Hawke and Johnson looked at her with interest.
"If I write a note to Billings, our butler, explaining that I am contracting with your master to clean and restore paintings it should go unremarked that you have come to examine all the paintings throughout the house to identify which ones need work."
"Our master?" Em asked.
"You are far too young to be taken as anything more than journeymen in the art of restoration,” she explained. “It is an old man's occupation. Even Billings would be suspicious if you tried to portray aught else."
"You seem obsessed with our youth, Madam," Hawke said drily. "I assure you that we are over the age of majority."
"I see,” Liel said. “And could you answer detailed questions about art restoration?"
Em opened his mouth to answer and then closed it, shaking his head. "Not really."
Liel continued. "Believe me, I understand the frustration of being perceived as less experienced than you are. At nearly thirty years of age even those who have known me my whole life tend to treat me as though I am in the first blush of youth. It's tedious. But from that long experience I can tell you that it is difficult to counter, and the worst mistake is to try to claim knowledge that one doesn't really have."
Em cocked his head to one side. "You're older than I am?"
“Isn’t that fascinating...” Em said faintly.
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