The Case of the Misguided Guhl (Part V)
We were given luxurious apartments that brought back the dreams inspired of our childhood tales. Exotic sheets and woods provided a plethora of textures and scents. After weeks on the road it was refreshing to have a bath and sleep in a bed. Over a full breakfast on a bright desert morning we were given a meeting with Gamal.
Gamal’s apartments were an amazing example of beauty and efficiency. They were the stately apartments of a princess, but a practical one. We dined on the balcony of her room at the palace, overlooking the city. Jeremy behaved like a child on Needfest as he was again exposed to foods that Hawa used to make for us on the winter holiday.
Gamal watched amused as my master enjoyed the Yogurt far more than anyone should. I smiled, “You must forgive my master’s exuberance; we have not had real yogurt since our beloved Hawa passed away."
She waved off the apology. “I am glad he likes it. I made it recently…fresh is not exactly the word to use for yogurt.”
Jeremy looked up, “I am keeping within my manners…did you say you made this? It’s excellent…” He trailed off as he looked across the table, “What is that next to the orange wedges? Is that diced avocados, chopped green onions, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil mixed to put in the Pita. Oh Leara take me now!”
Our hostess seemed gleefully amused at the energy he was putting into breakfast. “The morning meal,” she said, “is to help give us energy for the day. You are, I fear, expending more in the eating than it is giving you.”
He waved his hand while he finished chewing before speaking, “No, no…perfectly fine. Don’t worry about me.”
Because I knew him, I could tell my master was also surveying the city from this high point. “Tell me,” he asked, “is the grand Bazaar as amazing as the tales?”
“Indeed,” she replied, “I can take the two of you in the next few days. My father has ordered me to be your guide.”
“An extreme but unnecessary honor,” I said, “a princess should not be tour guide.”
She dismissed my concern, “Sir Frederik, I am the daughter of the Sultan. Yes, I am a princess…one of dozens. But I am, as are my brothers, also a method to honor special visitors. My father wishes you to know that his very family would be as servants to you while you are here.”
“But…” I asked puzzled, “Why? We are dignitaries from a seldom seen place, telling you of friends and allies including your brother coming. But even so…this treatment is beyond our place.”
She sighed. “You are right. So my father must know something we do not. He has soothsayers at his disposal.”
“And,” said my master, “knew I was a detective and amazing at it. Don’t forget that.” He finished his plate, as we had long ago and Gamal signaled for coffee.
Gamal began roasting the beans and expertly performing every step of the coffee ceremony.
Jeremy leaned over to me and whispered, “Frederick…coffee…it’s coffee.”
“Keen eyes master.”
“Oh come on…tell me you’re not excited.”
“I am. I am also not insane.”
“Well,” he said, “I think I could prove otherwise in a court of law. You follow me everywhere.”
Gamal revealed she was able to hear us by a subtle laugh. “The two of you make me miss my brother Kareem. He is also very funny.”
There was a moment of sadness in her eyes. She was the type of person who mourned for every family member distant at all times. Her role was to unite her family in joy, honor, loyalty and faith at all times possible. And when even one was missing, she was lessened by it. All that passed in a moment across her eyes.
“So,” Jeremy asked as he sipped his coffee, “what has been stolen?”
He was taken aback for a moment, “Did you say toys?”
“Yes all the toys that were the favorites of the 51 children of the Sultan…well 50 of them.” She rose and unlocked a cabinet and removed a small stuffed doll that rested on an intricate miniature carpet. She spoke a magic work and it hovered in the air, directed by her thoughts around the room. She smiled at memories of childhood as she demonstrated the toy. “Mine, I keep under lock and key. The things that taught us to dream are not to be left behind unless it is to bring dreams to others. There is dangerous magic in leftover dreams. I do not leave my dreams lying about for others.”
“Indeed,” my master said ominously as he slid deep into his thoughts. “Dreams and Nightmares…they seem to be a common topic of interest in the world today. “
“Oh?” inquired Gamal.
“Part of what the heroes coming are facing is a man who can enter and control nightmares.” He said, not looking up.
“Do you think he is involved in this?”
Jeremy shook his head, “No, this is something else. But it brought on another thought…one deeply…Well” he said, breaking off his thought, “How were the thefts discovered? It is not like you have someone watching over the royal toy vault.”
“Our nanny Anisah noticed. She is old and was doing a project cataloging the toys.” Some were missing, and she knew them well.” Gama smiled, “Anisah was nanny to us all. She knew our favorites of everything as well as all our dreams. She is very upset by all this. S,o although I will take you to talk to her, I will ask that you be gentle and remember she is old and angry.
My master nodded and finished his coffee. “A most amazing beverage; well then please take us to this gentle old soul”
“Gentle?” Gamal lauched, “Oh, Master Moonrise, you are in for a shock.”