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I sit down still biting my tongue as NOT to lash out and listen .
See here we go again make me a clown??why not a drunk clown my mind is about to explode but I keep my mouth shut shut and lets her talk on,,, I do notice she has not answered my questions as to how she can walk around the Bone Kingdom so freely, and would she be joining us here if so I need to get Opel and Mrs.Fletcher to make up a room for her but seems it is NONE of my concern humph.
Okay I hate being redundant so again THERE WILL BE NO DRINKING UNTIL THIS MISSION IS DONE AND WE ARE BACK HERE
Now as for Charlie she will be coming with us to look after the animals and help me as to what ones I need for special snooping such as Nose or Ghost Pup.
Seeing it is getting close to dinner time lets set up a table over by the fireplace and make it a work satation so we can plan this down to a T so that everyone knows there part and what goes where and who does what ... I want NO mistakes in this.
My belly groans as the aroma floats out from the kitchen I say sorry but I am starving shall we go to our tables?
I notice Floraline take PTG"S arm and leads him to a table away from the rest of us,,, thank god his Amulet is still open.snicker snicker but if it gets to personal I will mute mine.
Opel tells us dinner will be ready in 15 good I say gives me time to help Charlie feed the Zoo and let her know she will be coming with us,,, Opel hands me a basket === for Frost == it is overflowing with mice and rats some dead some half way there ,,, he loves to play with his food some times.
I cal FROST open field my brave one..
We arrive at the same time and I scratch his huge head here my big boy from Opel I over turn the basket and watch him scamper after a few mice then clean all that was on the ground.
Okay back up and keep watch and be ready we will be going on a dangerous recon very soon and you will be my eyes in the sky.
I return to The Tea Room and see PTG and Floraline side by side heads very close and in deep conversation
I hear nothing to get worried over PTG is telling her about his pet Owl and how he come to get hm.
I sit with Roo Angel and Jacob and Opel serves a dish from heaven .
I eat but keep an ear open and an eye on the other table.
THE CAP AND I LEAVE TO TEND THE ZOO AND FROST. I SEE YOU UNDERSTAND THAT I MUST GO WITH YOU. I HAVE ALREADY OFFERED BEAU TO ANGEL TO CARRY HER EQUIPMENT. I WILL RIDE BABY AS SHE PULLS THE CART WITH OPAL AND KATT AND ALL THEY MUST TAKE WITH THEM TO FEED US AND MAKE FOOD TO SELL. NOW I NEED YOU TO GET YOUR GUYS TO PAINT THE SADDLE BAG THAT WILL BE ON BABY AND BEAU WITH SOMETHING TO SORT OF MATCH THE CART AND TO LET FOLKS THINK WE ARE INDEED A CIRCUS. WE CAN TAKE FOOD FOR MOST OF THE PETS BUT I DO HOPE THERE IS SOMEWHERE TO GRAZE BABY AND BEAU. GOLDIE AND DOOGIE AND THE UNNEEDED PETS WILL STAY BEHIND. THE OWLS, AND POE WILL COME BUT THEY WILL BLEND IN WITH THE FOWLS THAT LIVE IN THE KINGDOM. I MUST ASK YOU DO WE LEAVE MY GNOMES HERE OR 1 OR 2 OF YOU GUYS. WE WILL NEED SOME OF THEM TO ACT AS ROUSTABOUTS IF WE ARE GOING TO BE A CIRCUS. YOU CAN USE SPRING AS A HELPER IN YOUR CLOWN ACT. SHE ALREADY IS WEARING A HAT. GHOST PUP CAN FOLLOW YOU IF YOU HAVE A NEED.
SUGAR AND SPICE WILL BE ADVERTISED AS LIONESS'S THEY WILL BE THERE ANYWAY. SINCE THEY GO WHERE I GO. EXTRA PROTECTION FOR US ALL. I DO HAVE A COUPLE OF FANCY SHIRTS TO WEAR AS WE PARADE ABOUT. BUT NO WAY WILL I WEAR A COSTUME. I WILL CARE FOR THE ANIMALS. AND KEEP MY EARS OPEN. I AM AS ALWAYS SUPPORT.
WE RETURN TO THE TEA ROOM AFTER FEEDING THE ZOO AND FROST.
Floraline leans forwards across the table and takes one of my hands in hers.
I feel my cheeks redden as I become rather hot under the collar. It is a VERY long time since I last succumbed to such stupidity.
I am the Chief Sweeper Upper of the Midnight Castle and that is my vocation in life.
What extra time I have whilst awake is to rid this realm of the pervading evil that undermines it and I try to do this with my fellow Musketeers.
So, this is an intrusion into my being and cannot go any further!
But she is a lovely creature in all senses of the word – and such a brilliant mind to enhance all her more obvious charms!
“Finished with your drooling then?”
It was my “lord and master” the Cap’n voicing his “concerns” through my amulet.
