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As the door to the Tea Room opened, Agnes entered carrying a plate full of chocolate chip cookies. From the aroma, they must still be warm.
Agnes surveyed the room, but didn’t see PTG anywhere. She had heard he was confined to a hospital bed. She hopes he is much better and will join them soon. When she didn't see PTG, she approached Roo’s table with her typical: “Hello, Dearie” greeting. After placing the plate on the table, she turned to Miss Katt and requested she bring milk, coffee, tea, or whatever everyone prefers to drink while eating chocolate chip cookies.
While sitting down, she quietly asked Roo if she could please call PTG to the room using her Amulet. Before Roo could ask any questions, Agnes added: “I do so hope he comes quickly because I have some urgent news…..and time is of the essence.” She thanked Miss Katt for the warm cup of tea, and helped herself to a cookie while she hoped and waited for PTG to join them.
BANG, BANG< THUMP,THUMP!
Some fiend is pounding on my door as I try to get some rest, hopefully safe under my bed.
Then I hear the dulcet tones of Dear Old Mrs Fletcher telling me that she is outside the door with some of her special chicken soup and crumbly butter biscuits.
Also, NO Castor Oil, just hong cha for my poor dry throat.
I feel so safe and secure here though that it is a great pity to move and let her in
So I just croak “Leave them by the door and I will collect them later”
I then hear the sound outside of her shuffling away and muttering to herself about ‘young whipper snappers not taking care of themselves properly’.
I am just about to enjoy my first “zzzzzzz” when my amulet starts to bounce up and down with an incoming message.
‘Is there no peace at all in this hospital?’ I grumble to myself as the Capn’s stentorian tones vibrate through my poor tortured brain
He takes extra special care to mention that my original torturer - that malevolent bird creature, is known as Nugget and she is to be left alone or else
I already have that message loud and clear from Charlie so that does nothing to improve my sanity.
Then he mentions some potion specially put together by Opel that will make me well again.
That woman is not getting within a mile my poor weakened frame. She is all soldier and I know how they treat the soldiers in the Camp!
But he signs off and all is quiet again.
Now, shall I make a run for the door and slip Mrs Fletchers goodies inside or is that she-fiend Roo, Roo just outside waiting for me to do so?
Or has she added a little potion of her own?
My tummy starts to rumble
I’ll risk it. NO use asking my broom to help. I don’t trust it any longer in my unhinged state of mind.
I open my door and slide the tray inside. The delicious smell of home-made cooking makes me drool!
The first spoonful is pure culinary heaven, but the second is spoilt by the raucous tones of Roo, Roo bellowing into my amulet
“Get your scraggy bones down here pronto or else we will come and fetch you!”
Is there no peace as I protest:
“I am sick and need some comfort, not orders and especially not from you!”
I try to barricade myself in my room, but my broom has disappeared!
I am inclined to follow Charlie’s suggestion and create a load of pencils for Angel, but just then a sumptuous charabanc appears without me even thinking about any carriage.
My Crow calms me down and whispers that the matter seems to be urgent.
What could go wrong now?
I am delighted to see Agnes enter the Tea Room, as Agnes places the plate of delicious cookies in front of me I wonder what trouble is ahead.
I feel slightly uneasy that the cookies may come with a price tag.
I make an Amulet call to PTG & hope he will put in an appearance quickly, although if his mood does not improve before he gets here I may be tempted to toss him in a cold bath to lower his temperature and his temper ha ha.
I move my chair closer to Agnes & place a chair for PTG on the opposite side of the table.I do not want PTG sharing whatever ailment he has been inflicted with.
While we wait I try to pry a little information from Agnes but she cleverly avoids my questions with “ All will be revealed soon” answers.
If PTG does not make an entrance soon I may have to find another way to convince him it would not be in his best interest to keep us waiting.Hmmm.....
After Roo contacted PTG by Amulet, she peppered Agnes with questions (some subtle; some direct). This curiosity was expected, and Agnes deflected each question without providing any additional information.
It wasn’t absolutely necessary that PTG be present……Agnes just preferred to tell the story only one time. She knew the Amulet would carry her voice, but she didn’t entirely trust the transmission to remain static free. (The reception in the hospital wing can sometimes be intermittent.)
While they waited to see if PTG would be able to join them (or reply via his Amulet that he felt a “conference call” was a better alternative), Agnes suggested that someone close the shutters on the windows and activate the sound deflectors. She wanted no possibility of her story being overheard by anyone other than her friends. Several confused faces looked at her when she insisted that the door to the Tea Room NOT be secured or prevented from being opened.
I sit back in the charabanc seat and am transported NOT back to the Tea Room but to the neighbouring Hospital bathroom in the corridor.
At the same time, I get the message from Roo, Roo through my amulet
“We have a guest!
“We are NOT accepting a dirty smelly PTG but a clean shaven one befitting the 2ic of this band of warriors.
“So get to it smartish!
“Then you must put on a clean huggie jacket that has not see the underneath of a hospital bed with a trail of dust bunnies!”
Thus attired and now totally deflated, I do as ordered and then climb back onto my ride.
Within a blink of an eye I am ensconced in a chair in the Tea Room and looking across at me from the other side is Roo with squirrel like pouches in her cheeks as they bulge with the freshly prepared cookies and ????Agness!!!
They are obviously waiting for me to speak
“Any cha possible, doesn’t have to be hong?”
