V. & R. Legacy Investigate the Case of the Viridian Child - Part 2
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V. & R. Legacy Investigate the Case of the Viridian Child - Part 2

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The concluding part to Vicky and Rosie's first case.

The concluding part to Vicky and Rosie's first case.

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V. & R. Legacy Investigate the Case of the Viridian Child - Part 2 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Welcome back to part two of Vicky and Rosie’s first case. The last part saw the two enquiry agents engaged by their cousin Theodore and his wife to find their kidnapped daughter Celestia. During the course of their investigations, the intrepid duo eliminated their most likely suspects from their enquiries and discovered that Celestia was not the only alien child who had gone missing. The missing children included the three Tegenaria children and Derrial Whedonberry. At the same time as the two detectives were investigating, Celly’s brothers and cousins had come up with a plan to arrange sleepovers so that they could sneak out onto the streets of the capital and look for the missing girl. With their leads fast dwindling, Vicky hoped that Derri’s disappearance would give them some new avenues to explore. Let’s find out if she was right.
  • 2. Vicky was slightly surprised to see Rosie standing at her desk, a cup of tea by her side and a map of the city spread in front of her when she arrived at the office the next morning. “I thought I was the one who was meant to get in first, given that I live in Simdon and you still live in Regalton.” Said Vicky amused as she walked over to Rosie. “I was up early, and so thought I would be more productive here than at home. We have to find these children Vicky.” Said Rosie looking up. The tension in her mouth made it obvious the case was playing on her mind as much as it was playing on Vicky’s. “I know, and in fact we have one more to look for.” Said Vicky rummaging for the notebook she had jotted down all the information Cordelia Whedonberry had given her as she walked round the desk.
  • 3. Rosie straightened up and looked at her cousin concerned. “What do you mean?” “I have taken on another client, a Mrs Whedonberry. Her son is missing.” Explained Vicky flicking through her notebook to find the correct page. “The same as the others?” Asked Rosie chewing her lip, “Exactly the same.” Confirmed Vicky. “Where?” “Barsoom Road market. He was out of sight of the rest of his family and that was all the opportunity this person or persons needed.” Sighed Vicky. “Damn.” Rosie swore quietly and looked down at the map on her desk.
  • 4. “My thoughts exactly. His family did not see anything, but at the very least we can see if any of the stall- holders did.” Said Vicky flipping her notebook shut. Rosie was looking intently at the map again. She had marked the places all the children had gone missing from, and was now tracing her finger from one point to another, ending up on Barsoom Road. “These children have been taken from all over the city Vicky. There is no rhyme or reason to it: I think it is purely opportunistic.” “I agree. My thinking is that whoever these people are, they see the children and snatch them when they can. For what purpose I cannot fathom.” Agreed Vicky looking down at the map and the marks her cousin had made.
  • 5. Rosie looked levelly at her cousin. She had a pretty good idea why these children had been taken, the colour of their skin was hard to ignore after all, she just didn’t know how the abductors were planning on profiting from it. “I think we should go to the market, see what we can find out.” She said, before folding the map and draining her tea. “You are right. There is no point standing here speculating if we can find some more concrete evidence to aid us.” Agreed Vicky putting her notebook away.
  • 6. The two lady detectives set off for the market hoping to gather some more information to help them find the missing children. They were to be disappointed. Barsoom Road market didn’t have a static supply of stallholders, rather, although a few of the same faces were to be seen there day after day, they were joined by a steady stream of merchants who pushed their barrows from market to market. Vicky and Rosie spent a few hours asking every stallholder if they had been there five days ago, and if they had, whether they had seen two boys playing or anyone manhandling a child into a dark carriage.
  • 7. The most promising answer they received was from a stall-holder who remembered Dean and Derri playing because Dean had knocked into his barrow, almost causing his stack of baskets to fall. He hadn’t seen anything more of the brothers after shouting at them and the two of them running off.
  • 8. Dejected, and in need of a hot drink, the two cousins headed towards Gilbert’s Patisserie “So,” said Rosie as she pulled her cup of tea in front of her, “what should we do next do you think?” Vicky leant her head on in her hand. “I do not know. I am out of ideas Rosie. Nearly all of our avenues of investigation have dried up, and the two remaining do not look very good. I have serious doubts over whether we will get any response to the advertisement in the newspaper tonight, and as for the gentleman with longish brown hair... That description must fit hundreds, if not thousands of men in this city, that is assuming the two men Peter and the shop assistant saw are one and the same. We are at a dead end Rosie, and when I think of those children, children we may never find, it breaks my heart.”
  • 9. “Vicky...” Rosie put out her hand towards her cousin just as Monsieur Jacquet approached them. “And ‘ow are my two favourite lady detecteeves today?” “Not getting very far with a case Monsieur.” Replied Rosie. “Zen I know what you need. I know it is not Jeudi , but my dear friend Cass-er-dee ‘as just baked what ‘e describes as shock-a-lar ‘eaven. Let me get you each a slice.”
  • 10. “Monsieur Jacquet,” started Vicky quietly, “why are you speaking in such an exaggerated accent?” Gilbert winked at them and crouched down next to Vicky. “Do you see those people at the table behind?” He asked, his accent barely discernable. The cousins nodded. “They are tourists. Maman, always insists that I speak as if I have been in Simland for three months, as opposed to thirty years when we have tourists in the patisserie. She thinks they are inclined to spend more if they think I am very French.” Rosie smiled at him. “How silly.” “Perhaps, but Maman is set in her ways.” He straightened up. “Now ‘ow about I get you some of zat cake?”
  • 11. Vicky pulled her teacup towards her and stirred her drink. “No, thank you Monsieur. Please tell your friend, that although I am sure it is indeed chocolate heaven, I will not partake today.” “What about you, Madame Go?” Rosie shook her head. “No thank you Monsieur. Perhaps on another day.” “I will tell Cass-er-dee you regret you cannot ‘ave any as eet ees not Jeudi. I know ‘e wanted you to try eet, but I am sure ‘e will understand.” Said Gil as he headed back into his Patisserie. Rosie chuckled as she watched him go. His levity had been just what she’d needed, but looking at her cousin, it hadn’t touched Vicky’s mood at all.
  • 12. “What if we go back to the museum and see if there are any other members of staff there who were also working on the day Celestia went missing?” Asked Rosie as Vicky finished her tea. Vicky shook her head. She couldn’t recall ever feeling as despondent as she did at that moment, and although she could see the merit in what Rosie was suggesting, she couldn’t get up the enthusiasm to do so. ‘I am over thinking everything.’ She thought. ‘Because I keep going over and over the same things, I cannot see anything but those points. If we do uncover anything new, I will not recognise it in this state. What I need to do is take my mind off of everything, not think about the case for a couple of hours, or at least try.’ “I think,” she said slowly, “that I am going to run some errands, buy some food so that I can cook my husband a nice meal tonight, and see if taking my mind off of this case helps me gain new insight into it. Perhaps you should do the same.” Vicky pushed her chair back and stood up.