At that moment Floraline flashes a broad grin and chirrups: “Aren’t you going to reply to that then?”
The look of shock on the Cap’ns face as he hears and understands the implication of this comment is a marvel.
“No one, but no one should be able to listen in to our private communications!”
Florline gives him a broad smile and says: “Well I am an illusion, but this will give us an added advantage IF you can make a GOOD plan!”
The Cap’ns scowl disappears and is replaced by a broad grin.
“Oh! Yes, we are going on the road and our circus should provide a major diversion for any and all we will meet.
“You two, pointing at Floraline and myself, can do the necessary recce while we entertain our worthy citizens and the denizens of the Bone Kingdom, the like of which has never before occurred!
“Now let us get down to details!”
He points to me:
"And what are you going to wear and what function will you have in this charade?"
I wander over to the table where everyone is eating and clear my throat... Um excuse me... Does anyone know what the weather is like in the Bone Kingdom this time of year? Fried dough, Funnel Cake, French fries all need hot fat to cook. Hot fat would be rather dangerous if we had to move quickly. Yes, I know I'm a kill-joy, but I sure wouldn't want to hold up the works causing anyone to get hurt or caught.
Katt slips me a freshly brewed pot of a very pale coloured hong cha and says:
“I found this at the back of the cupboard and as far as we can translate between us it is especially potent for brain activity!”
I take a sip of the steaming hot liquid and feel a very strange sensation in my head.
All my confused thinking on our proposed Cunning Plan seem to fall into place and a clarion call permeates my mind:
“I AM THE 2ic HERE! So behave like one!”
I thump on the table, seemingly wakening Angel up who has dozed off, and turning round to face Roo Roo who is idly playing a finger stabbing game with a small sharp knife.
“We need to finalise our plan before venturing out into enemy territory, for I am certain that the Bone Kingdom IS just that!
“Our Guest Floraline has put forward certain suggestions and comments on our existing Cunning Plan and I am now sure, it probably will lead us all into danger.
“Her suggestion of using the pearls/mirror/ Angel as a remote receiver of the information is perfect.
“And we MUST use the Cap’n as the ‘eyes and ears’. The eventual recovery of Jacob’s family is his goal for us to follow.
“The circus theme will provide us with a good cover for wandering around and must be used.
“But there is NO need for all of us to go gallivanting all over the highways and byways of the Bone Kingdom to accomplish what we want to do. That path is a potential disaster in the making!
“The Cap’n in a clown disguise will be perfect! And will match his demeanour!”
The table erupts in a cacophony of sound as each of my fellow Musketeers want to step in with their suggestions
At the back of their minds of course is the thought of dressing up and doing something exotic. Having a circus and playing with animals and children will be good fun.
But we are not here to have good fun but to do a recce.
So: “We must keep any danger to our group to a minimum and that means we as a group DO NOT go into the Bone Kingdom, much though I would love to accompany my beautiful companion. (AND I DON’T MEAN THE CAPTAIN!).
“To carry out this subterfuge however we all dress up in circus regalia but to distribute flyers to hand out to all our worthy citizens whatever place they are playing.
“You all choose your costumes with care and park your tents OUTSIDE the Bone Kingdom on that path leading up to it.
“If your outfit is skimpy, I am sure that Charlie will speed-knit a top for it!
“The important picture tent should be back at our base. Floraline assures me that what the Cap’n sees in his mirror WILL be saved as images and located on a large-scale map on one of our tables.
“So, Angel I am afraid, you will have to return here and not indulge yourself too much as a fortune teller!
”Here is the flyer I have made for you all to give out everywhere.
"Now I will be outside of the main gate collecting money for the tickets issued (if any are that is!)
"If the Cap'n is in ANY danger, I will slip in using my broom as a charabanc and extricate him.
"I do not think that Roo Roo Can make him invisible. She had enough trouble trying with Angel!"
“Perhaps Charlie the more intelligent animals can help with this and perhaps Beau and Blossom blow a few in the direction of the Town plaza!”
I hand over the discussion to the others and catch a rather wry smile on Floraline’s divine face!
Hmmmm, since we will be in a relatively stationary location I'll be happy to fry up all sorts of goodies. But... as it's Spring, and the Sugar Maple sap is running, I'm going to have Sugar on Snow too. That will be a fun sticky mess that can be used as a diversion if necessary... and the kids will love it!
Maybe the proceeds can help the Captain pay his credit card bill, tee hee.
As for my costume. It needs to be practical for moving around the kitchen without catching fire so I think I'll go Victorian with a Steampunk twist. Pearl said she will take a fly through the chimney so she can be a Black dragonette for the party.
Charlie, do you think you can help me tweak the bodice of this dress? Not sure I can quite fill it properly...
Floraline, in a soft, wistful voice, is one of the first to speak
“I agree that the handing out of flyers is a much more believable approach than to have several of us go in as a group. I think it will draw far less attention to our real purpose for being there. But, at the same time, it allows for everyone to be a part of the mission. No one is left behind just watching while a few have all the fun of the adventure.
