Vimes! Alchemy! Cassandra! Banter! Humour! Well 2 out of 5 ain't bad. R&R, please?
Vimes looked at her with a certain amount of distaste. She knew he didn't like vampires, but she'd been quizzed by Cheri first, and had been feeling quite optimistic about her future in the Watch, especially since the Alchemist's Guild had supplied her with an excellent reference in a bid to get her to leave faster. And then Vimes' interrogation had begun.
'Why do alchemist's want gold?' Vimes began.
Cassandra had been slightly thrown by this, but managed 'because we spend so much trying to make the stuff. It's a bit of a paradox, really.'
Vimes nodded. If the girl had said that it was because alchemy was a pure science that sought the true meaning of existence he would have thrown her out right then and there. The only reason he'd even agreed to consider a damn vampire was because Angua had suggested her and Angua was never wrong. 'The Guild said you only blew it up three times, and you were there six months. Cheri assures me that means you are a very good alchemist.'
'Yes. Sir.' It was difficult to remember to call this scruffy and over-worked man sir. Besides it was natural for a vampire to resist ever calling anyone sir.
'So why aren't you still with the Guild?'
'There was an incident.' Cassandra had rehearsed that line. It was a respectably vague one that she just knew no one would let be.
'And said incident involved...' Now she knew why he was called Vetinari's terrier. He really wasn't going to let this go, so she may as well get it over with.
'Silverfish was clumsy. He cut himself. Things got a bit...out of hand.' She nervously produced a strip of black ribbon and held it before her, as though it might deterr Vimes's permanant glare. It didn't. 'I'm still on the wagon, I have been ever since I became a vampire.'
'Six and a half months ago.'
He raised an eyebrow. 'You sound like an Morporkian. You didn't go travelling in Uberwald, otherwise you'd be dead, not merely undead. No, you got attacked by a vampire here. In the city. Why didn't you report it?'
Cassandra was stunned by the change of subject. 'I thought the undead were left to police their own.'
'The Watch police everyone. Even the undead, although sentencing them is often difficult. Take your attacker for example, is he guilty of assault or murder? Or did you ask to be bitten?'
She shrugged. 'Not exactly, no.'
Vimes sighed. 'I don't like vampires. I don't like most people, come to that. But Angua tells me that you are trustworthy-and she can tell these things. And if you aren't then we can always find a way to correct that. Besides you are still the sanest alchemist I've met in a long time. So you are now a member of the Watch. Assistant to Cheri, and also a spare constable should we need you, which we will, so be prepared. Watch out for Corporal Nobbs, he'll probably try to nick any valuables you have, and avoid Reg Shoe unless you want to become a member of the Fresh Start Club.'
Cassandra nodded. 'Thank you, sir.'
'You won't have to be on night shifts all the time?'
'No. Exposure to magnesium flares in the Guild has rather eroded the efficency of sunlight.' Cassandra smiled grimly. She supposed it had done her some good after all, though she had crumbled to dust quite a few times before she had got used to it.
Vimes nodded. 'Being on the Watch isn't easy. It could be dangerous, even of you aren't quite a real officer.'
'Ever been on the receiving end of an alchemist's practical joke sir?'
She was rewarded with a scowl that included trace elements of a smile.
Review, please? Before I get disheartened.