  • 13. Making her decision seemed to Vicky new energy, and she walked so quickly through the Patisserie, that she was at the door to the street as Rosie entered from the terrace. Rosie slowed to bid M. Jacquet a quick au revoir before heading to the entrance door to try to catch up with her friend.
  • 14. Once outside, she could just about make out a burgundy blob that was probably her cousin walking quickly along the street. She sighed and stopped to watch Vicky go. The blonde obviously didn’t want company, so there was no point in trying to catch her. Rosie stood wondering what to do next. She understood to a certain extent where Vicky was coming from with her wish to do something unconnected to the case, but she couldn’t do it, not when there was so much at stake. In the distance Rosie could see a flag flying from a gothic tower: the museum. She wasn’t going to give up. She was going to go to the museum and see if she could find another member of staff who had been working when Celly had gone missing. Then she was going to Harold & Merkins. She had to see if she could unearth some more clues as to what had happened to the five children they were looking for. ***
  • 15. Vicky managed to get all her errands done that afternoon. After visiting the milliners to check on the progress of the winter hat she had ordered, she had gone onto Madam Persephone’s, where Madam Persephone herself had surprised her by telling her the garments she had been in to have made up several weeks before, were now ready.
  • 16. A quick stop to drop them off at the office, then onto the fishmonger’s where she picked up a nice piece of haddock, and the greengrocer’s for some carrots, green beans and potatoes she was planning on cooking for dinner. She made arrangements for them to be delivered to her house before continuing on her way.
  • 17. The afternoon would have been perfect if not for the constant reminders of the case they were failing to solve. Two little boys playing inside the greengrocer’s for example,
  • 18. morphed into Derri and Dean,
  • 19. and then into Peter and Andrew, Celestia watching from the sidelines as Vicky looked on.
  • 20. Sighing heavily she headed for her last scheduled stop at her favourite bakery. While Gilbert was a master with pastry, if it was bread she wanted, Vicky always made her way to the Flour Pot bakery on Penguino Place. She was browsing the shelves, trying to decide whether to buy a bloomer over a sandwich loaf, when her attention was drawn to something taking place at the till. She glanced over and saw a man, scruffily dressed, with greasy black hair leaning over the counter towards the shop assistant. She surreptitiously edged towards the till, her ears straining to hear what was going on. “’Ow much?” Exclaimed the man. “Two shillings, six pence.” Replied the shop assistant. “That’s bloody feft is that.” Said the man forcibly.
  • 21. “Sir that is how much the bread you wish to purchase costs.” Pointed out the assistant patiently Vicky’s instincts were starting to scream at her. Everything about this man was out of place in this part of the city, from his dirty, hair, to the smell of his unwashed body, to his way of speaking. He could be a tradesman or labourer working nearby she supposed, that would not be unusual, but... She snuck a look at the bread he had placed on the counter and did a quick count. Ten loaves. That was a lot of bread. He was reaching in his pocket, trying to find enough change now. “Bloody children; they are more trouble than they are bloody well worf.” He muttered. Interesting.
  • 22. “You must have a very large family.” Said Vicky as if she was making idle conversation. The man turned round. “Wot? Why’d ya say that?” He asked, pushing his hair behind his ear. “You are buying an awful lot of bread.” Said Vicky nodding at the loaves on the counter. “Er...yeah...got a few I s’pose.” Vicky looked at his left hand. No wedding ring, and no pale mark where a ring might normally reside. Of course that didn’t necessarily mean anything: it was possible he was not married to the mother or his children, or that he was too poor to be able to afford a gold ring. And yet, her instincts still screamed at her.
  • 23. The man turned back to the counter, and, after scrabbling in his pockets for a bit longer, threw some money onto the counter. He waited for the shop assistant to wrap his bread and place it in paper bags before grabbing it and heading for the door. As he walked past, Vicky head him mumble almost inaudibly “bloody kids, coulda spent that on summing more worfwhile.” Vicky stood still for a short moment, as she reached a decision. It could all be very innocent, but she had to find out where this man was going, and why he wanted so much bread.
  • 24. She exited the bakery to see the man already about twenty yards down the road, heading towards the main road. She quickly headed after him, trying to look inconspicuous.
  • 25. She followed him along Penguino Place, and Finch Street, before turning onto Simmington Avenue and heading towards Lostuno Way.
  • 26. They walked for almost an hour, and, surprisingly perhaps, the dirty-haired man didn’t seem to realise he was being followed. As for Vicky, her feet ached, and she was starting to feel uncomfortable. Their trek had led her to the edge of the Nickel slums and she was suddenly very aware of the fact that she was the one who was out of place now. As she watched him duck between two buildings, one of which looked like a tavern, out of the corner of her eye she noticed a movement.
  • 27. She turned her head to see that a woman had exited her house and was now leaning against the wall, her arms crossed, all the while looking at Vicky. Vicky’s hand involuntarily went to the brooch at her throat. It was an heirloom from her mother’s side of the family, and it was worth more money then this woman had seen in her entire life. Her discomfort increased, and much as she wanted to follow the man and find out exactly where he was going and what he was doing, she knew it would be foolhardy of her to do so dressed like this.
  • 28. The woman moved away from the wall and started to walk down the street, spurring Vicky into action She turned on her heel and headed back the way she had come. The first empty hansom she saw she hailed, and settled gratefully into the seat. She would be back with Rosie, to try to find where the man had gone. He may have absolutely nothing to do with the missing children, but something about how he had been acting, and the remarks he had made under his breath told her this was an avenue worth exploring. ***
  • 29. As Vicky was speeding back across the city, the greasy-haired man was slipping into a disused factory. It had been empty for a couple of years now and no one seemed to be taking care of it, which made it perfect for him and his cronies. His heavy boots made a ringing sound as he climbed the iron stairs to the gantry that ran most of the length of the factory floor. Once upon a time, the foreman had stalked the gantry, making sure his workers put in maximum effort as they tried to fill the days quota of goods. Now it was the sole way into the rooms the cronies had taken over as their own.
  • 30. Greasy-Hair stormed into the main room and slammed the bread onto a crate that acted as a makeshift table. “Bloody kids. D’yer know ‘ow much this cost me? I’ll tell yer, two shillings sixpence. It’s bloody robbery it is.” Crinkly-Eyes looked up from his hand of cards. “Well, where did yer go? It cost me a fraction of that the other day.” “Oh I don’t know, in some nobby area of town it woz. I didn’t want to get it from round ‘ere in case we draw attention to ourselves.” Said Greasy-Hair turning back to the bread on the crate. ‘So you went ter a part of town where you would inevitably be out of place? That was smart.’ Thought Briggs, but he said nothing as he waited for the blond-haired man to deal the cards.
