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Welcome to Côtes de Provence, France, home of Antoine Favreau.
Here Antoine Favreau presents himself to the count. With his coiffed flaxen hair and just-so tuxedo, he looks suited to the evening’s celebrations. If only carousing were the count’s plan.
“I can’t have any proof of my involvement. I’m sure you understand,” the count says, excusing his betrayal.
“Understand that you mean to kill me? I surely do not,” Antoine protests. “Especially when it forces me to use my least favorite escape plan and take your package with me.”
At the count’s confusion, Antoine beams. “You imagined I got on by wit and charm alone?” His laughter rings loud in the arched hall. “Well, I am very charming,” he agrees, as if that explains all.
“Your wit could use some work!” a woman calls out. The crowd gasps as her figure suddenly appears, swooping down, swinging over Antoine’s head, and plucking the parcel from his fingertips.
“I’ll take that,” she says, landing on the far side of the room, next to the open windows.
“It’s the great Isadora!” you cry, unable to hold your tongue. The fearsome thief is resplendent in her black cloak, eyes glinting fiercely in the flickering lights. Something flutters in the air outside the windows.
“Stop her!” the count bellows.
“You can try,” she calls, alighting out the window and into the starry night.
Suddenly, Antoine hauls you in front of him as he backs away, cold glint of metal pressed under your chin. “Seeing as I’ve delivered my parcel, I’ll take my leave.”
The guards level their weapons. Directly at you.
Antoine continues speaking, “Oh, now, don’t bother with those. You’ll just hit this poor unfortunate,” he says, moving for the door, using you as his shield. “It’ll make a right mess and I’ll still get away, so it hardly seems worth it.”
“I will not stand for this!” the count explodes.
“Might you try sitting?” Antoine advises, perfectly innocent.
Then you’re ducking out the door and fleeing the rushing guards, all the way to the town’s outskirts and Antoine’s swooping, elegant airship, where Antoine finally releases you and tucks away his gun.
Only then do you take an easy breath.
“I’d say that worked out quite favorably,” Isadora calls, emerging from the shadows, startling you. “Colette will have far more use for this than your client.” She waves the stolen parcel, a mysterious smile on her lips.
“Consider us even,” Antoine declares.
Isadora simply laughs.
Antoine deflates. “Very well. I will do this and many more favors for you. But you needn’t be cruel.”
“It’s my way.” She turns and peers at you, something calculating behind her eyes. “Your new apprentice is useful.”
“Apprentice?” you ask, but she’s already gone, a wisp of black fruit and vanilla the only proof of her presence.
You turn to Antoine, who studies you with care. “Have you any value beyond a human shield?”
The journey had only just begun.