Chemistry a panamindor.., p.1
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       Chemistry - a Panamindorah Story, p.1

           Abigail Hilton
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Chemistry - a Panamindorah Story
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  Chemistry

  A Panamindorah Story

  By: Abigail Hilton

  Published by: Pavonine Books

  Cover Art by: Sarah Cloutier

  © 2013 Abigail Hilton. All rights reserved. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This material may not be reproduced, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact the author at abigail.hilton@gmail.com. Artwork was purchased and is displayed by agreement with the artist.

  Chemistry

  “In Wefrivain, the apothecaries call it ‘temple-white,’ but books from the Lawless Lands call it ‘lily.’ Either way, it’s deadly to felids.” Lu watched from the tree line as Silveo picked his way across the meadow towards one of the large, silky white flowers.

  “Does it matter which one?” he called.

  “Nope. And it doesn’t even matter which part of the plant, but I figured you’d enjoy the flowers.”

  “Now why would you figure that?” He was a skinny sixteen-year-old foxling, wearing more kohl than would have been appropriate for a sailor…and Silveo was no sailor. He was dressed in plain rough-spun today, but it looked new—an improvement on the last time she’d seen him. His ear-piercings sported a collection of tiny pearls in various colors, and when he bent to examine a plant, Lu glimpsed the flash of an intricately wrought, jeweled medallion on a chain around his neck. Silveo had just returned from a trip to the Lawless Lands, and he’d done well by the look of it.

  He selected a flower, broke off the long stem close to the base, and came padding back, stepping lightly around patches of wet ground. They’d both left their boots with the zebras. Silveo’s paws were dark with mud, and his tail—normally as white as the lilies—was speckled black and brown. His long, silvery white hair, braided today down his back, had several twigs in it. He should have looked bedraggled, but, in the misty meadow among the flowers, he looked more like some androgynous earth spirit out of a minstrel’s ballad.

  The illusion broke as Silveo squelched into a deep patch of wet ground near the tree line, and Lu took a quick step back. “Ocelons are even more sensitive to temple-white than grishnards. Get rid of the stamen, please. I don’t want the pollen anywhere near me.”

  Silveo stood still, examining the flower critically. He broke off the long stamen, velvet with orange pollen, and stuck it in his mouth. His pale blue eyes flicked up to Lu’s green ones. He grinned around the piece of flower and suckled it suggestively.

  Lu burst out laughing. “Now I’ve seen you do everything.” She felt oddly touched, though. “You do trust me, don’t you?”

  Silveo sucked the stamen into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. “’Course I do. You said it wasn’t poisonous to canids.”

  “It’s not,” said Lu, “although I can’t image that it tastes good.”

  “I’ve eaten worse.” Silveo tramped the rest of the distance to where she stood under the trees. He licked pollen off his lips, then gave an exaggerated pucker. Lu ducked away, laughing. “Not a chance.” Not even if you didn’t have deadly pollen in your mouth. We were nothing but trouble for each other that way, Silvy.

  “If I’m going to have some rare reaction, I’d rather have it with you than on the job,” said Silveo more seriously.

  “Good point. It’s a slow poison, though. You said that’s what you wanted.”

  “Yes. He has a house full of armed guards. He needs to feel fit as a grishnard on catmint until I’m long gone.”

  Lu handed Silveo a piece of cloth, soaked in water from her canteen. Silveo wrapped the flower, making sure that any pollen-stained petals were moist and unlikely to send clouds of orange dust into the air. He put the whole thing into a small, dry sack, and they started off through the forest. No trail led up to this meadow, but Lu knew the way.

  “Anything else you can tell me?” she asked. “How do you want to administer it?”

  “In wine, probably,” said Silveo. “He’s very suspicious, and I don’t trust myself to be able to poison only his food. I need something we can both drink, but it’ll kill him and not me.”

  “Well, this should do the trick,” said Lu. “Like I said, it’s deadly to felids, but canids could make a meal of it and not die. He’ll start to feel unwell a few days after you leave, probably vomiting. He’ll urinate a lot, then not at all. A few days later, he’ll get confused and sleepy. Then he’ll go to bed and never get up again.”

  Silveo nodded. “Sounds about right.”

  Lu didn’t press for further details. She never wanted to know too much about how Silveo used the substances she provided him, and he didn’t usually volunteer information.

  “It’s his business partner,” said Silveo after a moment. Lu made no comment, but he continued, “Funny thing is, my target thinks we’re meeting to discuss the assassination of said partner. He doesn’t know that his partner has already paid me a lot more than he’s offering to make his final business deal.”

  Lu laughed in spite of herself. “They sound like terrible people.”

  “Everyone’s terrible people.”

  You’re not. You just don’t know it.

  Silveo had flicked out a knife and proceeded to pick a squirrel off a branch up ahead. The animal fell, thrashing, into the weeds, and he scrambled after it to retrieve his knife. “Hey, bring the meat back if you’re going to do that!” called Lu.

  “It’s just a rat with a fluffy tail,” retorted Silveo as he searched through the underbrush.

  “Good eating on those rats.”

  “I hate squirrels,” muttered Silveo as he returned to her with the small body.

  You hate the word, not the animal, thought Lu, but she took it anyway and put it in her pack.

  She tried to change the subject. “You’re getting better with the knives. Malpin must be a good teacher.”

  “He is.” Silveo laughed. “A deadly flower called temple-white… He’d like that!”

  “Is he still trying to get you to leave the temple service?”

  “I’m not in ‘service.’”

  “You know what I mean.”

  “Yes, he doesn’t like it. He says shelts who work for the Priestess come to bad ends. Like shelts who do what he does don’t come to bad ends? I haven’t met a lot of old assassins.”

  “He wants something better for you.”

  Silveo snorted. “I wonder if he’s forgotten what I was doing when we met. Being an assassin is something better.”

  Lu had to agree with him there, although she almost pointed out that Silveo mixed his old and new professions so freely that he could hardly be said to have left one behind. Let’s not quarrel today, though. “While we’re out here, I need to gather some other things.”

  “Anything else that I can fellate?”

  “Oh, I’m sure we can find something.”
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