  • 31. “Just think about the money we will get when MacKenzie gets here. Those kids are a gold mine.” Said Blondie as he placed a card on the crate. “That’s true. Those freak show peeps will pay a fortune for a strangely coloured child, and we ‘ave eleven.” Said Briggs looking at his hand again.
  • 32. Greasy-Hair looked up from the loaf of bread he was cutting, and turned round. “That worries me a bit. ‘Ow much can they be worf if we ‘ave so many ov them?” Blondie and Crinkly-Eyes looked at each other. “Don’t be daft. Of course they are still going to be worf money. More than we’ve seen in our ovver ventures, that’s fer sure.” Said Blondie. “It ‘ad better be.” Replied Greasy-Hair going back to his bread. “I’m gonna go feed the kids.” He said after a few minutes. He walked out the room with a basket of dry bread. ***
  • 33. When Vicky returned to her office, she was surprised to find it full of her family. Not only had Rosie returned to the office, but Louisa was also there with Peter and Andrew. “Oh, there she is. I hope you do not mind Vicky, but I have Peter and Andrew staying with me tonight, and they wanted to see how near you are to finding their sister.” Said Louisa as Vicky entered. Three hours ago, this would have been enough to reduce the blonde to tears, but, buoyed by her afternoon following the man with dirty hair, Vicky was feeling positive once again.
  • 34. “We have not got her back yet boys, but we are making progress, and I promise we will find her as soon as is humanly possible.” Said Vicky Rosie raised her eyebrows. Her cousin was certainly in a much better frame of mind than when she had last seen her, and she wondered why. “Thank you Auntie Vicky.” Said Peter quietly. “Why do not you two play out here for a while, I want to speak to your aunts.” Said Louisa.
  • 35. As the two boys sat down and started to play Mary Mack, Louisa looked pointedly at her cousins, and the three of them walked into Vicky’s office. “Are you really making progress finding my niece, or was that just talk for the boys?” Asked the normally mild and quiet Louisa. “Because when we got here, Rosemary looked incredibly despondent, almost as if she was giving up hope of solving a case. It would not be this case would it?”
  • 36. “Louisa...” started Rosemary, “when you arrived I had not long returned from some enquiries.” She turned and addressed Vicky. “I had returned to the museum to speak to the staff, but it was to no avail. Neither did I find out anything more at Harold & Merkins.” She turned her attention back to Louisa. “The avenues of enquiry I was following had dried up, but I think from Vicky’s demeanour that she may have different news.” Excitedly, Victoria started to tell her cousins about her afternoon.
  • 37. The two other women listened in silence as Vicky related what had happened since she entered the bakery. When she got to the part where she stopped just short of the Nickel, Louisa gasped. “Vicky you did not venture as far as the East-end slums dressed like that?” “I did,” admitted Victoria, “but I turned back before I entered them.”
  • 38. Rosie was the next to speak. She had considerable respect for Vicky’s acumen, and the fact that her business partner had felt it necessary to follow this man to a part of the city she would normally avoid like the plague, meant only one thing to her; Vicky was convinced this man had something to do with the case. “You want to go back, see if you can find this man.” It was a statement, not a question. Vicky turned to look at her partner. ”Yes. It may be nothing, but something is telling me we have to find what this man is up to. He was just too out of place and suspicious...” Vicky shook her head as she struggled to put into words the feeling she had had the moment she had laid eyes on the greasy-haired stranger.
  • 39. Rosie nodded. “Then we go to the Nickel.” Said Louisa. “We will need different clothes,” said Rosemary slowly as though she had not heard Louisa speak, “but I do not think that will delay us long.” “I need to get those two boys home and in bed, so that will add to the delay, but I do not envisage the delay being excessive.” Put in Louisa. “Louisa, you cannot come with us.” Said Vicky without thinking.
  • 40. “Like Hell I can’t!” Responded her cousin. “Celestia may be your cousin, but she is my niece. I can hardly bear seeing what her disappearance is doing to my brother and sister-in-law. If I can help to find her, I will.” “But...” Started Vicky. “Vicky please, it is bad enough Cyd has started treating me as if I am made of porcelain, I did not think you would ever do the same.” Said Louisa, a plaintive look on her face.
  • 41. Vicky hugged her cousin, feeling abashed. “I am sorry Lou, it just came out. Perhaps it was the knowledge of your condition that made it slip out.” “Victoria, I am with child, not an invalid. I am still the same Louisa you have always known, just a little more nauseous.” Replied Louisa, the hint of a smile in her voice.
  • 42. Louisa let go and headed to the door. She stopped her hand on the handle. “I will be a couple of hours at most. Do not leave without me, or I will follow you to the depths of the Nickel, shouting your names all the while.” As she opened the door, she was still looking back into the room, and so didn’t notice her younger nephew scooting away from the door. The two enquiry agents, their eyes fixed on their cousin, didn’t notice either.
  • 43. Vicky walked over to the window and watched Louisa and the two boys hail and get into a cab. She watched it head off down the road before turning back to find Rosie looking at her intently.
  • 44. “We are going to have to let her come with us you know.” Said Rosie. Vicky was silent. “We will never hear the end of it if we do not, and I fully believe she will carry out her threat.” Continued Rosie. Still Vicky was silent. She believed the threat too, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to protect her friend. “She may never have used the name Legacy, but she is as much a Legacy as you or I, and when have the Legacy women ever been meek, mild, shy and retiring?” Asked Rosemary.
  • 45. Vicky thought of her sister, the perfect society hostess with a thousand opinions she did not shy away from sharing. She thought of her Aunt Evie, and Aunt Anne, both of whom grabbed life with both hands, despite what others may think. Lastly she thought of her Great Aunt Violet, Louisa’s grandmother. Candid, forthright, opinionated, Vi had been anything but retiring. Shy as she was, Louisa still had the same attributes all the female members of the family had inherited, and when she decided to use them you may as well try to fight the tide. Vicky nodded. “I know. It is silly of me to want to protect her, and...there is no way to stop her from coming with us.” Rosie smiled. “Good I am glad you see sense.”
  • 46. “I just hope she has the sense to wear something dark.” Mused Rosie. “I am sure she will, which reminds me.” Vicky walked over to the two parcels she had picked up from Madam Persephone’s and checked the labels. She picked the second one up and handed it to Rosie. “For you.” Rosie looked at her bewildered and slowly undid the string tying the parcel together. She folded back the stiff brown paper and opened the cream box to find a black velvet cloak nestled there. “I thought we might need some dark clothing during the course of our investigations and so took the liberty of having two cloaks made.” Explained Vicky. Rosie smiled at her, “Vicky you are a genius, and this is beautiful. Now we need to work out what we will do if this man does turn out to have something to do with the children’s disappearance. ***
  • 47. Far across the city, the children Vicky and Rosie were looking for, were gathered round one of their number. “Celestia, are you ok?” Asked Derri, tentatively touching her shoulder. The little girl stirred, and sat up slowly. “Yes.” Her hand went to her cheek, where a vivid green bruise was already starting to appear. “I cannot believe he a-hit you.” Said Myotis as he and Derri crouched down next to her. “I can. He a-is a bad man.” Said Pipi grimly.
