“So that’s it, then.” Aden threw the parchment to the ground. “It’s a treasure for genealogists. Some kid whose grandchildren are dead was really the daughter of Sir Hubert. Big deal.”

“He realized too late that his children were his only real treasure, huh?” said Farouk. After that failed to get a giggle, he shrugged. “I don’t know what you want from us, man. We took this job on spec. Nobody’s getting paid in genealogy dollars.”

“We can sell the story. Donate the paper to a museum for a tax writeoff. Maybe there’s some stuff in the room that’s worth something. It’s not a total loss.” Maya sounded like she was trying to convince herself more than anyone.

“You can sort it out,” Aden said. “I’m done.” He tore out of the room like a caged animal, and the others could hear clattering as he vainly kicked at things on his way out.

Farouk looked after him, and then picked up the paper where it had fallen. “I never knew my dad,” he said. “The idea of him feeling a little guilty and hiding away the truth of my origins like some kind of treasure…sorta appeals.”

Maya tapped her chin. “You know, I bet we could find out who ‘my darling Madelaine’ is. Records aren’t that bad. Maybe her grandkids will buy us a beer.”

“Best idea I’ve heard all day. Got a powerful thirst from working for free all week, after all.”

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