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The drenched, dark suited man yelled in anger: “You cannot keep her. She belongs to the Attic of the Bone Kingdom. I have her purchase receipt right here attached to this clipboard."
“A player reported her missing from the Attic, and the trail we followed leads to your building. We also found THIS (as he held up the equally wet light lavender piece of fabric) along that trail. If you do not return her, there will be far more retributions than my presence with a few men.” He then stormed off.
Not only did Floraline become transfixed and immobile, her visage changed. She looked less human and more like a porcelain doll.
Mrs. Fletcher gently touched her shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?” With that touch, gentle as it was, cracks appeared all over the doll, and she literally shattered into small pieces. As she shattered, so did the necklace. Small pearls intermingled among the broken porcelain.
Hary and Lary came as if from nowhere with a small broom and dust pan. They quickly swept up the shattered porcelain and pearls. Then they ran out of the room toward the kitchen. Before anyone could follow them, they were gone.
Clearly, somehow, the spell created by the Mage had been broken.
OH NO, do you think the approaching miscreants got wind that our floral friend was here for a "visit"???????
OH DEAR, THAT IS TERRIBLE. THE POOR THING. AND SO UNNECESSARY. THEY ARE NOT HERE FOR HER. THE LITTLE MAN'S MIND IS A MESS. BUT THE LEADER OF THE TROOPS HIS MIND IS ON HIS JOB. THEY ARE HERE TO COUNT AND TAX MY ZOO. HA! FAT CHANCE. I SEND OUT THE MESSAGE TO THE CATS AND DOGS SCATTER AND HIDE. USE THE BACK DOOR. I WILL TELL YOU WHEN IT IS SAFE TO RETURN. I LOOK AROUND THE TEA ROOM. TO MY PETS. IN THE BAG I SAY. NOW THERE IS NOTHING TO BE SEEN IN THE TEA ROOM BUT SUGAR AND SPICE, WHO ARE BRISTLING AND GETTING LARGER. THEY ARE ON ALERT.
I TURN TO THE ROOM AND ANNOUNCE.
IT SEEMS THAT THEY COULD NOT GET RID OF US BY THEIR LAST METHOD TRYING TO EXCLUDE THE ENCLOSURE FROM THE TEA ROOM. SO NOW THEY THINK THEY CAN TAX IT OUT OF EXISTENCE. BABY AND BEAU ARE TRYING TO DROWN THEM.
THEY WILL FIND ONLY BABY AND BEAU, GOLDIE AND DOOGIE IN THE BARN. ALL THE REST HAVE SCATTERED AND HID.
NOW, DO WE LET THEM IN OR DO WE LET SUGAR AND SPICE GET RID OF THEM? QUICK BEFORE THEY GET HER I NEED AN ANSWER. SUGAR AND SPICE WANT TO GET AT THEM. THAT MAY NOT BE A PRETTY SIGHT.
I vote to let them in. Nothing to see here...........
WELL NOT MUCH, JUST 2 VERY LARGE AND NOT HAPPY CATS. LOL I DO BELIEVE THE TIES CAN BE ADJUSTED SO THE TOP WILL FIT. WE WILL DO THAT AFTER WE GET RID OF THE TRESPASSERS.
Roo, do you have anything I could put in a batch of tea to make them a little extra talkative? Maybe we can get a bit of information from them...???
Well, they could be here on another rant about your zoo, Charlie, but......I have a feeling they got wind of our plans for the travelling circus and that idjit thinks he's going to get a cut of the profits, a "tax" from us! What say the rest of you? Do we engage and let Sugar and Spice handle this? Or, does anyone have other ideas? Ooh!, Miss Katt......I do like the way you think!
When Charlie had confronted the group to see what they wanted, they told her about the taxes on the enclosure. She quickly returned to the Tea Room to avoid the “waterfall” from the animals, so she did not hear “bowler hat man” yell: “You cannot keep her. She belongs to the Attic of the Bone Kingdom. I have her purchase receipt right here attached to this clipboard.” They didn’t hear his other comment, nor did anyone in the Tea Room see them all leave.
Katt, Charlie, and Angel were discussing the merit of allowing the “posse” and “bowler hat man” entry to the Tea Room. PTG, Roo, and the Captain were still in shock from what they had just witnessed. All of them were significantly startled when there was a gentle tap on the Tea Room door. They heard a very familiar voice from the outside say: “May I please come in?”
When Katt unlatched the protective bolts and opened the door, Agnes slowly walked into the room. She headed to PTG’s table, took his hands in hers, and said, “Hello, dearie. You look like you’ve lost your last friend.”
She asked him to please open his Amulet so all could hear their conversation because she just didn’t feel like speaking to an audience tonight. Numbly he continued to just sit there and stare at her. After a few minutes he released one of his hands from hers and turned on his Amulet.
“I’m so sorry for your loss tonight. It was entirely unpreventable and even the Mage had no warning. Magic works differently in the Bone Kingdom, but he thought he had figured out how to maintain the illusion without discovery.