  • 48. “I told you it would not work.” Said Gamma from his perch. “I do not know why you even tried.” “Because it is far better than just a-sitting here, a-waiting for whatever fate those three have a-lined up for us.” Said Pipi taking a step towards the green boy. Derri put his hand on her arm, stopping her. “Besides,” said Celly from the floor where she was still sitting, “one reason for doing this was to test how he would react. We know now.” “I still think you should have let me try to slip out the door.” Said Derri. Celly shook her head and winced slightly. “Do not be silly. It was my idea, I had to try it.”
  • 49. “What should we do now?” Asked Zeta quietly. She had started to gain a bit more confidence around the older children, and was more willing than her brother to help them make their plans to escape. “Make another plan of course.” Said Myotis brightly, and so, with the sun about to fade from the sky, the five green children sat down, their heads together and started to make a new plan. ***
  • 50. Darkness graced the streets of the capital as a rag-tag group of children scrambled along Shepherd Street. Operation Sleepover had gone well, and after a slight struggle with a sash window and only the one argument between Bethany and David, the three Smith children and two Legacy boys were on their way to meet the Harrison boys. As they approached the corner of Shepherd Street and Simmington Avenue, David caught sight of a blond boy peering round the corner of the house. He ducked back out of sight when he saw them, but David was already heading across the road. “David, where are you going?” Hissed Bethany, but David just waved his hand at her and continued on.
  • 51. “Hello,” said David as he walked down the side of the house. “Shush,” said Dean holding a finger up to his lips, “do you want me to get caught?” “Sorry, no. What do you mean caught?” Replied David. Dean looked at David as if he were mad. ”I’m not meant to be out on my own, this late.” “Neither are we. You must live near here if you are worried about being caught.” Said David as the rest of the children joined them.
  • 52. Dean nodded and pointed at the house. “I live here.” “What are you doing out?” Asked David, curious. “Looking for my brother. He’s been missing all week. Look, can we walk down the street a little, I really don’t want to get caught.” David nodded and the group of children moved off towards their Aunt Louisa’s
  • 53. “We are looking for our cousin Celestia.” Said David as they walked. “She has been missing for days too.” “Celestia...” mused Dean, turning the name over his mind, “is she green by any chance?” “Yes.” Said Christopher. “Why do you ask?” “So’s Derri.” Said Dean grimly. “The disappearances have to be connected.” Said Bethany jumping to what she thought was an obvious conclusion. “It will be far too co-incidental if they are not.”
  • 54. “Then we should look together.” Said Stuart. “We are meeting Celly’s brothers, then we are going to find her.” Beside him, Bertie kicked at the ground. He was still unsure about how wise it was to be wandering the streets of the capital alone, but Celly was one of them, and so they had to try to find her, even if it meant getting into trouble with their parents. Dean looked at them. He wasn’t one for being in a group; normally it was just him and Derri, but Derri wasn’t here and maybe they would be able to find him if they worked together. “Sure, why not.”
  • 55. Their conversation had taken them almost to the corner they were meeting Peter and Andrew at, and they continued along the street in the same bundle of energy until they reached them. Peter and Andrew were practically bouncing up and down on the spot when they got there. “We have to go to Auntie Vicky’s office.” Said Andrew in a rush when their cousins and Dean reached them. “Why?” Asked Christopher. “She thinks she has found out something, possibly the man who took Celly.” Said Peter hopping from one foot to the other. “But I thought we had agreed we were going to start at the museum.” Said Christopher. “We are changing the plan.” Said Andrew with a shrug.
  • 56. “I do not think we should.” Said Christopher putting his hands on his hips. “Tough.” Replied Andrew with a snarl. “What do you mean tough?” The two little boys squared up to each other as the others looked on.
  • 57. The sounds of their raised voices was starting to attract attention from passer-bys including a father and his two daughters. A particularly loud exclamation from Christopher caused the brunette girl to start and look over at them, eyes wide. Stuart smiled at her to reassure her, but that just caused her to duck behind her sister.
  • 58. If Stuart was his brother, he would have started worrying about whether or not the little girl liked him but he wasn’t. He just thought she was obviously timid, and so he shrugged and turned back to his bickering cousins.
  • 59. “I think we should trust Auntie Vicky.” Said Stuart finally tiring of the arguing and wanting to get on with rescuing Celestia, no matter how they found her. “What do you think Bertie?” Bertie looked up to see everyone staring at him. His uncertainties had increased as he had stood listening to Christopher and Andrew arguing, and he was on the verge of wanting to run back to his Aunt Alexandra's. To realise that everyone was waiting to see what his thoughts were their best course of action on the matter was disconcerting. “Oh, erm I think we should trust Auntie Vicky too.” He stuttered, deciding to go for the easy option and agree with his brother, rather than tell his cousins his real opinion.
  • 60. “Your Aunt Vicky’s surname isn’t Simself is it?” Piped up Dean. “Yes it is, and who are you?” Replied Andrew, noticing Dean for the first time. “Dean Winchester Whedonberry. My brother is missing as well, and I met your aunt last night. She’s looking for him too, so if she thinks she might know where the man that took Derri is, we have to follow her and find out for ourselves.” Explained Dean in a rush.
  • 61. Andrew and Peter looked smug as it became apparent that Christopher was outnumbered. “Fine.” Said Christopher throwing his hands into the air. “We will go to Auntie Vicky’s office and follow her. If she hasn’t already left that is.” The rest of them suddenly became aware of how long they had taken to walk only a short distance, and the argument had certainly held them up more. As one they broke into a run heading for Munster Avenue and their aunts’ office. ***
  • 62. In Vicky and Rosemary’s office, the three cousins were getting ready to leave and travel to the East-end. Vicky and Rosie were wearing their new cloaks, and Louisa was wearing coat of black wool, cut in a much more severe fashion than anything she normally wore. This had elicited a few comments from Vicky and Rosie, but she had responded that one never knew when such a garment would come in handy, for say tracking a possible criminal through the East-end slums at night, and anyway it had been a gift from her mother-in-law who had the fashion sense of a cockroach, poor thing. After a bit more joking around, to release some tension, the three ladies were ready to leave the office and head to the slums.
  • 63. At the same time Vicky, Rosemary and Louisa were heading towards Finch Street, the Legacy, Smith, Harrison children and Dean, were hiding behind the corner of their office watching them. They had arrived at the office only a few minutes before, and Stuart had volunteered to sneak up the stairs to see if their aunts had already left. On seeing they hadn’t, he had hurried back to his cousins and new friend, to lie in wait and follow. Now that they saw their aunts they started to hurry after them, and stopped abruptly as they saw them hail a cab and get into it.
