From last post:
We both jumped. It was a voice from my balcony. A commanding, resonant voice that I thought I recognized. I went to the balcony door and slid open the blind. Looking back at me was a cold, aristocratic figure. He was alone, so while our second meeting wouldn’t have the same danger as our first, his stern expression told me that it was going to be at least as nerve-wracking. Maestro Nosferatu.
I slid the door open a crack. “You’re looking for Ella?” I said. She had followed me to the door but was standing in a corner, where she couldn’t be seen from outside.
“My time on earth has been long so it is simple to overlook such an inane quip. Yet my patience is not infinite.”
“So why wait for me to…” I looked at the threshold, which Maestro had made no move to cross. “That’s an actual thing? You can’t come in here unless I invite you?”
“It is a taboo. Even those among us with little interest in tradition would not violate it.”
I opened the blind fully but slid the door only slightly further, so the opening was as wide as Maestro’s shoulders. “Be right back,” I said, and retrieved the two chairs from the dining table. I pushed one outside and put the other in front of Ella. For myself I pulled over a kitchen stool. Ella and I sat down, and then Maestro.
“Can I get you anything?” I asked Maestro. “Some wine?”
“I am familiar with the reference. I do not do requests, sir.” Maestro then spoke to me with a faster cadence then he had before, without losing any of his precision. “When we last spoke I advised you to stay on good terms with those who walk in the dark. Since then you placed one of us in a situation where she was manipulated by one human and injured by another. Perhaps you think showing defiance in spite of your limited powers gives you a sort of roguish charm.”
“I didn’t place Leticia in that situation. I’d like to know how she’s doing.”
“She is well. Nevertheless there are those, more prideful than I am, who see her injury as an affront to be avenged. Those following Miss Sherrinford tonight are among them.”
“So they’re with you?’ said Ella. She actually seemed relieved that she was being stalked by vampires and not by a Welsh goat-worshipping cult.
Maestro nodded. “I accept the veracity of Mr. Ormand’s account and do not believe you acted out of malice. I would regret your loss and have told your pursuers of this. They will not impede your return home.”
I decided to overlook the “your loss” crack but wanted to press Maestro on something else. “What about Pickman’s camera being stolen? Do you know about that?”
“It is possible that the thief performed a favor for you. There are some things that are best left unknown even to a highly disciplined human mind.” He looked at Ella again. “You know of what I speak.”
Maestro stood and so did Ella and I. “Until we meet again,” he said. He turned and I asked him to stop. He stopped but didn’t turn back around.
“This is the second time we’ve talked,” I said, “and I still don’t know your name.”
“The name you applied to me in your account of your first meeting.”
“What, ‘Maestro Nosferatu’?”
“That will suffice. Farewell.” And he was gone.