“It was unfortunate, indeed, that a player used 5 diamonds to immediately open the Attic after the Mage had removed the porcelain doll along with Hary and Lary. It only took the Mage a few minutes to complete the spell after he had secured her inside a cart, but the player was very fast to collect his items. The player had gone in and out without the Mage ever knowing.
“The player then found the Mayor of the Bone Kingdom to tell him the doll was missing. The Kingdom leaders handsomely paid the player to remain silent about what he had seen. The Kingdom leaders came up with the story about the taxes hoping to gain entry to the Tea Room. They knew she had come here because they followed her trail and had found a piece of her gown caught on a branch along the way. That is the “long piece of cloth” the man with the bowler hat was waving.
“If she had been found here, all of you would have been captured by the secondary company they had hidden nearby. When you saw her become transfixed and immobile, the Mage had removed her humanity charm. The "posse" and "hat man" were recalled when someone noticed the real porcelain doll was once again in the Attic.
“I cannot bring her back, but the Mage has sent a small token of his regret.”
She then pulled a velvet box from her handbag. The box was about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. It was less than an inch tall. As she opened the box, she turned the contents toward PTG and placed the box on the table in front of him. Inside was a single strand of white pearls.
“These pearls will provide the same visual images of the original necklace. You must choose who you think should wear them as you continue your mission. The mirror could not be duplicated, so you will need to rely on your developed pictures for your information. I believe Floraline may have explained to you how to operate this device. If she did not, you will need to do some experimentation to learn all of its features."
Agnes continued to watch PTG very carefully for a few minutes. She then said, “I’m so sorry. I wish there were more I could do for you.”
She slowly rose from the table, looked around at the somber faces of everyone in the room, went to the door and gently opened it. As she was passing out the door, she heard PTG weakly say: “Thank you.” She closed the door behind her and soon walked out of sight.
I slump back in my seat at the table staring in disbelief at the little jewelled box.
My mind is in upheaval.
On the surface I am experiencing overwhelming self-pity with yet another loss of the beautiful women who I associate with.
But far more important is the fact that in some shape or form my mentor, or whatever I care to call her, is still there in the background looking over me and guiding me.
Just under the surface there is incandescent rage at the enemy who have caused this latest upheaval and I vow the most terrible rage I can think of should I ever catch them.
Roo Roo interrupts my thoughts:
“Well number 2ic, what do we do now?”
I stare at her for a second to see if there is any of the usual sarcasm in her voice but all I hear is profound sympathy.
She is as angry as I am and about to launch a missile attack on the retreating enemy.
I ask her:
“As they are already soaking wet, do you have a potion or spell to freeze them into Hell’s other place whilst still in view?”
Then my “little grey cells” begin to quiver.
Although we have lost our guide, we still have our Cunning Plan: the circus and our costumes.
The little circlet of pearls that Agnes is still functional and will pass information back to Angel but in a slightly more haphazard manner.
My main misgiving is that it will look somewhat incongruous hung around the neck of a moostashioed gun-toting cowboy.
I would give him six steps into the Bone Kingdom before he is captured!
He has to rethink this part of the plan and his outfit!
And then the despair hits me once more and I croak to the others that I will be in my room alone for a while as I mourn her passing.
I sit stunned shakin and udder disbelieve at what just happened ,
My mind is whirling a million miles an hour and my head is about to explode.
WHY WHY every time we make a plan to do good here we get cold cocked and get stoped dead in our tracks.
Okay Cap think man there is an answer here think ,,,,
My mind clears my nerves calm down I stop shacking and an idea is forming,,,,
Okay listen up ,,, we just lost a key player in our recon but PTG's Mage has given us the way we can still carry this mission out minus the mirror so who to wear the pearls ,,, easy one Angel seeing she will be the Fortune Teller *** nice outfit by the way Angel.... the pearls will not look out of place on her but we have to change who goes into The Bone Kingdom with me .
Looks like it will have to be Angel seeing she will wear the Pearls and Roo Roo will be right behind us just in case we run into trouble sh can zap us out of there ,,,, oh gives me an idea Roo Roo do you still have any of that memory potion the one that wipes out what is going on or that that that stops everything and one around for 15 minutes that would give us time to escape if we need to.
I looked at PTG and my heart broke for him yet another taken from him and I bet we will find him many times in The Attic,,,, I have to get through to him as we need him for this rescue.
I deep a very deep breath and say okay we have been thrown a huge curve ball here so lets take it and run with it and get back on track,,, PTG great posters ( hoping to snap him back to us) do you want one or both ?
I need to know for Angel has to go to her office in Cloud City and make copies so we will have them announce the coming of The Circus.
PTG pick one or do you want both? so Angel can get going ,,, oh sorry Angel you can do that for us right ?
I sit and wait for PTG to answer and it feels like time has stopped I have to snap him out of this ,,,
WHAT TO DO ?????????????????//