  • 64. “What do we do now?” Asked Peter distraught at the thought of losing sight of their aunts and perhaps the chance to find his sister. “This!” Cried Dean who was already running down the street. He jumped and caught hold of a rail on the back of a passing carriage that was heading in the same direction as the cab.
  • 65. Christopher let out a whoop and ran down the street towards the busier road to emulate Dean, as everyone but Bertie did the same. Stuart turned his head as he was about to jump onto a carriage and saw that Bertie was still standing outside their aunts’ office. He ran back into the middle of the road. “Bertie, what are you doing? Come on, we cannot let that cab get out of sight!”
  • 66. “I cannot do this!” Shouted back Bertie. “Yes you can!” Bertie just shook his head looking upset.
  • 67. Stuart ran back, and grabbed his brother’s hand. “Yes you can!” He may have been younger and not as strong as Bertie, but he was determined, and so he pulled his brother along with ease. Together the two brothers ran along side a carriage and jumped to grab hold of it, Stuart reaching out to steady Bertie when he jumped up. ***
  • 68. At the junction of Bauchman Street and Surilie Road, the cab stopped and Vicky, Rosie and Louisa alighted from it. I followed him to just up here.” Said Vicky pointing as Rosie paid the driver. “Then that is where we are going.” Said Louisa with only a slight tremble to her voice. Now she was so near to the Nickel, she wasn’t feeling quite a brave as she had in her cousins’ office that afternoon. She thought of her niece and squared her shoulders, before starting off in the direction Vicky had pointed. “Louisa wait.” Hissed Vicky as she ran after her and caught her by the arm. “We cannot go rushing in, we have to look as if we belong.”
  • 69. Louisa slowed and nodded, and as one the three cousins waked towards the slums, trying, and failing to look as if they belonged in that part of the city.
  • 70. Before the three ladies were out of sight, the first of the children jumped down from the carriage he had been riding and stood on the corner of the street, wanting to run after them, but knowing he had to stay and wait for the others. It wasn’t long until they started to join him. Luckily, most of them had only had to change carriage a couple of times in order to continue following Vicky, Rosie and Louisa. “What way did they go?” Asked Bethany as she stooped to do up her bootlace. “Down there,” said Dean pointing. “Come on.”
  • 71. As the children were running towards them, Vicky was leading her cousins to the spot she had lost sight of the greasy-haired man before she had had to turn back. “He ducked right between these two buildings here. Oh...” Vicky stopped dead. She didn’t really know what she had been expecting the Nickel slums to look like, but the warren of houses and buildings in front of her was not it. “Oh no, how are we going to find him in this?! I should not have turned back, I should have kept on following him.” Her voice rose in a wail as she watched the inhabitants of this part of the city weaving their way into the little alleys. Rosie reached out and put her hand on Vicky’s shoulder. “Vicky, it was not safe for you to pursue the man any further. I admit trying to find him in this maze of alleys is a daunting thought, but we are up to the task.” Vicky was thinking ‘how?’ when her two cousins grabbed her elbows and ushered her into the slums.
  • 72. While the adults were trying, and failing to find their way around the maze of alleys and little streets that made up this part of the Nickel, the children were standing at the mouth of the main entrance into it. “Whoa, this is so cool!” Said Dean, staring at the narrow street in front of him. “Why are you referring to the temperature?” Asked Bertie bemused. “I’m not.” Said Dean as he started to walk into the slums. David looked at Bertie and shrugged as the rest of them followed Dean.
  • 73. In the centre of the maze of alleyways, even Rosemary was starting to feel despair. They had been wandering round for what was starting to feel like hours, and getting nowhere. There was no sign of the man Vicky had seen, and although all three knew they were reaching the point where they would have to give up looking, none of them wanted to be the one to say it. It’s at times like that, that fortune is wont to smile on those in need.
  • 74. They had just turned a corner, and were bickering over whether or not they had already been down this street when a door a little way ahead opened. Vicky gasped and pulled her cousins back around the corner as a man with long, lank, greasy hair stepped out. “What did you do that for?” Started Louisa, but Rosie, one step ahead of her brunette cousin, elbowed her in the ribs and stood watching the doorway with Vicky. They were too far away to make out the murmured words the man said, but the two enquiry agents saw, very clearly, him flick a coin at the woman who had followed him to the door. He laughed as she grabbed at it, before turning and walking in the opposite direction to where they were standing.
  • 75. “That is him.” Said Vicky as she watched him walk away. “You are certain?” “Yes Rosie.” Vicky smiled as she looked at her best friend. “I cannot believe it, but that is him.” She started after him, her cousins following only a split second behind.
  • 76. The woman they had seen come to the door with the greasy-haired man, was now leaning against the wall of her abode. She looked them up and down as they walked past, but the ladies, avoided turning their heads to look at her. “I cannot decide if that adds credence to my theory that this man is involved in anything sinister or not.” Said Vicky in an undertone. “Either he visits a prostitute because he is not married, or” “He visits one because his wife will not let him near her on account of them having more children than they can afford to feed as it is.” Finished Rosie. “Exactly.” Said Vicky as they ducked through a brick archway. “I am hoping the former.”
  • 77. The archway led them into an courtyard, bordered on all sides by tenements. Vicky looked around, but couldn’t see the man they had followed, nor were any of the doors closing. “Oh no, where did he go?” She murmured. “There, I am sure I saw a shadow move on that wall.” Said Louisa pointing. Rosie bit her lip, wondering how Louisa would have seen such a thing given how dark it was, but what did they have to lose? The three started towards the corner of the courtyard Louisa had indicated.
  • 78. To their surprise, there was a narrow alleyway between two of the terraces and the three followed it to a gate in the wall.
  • 79. Slowly, and carefully Vicky tried the latch, and was gratified when the door opened. She popped her head round the frame to check that the coast was clear; it was, so she crept through, her cousins close at her heels.
  • 80. They found themselves behind a disused factory, but the faint flicker of lamps inside showed them it had not been abandoned. She said as much to Rosie who nodded and crept towards the windows of the building. The first two she looked through showed an empty room, but the third gave her a view of the factory floor, and there, walking along a gangplank, was the man they had been following.
  • 81. She turned back to her companions, a smile on her face. “This is it,” she breathed, “he is in there.” Vicky hurried to the window and was just in time to see him disappear behind a wall. “Excellent. I think we should take a look around the building, see what we find.” She said her eyes sparkling. “Agreed.” Said Rosie as she took another good look through the window. “It looks as if this part of the building is very open, with windows all the way around. We will have to be very careful as we look around, and I do not see what we will gain apart from finding where the door is.” She mused.
  • 82. “Maybe we should start by looking through that gate then?” Said Louisa pointing to the door she was talking about.” Vicky and Rosie looked at each other and smiled. Louisa was proving her worth as an investigator.
