In the previous episode, Kristi learns that Alan knows she is not Lillian Parker. The next morning, the shady art dealer, Abdul Musa, shows up in camp asking for Miss Parker. Readers voted that he said “Where?” when Geoffrey pointed to Kristi.
“Where?” Abdul looked around, puzzled.
But Geoffrey had already left, striding off toward the horses. Abdul picked up the skirts of his robe and started to hurry after him, but Kristi jumped forward and grabbed his arm.
“I can help you,” she said, dragging him off in the direction of the tents. Edmund followed close at their heels.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Edith watching them, her eyes narrowed. Alan had vanished.
When they were out of earshot of the others, Kristi dropped his arm. He stared at her with a half-bewildered, half-wounded expression.
“Why do you need to speak with her . . . uh, me? With me?” she demanded.
“You misunderstand, uh, honored lady,” he said, edging away. “I don’t wish to speak with you. Please, where is Miss Parker?”
Edmund and Kristi exchanged glances.
“She’s not here right now,” Edmund said at last. “Why do you need to speak with her?”
“Nothing important,” he shrugged, spreading his hands. “Just business.”
“It is personal,” he said, pushing himself up on his toes with a look of pious indignation. The feather on his turban tickled Kristi’s nose and she sneezed.
“What kind of personal business could you possibly have with Miss Parker?” Edmund asked skeptically.
“You saw her,” Kristi said suddenly. “Of course. You saw Lillian the night she arrived, didn’t you? Oh!” A thought struck her. “Are you trying to blackmail her?”
Abdul turned red and spluttered. “I . . . certainly never–”
“But what could she have possibly been doing?” Kristi asked.
“Abdul?” Edmund asked.
Edmund’s tone was firm. “What did you see?”
Abdul deflated, his shoulders slumping. “I may,” he allowed, “have seen Miss Parker, talking to the gentleman who was killed, the night before his death.”
“What were they saying?” Kristi asked.
“Abdul,” Edmund said warningly.
“I do not know,” Abdul said obstinately. “I was too far away to hear. The city is noisy at night, and me, I am an honest man. I do not listen to other people’s conversations.”
With that, he turned and slunk back to his camel.
“Sure,” Kristi said under her breath.
Alan came out of one of the tents and stood, watching Abdul go.
“Perhaps we should–” Edmund broke off, following Kristi’s gaze. Seeing Alan, he scowled.
“The gentleman, he leaves already?” The voice at Kristi’s elbow startled her. How long had Aziah been standing there?
“Oh, he had to get back,” Kristi said vaguely.
“He is not a very nice man,” Aziah observed.
“I rather think not,” Edmund said.
“Miss Parker. Edmund. Hurry up!” Geoffrey called.
Crap. She had forgotten all about having to go to the excavation today.
“Edmund, I really can’t–”
“What in the blazes is taking you so long?” Geoffrey appeared around the side of the tent. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.