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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:01:33
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"Listen," said the man, sitting up with a struggle. "Don't interrupt. If you're the bearer of the knife, you have a task that's greater than you can imagine. A child… How could they let it happen? Well, so it must be… There is a war coming, boy. The greatest war there ever was. Something like it happened before, and this time the right side must win. We've had nothing but lies and propaganda and cruelty and deceit for all the thousands of years of human history. It's time we started again, but properly this time…"

She stood, ready to run, and saw a large, dark blue car gliding silently to the pavement beside her. She was braced to dart in either direction, but the car's rear window rolled down, and there looking out was a face she recognized.

"For various reasons," Sir Charles went on, "I am in contact with the intelligence services. They are interested in a child, a girl, who has an unusual piece of equipment—an antique scientific instrument, certainly stolen, which should be in safer hands than hers. There is also a boy of roughly the same age—twelve or so—who is wanted in connection with a murder. It's a moot point whether a child of that age is capable of murder, of course, but he has certainly killed someone. And he has been seen with the girl."

Sensing Lyra beside him impatient and angry, Will said quickly, "Excuse me, but Lyra thinks that when she had a lift in your car earlier on, she left something in it by mistake."

He gave a soft shudder. His eyes were closed. Then he said, "It's a knife. The subtle knife of Cittagazze. You haven't heard of it, Marisa? Some people call it teleutaia makhaira, the last knife of all. Others call it Aesahaettr."

"No," she said. "I'm only going to do what you ask, from now on. I thought of doing it last night, but I never did. And I won't, either, unless you ask me to."

"As you wish," said Sir Charles, and the car moved on. "When, or if, you get the knife, call my number and Allan will come to pick you up."

"What friend?" said Lyra, alarmed. Had she told him about Will too?


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