Chapter Nineteen: Mal
Going Nowhere Fast
"Back home, we work in craft trades. We're looking at expanding our business," Aegeus had said quickly. Edwige nodded along beside him.
Mal hadn't meant to be intrusive. He was just trying to be friendly and get to know them a little better. Now though they had Mal's suspicions raised. He had so many more questions and absolutely no answers. It wasn't any of his business, though, and he didn't want to push either of them.
Once they'd moved on from the topic of Zurich they managed to lapse into friendly conversation, Mal had met several mermen over the years and had always found them to be a friendly people.
With as busy as the place was Mal was surprised when their lunch arrived with their drinks fifteen minutes later.
The large plates were placed down in front of everyone, their waitress asked them a question, which none of them understood.
"Sorry, we don't understand," Edwige replied.
The young girl smiled at her and tried again in very heavily accented English. "You want anyzing else?"
"Ah. No, thank you; we're fine," Edwige said.
The waitress nodded, smiled and left them to it.
Mal leaned over his plate and inhaled deeply. The smell was amazing; his stomach growled loudly at still being denied sustenance. On his plate sat two bratwursts, the largest potato rosti he'd ever seen and it was all covered in a rich onion gravy. He picked up his utensils and started digging in.
The table fell into silence as they all ate, Mal enjoyed hearing the little moans and groans coming from Kaden beside him. If he wasn't careful his dick would start to react to the noises the man was making.
Mal sat back in his chair and patted his now contented belly. "I don't know about you guys but mine was delicious," Mal said to the table.
"Very nice," Edwige agreed.
Kaden and Aegeus made sounds of agreement as they both finished off their meals.
"So, what's the plan for this afternoon?" Kaden asked as he finished his drink and placed the empty glass back on the table.
"You guys said you had some supplies to pick up is that right?" Mal asked.
"That's correct, should probably take us a couple of hours." Aegeus agreed.
Mal glanced at his watch, it was now coming up to half past one. "Did you want to meet back here at say four o'clock and we can catch a taxi back to base together?”
Edwige looked relieved as soon as Mal mentioned them splitting up.
"That should be plenty of time to do what we need," Aegeus agreed.
They all stood, and made their way back downstairs. The placed didn't seem like it had slowed down at all in the time since they'd arrived. People still packed all the tables, enjoying their food and drinks.They slipped outside into the cool afternoon air. Kaden pulled his jacket around him and placed his hands in his pockets.
"Thanks for a most enjoyable lunch," Mal said as he smiled at the other pair. "We'll see you again in a couple of hours."
"Yes, have a good afternoon," Edwige said, then waved before she placed her gloved hand in the crook of Aegeus's arm and walked off down the street with him.
"Do you believe their story about expanding a craft business?" Kaden asked him.
Mal glanced at his friend and shook his head. "Not a word."
"Right, well, what are we doing for the next couple of hours," Kaden asked.
Mal pulled several pieces of paper out of his pocket and unfolded them. He glanced down at the notes they'd written on everything Anya had uncovered, as well as the name Hale had given him when Mal had asked him nicely.
This man, Nevio Koelliker, had been the one to contact Hale and give the orders for his sister to be killed. Mal wanted to find this man and ask him why. If they happened to get any information on the experiments that were currently being performed on dragons and Rangers, all the better. Mal was also still trying to track down what the hell RL stood for.
"Okay, where do you suggest we start?"
"I think if we find this Koelliker guy then that will hopefully lead to more answers."
"Sounds like a good plan, did you want to head to the public library? They usually have computers with free access we could use to search. And if that doesn’t work, we can always resort to the age old classic of looking him up in the phonebook," Kaden said.
"I don't have any better suggestions. So let's see if we can find a public library."
Once they managed to flag down a taxi it took them five minutes to convey to the driver where they wanted to go.
The taxi driver finally nodded his head, a wide grin on his face, "Zentralbibliothek zürich."
Mal looked at Kaden who just shrugged. He turned back to the driver and nodded. He had no idea where the man was taking them, but hopefully, it was somewhere that resembled a library.
The taxi driver dropped them off fifteen minutes later in front of a massive four story brick building with large rectangle windows dotting the sides.
The place looked stunning and old. That was one thing Mal enjoyed about Europe so far, was seeing all the old buildings. There really wasn't much like it back in Australia.
He fished out some coin and paid the driver then he and Kaden located the entrance and made their way inside.
Kaden stopped beside him as they stepped through the door, his eyes going wide in wonder. Right through the centre of the building was a massive staircase that went all the way to the top floor.
Mal gently took Kaden's hand and steered him over to the reception desk where a Nymph sat with an amused expression on her face. Thankfully the Nymph spoke several languages, English being one of them and she was able to steer Mal and Kaden in the direction they needed.
