ere in the open!

”How many of them are here? ”

”Not much, Mr.
Perhaps one out of twenty among the job seekers are the ones you wish to find. ”

”Then how will we know we got the right one? ”

”Leave that to me. ” Kelandra smiled.

This was the benefit of hiring an insider.
Ves didn ’t know how she managed it, but she began to guide the group towards specific individuals sitting or standing in wait to appeal to a potential client.

At least half of the job seekers consisted of foreigners, though.
Since Ves firmly wanted to obtain a Kinner spy, that did not leave him with much choice.

”Don ’t expect too much from the ones who have been waiting here for a while.
Very keen employers already took the good ones away. ” Kelandra warned.

”I ’m aware. ”

The search and negotiation for Kinner spies turned out to be a very subtle dance.
Neither Ves, Kelandra or the prospective hires mentioned the truth.
Trinity Halls was a very public venue and it was a given that every interaction would be recorded.

For this reason, on the surface, Ves simply appeared to be on the lookout to hire a mundane virtual security expert.
He asked relatively standard questions while the men and women looking to get hired by a rich mech designer did their best to showcase their actual skill without giving away any clues about their true vocation.

Most of the spies also tended to be on the younger side.
Their lack of experience meant that they did not have any prior ties to other employers, which was good.

Less good was judging their actual competence.
Without a track record, Ves found it difficult to evaluate how much they exaggerated their capabilities.

His visit to the food market earlier in the day taught him that Kinners were still capable of lying.

The aid of both Nitaa and Kelandra proved to be invaluable.

His guide had a better sense of judging the truth coming out of the mouth of her fellow Kinners.
She possessed an abundant amount of experience in helping clients, so she could tell when a prospective hire went too far with their boasts.

As for Nitaa, her tall presence was sufficient to restrain the job seekers.
The intricate tattoos on her face made it clear that she used to be a part of the Order of Fl ’xix, which commanded a lot of respect and apprehension from the Kinners.

After interviewing the handful of spies hidden in the crowd of security experts, Kelandra could find no more.

”That ’s not all of them. ” She said with a mild frown.
”There are more people in their midst who might be interesting to you.
It is just that they refused to expose themselves. ”

Just like with Commander Oryn Mair, they looked down on Ves.
He lacked the reputation or institutional weight to reassure their concerns.

Every Kinner wanted to latch on to winners but especially to known quantities.
Someone like Ves who emerged fairly recently did not have the track record to prove that he would be a stable employer.

For all they knew, the new boss they promised to serve for the rest of his life might go bankrupt next year, putting all of them on the streets!

His ample connections played much less of a role than he anticipated.
What did it matter if his girlfriend was a notable member of the Wodin Dynasty? Partnerships and alliances always ended at the most inconvenient times.

If Ves lost the protection of others, how well would he be able to fare in the galaxy by himself?

He was still confident he could make it somehow, but the spies looking to serve a master lacked the same confidence.
For this reason, Ves could only choose among a paltry selection of six spies.

Each of them were rather bland and unexceptional.
While being unassuming was definitely an asset to spies, none of them inspired a lot of confidence in Ves.
At best, they might be able to hold their ground against Leland.

His hopes of finding a hidden gem who might possibly stand equal against Calabast were dashed.

He should have known better.

”Are there any other places where I can obtain what I want? ”

”I doubt it. ” Kelandra replied.
”More exclusive venues exist, but they will not open their doors to you.
Only the most generous and loyal clients are eligible to receive invitations. ”

”What about places similar to Trinity Halls? ”

”I would not advise you to frequent those venues.
Every person at Trinity Halls is vetted by the Kinner Tribe.
The other establishments do not offer the same level of assurance. ”

Bloodstone was a huge planet, and the amount of Kinners educated as spies looking for employment was quite considerable.

It was just that most of them had already been taken away by foreign organizations in need of extremely loyal spies.
What Ves essentially got was a selection of their leftovers.

He sighed.
”While I ’m sure they ’re competent, none of them stand out to me.
I might as well leave the decision to my cat. ”

”Meow? ”

”That ’s right, Lucky.
You get to choose! Which one do you like the most? ”

”Meow. ”

Lucky carefully extended his paw towards a thin, reedy man.

”What do you think, Nitaa? ”

”I don ’t detect anything of note that raises my concern. ”

Neither Lucky or Nitaa expressed any misgivings about the man, though they didn ’t look very enthusiastic either.
The choice was merely..
Enough to fulfill the job, but nothing more.

One of the biggest disappointments to Ves was that none of the prospective hires possessed any noticeable spirituality.
While he could still visit the other job markets to find a spy with spiritual potential, they wouldn ’t be as reliable despite their Kinner upbringing.

He shrugged.
Not every member of his staff needed to be a latent superhuman.
Someone like Gavin already proved to be invaluable to him despite his utter normality.

”Alright, let ’s see if he makes the cut. ”

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