  • 83. Louisa walked over and tried the latch, but it didn’t budge. “Drat.” she whispered. “Let me have a go.” Said Vicky, but her efforts yielded the same result. The latch was either rusted firmly in place, or padlocked from the other side. “There is a hole in the wall here.” Pointed out Rosemary. “That is a bit...” Said Louisa a look of horror on her face. “You will be fine.” Said Rosie as she made to scramble through the hole.
  • 84. All three of the cousins made it though the hole without ripping their cloaks, although it would take a good brushing to get all the brick dust out of them. They found themselves in an L-shaped yard. They were peering round the corner of the building when Vicky held up her hand. “Do you hear that?” She breathed. “Yes.” Answered Rosie. “It sounds like...children!”
  • 85. Hardly daring to breath, Vicky crept round the side of the factory, following the sound of the voices. “I think they are in there” She said pointing at a row of windows set high up in the wall. Rosie cast around, looking for something before heading to one of the corners of the yard.
  • 86. “Stand on this.” She said a moment later as she returned with a crate. “It looks strong enough to take your weight.” “Are you saying I am fat?” Teased Vicky as she stepped onto the crate, steadying herself by holding onto her cousin’s shoulders. “Course not. Now can you see anything.” Asked Rosie, her voice urgent.
  • 87. Vicky turned her attention to the window. “No, even if I stand on tiptoes,” she said doing just that, “I cannot see through the window.” All three were looking around the yard for another, larger crate that was easy to get to, when they heard a noise like breaking glass.
  • 88. The three women looked at each other in panic and Vicky jumped off of the crate ready to fight or run, when another noise reached their ears. “Stop making so much noise David.” “I could not help it Bethy, there is a pile of brick on this side I did not realise about.” “Quiet both of you. No one can know we are here!” Looking at each other in disbelief, the three women headed back towards the hole in the wall.
  • 89. The children were still bickering when Vicky coughed, drawing attention to her and their other aunts. “What are you all doing here?” She hissed. “Looking for Celestia.” Said Andrew as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “And Derri, don’t forget Derri.” Put in Dean. “Master Whedonberry, somehow I am not surprised to see you with my niece and nephews.” Sighed Vicky, as she crossed her arms. “And please, keep your voices down.”
  • 90. “Have you found her yet?” Asked Peter, pushing his way through the little crowd. “Maybe.” Replied Rosie. At the look Louisa threw her, she shrugged and mouthed “what?” “We think there are children in this building, but none of us are tall enough to see through the windows to check who they are.” Explained Vicky. “You could lift one of us up to see.” Said Bethany. “That...is a very good idea Bethany.” Said Rosie. “I know.” Replied Bethany looking more than a little smug. “Show off.” Muttered her twin.
  • 91. “Who though?” Murmured Vicky. “Stuart’s the smallest and youngest.” Pointed out Louisa. Vicky nodded and held out her hand to her youngest nephew. “Come on Stuart, come help your Auntie Vicky.” Stuart smiled and ran forward to take her hand.
  • 92. Back round by the windows, Vicky climbed up onto the crate again, and Rosie lifted Stuart up so that Vicky could take him. The little boy peering through the window, his breath fogging the glass as he leaned close enough to see down into the room. “What do you see Stuie?” Asked Vicky. “Children,” he said placing the palm of his hand against the glass, “green children.” “Do you see Celestia?” Asked Vicky excited. “No. But there are other green children in there.”
  • 93. Vicky handed Stuart back to Rosie, got off the crate and dragged it along the wall to another window, much farther along the wall. She climbed back onto it, and gestured at Rosie to hand Stuart back to her, and the little boy once again peered through a window. “Celly!” Cried Stuart, startling Vicky so much, she nearly dropped him. “She is in there then?” Asked Rosie, jubilant. “Yes!”
  • 94. “Is my brother?” Asked Dean. “What does he look like?” Asked Stuart. “Blond, long face, long nose, always looks serious...” Dean trailed off as he saw Stuart nodding vigorously.
  • 95. Vicky handed Stuart to Rosie before jumping down from the crate. “We’ve found them, I can hardly believe it, but we have found them!” It was an effort to keep her voice low, and she saw her joy reflected in the faces of those around her. “What do we do now though?” Asked Rosie, bringing her back down to earth. “Go to the police!” “Go and rescue them of course!” Suggestions came thick and fast, and Vicky held her hands up to quieten everyone.
  • 96. “Shush! I agree with you Louisa, this is far too big for us, we need to get the police. If we refrain from mentioning the colour of the skin of the children, they should come with us.” “I am not leaving here without Derri!” Said Dean, folding his arms. “And I am not leaving without Celestia!” Said Peter, mirroring Dean’s pose. “Very well.” Said Vicky, knowing that arguing with the children would attract the attention of those inside, “but someone needs to go and fetch the police.”
  • 97. “I will go.” Said Louisa. “And I think that some of the children should come with me...” She looked hopefully at them, but knew as soon as she did that it was a lost cause. “I do not like the idea of you wandering the streets on your own...” Started Vicky, but she was silenced by a look. “I will be fine Victoria.” She said. “Just try to keep these children out of trouble.” She waved and headed to the gates at the front of the yard. There was another hole in the wall where the bricks had crumbled and she gracefully climbed through it.
  • 98. While Louisa had been taking her leave of them. Dean had been edging towards the back of the building, Stuart watching him go. Vicky turned round as soon as Louisa was out of sight and noticed too. “Master Whedonberry,” warned Vicky, “what are you doing?” Dean stopped and stuck out his chin in what she was fast learning was a characteristically determined look. “I’m not going to sit and wait when I am so close to Derri. I came here to rescue him, and that is what I am going to do!” He turned and ran round the corner of the building. Vicky threw her hands in the air before following him.
  • 99. “What are you doing Vicky?” Asked Rosemary catching her elbow. “I do not think I can stop him, and I certainly cannot let him go in alone.” Replied the blonde. “True.” Rosie joined Vicky in hurrying after him. The children stood watching the adults for only a second before they joined them in the rush towards the back of the building. If Dean was going inside to rescue Derri and the other children, there was no way they were going to miss out on the adventure. Even Bertie thought that now.
  • 100. Inside the factory, Celestia was still looking at the window in shock. “Celly what is it?” Asked Derri coming to stand next to her. “I thought I just saw...but it is impossible.” She turned to him, her eyes wide with disbelief. “A-what Celestia?” Asked Pipi getting up from where she had been sitting. “I thought I just saw my cous...” An urgent banging started on the other side of the wall.
  • 101. “We’ve just seen a little boy at the window.” Shouted Ivan as Chelley Munster nodded her head frantically. “As did I.” Replied Celly. “He is my cousin Stuart, and if he is here, then so are my other cousins.” “They’ve come to rescue us?” ”In all probability, yes.” “Well they’d better hurry up. I want out of here.” He turned and leant against the wall. “and if they don’t well, then, bite them.”
  • 102. Back outside, their would be rescuers were sneaking round the building. The walls were lined with windows, making the task difficult, but so far, so good. The doors to the offices stayed firmly closed, but Rosie still kept an eye on them, hardly daring to breathe as they made progress along the back wall of the factory.