Two hours later Mal threw his arms up in annoyance. They hadn't been able to find a bloody thing online for anyone of note by the name Nevio Koellliker that had anything to do with research, dragons or big business organisations. Mal knew it was a long shot, but he was really hoping to find something.
As for the phone book, there were way more N. Koelliker's than Mal had thought possible. They didn’t have the time right then, or the means, to call each and every one of them, so they took a photo of the phone book page, so they could try later when they got back to their room at the hangar.
Right now they had to get back to the café where they were supposed to meet Aegeus and Edwige. They closed everything down and put the phone book back where they'd gotten it from and left the library, waving goodbye to the Nymph on the way.
Mal had a brief moment of panic when the driver asked him where they wanted to go, and he couldn't remember the name of the restaurant before Kaden leaned forward and told the driver the name.
"From there we need to go to the Zurich Dragon Guild hangar please."
The driver nodded and pulled out into traffic.
Kaden turned to Mal and leaning in and kissed Mal on the cheek.
"What was that for?" Mal asked him.
"I'm sorry today didn't turn out quite as we'd wanted."
Mal sighed and ran his hands through his hair, he pulled the tie from his hair and let it fall loosely around him. "It's okay. To tell the truth, it's what I expected. I mean it's not lot like we’re detectives that have access to all sorts of information systems. I'm actually surprised we've gotten as far as we have."
Kaden reached up and played with the strands of Mal's hair, "I like your hair when it's down."
"I really should get it cut, it's a pain when I'm flying."
"Please don't," Kaden said, Mal looked at the man and thought he saw a hint of a blush on his cheeks.
"Thanks for all your help today," Mal leaned down and brushed a light kiss over Kaden's lips.
Kaden smiled shyly at him when Mal pulled back. "You're welcome."
Aegeus and Edwige were standing out the front of the restaurant as they pulled up in the cab just down the road. Mal climbed out and called back to them.
"Aegeus, Edwige." Mal waved, and they spotted him when they turned at the sound of his voice.
Mal climbed back into the taxi and shuffled over until he was pressed up against Kaden. Aegeus climbed in the front and Edwige into the back next to Mal.
The driver pulled back out into traffic.
"How was your afternoon?" Edwige asked Mal.
"Pretty crappy actually. Didn't find what we were looking for."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Aegeus said from the front seat.
"How about you? Do you think you’re going to be able to expand your craft business?" Mal asked, curious what they'd been doing for the last couple of hours.
"We certainly need to look into it more. We have the connections, just need the legalities of it all," Aegeus replied after a beat. "So how long are you two planning on being in Zurich?"
Mal shrugged. "I was asked here to do some training with the Rangers," he answered giving his cover story that he'd asked Hank to put in place. "I guess it all depends on how quickly they pick up what I'm trying to teach them."
"What about you Kaden?" Edwige asked as she sat forward to be able to see around Mal.
"What? Oh," Kaden asked as he pulled his gaze away from the window. "Me? I'm just here to see the sights." Kaden grabbed Mal's hand and squeezed it tenderly. Mal smiled at him.
A few minutes later the taxi pulled to a stop out the front of the base. Mal passed over enough coin, plus a generous tip and thanked the driver before he closed the door behind him.
“Would you guys mind if we stop by the nests, I’d really like to see how Nidhogg is settling in.”
“We’d like to check on Nora, too,” Aegeus agreed.
“Afternoon,” Mal greeted the guard on duty as they pulled out their passes to get back on base. The guard eyed him, like he wasn’t used to people being friendly with him. Mal shrugged. Not everyone was as friendly as Aussies. The guard waved them in and Mal thanked the man. The walk to the nests took a good fifteen minutes from the front gate.
“Where the hell is my dragon?” he asked to no one in particular when they arrived outside Nidhogg’s empty cage. He shouldn't have been disturbed. No one had the right to take or move his dragon out without his permission.
“Nora’s gone too,” Edwige said, distress evident in her voice.
Just then Mal heard something that made his stomach fall. Surely these idiots wouldn’t have been so stupid as to place Nora and Nidhogg in an enclosure together! The sounds of a battle taking place led Mal to believe that was exactly what had happened.
Mal wanted to throttle someone.
He turned to Aegeus and Edwige, both their faces had gone pale as the sounds filtered through to them as well.
"Nootau," Edwige whispered.
"Who?" Kaden asked. Mal wanted to know who Nootau was too.
"Nora. We have to check on Nora," Aegeus said, disregarding Kaden's questions.
"Come on." They all took through the empty cage and to the enclosure out the back. Mal had a really bad feeling about what they were going to find.