Arturo coughed and climbed carefully over the rubble of the ruined temple. He saw Myrtle diffing through the remains of her burned-out lab, and he made his way toward her. He stood at a distance, watching her work until he was seized by another coughing fit and she was alerted to his presence.

“You have a lot of nerve, coming here. After what you tried to do,” she said, “I would be very careful if I were you.” Arturo was doubled over, coughing, and could say nothing in his defense.

Myrtle turned back to her work, and when Arturo gained a semblance of control over his lungs, he asked her what she was doing.

“I wasn’t able to save anything from the fire,” she said. “I wasn’t here, and by the time I got back, the fire was so large it wasn’t possible for anyone to get in,” she cast him a dirty look, “or out.”

When Arturo didn’t say anything , she continued, “My scribes weren’t able to save much, either, and I have no way of knowing everything that was lost.”

Arturo thought she sounded more sad for the loss of her research than for the temple itself. Not that he cared much to consider the ramifications of Myrtle’s priorities, but the idea, at least, intrigued him. “Maybe I could be of assistance?” he said.

“What can you do that could be worse than what you’ve already done?” she said.

Arturo stared at her, unsure of how to answer her question. At first it sounded like an accusation, but as he thought about it, he became less clear on what she was really getting at. He coughed apologetically and said, “I get the feeling I’m not supposed to answer that.”

Myrtle said nothing and looked away from him.

Arturo approached her slowly and said, “I know you were trying to convince everyone I was robbing the temple. I wasn’t — really, I wasn’t, but I was curious why you stopped so suddenly, and if it perhaps had something to do with the Gilded Flame?”

Myrtle didn’t answer the question right away, but when she did, she told him nothing he didn’t already know, and she had nothing he could use to prove a connection to the Gilded Flame. Not that anyone believed him, anyway. He was about to turn and leave, but stopped himself.

“I have something for you, before I go,” he said. “It was helpful to me in my investigation, to a point. But now I don’t have a use for it.” He reached into his satchel and withdrew the scrap of parchment that remained of his copy of Myrtle’s ledger. “This is a copy I made the day of the fire. It’s why I was here.”

Arturo handed Myrtle the parchment. She accepted it with some apprehension. “It was damaged when the roof came down on me. I took the brunt of it, but you can see the list itself is intact.”

She looked at the parchment, and back at Arturo in disbelief. She looked back down at the parchment and traced her finger along the lines of items. “It is a copy, I can see where the mystery had trouble copying my handwriting.” She smiled and looked at him. “Maybe you can help me after all.”