The Countess brought herself back to the present. She saw a similar conflict within Werner. She smiled and replied to his question, “I invited you here to help me steal back what is mine.”
At Werner’s puzzled look, she continued. “Raka told me your friend has my compass. My father traded it and other jewels some years ago when he needed money to install electric lighting into our home. Her porcelain face reddened and nostrils flared, “He had no right to take it from me. It is mine. I found it in a chest of relics from the Crusades. My many-times-great grandfather acquired it long ago. My father said the story, told down through generations, was that the Knights were searching for the Arc of the Covenant.” She closed her cat-like eyes reminiscing the pleasure. “The jewels sparkled in the light and always made me feel good. I miss having it. I must have it back.”
Werner hesitated, knowing that Raka wanted the compass. Seeing his hesitation, the Countess intensified her appeal. She grasped Werner’s hand in both of hers and clutched it to her chest just under her throat, her lips trembling and tears starting to spill onto her cheeks. “Oh, Please Herr Von Wiesel, you are my only hope of reclaiming my beloved treasure.”
Werner’s glance vacillated between the woman’s tears and his hand, which was inches away from her cleavage. “Uh, well, um…” Just then, a log in the fireplace popped, sounding for all the world like a gunshot. Werner jerked back, startled, then realized what had happened. He struggled to regain his composure and drew the Countess’s hands away from her chest. He patted them and looked her in the eyes. “I understand your distress, Countess. But Herr Raka…”
The Countess smiled, sniffing back her tears. “I know Herr Raka has asked you to steal it for him. But it is mine in the first place.”
Still Werner hesitated, so the Countess leaned toward him. “Besides, I know how to handle Herr Raka.”
“You do?” asked Werner, once again falling under her spell. She is so beautiful, he thought. And she obviously cares for me. The Countess could see the boy was faltering. She nodded and smiled. “Yes.
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