From a quick glance around me it is obvious that no one present has a clue as to what is about to happen.
So it is up to me to take over the proceedings
“My dear visitor, how may we be of assistance?”
And get a furious diatribe from Roo
“Are your brains scrambled or what? THIS IS AGNES!”
When PTG joined them, Agnes began: “The time has come to tell you who I am and how I came to this place. It’s also time to show you what the ‘real me’ looks like.”
Agnes stood and shape shifted into a man who was 6 foot 6 inches in height. He looked like he weighed about 230 pounds – all of it pure muscle. His handsome, intelligent face bore a small star-shaped scar on his forehead. He also very much reminded Roo of another man she had recently met. Roo was about to say something when the man sat down and continued speaking:
“My name is Jayben. My brother, Phil, and I found several artifacts while were exploring a cave about 15 years ago. So when I picked up the vase and started to wipe it off, neither of us paid much attention. However, the more dirt I wiped off, the stranger the vase felt in my hands. I sensed something unpleasant was going to happen, so I immediately called to my brother. When he came closer, I used all the force I could muster to deliver a swift right hook to his jaw.”
Seeing their look of confusion, Jayben explained that Phil had a tendency to strike first and ask questions later. Somehow he knew that was not how this threat should be handled. Continuing his story:
“When the vase was wiped completely clean, there stood before me a very ordinary looking man, except for his eyes. They were cold and black….as if there were no soul behind them. The man requested ‘his property’ but said he would not be entirely unreasonable. If I gave it to him, he would grant me 2 requests. I replied that if he first granted my two requests, I would hand it over. ….He hesitated a moment, but then he agreed. So, I continued.
“My first request was that he not harm either of us in any manner. Clearly, this had been his intent because it was with great difficulty that he finally consented. My second request was for him to give me magical powers. He asked me if I was sure, and I said yes. It was then that he transformed me into the person you know as Agnes, complete with a wand in her hand.
“He laughed at my reaction. He said it probably wasn’t what I expected, but it’s what I got. He then showed me a glass jar with a lovely white butterfly struggling to escape. My curious expression caused him to explain that since he couldn’t harm either of us, he was taking my brother’s wife as a souvenir of our meeting. Then he disappeared.”
(to be continued)
“My first thought was that we needed to somehow find where the butterfly was taken. Just as the thought formed in my head, Phil and I found ourselves in a Palace Square, in a very strange looking land, with an even stranger large cat standing on his hind legs next to a camel. The cat introduced himself as “Storyteller Cat” as Phil was regaining consciousness. He said, ‘I see you have a story to tell...I’m here to listen.’ As soon as I finished, Phil declared: ‘I must find her! I must find her!’ as he ran into the Sultan’s Gallery searching everywhere along the way.
“When I tried to follow, Storyteller Cat put a gentle hand on my arm and said, ‘In time, he’ll be okay. You need to meet someone who can help you watch over him.’ He led me to Atlantis where he introduced me to the Genie. The Genie and I soon became very close friends. He explained that this world had not yet been ‘discovered’ by the creators, nothing could be done until ‘the hidden place is revealed,’ and he had no idea how long it would take.
“The Genie helped me understand and learn about my new magical powers. When all of you arrived 10 years later, he said PTG needed a Fairy Godmother, and I needed a job/purpose. In his dwelling was a basin. I could go there anytime I wanted to locate Phil and to know he was unharmed.
“You already know how Agnes became more powerful. …….Because Phil and I resemble each other so much, I could never allow anyone to see my true form. Phil would be unsafe as he searched because someone would make the connection. I also feared that evil sorcerers would use him as bribery or blackmail to try to control me after my encounter with Adrian. The secrecy no longer matters. The fulfillment of time has arrived; the hidden place is revealed.”
(to be continued)
Phil is currently searching for me. When he finds me, the confrontation will not be pretty. If he finds me here, each of you must agree to say or do nothing. Neither attempt to contain or control him (for you will not be successful). And do not worry about my safety, for we have “tangled” before. (With this final remark, he absentmindedly touched the scar on his forehead.)
As Jayben stops to take a few sips of water, PTG is about to bombard Jayben with questions so I glare at him & give him a swift kick on his shin, he stifles a cry of pain so I guess my message hit home! I do not want any interruptions to stop the flow of these revelations.
I look at Jayben & it is clear he is having difficulty in telling his story.I cannot imagine the years of torment the brothers have suffered.
I reach over & place my small hand on Jayben’s hand, which is huge but I say nothing.
My mind is racing as I recall the tall dark mysterious stranger who entered the Tea Room a few months ago & disappeared a day or so later.
On reflection he did seem purposeful but also angry.
I am suddenly aware of several tugs on my cloak.I turn my head to find Angel an inch from my left ear.
“Ask if he’s got any more brothers.....or cousins......he is quite a hunk! I’m just going to change into a nice slinky dress”.
Angel is gone before I can speak.
As I listen to the amazing story unfolding by Jayben, I am mesmerized by his size and handsomeness. Now, there's my idea of a hunk! I sidle up to Roo-Roo and whisper to her to find out if he has any other brothers or cousins that look as good! Then I high-tail it to my room to put on something more enticing....I mean...appropriate.
While I'm changing, a thought niggles at my brain though......rerunning Jayben's story through my mind, I have a sneaky feeling that things are about to get all topsy-turvy, once again! So, in the absence of Cap, I do hope our 2ic gets past whatever is ailing him real fast......