Daphne gets a tip that there is going to be an auction in town, and that there will be an item up for offer that had been owned by an Emissary of Winter. She thinks that she may be able to use this item somehow to get into Winter to find her father. Rather than wait for the auction, Daphne decides that she will take the item the night before. She heads to Darke Hall, where the event is going to take place, but finds that the items are not yet there.
She then talks to Linda, who had heard about the auction and was considering going to it to size up Piotr Sergey Morozov, who was promising to be a likely rival as she took over her parent’s empire. Linda does some looking around, talking to people she knows, and learns about the most interesting items on the roster. A ring to aid in concentration, the journal of a dead White Council mage, an earth-magic staff, a shadowy pair of gloves, and the cloak that Daphne wants.
Linda then calls in a favour with someone she knows who works at the Casino, where she now knows the items are being stored. He agrees to leave open a door as he is heading away from his shift. He warns them, however, that there are some shadowy figures hanging out in the parking lot.
Daphne, in her tiniest form, flies past the figures and, seeing guards at the door of her target room, goes in through a vent. She picks out the gloves and cloak, the items she’s most interested in, and then considers. The items are too heavy to carry effectively while she’s so small, so she becomes bigger and pushes them into the vent, then climbs in herself while shrinking. Stealth is a little harder while she’s pushing the items around with her, but she’s very good at moving carefully and masking necessary sounds, so she escapes into the main Casino area (separate from the lobby where the guards are) and pulls her bundle across the floor, slowly enough to avoid triggering the cameras. This door is intricately alarmed, and she begins to attempt to disarm it.
Meanwhile, Linda is waiting outside. She has been noticed by the group hanging around by the door. She gets out of the vehicle and pretends to be fixing it while two of their number sneak near her vehicle in case she is planning anything. Linda gets back in the car and takes stock of her enemy: an attractive woman in a well-cut business suit, leaning calmly against the wall, with two women and four men in street clothes ranged around her like guards.
When Daphne sets off the alarm while trying to disarm it, she quickly returns to normal size, dons the cloak and gloves, and begins to rush across the parking lot to Linda. But the figures hanging around near the other door move faster than any human should – as they rush closer to her, she abandons her plan and instead rushes upward, just out of their reach. Linda tries to drive away, but the two thugs who were hiding near her vehicle stepped out of the shadows and grabbed the car, preventing it from moving. Not humans, then, but Linda doesn’t know enough the supernatural yet to identify them more precisely than that.
Daphne, meanwhile, considers leaving Linda alone, but holds off, not wanting to lose the connection if it can be helped. She watches as Linda steps out of the vehicle and throws a cool look at the men who had casually held it still. They become warily respectful of her and give her a little space as she steps up to the woman in the suit.
“You have something that’s not yours,” the woman accuses Linda.
“I don’t have anything,” Linda begins to say, but is interrupted with the amendment, “You and your friend.”
“How much is he paying you to guard the place?” Linda tries.
“Nobody is paying us. We are interested in the items you have and were watching in case exactly this happens. Kindly return the items.”
“I don’t have them, and you can’t reach them. So what do you want from ME?”
“She seems to care about you, or you wouldn’t still be here.”
“What if we promised you the rest of the auction items?” asked Linda. “There’s only two of them that we’re interested in.”
There was hesitation, some posturing, several requests for proof of accountability, but the woman was willing to deal. There was no time to go back in and steal the other items – besides the several human security guards who were standing at the entrance to the Casino gawking at the flying lady, there were also sirens in the distance. But Linda was able to negotiate two trades: the gloves right now, in exchange for letting the two of them leave, and in exchange for Linda’s help at the actual auction the next day, a favour in the form of a future hit. The woman handed over a business card that said Alissa O’Leary with a number to call, and both parties quickly evaporated into the night.