you hear that?”
“A ghost by the name of Nikita. Chatty thing.”
“I was consulting with them about the disappearances. Temporarily,” Mistress Rosamund stressed.
“So where are you going?”
“Dunno yet, might head to the Borough or maybe to the Zìzhì shì zhèn, never been there.”
“Les Requêtes won’t be the same without you.”
“I suspect it’ll be fine. I’m sellin’ it.”
“True as trees!”
“I’m surprised he didn’t offer to leave with you.”
“He did, but I had a feeling he might be doin’ it out of some code of honor or some other such nonsense. I told him to stop being foolish. He then offered to buy the bar from me.”
“Sounds like a joke.”
“That man has never smiled to my knowledge, let alone cracked wise. He was dead serious.”
“Did you give him a special deal?”
“Hell no! Travellin’ ain’t cheap. He had the coin so we shook and signed the papers.”
“You must have paid him well.”
“I did, well worth every copper concept. Mr. Twig also has a distinct lack of vices, so guessin’ he had money saved up.”
“Maybe I’ll give that a try,” pondered Maxi.
“You? You got vices to spare.”
“Can’t argue with that.”
“One more drink and I have to get back to work, it’s going to get even busier.”
More brandy was poured, swirling a bright crimson hue.
“When do you leave?”
“I’m not much for goodbyes. They tend to be riddled with questions.”
“You’re not wrong.”
“It’s better this way.”
“Will you be here tomorrow night?”
Mistress Rosamund finished her brandy and lied, “Maybe.”