"But it came from her very own disembodied bosom."
The Knights of the Mesa Rendonda were milling about the cramped MVB office, downing mojitos and backing into things with their broad swords. Verticvs didn't want them to overhear what he was about to say to King Manny.
"Dude," Verticvs whispered, "maybe you and the boys ought to cut back on the mojitos. I mean, c'mon, a disembodied, floating, talking matched set?"
"It's true! We all saw it."
"I'm sure you did, especially after all that drinking you guys did last night."
"Then how do you explain my map?"
"I think someone's pulling your chainmail. This is a picture of Channel 7 where Elita Loresca works."
Sir Manny paused. "Why does a TV station need a moat?"
"It's Biscayne freaking Bay, for crisesakes. And that's the 79th Street Causeway running in front of it."
Sir Manny paused some more. "So, I guess those aren't watchtowers?"
"And there's no drawbridge? Or guards?"
"Guards, yeah, but no drawbridge."
Verticvs could see the leader of men who lived for quests was crestfallen. "But that should make it easier for you, right?"
Sir Manny was lost in thought. "I'm sorry?"
"I mean you won't need to storm the castle, so to speak. You can go right up to her and hand her the," Verticvs paused to bracket the next words in quotation marks with his fingers, "'fabled crystal bra'. Right? No need for any bloodshed, that's always a good thing."
"Do you think they'll let me hand it to her?"
"I don't see why not. As long as you and the boys check your swords and weapons at the door. Hell, knowing Channel 7, they'll probably even put you on TV."
"You can count on it."
"So where can I find the fabled crystal bra?"
"The one the talking tatties told you I once held in my very own hands?
"Jeese-Louise, that was a while back. It was for a story I was doing for a magazine. I never met the guy who owned it. He was a jeweler in the downtown Miami diamond district. But it shouldn't be hard to find. Everybody knows everybody down there. And King Manny, those sparkly things on top of the bra, the ones the talking tatas couldn't pronounce, they're called Swarovski crystal. It's expensive imported Austrian cut glass."
"Cut glass?" Manny Mojito, King of Little H, seemed disappointed.
"Yeah, but it's real expensive. Chicks dig it for some reason."
"Elita Loresca is no chick," he reminded Verticvs. "She's a goddess."
"Well, she's something else, that's for sure."
"She's a goddess," Sir Manny repeated in a louder voice, "and I'm on a quest for her."
"And so are we!"
Verticvs looked around and saw the Knights of the Mesa Redonda holding their mojitos and swords high in the air toward Sir Manny. Sir Manny drew his own sword and touched the sword tips.
"Before we set forth," he said with deep import, "we must first worship the goddess."
They turned to the makeshift Elita Loresca Hurricane Protection Altar in the office, kneeled before it, flipped on the audio omming device, and joined it in a mixture of communal bliss and intoxication. Verticvs didn't know whether to be alarmed or impressed.
(To Be Continued)