While Kepa half expected a group of thugs or French soldiers to be waiting for them, the building was abandoned, just as Josean had promised. He reached down to help Maite up before really surveying the room. They seemed to have found themselves in a small apartment, which at one time must have been quite elegant but now had fallen to ruin. It wasn’t so much that the decor had been destroyed, it simply had been neglected for a very long time. The furniture still stood where the past owners had placed it, but now it was covered in dirt and cobwebs. Paintings of regal figures stared down at them through their grime covered surfaces. Kepa couldn’t help but feel judged by those icy stares. Light spilled in from high windows that prevented passersby from seeing inside but fully illuminated the room.
As he looked around, Kepa noticed some faint footprints on the dusty floor.
“It’s been a while since anyone used this place,” he remarked.
Maite nodded. “I guess hardly anyone knows about this place.”
Kepa and Maite continued to explore. In addition to the living space they had crawled in, the apartment had a small bedroom and dining area, but little else.
“I guess if it were too big, people would have noticed,” said Kepa.
“Hard to hide a mansion in the middle of town,” replied Maite with a smile.
Kepa pulled a blanket that covered one of the chairs, waiving to Maite to sit while he brushed the dust off another before collapsing himself.
“Why does it seem that each of these bubbles becomes increasingly more challenging?” he asked with a sigh.
Maite shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe we just have bad luck.”
“Do you think Marina is here?”
“Ez dakit. But I’m not sure I want to run into her if she is.”
Kepa nodded absently. “Agreed. She is starting to become a wild card herself.” He futily looked around the room as if hoping to find the zatia right in front of him. Dejected, he slumped deeper into his chair. “What now? How do we find this stupid thing?”
Maite heard the familiar voice rumble in the back of her head. “Do the zatia not have affinity to one another?” asked Garuna, almost rhetorically.
Maite sat up, suddenly alert. “Garuna just gave me an idea…”
“I almost forgot we had a third wheel,” interjected Kepa.
Maite ignored him. “Hold out your hand,” she continued, “like this.” She held out her hand in front of her, palm up. Kepa reluctantly mimicked her.
“Now think about the zatia.”
Kepa closed his eyes, focused his thoughts on the zatia. For a moment, nothing happened. He thought he felt a slight tug when he was interrupted by Maite.
“There!” she exclaimed.
Kepa opened his eyes. Maite had stood and her arm was pointing in the direction Kepa had felt the tug. Maite turned to Kepa, her eyes wide with excitement.
“I think we know where to go.”
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