“My lady,” the chaperone said. “You should send the pearls back to the citadel. There could be pickpockets working in the bazaar and they would steal them.” “You worry too much,” said the Princess as she began looking in the shops, still wearing the pearls. Jere took the horses, that would no longer be needed back to the stable. When he got back to the citadel he told Avock and Grail where the Prince was and sent them after him. In the meantime the chaperone had dismounted her mount and sent it back with Jere.
There were pickpockets working the bazaar, including the girl Ada. She wasn’t too near the gate where one of the guardsmen might see here.The chaperone looked fat and like she would not be able to catch a child if she had to.She began to work her way closer to the highborn lady wearing the pearls.‘She must be a young one, to wear pearls in the bazaar’, Ada thought.She would soon learn her error.
When the lady came out of one of the shops, she continued to admire items displayed in the window. The Prince was about two steps away without his guards, and so was the chaperone.This was Ada’s chance. She had rightly sized up that the clasp was not difficult, being old.
Just as Avock and Grail were rounding the corner she ran from just behind the Princess, grabbed the pearls, and kept on running. She had the pearls in her hand and rounded the corner and disappeared into her special hidey hole.
The Princess let out a scream, “My pearls,” she screamed and grabbed at her neck. Prince Cirroc chased after the child, and so did Avock and Grail.But the Prince was at a disadvantage. He had been standing still when he started and he did not know all the hidey holes well yet. The chaperone grabbed the Princess to keep her from getting involved in the chase too.Avock and Grail were at more of a disadvantage, being further back.They raced to catch up to the Prince.
After the men went past, like a thundering herd, Ada came out of her hidey hole from another entrance. She had already hidden the pearls there. Unseen by those chasing after her, she climbed the eaves and went across the rooftops to the city stable. If the people found her there, they likely would not take her prisoner since she did not have the pearls on her.
When the Prince and his men got around the corner, they could see no sign of any child. Nor could they see any sign that anyone had been there. All was quiet, no upset at all. This was not like on the other street, where everyone was trying to figure out where the little thief had gone. Cirroc gave up the chase then.This was more serious and would take more time then that. The best thing to do was to organize several search parties and have them sweep the city.
“This is going to do us no good,” the Prince said. He turned and went back to where Princess Aine was with her chaperone.“Grail,” he said to the smaller and lighter of his two guards.“You run back to the citadel and tell the guard to meet me in the great hall.The Princesses guard is to come too.The town guard will join them there.Avock,” he said the largerof the two. “You go to the captain of the city guard and tell him to bring all off duty guardsmen to the great hall.I will tell them all what has happened then and give them their instructions.”The two assassins started off on their different errands while Prince Cirroc took Princess Aine by the arm.Her chaperone had her other arm.They walked quickly back to the citadel.
When they got there the citadel guard was already in the main hall with the Princesses guard. A few minutes after they got there the town guard got there. “Madame,” Prince Cirroc addressed the chaperone, “Please take her highness up to her chambers, she will rest there while I deal with this.” The chaperone nodded and guided the princess away. Prince Cirroc cleared his throat loudly call the men to attention.“An important part of the Princesses dowry has been stolen in the bazaar.It is necessary that these should go with her to Dubchor for the wedding to my brother King Conleach to happen.So these must be recovered immediately. To that end, I want you to form teams to search the bazaar and the city.You are to find every street urchin and every fence in the city. Anyone that my guards and the city guard know or suspect to have a shady past is suspect. They are to be brought here to the dungeon to be questioned about where the Pearls of Anwn might be.I want you men to go in teams of four men.My own personal guard will go with you.My man Avock knows a great deal of how these things work.My town guards also know the citizens and who is most likely to be involved in this.The citadel guard and the town guard are the make sure that no one escapes.Getting those pearls back is a matter of the utmost import.Are there any questions?”
One man did have a question. “Yes,” said the Prince.“I am Arno,” the man said.“I am the captain of the Princesses guard.”“Yes, Arno?” the Prince said.“Who do we report to?” “To my jailor,” the Prince said.“He will take your prisoners off your hands for you and make sure that they talk.”“Who decides who goes with who?” Arno asked.“The captain of the city guard,” Prince Cirroc said.“Beware,” Cirroc said to that man, “Avock has knowledge of these things.He will be of great help to ferret out the urchins and where they hide things.Now get to it.”
The men were divided up in short order into 6 groups of 4 men each. Avock took the lead group down the main street to the bazaar and turned right.A group led by the captain of the city guard went to the left. Another group searched up and down Temple Street.Two more went into the residential areas, one to the right and the other to the left.The last one searched along the river and the slave pens.There were no slaves for sale there now.