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“Lord Folling lives in there?” Tandrel asked, whistling. He blocked his eyes from the sun.

“I think he’s a duke, not a lord,” David said, crouched on the green hill outside Balaron.

“Doesn’t matter,” Simon said. “That’s a lot of open ground to cover.”

“Shouldn’t be hard for you, dressed in green. You’re more of an elf than I am,” Tandrel said.

“Shut up,” Simon said with a smile. As much as he didn’t like pulling this off in daytime, they’d heard that magical wards came on during the night, which would alert the owners to their presence. So they began their exodus. Luckily, they found no guard in sight.

“For once my short stature comes in handy,” David crowed from under his green blanket he used to cover himself as he ran. The other two had one as well, but ran crouching. Their knees didn’t feel very sympathetic to David at the moment.

It took about ten minutes, stopping frequently to avoid detection, for them to get to the side wall, made from smooth stones. David’s cheeks looked less red than the other two. “Ceno is going to wish he’d come along.”

“You just wanted to hear him complain,” Tandrel said. David grinned.

Looking around carefully, they found a window near ground level. Without asking, Simon stepped up on David’s shoulders and looked inside. David only grunted. The view inside didn’t look very interesting, the same as most noble estates. Some paintings hung on the walls, with a canvas on an easel facing away from him in the middle of the room. The room looked like a studio. One of the Follings liked to paint.

“Looks like it’s safe to enter,” he said, lying. Some magical alarm would probably sound, but he didn’t care. Get in, get proof, get out, don’t die. He tested the window and found it open, if a little grating. Slowly, as silently as he could, he pushed it open until he could crawl in. It felt darker inside than when looking in from the outside. Tandrel pushed David in, who fell down with a grunt. Tandrel climbed in after.

“Ok, time to find some evidence of magic.”

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