The Amulet Saga, Volume Two:
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“Those are Legerdemain amethysts,” Jyn said, holding one of the gems up to the light.
The trader ran a greasy hand through thin, stringy, black hair. “That they are, Madam. The finest in the world. They say that when the last of the dragons died, they hid in caves in the Soulless Mountains to the north, and their bodies became fine gemstones, mined by the Legerdemainians for the last five hundred years, and none are finer than the signature amethyst.”
“I’m not interested in old fairy tales. I am, however, interested in why you’re selling them at thrice the going rate and trying to pass it off as a bargain.”
“Ah, that’s where you’re mistaken, my dear.”
Jyn slid a knife from her sleeve and twirled it in her fingers. “Call me ‘my dear’ again.”
The trader bowed and pulled at his hair. “My apologies, Madam. As I was saying, the supply from Legerdemain is not what it used to be. Some say the mines are drying up. Others say it’s because the trade routes are attacked by bandits.”
“Bandits have been attacking trade routes since the beginning of time Why would that make a difference?”
The trader shrugged. “Me, I think it has more to do with political unrest in Legerdemain.”
“Oh? How so?”
The trader shrugged again and ran his hands through his hair. “I’m just a simple trader. I don’t know much about politics. But sometimes I hear things.”
Jyn gave him a conspiratorial smile and leaned forward to make the most of her minimal cleavage. “What did you hear?”
The trader leaned in and whispered. “The king’s health is not good and the queen is a simpleton, unable to powder her own nose, let alone run a country. And the heir apparent is…” he paused and looked around the stuffy, shelf-lined tent, as though checking for eavesdroppers. “Missing.”
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