  • 103. At last they came across a door. Taking a deep breath, Vicky put her hand on the handle and tried it. She breathed a laugh as it opened at her touch. She had really been expecting it to be locked, but obviously the greasy-haired man’s mind had been elsewhere when he had got back to this place. Very carefully the group started to creep across the factory floor. ***
  • 104. In the abandoned office on the floor above, Greasy-Hair was once again cutting some bread into chunks for the children. There had been a small argument when he had got back over how long he had been gone. After all he had said he was only going to get a few bottles of ale, but of course he hadn’t, he had paid a visit to Lilly instead. He was sure that the two men had realised what he had been doing, but surely they didn’t expect him to stay in with them every night, and besides he was certain Briggs was another of Lilly’s clients. “Bloody ‘ypocrite.” He muttered as he hacked at the bread.
  • 105. “Shush.” Said Briggs holding up his hand. “Did you ‘ear that?” “What?” Asked Wright. “I thought I ‘eard a door closing.” Said Briggs, a frown causing the lines around his eyes to deepen. “Sams you did lock the door when you got back in didn’t you?” Asked Blondie suspiciously.
  • 106. “Yeah, course I did Wright.” Replied Sams not turning round. He was sure head locked it. Certain of it. Definitely had locked it. Maybe he hadn’t locked it. “I think we should check it out just in case someone has broken in.” He said putting the knife down and starting towards the door. ***
  • 107. The rescuers reached the door at the far side of the floor without incident, and Rosie hesitantly pushed it open. There was no one on the other side, so she and Vicky ushered the children through.
  • 108. They found themselves in a small room, with three doors leading off of it. Rosie knocked softly on the first one. “Hello.” She called. “Get me out of here, or I’ll bite you!” Came the reply. “Charming child.” Muttered Rosie under her breath. “We are going to get you out as soon as possible.” She called back through the door.
  • 109. She turned to see Dean standing in front of another door. “Master Whedonberry, what are you doing?” Dean looked at her. “Opening this door.” “You are picking the lock?” “Ah-hah.” He went back to the padlock, squinting his eyes in concentration as he felt for the mechanism. “Wow, can you teach me?” Asked Stuart, his eyes wide.
  • 110. “Now Stuart, I hardly think your father will thank Master Whedonberry for doing that.” Said Vicky as she gently moved Rosie out of the way of the door before taking out her own set of lock picks and kneeling in front of it. Stuart watched his aunt work, a sour look on his face. He wanted to learn how to do that. Dean tapped him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to do it.” He whispered to Stuart. “Thank you.” Replied the little boy with a smile.
  • 111. Out on the factory floor, the three men had not been happy to find that the main entrance door to the factory was open, the lock showing no signs of having been forced. Sams’s ear was sore where Briggs had clumped him one round the head, and a quick glance around had shown that everything was in order on the floor. Not that that was surprising: the factory held nothing of value now, expect the children. Snarling, Briggs led the two other men towards the back of the factory and their makeshift prison.
  • 112. Back in the little room off the floor, Dean had got his lock undone first, and pushed the door open. There was a pause before Dean and Derri ran at each other and hugged. “I’ve missed you!” “I knew you would be looking for me!” The brothers spoke at once.
  • 113. The other children pushed past the brothers and out of the door. As soon as her brothers saw Celly, they grabbed her and started hugging her. Soon there was a noisy bundle of children as the cousins all joined in.
  • 114. On the other side of the door leading to the factory floor, Briggs paused, his hand hovering above the latch as the cries of the children reached him. They were far too loud to be coming from the prison rooms.
  • 115. “Shush!” Hissed Rosie, trying to quieten everyone down. “Remember this is meant to be a quiet rescue mission.” She looked at the red headed alien children. “You must be Pipistrelle and Myotis Tegenaria.” “Yes, we a-are.” Replied Pipi. “Is your cousin Ivan here too?” “He a-is. He is a-in the other a-room.” Said Myotis just as Vicky managed to get her lock open.
  • 116. Briggs backed away from the door, his finger to his lips. The children were out of their rooms, he was certain of it, and they could not have achieved that without help.
  • 117. With the door opened, Ivan pushed his way out. “At long last.” He looked around at everyone as the rest of the inhabitants of the second room poured out. “Well why are we all standing here, let’s go.” “Hold your horses Master Tegenaria, is everyone here?” Asked Vicky looking around at the sea of children now in front of her. “I a-think so.” Said Pipi. “This room is a-empty.” Added Myotis pushing the third door open. “Then let us go, quietly.” Said Vicky pushing gently through the crowd of children to the door.
  • 118. “Oh dear!” He hand flew to her chest as she pushed the door open to find the three men waiting for them on the other side of the door.
  • 119. “An’ just where do you fink you’re going wiv our nest egg?” Asked Briggs. Vicky drew herself up to her full height, and stepped onto the factory floor. “We are taking these children home to their families sir.” “No you ain’t.”
  • 120. “Yes, we are.” Briggs drew a switchblade from his pocket and flicked open the blade. “No, you ain’t.” Vicky’s eyes locked on the shiny knife and she felt a frisson on fear. She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out.
  • 121. “Good, glad ter see you are co-operating.” Started Briggs. “Now, let’s get...” What happened next happened so fast, Vicky barely registered it. Christopher and Dean charged forward barrelled into Briggs, causing the knife to go flying from his hand as Stuart and David headed for Wright and Sams was attacked by Pipi and Celestia.
  • 122. There was a pause, before most of the other children surged forward to help, followed by Rosie. “Rosie, what are you doing?” Asked Vicky stunned. “Helping, of course!” Vicky shrugged and joined the melee.
  • 123. Vicky walked over to her cousin and looked at her impressed as Sams lay there on the floor. “Rosie, where did you learn to hit like that?” “Stanley of course. He insisted on showing me a couple of things in case my honour was ever in jeopardy, and I needed to defend it.” Rosie replied with a smile.
  • 124. “God bless Stanley.” Said Vicky as she turned back to see Briggs taking a swipe at Molly, who expertly dodged, while simultaneously allowing Christopher to run in and kick the man in the shin. She noticed Zeta standing a little way a way looking on apprehensively, and walked over to her.
  • 125. “Hello, what is your name?” She asked kneeling down to her height. “Zeta.” She said shyly. “Well Zeta, can you see if you can find some rope for me please?” Vicky smiled reassuringly at the little girl. Zeta nodded and hurried off. Vicky turned her attention back to Sams and the fact that he was trying to get back up, despite the number of children sitting on him.
  • 126. Bertie, his earlier apprehension completely forgotten, had thrown himself into the fight. So much so, he didn’t even realise that his brother had turned his attention away from Wright, to helping with trying to subdue Briggs. Things were going well for the little heir until, Wright aimed a roundhouse kick at Bertie, lifting him up of off his feet, and causing him to fly across the room.