“I further agree that since the Captain cannot risk being discovered, the clown costume is a good choice. It will disguise not only his face with the paint, but also his physical appearance with the clothing. The leader of a military unit is the most important person of that group. For him to fall into enemy hands would be more than a disaster.
“Placing tents outside the Bone Kingdom is also a very good idea. Would the main ‘Big Top’ also be outside the Kingdom?
“However, there are 2 parts of the plan with which I find fault. The first is with PTG selling tickets. If I understand the proposal correctly, everyone will be handing out flyers to a fictitious circus. It does not seem honest to take someone’s money for a product that will never be delivered.
“The second flaw is: There is no explanation for my presence. I cannot pass out flyers because that would certainly cause suspicion. I have no problem with not being a part of the plan. I was happy in the Attic and I will be happy when I am returned. My only purpose in being was to alert you to the dangers of a complete circus walking into the Bone Kingdom and to offer a counter solution. However, when my illusion becomes the reality of return, Hary and Lary must go with me. The illusion includes all three of us. When Hary and Lary return, so must the mirror and pearls.”
I sit and listen to all who spoke ,,, PTG yes you are my second in command and as I listen to you and that determination in your voice is good to hear ,,, but again we are going off track here in this dangerous mission,, so again this is the reason I set this table up with pen and paper for you all to rite or speak your ideas and the final draft will be then put to paper by Angel who will be writing every word down.
Now PTG great idea about the flyers well thought out but it will not be you nor your breath taking companion ,,,
Look maybe this will make it clearer to you all ,,, we have a lot of Areas to cover and littel time to do so for Jacob's family's life is at stake here,,, and that ladies and Gent is our goal to rescue them and NOT get caught ourselves.
So if you are all thinking we just plow ahead to The Bone Kingdom and go from there NO NO NO , we have to make damn sure our real plan is not discovered so that is why The Circus is a perfct plan and now with Floraline's help we have no need for all those cameras , but do need the TENT for Angel to develop the images that come from the pearls and mirror I take it they will work in the same manner as a film?? so Angel can develop them ??
Our first step is to go to Jacob's farm with Charlie's workers and Riddler so they can get to rebuild for Jacob the land and home for him and his family to come home to yes he will be with us on the recon , we need him to verify his family.
Now as we set up at Jacob's * I write down Jacob's farm temp main camp*
We then head to The Town correction == we send out a small party dressed in Circus garb with the flyers , we can then send PTG in Ringmaster outfit with Floraline to speak to the Elders of The Town and ask permission to set up the circus on the out skirts of town,,, do you see where I am going with this??
We will do this in each Area that has citizens by passing those that do not such as The Dark Tower etc. you all know the ones I speak of,, this also gives us an advantage in the **WORD OF MOUTH*** word of a coming Circus will go faster then any of us can handing out flyers.
The Bone Kingdom will be our biggest challenge there we have to be extra careful but I think our reputation as a Traveling Circus will be a great help this is where PTG and Floraline will be needed the most .
Now I have something to say and it may anger a few but my mind is made up ,,,,, I WILL NOT PLAY A CLOWN
I am the Captain and Leader here and as it has been pointed out I should ** BUCK UP AN ACT AS SUCH*** so ladies and Gent meet ** Ricochet Colt *** The fastest draw know to man,,,, ((( poster to read)))) 5 gold coins to win a bag of gold by beating Colt in a draw and hitting the bull's eye)))
Charlie I will need you to gather some horse hair so I can fashion a wig and a handle bar mustache and I will wear an eye patch .
Now on this my word is final I will be Colt ,,,, PTG can be the Ring Master ,,, Floraline his guide, Angel The Fortune Teller / Roo world famous knife thrower,, Charlie keeper to the animals,,, Jacob will be like a stage hand there but out of site just in case someone remembers his face.
Miss Katt and Opel will run the food wagons and Ladies what ever you make on selling food etc. you keep and divide between yourselves.
Mrs Fletcher wants to stay here to take care of the ones who will not join us.
Angel have you got that all?? I get a vigorous shake of her head as she is writing feverishly
Okay floor is open lets get this settled and on paper and make sure we are all ON the same page and everything has been very well thought out .
The Cap'n does not want me to take any cash for the circus performances - everything will be free (which to my mind is a bit suspicious sounding)
OK then Here is another flyer:
I would like to clarify though that ONLY you and Floraline enter the Bone Kingdom, when we get to that part of the Realm.
We just entertain the citizens outside while you recce and I liaise with Angel to make sure all is well with the incoming information.
I do NOT want to see hundreds of pictures of moostahioed hombre being sent instead of locations!
And you MUST be guided by Floraline - no poking around elsewhere just because you think it is a good idea!
BTW My costume will look something like this: