Sunday, 18 November 2012

What a long day (part 6)

An edit from yesterday: £3 was indeed not going to get Oscar very far at Munich airport because the currency in Germany is the Euro. Let's say he had €5 as I think that would be more reasonable.

Now back to the story.

When Oscar entered the departure lounge, it became apparent that he would be claiming for more than just his own lunch on the work expenses. Delta had no money with her, having spent the last of her Euros in Salzburg and not wishing to add any more to her already large credit card bill. Her €5 voucher bought her a coffee and a cookie, and she was going to need more than that. As she was still following Oscar around, and as she had asked him so politely, he felt obliged to buy her a meal too. In the airport restaurant, he dared to broach the subject of what had happened on the coach. He hoped that after hearing her explanation he would feel more comfortable about getting on a plane with her.

Oscar looked down at his plate while he asked her, avoiding eye contact in case she was embarrassed to speak about it.

“Secret Art of the Breadbin,” she answered, quite confidently.

“The secret art of the—”

“Breadbin. Yes. It's a kind of martial art.” Delta took a sip of water, set down her glass, picked up her knife and fork and continued to eat.

“I'd gathered that much,” Oscar said. “Where is this martial art from? It doesn't sound very oriental.”

“Canada,” Delta answered, putting a piece of steak in her mouth.

“OK. And why did you feel you had to knock out the two men who boarded the coach?” Oscar had stopped eating and was watching Delta while he waited for her to finish her mouthful and answer.

“They were from the Cotwg.” She pronounced this 'Cot-wug' and said it very casually, as if it were common knowledge.

“Oh, and what is the Cotwg?” Oscar asked.

Delta looked startled for a moment. Had she expected him to know what she was talking about, about breadbins and cotwg and a martial art from Canada?

“I'm sorry,” she said after a moment. “This is my first mission alone. I wasn't expecting so many questions. And I haven't met many people outside of Friarr so I don't know how much you know.”

“Well, I don't know what Friarr is,” Oscar admitted. She emphasised the second syllable, so she clearly wasn't talking about a monk.

Again, Delta looked surprised. “OK,” she said slowly. Oscar could almost hear the cogs working in her brain as she contemplated how she was going to play this. “Well, what do you want to know?”

Oscar glanced up at the departure screen. The flight to Heathrow wasn't leaving for another two hours. He smiled resignedly. “Tell me everything.”

“Friarr,” Delta said, “is a bit like a religious order. We have a martial art, the Secret Art of the Breadbin, and our leader is the Great Goddess Nora.” When she said this, she set down her cutlery and raised both hands in front of her, as though in surrender. “We always do that when we say her name,” she explained when Oscar looked confused. “There are four schools in Friarr,” she continued, “which each use the power of Friarr differently. I'm in White School, like my mother and grandmother. I use the power of Friarr in the way you saw. I spin around and power flows out from my hair.”

Oscar smiled and nodded serenely. This woman was speaking very matter-of-factly, as though she were utterly convinced of this fantasy. He was worried for her sanity. Did she really believe all this?

“The enemy of Friarr is the Church of the Wild Goose, shortened to Cotwg. They always wear blue and their symbol is a goose or goose feather. I recognised the uniforms of the men who got on the coach. Didn't you see the goose emblem on their jackets and hats?”

“I can't say that was the first thing I noticed,” Oscar replied. “I'd just been handed a tin of hair elastics.”

“Yeah, I realised afterwards that I should have left my hair up. Always be prepared,” she mimicked, “That's what my mentor always tells me. The job isn't over until you get home. Ugh, I hate it when she's right.”

“You said you were doing something with a restaurant,” Oscar's presence of mind and recollection of their earlier conversation surprised even himself.

“That's right. There's a restaurant in Salzburg – it's called M32 – on top of the big hill, which is run by the Cotwg. They've been up to some dodgy business and I was called in to help. The castle on top of the hill is a Friarr base, so I was working from there.”

“I went to that restaurant!” Oscar exclaimed. He thought back to his visit. “I remember seeing a red light shining over from the castle, a bit like a search light.”

“That was me,” Delta said proudly. “It's mainly a Red School base, hence the red light. But they wanted the elegance of the White School for this operation.”

“I see. And did you achieve...” Oscar started to ask her whether she had achieved her objectives when her phone rang and she held up a finger to silence him while she answered it.

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