“I’m sorry,” Maxine said, apologizing for the intrusion as she entered room 227c of the Magical Infirmities Ward.

The man looked up, his face red and careworn with tears streaming down his face. “Hi, Sorry,” he said. “My name’s Bertrand.”

Maxine looked at the ward attendant, confused.

“Oh, ah, yes,” the attendant said, consulting their paper. “Mr. Openham was given a rather nasty curse.”

“Curse? I don’t curse, I swear!” Bertrand Openham choked out, looking both miserable and as if he wanted to punch himself in the face.

“The only witness to the stabbing has been cursed so badly he can’t say anything about it,” Maxine muttered. “Brilliant.”

“A stabbing?” Bertrand said. “Let me help you get to the point.”

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