6

I think this may have been part of an anthology, as it seems like the story was short. I used to read anthologies like "Sword and Sorceress", so it may have been in something like that.

  • What I remember: There was a library that was renowned for having a great many books. You couldn't take any books out, only read them there, and the Librarian always knew exactly where every book was. I think it was being told from the POV of a young woman who was talking to someone else who suspected that the Librarian was a dragon and this was their hoard. He took her into a side room with a book to prove his theory, and very shortly after the Librarian came to find them, knowing exactly where they were since they had a book.

  • When I read it: Sometime between 1997 and 2008.

  • Book description: I don't remember anything about the book itself, just the story. I don't know if it was hardcover or paperback, or any cover art or anything.

  • 1
    Was the librarian named "Arkon"? – DavidW Oct 17 '20 at 2:08
  • 2
    There was definitely a story like this in the Sword and Sorceress series. The librarian was the dragon, and a young man deduced it, and managed to dissuade his sister from her plan -- they were nobles who'd been dispossessed and she intended to kill the dragon and use the hoard to regain their place. – Mary Oct 17 '20 at 2:52
  • Wow, there are a lot of Sword and Sorceress books. I have two of them ... – John Rennie Oct 17 '20 at 7:07
  • 3
    There is a story called Hoard in Sword and Sorceress IX – John Rennie Oct 17 '20 at 8:47
5

John Rennie's intuition is correct: this is Hoard by Steven Piziks, published in 1992 in Sword and​ Sorceress XI.

The whole story can be read here. Extracts:

“I know where the treasure is,” he said slyly.
The librarian settled herself into the chair Kira had vacated. “But you’re not going to tell anyone,” she replied coolly.
“What would that get me? It’s not exactly portable. Besides, I don’t want it. Kira does.”
The librarian nodded. “How did you figure it out?”
“This passage.” Kenyon fingered a line in the book and read aloud, “‘Dragons sometimes take human form...’”
“‘...especially those dragons that don’t mind human conversation,’” the librarian finished quietly.

It ends:

The librarian thoughtfully watched them go, then, with practiced ease, she methodically put each book they had used back in its proper place. She picked up the little book that didn’t belong in that room and, meticulously locking the door behind her, clicked her way to its place in the stacks. She placed it carefully on the shelf, treating it like the treasure it was.

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