Starting at four in the afternoon and lasting until no one in the city could keep standing, the Night Market opened on Temple Street. Tourists and locals alike flooded the street for the cheap wares, most of them knock-offs, or to take a bite as they traveled from one place to the next.
A short shower had erupted not long ago and the smell of ozone mixed with that of the different hawkers and dai pa dong food. But it was for neither of these that Tom walked the market.
Eyes lazy and walking absently, he looked around, letting himself be guided by the sixth sense of the sorcerers. Energies and emotions filled the air, he breathed them in, letting them pass through him without keeping them. In trance he let thoughts and feelings pass over him like a river.
He walked for a while, almost mindless in his step. Not caring about the stares of tourists or the heckling of the merchants wanting to sell him counterfeit goods. As he passed next to a Stall selling roasted chestnut, he felt what he was looking for. A slight change of pressure that seemed out of place. He walked back a few steps and felt it again.
Between the stand of a Chestnut vendor and a stand selling watches he felt the crack. He leaned down and looked at the ground, seeing the irregularities, the pattern in the sidewalk bricks breaking. He glanced up and looked at the facade of a building, where someone had made a graffiti of a white rabbit delving into a hole.
He approached and touched it. Around him, it was like the world turned sideways, the buildings moved to both sides and revealed a street that lied between them. Tom smiled. He'd found what he wanted.
Located in folded space and the missing streets protected by glamours, goblin markets has sprung up everywhere the British empire had set foot. There, the eponymous goblins sold their wares, magical trinkets, reagents and focus items. Objects pillaged from all corners of heaven, the depths of hell or the plains of Tir Na Nog.
Hanging from building to building over the streets, banners declared; No magic, no glamour, no fighting in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
There were others walking this street and his senses open, he felt their true natures. A Handful of sidhe ate casually at the stall of one of the goblins, a handful of local magicians discussed magical theory on cheap plastic chairs around a once white table that had yellowed with age while all manners of minor talents looked at the magical goods peddled by the diminutive fae vendors.
Ignoring the calls of one of the goblins, trying to catch his interest by offering heavily discounted powders of endangered animals bones or dried organs. Thomas made his way to a the seller of exotic artifacts, a wide but narrow stall bearing the name of Ik'Vil's discount trinkets.
Wearing leather overalls and a brown cabbie hat on his head, the vendor was a four foot tall goblin with aging gray-green skin. He took before walking toward his potential customer, examining a pair of ruby adorned brooches. He then slid his wheeled stool over to the guest.
"Hello, there. What can I do for you? Perhaps interest you in some Jewelry, Idols, magical items? All my stock is guaranteed to be heat-free." He said, flashing small shark-like teeth as he spoke.
"I'm looking for something specific." Tom said, rummaging around his pocket for the picture of the stolen statuette. "Do you know what this is?"
The goblin took the picture and nodded briefly, before staring back at Tom. This one searched around his pockets once more and slapped a bunch of silver coins onto the counter.
"I've seen this recently. About a week ago, one of my boys, Zargo, came with this item, trying to unload it off me at a fraction of what it could be worth. It was too hot and I rejected him." He said, using the other goblin's given names. Names had power on the Fae, hence why they used two sets of name; their true names and their given names, which they used with strangers.
"Any idea what it was?"
"I felt the magical enchantment on it, but I couldn't decipher it. It's something very old, I've been examining Chinese artifacts for a century and I never saw anything similar to it. As for the statuette itself I couldn't tell the exact material used, it was too big for any bones but whale bones to be used."
"What happened to Zargo?" Tom asked and the shopkeeper kept quiet so he dropped another handful of coins. Ik'Vil took his time counting them before answering.
"I don't know exactly. He started becoming more agitated as days went one, paranoid even, saying people were after him. He tried selling the thing to everyone in the Bazaar but nobody would have it.
Then three days ago he told me he'd found a buyer that arranged a meeting in the warehouse of the Yuen Fat Wharf."
"Is that all?"
Once more, he didn't answer and Tom pulled the last coins out of his pockets, setting them down.
"Yes. All I can think of now. Haven't seen him since he went there."
"Good." Tom smiled. "If it doesn't pay off, I'll be back for my money."
Tom knew goblins were fairly predictable creatures, like all Faes, they couldn't lie and they were under a compulsion never to give away things. Which explained why Zargo had going to a shady rendez-vous in a warehouse. He'd probably felt it was the only way to get rid of the stolen item.
But strangest was the fact the Triads remembered the item at all. Goblins knew magics to force owners of stolen goods forget that they'd ever owned or seen the item in question it didn't work on magical beings but it worked just fine on mundanes such as the Sun Yee On, but something in the magic of that statue had prevented the spell from working.
As he made his way to the Wharf, he didn't even notice the man dressed in an impeccable black dress suit looking at him, absently writing on a note pad. Once Tom passed the corner and stepped back into the Temple street night market, he finished his cup of tea in a single sip and walked off in the opposite direction. He opened his phone and pressed the auto-dial.
"We found Murmur." He declared...