Charming learned that day that some laws are not obeyed by inanimate objects. That’s not what he actually thought: that would be more along the lines of “if everyone stares, you must be doing something right”.
Soon a crowd formed to watch him as he raged at the back doors of the elevator car. They refused to open on command, even for a Prince.
We found the campsite in disarray, as if abandoned in a hurry. Gear was left lying around haphazardly, and the coals of the fire were still warm. A well trod trail extended downhill to a creek, and another uphill to a dense copse. Both made sense if the site had been occupied for a while. The obvious hurried footprints, broken branches, and a piece of cord caught on a bush seemed to indicate which direction the camp’s owner had gone in a rush.
The odd thing was the stack of firewood beside the fire. It was all evenly cut to length and stacked neatly, with larger logs split and ready to add to the fire. There was at least two full day’s supply remaining. This was not the campsite of someone who thought they were on the run, no matter how quickly they had fled.
Or perhaps it was someone clever.
Searching more carefully turned up nothing else out of the ordinary. Except a new matchbox that was empty, but for a single match, and that match was broken in half.
That match was a sign for those who knew how to see.
We were on the right trail after all, and were expected to act as if we believed the story being told by the disarray and footprints.
The match signaled that the obvious story was a lie designed to throw any pursuit off in the wrong direction.
The match was bent nearly double at the center. Not really a common manufacturing fault, or something that happens by accident.
No, it was a signal to make a fuss about the trail, then quietly double back and wait.
The first thing you notice is the overwhelming amount of purple around you. The rugs are patterned from several shades of purple. The walls are painted a light lilac. Every piece of furniture has elements that are colored purple. That makes the use of strong contrasting colors pop with a hint of surprise.
The second thing you notice is the background music. Held at a level that is just barely louder than subliminal, you can almost identify it, then it changes and you realize it got you again.
Stuck in this space, the bowl of perfectly ripe oranges looks out of place. On closer inspection, each of the oranges is tied down to the bowl and to its neighbors by a cobweb. The spider is nowhere to be seen, but the bowl tells a tale of casual neglect.
A tale that is reinforced by the pile of broken technology in the corner. Some of that almost looks rusty, as if it had been rained upon.