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Alchemy Crimes

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“Come on, help me get the rollers out of my hair.” 

“Simon, please no,” Jacques whines, before diligently moving over to his side, helping him with the hot rollers. “I really think we should stay in tonight and eat something nice. I’ll cook?” 

Simon shakes his head in response, his freshly freed curls bouncing about by his shoulders as he does so. “I spent my last euros on renting this costume, so we’re doing it.” 

“But we don’t even have the tickets! Say they believe that you are — somehow — the Comte de Saint Germain, but even he cannot walk into the opening ceremony without an invitation!” 

Simon tries to soothe his friend by repeating his name a few times. 

“I am in one of the paintings that headline the entire exhibition, my dear,” he explains with a heavy sigh. “I have a right to be there.” 

A couple of months before the news had shaken up France that during some renovation work done in the basement, construction workers discovered a hidden room, full of riches in the Château de Chambord. Among the unique treasures, they recovered a never-before-seen portrait of the Comte de Saint Germain himself. 

Things turned nightmarish for Jacques, just after he’d innocently point out that Simon was the spitting image of Saint Germain when the first official pictures of the portrait surfaced online. 

Simon, on the other hand, has never felt luckier in his entire life. No matter how this affair with Saint Germain ends, he can only win fame out of it.

Jacques stammers. “I think we as a s-society have progressed past believing that immortal alchemists exist…” 

“Have we really? Can humanity ever say no to the promise of something magical beyond our knowledge and belief waiting for us?” He stands up and boops Jacques’s nose. “Yes. Didn’t think so.” 

Jacques rolls his eyes.

“Okay. Still. Why would the Comte de Saint Germain who’s been alive for over three millennia — or something like that — wear this … rococo nightmare of all things?” 

“First, it is a rococo fantasy, not a nightmare. And second…” Simon takes a deep breath. “We give the people what they want. Who would care about a Saint Germain who turned up to an exhibition in modern clothes? Anyone can do that. You need to sell the dream.” 

“What if we get arrested?”

“For what?”

Jacques shrugs. “For I don’t know? Alchemy crimes?” 

Simon stares at him until he averts his eyes in embarrassment and starts playing with the hem of his sleeve to distract himself. 

“Or, we will be scouted for the next biopic about Saint Germain or something and become famous. Have you thought about that?”  

“I don’t want fame,” Jacques whines again, painfully dragging out the syllables as he speaks. “I just wanted to have dinner tonight.” 

Simon fetches the strange, azure-hued crystal ball he picked up at a small antique shop the other day and drags Jacques towards the door. 

“And you will. Finger food at a fancy exhibition opening! Come on now, don’t make me say it twice. Every Saint Germain needs his Theodore.”