The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Extortionist Incident - Part III (The Conclusion)

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius's wanderings around town were not for naught. He used the time to scout various locations. Therefore, in the darkness and stillness of the night, he walked directly to where his tunic hung. He used a nearby jar of water to clean off Magistrate Spurius's blood. The location was clearly a spot where nearby house slaves could clean up. It was perfect.

After cleaning himself up, Gaius needed to find the man that had hired him to kill Gaius Cornelius Carrarius. While in most instances this would be a daunting task, Gaius believed he knew where his quarry would be at this time. Again, his wanderings served a purpose, as he snuck up on his quarry.

"Magistrate Spurius is upset with you," Gaius whispered in his ear.

With a start the magistrate's minion returned, "Where have you been?"

"Is Gaius Cornelius Carrarius not there in his bed?"

"Well -- yes -- but I have been waiting here most of the night. Wait -- why is Spurius angry with me?"

"You did not inform him of your -- er -- cart repair business."

"He did not need to know. How did he find out?"

"He wondered why you were so anxious to see Carrarius out of the way and did some investigation of his own."

"I guess he was bound to find out. Wait! why were you discussing this with him?"

"He too is an admirer of my work. We had a nice conversation over the evening meal."

Gaius was worried about this particular lie. He did not know if anyone was watching them have their evening meal. Anyone watching would know that they had not spoken. However, he had to take the chance. If he could get past this lie, then his story would hold more weight.

"What else did you discuss?"

"Oh this and that."

"Such as?"

"We talked about the value of this special list of his."

"What of it?"

"He was concerned that it was not safe in -- uh..."

"With me? He does not think it is safe at my house?"

"He did not really come out and say that as much."

"What did he say?"

"Quiet down," Gaius hissed. "You will give us away."

"Sorry," the man whispered. "What did he actually say?"

"He was just remarking about your new found untrustworthiness, and how he might look for someone he could trust."

"Like you?"

"There were no names brought up."

"But he was thinking that it would be safer with you!"

"I said he was appreciative of my skills...."

"I would be glad to be rid of the thing."

"Nothing formal has been discussed."

"No! If you want it, you can have it."

"Calm down," Gaius said attempted to settle the man down. "This can be discussed when I come back through town."

"No! let us go now and get it."

"But..."

"You said yourself that Carrarius is there in bed. He is not going anywhere."

"I know, but...."

"Let's go!"

Gaius's plan had worked. The magistrate's associate was sitting on a valuable item, and he was tired of guarding it. He was also upset about the apparent lack of trust with the magistrate. With his cart repair business about to lose a formidable competitor, he would not need the extra income.

The pair went to a secluded spot behind the man's house. There was a few loose blocks in the building's foundation. The man removed a block and pulled out a wooden box.

"This is it," the man declared.

"I do not...."

"No! You will take it."

"Very well," sighed Gaius. "Now, after my next job, I'll need someplace to clean up. I will also need a nearby place to hang my tunic. Do you know of someplace I could do that?"

"My servants wash up over there. There are some water jars you could use."

"Where?" asked Gaius.

The man walked to where a few water jars sat. Gaius removed his tunic and set it aside before following. At this point, the man wondered what was happening. The spot was quiet and dark, so he had not noticed that Gaius had removed his scimitar from its sheath.

"What are you doing?"

"I am preparing to remove a cartier from business."

"Why are you doing that here?"

"I do not wish to soil my clothes."

"Oh! I cannot tell you how happy I will be rid of that list."

"You have no idea."

"What?"

"The fates have finally caught up to you."

"What?"

"Do you have any last words?"

"What?"

Gaius swung his scimitar and it opened the magistrate's minion up from his left to his right side. He stood there in stunned silence as his intestines spilled from his belly. A rush of pain filled the man's entire being. However, before he could utter a sound, Gaius's second swing opened up the man's throat. He let out a gurgling cough, but was unable to do any more than that. He fell over in a heap.

"I would have said something more substantial, but that will have to do," Gaius said with a grin.

Gaius used one of the available water jars to clean himself up. He grabbed his tunic and the box and headed back to his room at the mansiones. He made sure that no one saw him enter his room. He knew he did not have much time before dawn, but he would have a bit of a rest.

Gaius had planned to leave at dawn to give him plenty of time to get to the next way station. However, he awoke just after dawn. Despite the somewhat late start, he had a long conversation with the proprietor of the mansiones. Also, he had a small meal with the proprietor. The man gave Gaius some provisions for the road. The two men said their farewells as Giaus went on his way.

As he left town, he heard a blood-curdling scream come from the mansiones. His handywork had been discovered, but no one came to question him. Perhaps on his return he would speak with his old friend Mettius Aedinius Primulus, and find out what had happened.

In the early afternoon, he stopped and built a small fire to prepare his lunch. The small box and the list made excellent kindling for the fire. It had been a good day for the fates.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on April 5, 2009 7:39 PM.

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