Chapter 15
Word of Warning

Vigau, Arielle, Bonaventure

It had been four days since Gally's memories were restored. It was so much to take in. Some things came back to her immediately while others were more reluctant to come out of hiding. Piecing her life back together was difficult. She seemed to know more about things around her than she did about herself. Maybe it was better that way.
She had more or less come to terms with the fact that Shu was completely lost to her, but if she dwelled on everyone else that was gone, she would completely break down. Her mother always nagged her, her father never had much to do with her and her little brother was an obnoxious twerp, but they were her family and she would never see them again.
It was just as well that Giger insisted on keeping her real identity a secret, even from Yugo. She could live without hearing people mispronounce her name. Giger's embarrassing attempts early on were all she needed. Also, while she was Gally Garmont, she could almost pretend that Narumi Takahashi was somebody else.
She busied herself by cleaning the floor There was too little space and too much furniture for her to clean the floor by running back in forth like you would see in the movies where the delinquent novice has to clean the entire temple. She did not imagine there was anyone who knew anything about movies, or Buddhist temples for that matter.
There was a knock at the door. Gally stood up and went over to answer it. On the other side of the door was a older man. Soft-eyed, with grey hair that was prematurely going white. He seemed harmless enough, but looks could be deceiving.
"Yes?"
"Why, hello there," the man said. "You must be new."
"And you are, sir?" Gally asked.
The man answered his question with one of his own.
"Is Mr. Taus in?"
Gally persisted and said, "You still haven't told me your name."
The man smiled and replied, "Clemence. Ernesto Clemence." He tipped his hat to her. "At your service, miss. Now, would you mind calling Mr. Taus?"
Though Gally was a little suspicious of him, it was best to play along for the time being.
"One moment, please," she said.
She did not even get two steps from the door when Giger once again demonstrated his ability to be close at hand when somebody came calling.
"Oh, Giger. There's a--"
"Inspector Clemence," Giger replied. "I know."
"Inspector?"
Giger raised his hand to settle her down before she could get too nervous.
"Don't worry," he said. "It's alright. Go back to work."
Somewhat reluctantly, Gally went back to her floorcloth, but she kept an ear out while she worked.
"What brings you here today, Inspector?" Giger asked Clemence.
"Oh, I haven't been an inspector for four months now, Mr. Taus," Clemence replied. "I'm on extended involuntary leave until my thirty is up. The department may yet be kind enough to let me retire with my pension intact."
"It'd be a shame if they didn't have the decency to leave you with that much."
"Decency is becoming a rare commodity these days, Mr. Taus, but that isn't why I'm paying you a visit today."
"And what would be the reason?"
Inspector Clemence lowered his voice, but not quite enough to escape Gally's hearing.
"Well, Mr. Taus, you know I've been sympathetic to the plight of mages who had their livelihoods stripped away with the stroke of a pen. So long as they didn't make trouble, I would turn a blind eye to minor infractions. That's no small part of the reason I'm in my current condition."
"Are you wanting a thank-you card or something?" Giger asked sarcastically.
Inspector Clemence chuckled.
"Kind as the gesture would be, Mr. Taus, no. My last little service to rogues like you: a warning."
"Oh?"
"No doubt you've met my replacement and if your wits are greater than your ego, then you know how dangerous he is. Well, things have gotten worse. He's called in a special agent from ARCANUM. Altai Turco."
Giger said nothing. He was always so quick with a response. His silence was unsettling.
"I'd say you've heard of him," Clemence said, breaking the silence. "I thought you should know what you're up against. He'll be arriving in town any day now."
"Thanks for the warning," Giger replied.
"Anytime, Mr. Taus, anytime. Though I guess this was the last time."
"Enjoy your retirement, Inspector Clemence."
"That'll entirely depend on whether or not I receive my pension. Good day, Mr. Taus. Good day."
With that, Inspector Clemence departed and Giger closed the door after him.
"Dammit..." he muttered under his breath.
Although it might have been better for her to keep quiet, curiosity got the better of Gally and she asked Giger, "Who's Altai Turco?"
Giger looked at her and seemed to have a moment's reluctance before telling her, "A master mage of the Basilisk Guild. He was a rival of Master Grummond back in the day, back when Master Grummond was in the Basilisk Guild. He lost a wizard's duel to Master Grummond and vowed revenge. Now he's working for ARCANUM. If he figures out who I am, things are gonna get real bad for us real quick."
"Is he that strong?" Gally asked.
"Strong enough," Giger replied. He looked around the room and added, "All our little tricks here won't be able to fool him."
"What do we do?"
"Pray he doesn't come here."
Gally was hardly impressed with that answer.
"I was hoping for more of a plan than that," she said.
"I'm working on it."
Giger was already making his way back to the lab. Whether there was actually anything down there that could help them seemed unlikely, but he never let that stop him. Gally had to do her part for whatever it was worth. The status quo was not likely to hold much longer.