Paul had returned from Rocky’s market with another load of supplies. Wheeler was waiting.

“You’re not a clown,” he observed after walking up.

“No, I have periods of reprieve.”

“Where’s the wife?”

“Fishing,” Wheeler responds. “Over there on the edge.” She points in the appropriate direction. “Chasm Deep. Fo fo fo, hehe. She’s trying to regain her memories. Thought angling would help.”

“Clownfish are hard to catch,” offers Paul, looking over at Mary. “Small and wirey. Not good eating either.”

“Jamie said she saw a shark down there once. I didn’t know whether to believe her.”

“We don’t talk about Jamie,” Paul reproved.

“Oh right.” Wheeler changed the subject. “How’s Aboveland? I’ll go back sometime. But not this month.”

“Above’s okay. Rocky says hello.” Paul then saw something else. “Hey, where’d you get the ring?”

Wheeler quickly puts her hands behind her head. “Oh I found it. Beyond the chasm. What do you call that place? Owls Head.” Paul nods here. “Just laying there on the white surface.”

But the green jewel of the ring had no owl signet on it. Just a “plain” emerald. Astarte had lost some ground on Lapara. Time to up the stakes.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0005, 0510, Heterocera, Lapara^

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