The woman led the way through the twisting and turning maze of the greenhouse's rows. Plants surrounded them from all sides.
"Here we are! What do you think?" Sheila Juarez gestured to rows of plants, all in various stages of growth. "We have been working on these for a long time."
"I can tell that they have special meaning to you." Napoleon smiled at her, flirting without really meaning to. She nervously brushed back her hair and Napoleon got glimpse of a wedding band. He sighed, but remained smiling.
"So close," Illya murmured, glancing up from his notebook. Louder, he said, "The… names, they were very descriptive. I mean, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Dinosaur Gourds, All Blue Potato… they are…"
"What they say." Shelia carefully dug into the base of a plant and pulled out a small potato. Using her pocket knife, she cut it in two.
"It's entirely blue…" Illya was dumbfounded as he passed it to Napoleon.
"Well, purple actually, because blue rarely exists naturally in Nature." She pulled a beet and again cut it in half. "This is a Candy Cane Beet, also known as a Chioggia Beet."
"Why are you doing this?" Napoleon examined the potato, smelling it.
"Some of these strains have been around for thousands of years. They are called heritage plants. They have mostly been forgotten because they can't be easily mass produced. However, for taste and texture, you can't really beat them. It's our job to make sure the plant varieties remain part of our history for the sake of our children and theirs." Sheila wandered away, still espousing the benefits of the plants.
Napoleon glanced over at Illya who was frowning, thoughtfully and murmured. "Some people will believe anything if you give it a fancy enough name."
Illya shrugged his shoulders. "What she's saying has the ring of truth, Napoleon. These survive for a reason." Napoleon scoffed and Illya smiled. "You're just disappointed that you got here too late."
"Oh, nonsense, it's never too late." Sheila thrusted brown packets into their hands. "Here are some seeds for you."
"I don't think…" Napoleon tried to hand them back and when she refused, he stuck them into his jacket pocket, vowing to toss them immediately.
"You want to grab a drink?" Illya asked as he dropped Napoleon off.
"No, I have something special lined up."
Illya sighed. "You've been in the country for forty-five minutes. How is that possible?"
Napoleon merely smiled and waved as Illya sped away. With a spring in his step, he hurried to his apartment. His cleaner was just coming out.
"Hello, Sally. How's everything going?"
"Wonderfully, Mr. Solo. Thank you for asking." She hurried away, cleaning supplies in hand.
Napoleon locked the door and walked into his spare bedroom. There a large planter sat under a sun lamp and small bits of green were poking through the soil. Napoleon beamed like a proud father and rubbed his hands together happily. "Hello, girls, did you miss me?"