Book Four comes out in August!
Berta reached into her satchel, handing Morgan a shiny black stone on a short chain. A pendulum. “Take Oliver,” Berta said, dropping the stone into Morgan’s palm. “Keep him safe. He’s been in my family for generations.”
Morgan inspected the onyx pendulum. She’d seen Berta carry it about, whispering to it like it were one of her cats. “How does it work?” Morgan asked, swinging the stone like she were stirring a pot.
“He responds to your voice. Just say: Oliver, go find the Fraud’s missing cows. Picture what you want to find, swirl it gently three times, then follow where it leads. It can be a bit stubborn, so be patient.”
Morgan concentrated on the chain, feeling currents of energy run through it. Could this truly find lost things?
Berta seemed to read her thoughts. “Oliver can find anything, but it doesn’t mean he will. If he doesn’t like you he won’t budge—or he’ll take you completely off-path. This one has a sense of humor.”
Morgan gazed at the pendulum. “I’ve never seen a stone quite like you,” she cooed.
“Easy now. Even a rock knows when you’re lyin’. Now tell him what you want to find. Go on…”
“Hello, Oliver… can you please take me to the Fraud’s missing cows?” She twirled the chain three times as Berta had, but Oliver never settled on any one direction, swinging right then left, then reversing course.
“Say it with authority,” Berta urged, puffing out her chest and rolling her hands. “Oliver’s lazy. He’s not gonna do any work unless he has to.”
Berta believed everything had a personality: stones, books, tools, even houses, and each object had to be approached uniquely. Morgan gritted her teeth, but tried again. “Oliver, take me to the Fraud’s missing cows!” she demanded, feeling both silly at ordering a rock and guilty for using such a harsh tone. But, this time, Oliver woke up, like a sleeping horse, tugging on his strap.
“Hurry now—Oliver’s just like any other man. Gotta catch him when he’s in the right mood,” Berta handed Morgan her turnip-collecting basket.
“Don’t let anyone see you or our client. We keep our secrets,” she reminded, giving Morgan a hard wink.
“We keep our secrets,” Morgan agreed.