Mary slid into the same library cubicle she’d been at last night, taking Stephan’s seat. With a little luck, she might be able to use the browser history to ﬁgure out what site he had been on.
She had decided on a moderately tight pair of jeans, and the lowest cut of her ‘everyday wear’ blouses. She’d considered wearing one of her show-oﬀ outﬁts, but decided against it. She’d have to work her way up to wearing those, so no one noticed the change. At least she could skip underwear: no one would notice that.
A quick breakfast and here she was.
The browser history wasn’t helpful: it had been wiped. The search-term history was; it had several searches near to the topics she and Stephan had been discussing. A few kicks later, Mary was reading the page she had seen the night before.
It was odd, in a way, to be reading this. That page was the last thing she could actually remember looking at before her necklace had been activated. There was a sort of deja-vu feeling to reading it now.
The site did not say anything beyond what she remembered from last night, though she found it a useful review considering how scrambled her mind had been at that point. It did however link to a few sources, which she started into.
A few hours later was reviewing what she’d found.
First oﬀ, there wasn’t much available. Part of that was probably because not much was actually known, but a lot of it was that it had not been considered interesting by the researchers. There would be an occasional oﬀhand reference, but that ﬁrst passage that Stephan had read was the largest single source of info she had found.
Still, she had managed to piece together the basics: The necklaces had all been created by a single king/sultan, who was either a sourcorer himself or had hired one. They were given to some, maybe all, of the concubines, either as a sign of favor or as part of becoming a member of the harem. Where magical powers were mentioned, they were mentioned as being permanent. Powers mentioned included beauty, youth, happiness, obedience commonly, though there was a whole long list of uncommon ones listed, probably as a result of the imaginations of poets.
But no real new information.
There was mention that one king, upon attaining (or, upserping, depending on how polite you wanted to be) power, had set about smashing all the concubines necklaces and jewels, so that might be a way to remove it’s inﬂuence.
Though Mary remembered the necklace as being quite sturdy in her childhood. Still, something to protect against.
The only other info Mary had on the necklace was an old bedtime story that her grandmother had told her: That the necklaces their family wore had come from a price, who had ridden by their ancestor’s poor farm. He had spotted their great-whatever-grandmother, a young widow according to the story, working in the ﬁeld, her baby on her back, and was so taken by her beauty that he had called her over and presented her and her daughter the necklaces as gift, instructing her to wear them until he came to claim them as his own. The necklaces’ had brought luck: the farm prospered, but he had never returned, and Mary’s ancestor had never removed her necklace, despite many oﬀers to sell it; instead she had at last placed in on her granddaughter’s head, charging her to keep it safe for the prince’s return.
Thinking through that story now, Mary felt fairly sure it was true, and wondered what had happened to the prince. He had obviously wanted to claim the woman and her daughter for his harem, but been unable to do so at the moment.
Mary even wondered if the original instruction was one reason the necklaces’ had always stayed in the family. Otherwise, after thousands of years, you would assume one of her ancestors would have sold them. But no, they kept them, and wore them, and waited for their prince…
Mary had always dreamed of a prince, riding in and sweeping her away to his castle. She had known it would never happen, of course. Now… The wait was over, even if it was not a prince who had claimed her.
She’d have to keep looking, but for now it made sense to assume that was all that was known about the necklaces. She’d have to learn the rest herself.
At the moment, however, she wanted to think about how to convince Stephan to claim her.
After history. She had told Stephen she’d be there after all.