On the corner of Rue Jean Beausire and Rue de la Bastille, sat two men outside a nondescript café. One sipped at his espresso and the other downed his third glass of cognac.
This exhibited much about their personalities.
Someone passing by would see two men discussing a mundane topic, such as work or money. Someone who paid more attention would see the maps spread across the table, briefly reminding them of the newspaper article they read about treasure hunters in Egypt or Peru. Someone who sat at a nearby table would hear the talk of art and museums and think they were, perhaps, investors.
All of the above were true.
"How is your cognac?" The man with the espresso asked his acquaintance.
"Very well," The man with the cognac replied. "And you?"
The sky was beginning to become heavy with rain.
"Why do you think Mr. Fig wants this one?" Espresso man asked. He was a very quizzical man.
"Same reason for all the others I imagine. This one's no different." Cognac man said. He was a very rational man, yet he failed to realize that, yes, this one was indeed very different from the rest.
Storm's coming, people mumbled as they passed by the café.
And no, these men were not ordinary investors or treasure hunters. They were makers of treasure hunters, and investors of games. Creators of puzzles. Caretakers to riddles and rhymes that led many men into the maze that was deemed, "treasure hunt".
To put it simply, these men stole priceless things, but not for the sake of money or fame. Indeed, they thought a man who put a price on a priceless object was a fool. They stole priceless things for the game, and the mysterious Mr. Fig who loved to watch others play. A marvelous game of cat and mouse and sleight of hand.
Except this one was different.
Storm's coming, the leaves brushed against the cobblestones.
"Who do you guess will play the game?" Espresso man asked.
"The same people that always play I assume," Cognac man said, "The detectives, the police, the law. This one's no different."
The first raindrop fell with enormous speed, and landed in Espresso man's well-groomed mustache.
"Storm's coming," Espresso man said, looking up at the sky.
Thunder rumbled somewhere in Paris, rattling the empty glasses on the café's tables.
Perched on a bare clothesline, a bird watched as umbrellas opened one by one, turning the city into a masquerade.
As Espresso man and Cognac man gathered their maps and bid one another farewell, the wind finally released its breath and whispered,
Oh no, oh no, oh no.