Nicolas Decides to Help and Formulates a Plan

You shudder at the thought of someone killing people just for the sake of it. But then you wonder whether Radovan actually does have a motive, and it’s one of the things Nicolas doesn’t want you to know. But then, an even more terrible thought occurs to you. Much more terrible. Radovan had punished Nicolas by killing his wife. If he wanted to punish Cal...

So that’s what Cal had meant when he had said that Gabrielle may die. If Cal does anything out of line, her death will be his punishment. You can feel your face getting red, your blood boiling. There must have been some way he could have avoided this! Realizing that you are yearning for something to punch, you suddenly shout at Nicolas. “Will you untie me already!?”

Nicolas eyes you critically for a moment, and then complies. Once you are back on your feet, you manage to calm yourself down and think rationally. “So... how are we going to help Cal?” you ask, hoping that your use of the word “we” doesn’t presume too much.

Nicolas, who had been staring at Cal’s letter again, looks up at you with a calmer expression this time. He looks much more like Joe, before you had even mentioned Nicolas Dias. 

“Well... Judging by his postscript, he seems to think that Radovan might be with me, or watching me. So you’ll need to let him know that Radovan never saw the letter, and therefore that I am trustworthy. But...”

“But what?” you ask, after as much silence as your patience will allow.

“It’s complicated. You can’t just go talk to him. See... Cal’s bugged. I could be mistaken, but I believe he’s wearing a one-way communication watch that shows Radovan exactly what he’s doing. When it was me, I had to wear the watch all the time, except when I slept at night and when I was out... working for him.”

“He didn’t want to watch you to when you did his dirty work? To make sure you really did what you were supposed to?” you ask, surprised.

“No, because if I were to get caught, they would find the watch on me. They might be able to connect it to him. He’s a very careful man. Besides, he had other ways of making sure I did as I was told.”

“So,” you conclude, “I just need to act like I’m oblivious to all this stuff when Cal’s wearing the watch, and only talk to him about you when he’s not wearing it.”

“Yes, but the thing is... you absolutely cannot look at the watch. That’s the worst thing you could do. If Radovan sees you look directly at the watch, you’re dead. No questions asked. Especially if, like you said, they suspect you of knowing too much already. I don’t know why they haven’t killed you yet. What’s your relationship with Cal anyway? Other than him being your father’s murderer?”

“He’s my sister’s fiancé.”

“Ah... yes... that makes sense. I was wondering why you were so devoted to helping him.” 

You nod helplessly to the wall behind him, feeling his eyes still watching you. You can’t think of anything to say, so you wait for him to break the silence.

“When he told you my name, what time of day was it?”

“Evening.”

“Not late enough that he might have gone to bed?”

“No. It was before dinner.”

“Well, he wouldn’t have told you about me in front of Radovan, so he must not have been wearing the watch at the time... and if it wasn’t late at night... he must have taken it off because he was instructed to kill you that day. And yet... the letter says he’s allowed to talk to you. So Radovan can’t believe you to be dead...” Nicolas is thinking out loud again. “Maybe he was supposed to kill you only if you appeared to be too suspicious... yes... he wouldn’t want him to kill his own brother-in-law unless it was absolutely necessary...”

“Okay,” says Nicolas firmly. “Here’s what you have to do. Think of something important you want to discuss with your sister. Go to them when they are together, and talk to your sister only. Ignore Cal for the most part, but be polite of course. Radovan has to believe that you’re completely preoccupied with whatever you’re talking to your sister about. If Cal wants to talk to you, let him start the conversation, and end it, his own way. Act like you’re barely listening to him. And whatever you do, don’t so much as glance toward his wrist. Keep your eyes on his face or don’t look at him at all. Even if you see out of the corner of your eye that he's not wearing any watch, don't say a word about me. Radovan might have a completely different means of monitoring him, so don't take any risks."

The End

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