“Do you want to call it a day?” asked Michael in a tone which suggested he very much hoped my answer would be yes.
I couldn’t really blame him. We’d spent most of the day trawling the area, searching for a hidden room in a neighbourhood stuffed with buildings where rooms were packed in tighter than sardines in a tin. And where the answer to nearly every question we asked seemed to be, “None of your goddamn business.” Continue reading
“Yes, I should think I can find you a room,” said Madame Laporte, proprietress of the White Hart Inn by the bridge at the top of the village. She looked us up and down carefully. “We get many travellers staying with us,” she added in a voice that indicated that whilst we weren’t the kind of traveller she was used to she was prepared to be broad-minded. Besides, village gossip being what it was, she was well aware that we had spent most of the day up at the Chateau as guests of Master Ferdinand and that clearly carried some clout. Continue reading
“He went that way!” cried the startled guard in response to the shout from the Captain. “And there was this…”
The sentence trailed away in confusion as the guard tried to figure out what exactly there had been but it didn’t matter for the Captain was already off down the corridor, showing a surprising turn of speed for such a big man. Continue reading
A stunned silence settled over the library in the wake of the malevolent yellow mist that was only broken when the sword of the unfortunate guard eventually slipped from his lifeless grasp and clattered to the floor. It was followed by a resounding thud as the body itself slumped to the floor, as though finally conceding that there was no longer any point in remaining upright. It was only then that the door was flung open and the Captain burst into the room, demanding to know, “Is everything alright? I thought I heard a cry.” Continue reading
A tense silence settled over the library with the departure of Master Ferdinand and the Captain. Guillaume turned from staring morosely at the equipment on the tables to peering fearfully down at his bag of silver as though he expected someone to try and whip it away from him at any moment. I gazed listlessly along the shelves of books and tried to figure out just how it was that we always seemed to get ourselves tangled up in these dramas. Michael paced thoughtfully back and forth. It was he who finally broke the silence when he paused by the window, looked out and casually remarked, “It’s a thirty foot drop straight down into the moat, just in case anyone was wondering.” Continue reading
The question of Master Ferdinand and his place in the grand scheme of things was one I was at least able to address directly with Guillaume soon after we left the inn. Trudging up the main street in the village it rapidly became apparent that the Captain and his two cohorts were not over-zealous in their work and, provided we made no attempt to stray beyond the boundaries of their custody, they paid us little heed and made no attempts to stifle conversation. So, having first tested the waters with a few innocuous remarks, I took the opportunity to grill Guillaume about what might await us at the end of our journey. Continue reading
“We’re looking for a room,” I began.
“No rooms here,” swiftly retorted the inn-keeper. “We’ve got food and we’ve got ale but no rooms. Try at the sign of the White Hart by the bridge at the top of the village.”
“Ah no, I didn’t mean that kind of room,” I hastened to explain. “We’re looking for a particular room.” Continue reading
It was just over an hour since he had watched the Zeppelin descend in a roar of flames and Valentine was sitting, deep in thought, in his favourite armchair. By every calculation the day had been an absolute success; Sturridge had been put out of the game with real ingenuity and, he dared to think, a little style and, as an added bonus, his two followers had all but dispatched themselves. The Explorer’s Club could now go about its business free from unwarranted interference. Continue reading