She pulled the golden chain over her head, but hesitated. Before handing over her treasured heirloom, Michelle had one more question.
"How did you know about my necklace?"
Max sat back on the edge of the bathtub and seemed to diminish again and Robbie's horrid singing was back, just as loud and annoying as ever.
"I told you," he said wearily, "it belonged to my grandmother, not yours. It was taken from her, years ago. My family has searched for it ever since."
"How do you know this is it?" asked Michelle.
"I've seen it," he replied. "Well, that is to say, I've seen drawings of it. Ancient drawings in our scriptures, accompanied by descriptions that perfectly match the amulet currently in your hand. Golden filigree chain, sapphire gem."
"That's rather vague," said Michelle. "That could be any necklace."
"The one described in the scriptures is also constantly warm to the touch," said Max. "Just as that one is, even if you haven't worn it in months."
"How could you possibly know that?" she demanded.
"Give me the necklace, and I will explain."
Michelle still hesitated. How could she be sure he wouldn't just leave with the necklace? Maybe he was just a theif thinking to get rich from the necklace. It certainly looked as though it would be worth a fortune if anyone cared to pawn it. She debated with herself for what felt like an eternity before she finally reached out and laid the necklace in his outstreched hand.
"Thank you," said Max, quickly stowing the necklace in a pocket. "Now, first you must know this: your grandmother is not dead. She has moved away so you will never discover the truth. She is a powerful sorceress, one my family has hunted for a millennium. She has the gift everlasting life, though she must physically age. Every fifty years she returns to looking like a thirty year old woman, which she was before she and my grandmother cast the spell that gave them each everlasting life."
"That's impossible," said Michelle incredulous.
"No," said Max. "Your grandmother has had many children and grandchildren, in many areas of the world, all of whom believed she died at the age of eighty. She has not died, she's just moved somewhere no one knows her and began a new life."
Michelle stared at him silently. She supposed it could be true. She hadn't actually seen her grandmother die, and she was cremated so there was no way to know if the ashes in the urn at her parents' house were really her grandmother.
"Your grandmother stole this amulet from my grandmother. It holds all of her magical powers. That is why it's warm. It is against the laws of our Community to steal another's power, and she must come and face her judgement. Will you help me find her?"
"Even if I believed you, what use would I be? I have no magical powers," said Michelle.
"As a matter of fact, you do," said Max. "But you have to be taught how to use them. If you do not recieve the Teaching, you'll never know you have them and live out your life like a normal person. Come with me, we'll teach you how to use your powers. If you agree to help us catch your grandmother."
"But you said it takes years," said Michelle.
Max nodded. "But it doesn't have to."