“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

The wee lass jumped so hard at the sound of his voice that she banged her head against the low hanging ceiling.  He only felt a little bad.  If he hadn’t suspected what she was up to, she’d be knee deep in a mess now. Humans.  So clumsy.  He guessed that was the reason they bred so prolifically ; any species so disaster prone had to reproduce like rabbits in order to survive the world they were obliviously living in.

“You scared me.” She said, then, remembering her role and manners, she giggled and asked the obvious, “can I help you? You really aren’t supposed to be up here.”

Neither was she, but he didn’t need to say it out loud.  What he did need was for her to step away from the case.  Although she had turned to face him, she still had one hand sort of half dangling near the book.  Inches from the cover.  She was wee, even by his standards. He knew that human women tended to be tinier than the men, but honestly he could rarely tell the difference.  This one reminded him of a doll his daughters had fought over once; all eyelashes and rosy cheeks and hair without a snip of heft in her tiny form.  The eyes though.  He had met enough humans to know that most of them were idiots.  Not just unsmart.  Idiots.  Traipsing around a planet that they didn’t have a clue how to maintain, creating idiotic offspring and going about doing truly idiotic things.  Some were so smart that they had no idea they were idiots.  Those were the worst sort.  This one, she had something.  A little spark.  There may be hope for the whole situation after all.

“Don’t think you’re supposed to be up here either.” He snipped.  She took her hand out of the case just long enough to put it on her hip and threw him a look, that had it not come from a human, would have withered.  On her it looked slightly comical.  But there it was again, the spark of intelligence.

“I’m sorry, sir, do I know you? Do you know Mr. Craven?” He knew Craven alright.  Better than she ever would.  Biggest idiot he’d ever met.  One of the smart kind.

“I do, indeed, know Richard.” He hoped the use of Craven’s “Christian” name would be enough to give him an air of authority and she’d be more willing to listen to him and put the lid on the damn case and get out of the damn annex long enough for him to undo the bit of damage she’d done just by opening the damn thing.

“Well, I’m afraid he’s out of the country at the moment, and has left me in charge.  Now, if you would please come with me, I’ll be happy to help you find whatever you are looking for.”

Yup, she was the good kind of smart.  This could go one of two ways.  He had a feeling that this assignment, his last if he was lucky, would be much more difficult than he’d hoped.  Humans were usually easy enough; wave of the hand, some bluster, and you got them back on track, fixed the problem and went on to the next job.  This one was big.  There was a huge bonus attached and he was retiring so it had seemed like a really hedged bet.  Now he was regretting turning down the Pixie infestation in Mexico City.  But he hated hot weather and people.  So, he’d taken the book job in the small town in the high mountains with the big bonus.  He couldn’t regret it quite yet, but he knew, deep down, that he probably would sooner than later.

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