“People disappear all the time, especially in Manhattan,” I said. “What makes you think it wasn’t some unregistered Sphynx strangling and eating him in an alleyway?”

“Well, for one, a member of the Dakeg royal family is always accompanied by a bodyguard,” Aria said. “They’ve disappeared too.”

“I read about that,” I said, pointing to the open encyclopedia on my desk. I usually keep it out of sight, as clients tend to get spooked if they suspect I’ve ever read anything longer than a Moxie label. “He’s supposed to be accompanied by a troop of the Galloping Hooves Heavy Cavalry at all times.”

“C’mon, Mitch,” Aria said. “You think a dozen minotaurs from the O’Downl tribe in full dress uniforms armed with ceremonial but fully functional musket-axes are the kind of subtlety you need to move about unnoticed in this town?”

I shrugged. “Ever been on the square at midnight on New Year’s?”

“Dammit, I don’t need you being flip about this! A Dakeg is missing along with six mujina bodyguards, and I’m letting you in on the ground floor.”