  • 127. Bertie’s head hit the hard stone floor with a sickening thump, and his eyes rolled back into his head.
  • 128. Stuart, looking round to check how his brother was doing, saw everything. “BERTIE!!!!!!!”
  • 129. He ran across the floor as fast as he could and jumped onto Wright’s back. He started kicking at his kidneys and screaming at him. “That was my brother! You do not do that to my brother! NO ONE HURTS MY BROTHER!”
  • 130. “Get off! Get OFF!” Wright spun round and backed into a wall, trying to get Stuart to let go, but the little boy held on tight, his face twisted with uncharacteristic anger. Seeing that one of their own was in trouble, Christopher and Andrew abandoned their fight with Briggs and ran to help. Soon Wright was buried under a pile of angry children.
  • 131. Stuart managed to extract himself from the mess once he was satisfied that everyone had Wright under control, and dashed over to his brother who was still laying on the ground.
  • 132. “Bertie...?” He reached out hesitantly to his brother who stirred and tried to sit up. “Stu’rt, why ‘zare two o’ you?” He slurred before flopping back down, his head thudding onto the floor once more.
  • 133. “There’s not!” Replied his brother, eyes wide. Stuart looked at his brother, torn. He didn’t want to leave Bertie, but he needed to get him help. Stuart struggled to his feet and went looking for someone to help him.
  • 134. He came across Bethany, who was standing watching Rosie tying up a still struggling Sams. “What is wrong Stuart?” She asked when he tugged at her sleeve. “It is Bertie, he hit his head, an’ now he thinks there are two of me, but there aren’t, there is only one of me an’ an’” He explained, tears welling up in his eyes. “It is fine Stuart, Bertie will be fine. Go sit with him, and I will tell Auntie Rosie.” Reassured Bethany. Stuart nodded and headed back to his older brother.
  • 135. Briggs was the only man standing now, but Vicky and several of the children were doing their best to subdue him. Ivan was trying especially hard, and in his enthusiasm even managed to bite Gamma, which did not go down well. It was only the fact that they both were enjoying beating up their capturer that stopped them from turning on each other.
  • 136. Finally he was subdued, tied up and guarded by a lot of angry children, many nursing bruises, bloody noses and black eyes from the struggle. “Look Auntie Vicky, look!” Cried Peter opening his mouth and pushing his tongue through a gap where one of his teeth used to be. “Oh gosh Peter, your mother is not going to be happy. Was it a baby tooth?” Said Vicky shocked. “I don’t know. Maybe? In any case Mom will be fine. Probably. After all, we have got Celly back, and that is the important thing!” Peter shrugged and ran to find his twin to share his exciting news with him.
  • 137. Vicky shook her head as she watched him go. She looked round for Rosie, but couldn’t see her. “Bethany, have you seen your Aunt Rosie?” She asked when she saw the little girl. “Yes, I was just coming to get you. Auntie Rosie is with Bertie and Stuart.” Said Bethany pointing to the area behind some crates. “Bertie hit his head and Auntie Rosie says she thinks he has a percussion just like Grandmamma.” “Concussion.” She murmured. “Thank you Bethany.” She said louder heading in the direction her niece had indicated.
  • 138. “How is he?” Asked Vicky as she carefully avoided a puddle of vomit and crouched down beside her nephew. “I want Father to look at him. He has a concussion, and I think he will be fine, but I want Father to see him just in case.” Replied Rosie as she stroked his hair. Vicky nodded and stroked the side of Bertie’s face. She heard a snuffle and looked over to see Stuart staring down at his brother, tears rolling down his cheeks.
  • 139. She went over and gave him a hug. “Bertie is going to be fine Stuart, I promise. He has just had a nasty bump to his head. Your grandmamma did exactly the same when you were a baby, and she is absolutely fine now is she not?” She said forcing cheerfulness into her voice. Stuart nodded and wiped his nose on the back of his hand. “Well then, dry your tears.” She handed him her handkerchief, taking care to wipe some of the snot off of his hand as she did so. “I am sure that the police will be here soon, and then we can get Bertie back to Regalton and Uncle Robert.”
  • 140. Satisfied that Stuart was going to be ok, Vicky went to check on the other children, Apart from their war wounds, the worse of which was Bertie’s concussion, they all appeared to be fine and were enjoying seeing their capturers bound and gagged in the way that only innocent little children can. She was just stopping Chelley from poking Sams with a stick she had found when she heard the noise of carriages on the cobbles outside followed by heavy boots. “Don’t try anything, you are surrounded!” Shouted a voice outside, causing Zeta to try to hide behind Vicky. “Do not worry.” Said Vicky before shouting “The kidnappers are incapacitated, it is quite safe!”
  • 141. Within a few seconds, the door to the factory was shoved open and several members of the Simdon Metropolitan Police Force forced their way into the factory, followed by Louisa. “Please, Mrs Roseland it is not safe...” Started one of the constables. “Do not tell me what is not safe constable. My niece and nephews are in there, I am not going to wait outside like a lemon!” Responded Louisa in a tone of voice that would have made her grandmamma Violet proud. Constable Courderc looked at her in astonishment. He was the authority figure here, but he found himself cowering under her gaze.
  • 142. “It appears everything is under control anyway Constable.” Said one the sergeants looking at the three trussed men being guarded by the children. “’Ere, Sarge, these children are green.” Pointed out the other constable as he looked over at the guards. “So it would appear Fairchild.” Replied Sergeant Landry looking around.
  • 143. “Excuse me gentlemen,” said Vicky approaching them, “these...men are kidnappers. They took these children, “ she waved a hand indicating all the green children, “from their families, but as you can see, we have apprehended them.” “Thank you for that...?” “Mrs Victoria Simself, enquiry agent. My partner, Mrs Rosemary Go is over there.” She pointed to the crates in the middle of the room.
  • 144. Landry nodded, and continued. “Your actions are appreciated Mrs Simself, but this was a police matter and you should not have entered the building for you own safety.” “You and your colleagues did not want to know. When the disappearances were reported, you dismissed them because of the colour of the children’s skin.” She was starting to get heated, all the adrenaline from the night was still bubbling round her body, looking for an outlet.
  • 145. “Auntie Vicky, I think we should let these gentlemen get on with their very worthwhile job, do you not agree?” Said Bethany appearing at Vicky’s side. Vicky looked down at her niece, as if surprised to see her there. “But of course.” She struggled to regain her composure, using forced politeness as her aid. “As you can see gentlemen, we have taken the liberty of making sure they could not escape.”
  • 146. Sergeant Landry nodded. “Thank you again. We will, of course, need to speak to all of the children to find out what happened to them.” “But not tonight.” Said Victoria. “Yes tonight.” Replied Sergeant Bachman, trying to reassert the authority of the police.
  • 147. There were times it was very easy to see that Victoria and Alexandra were related, this was one. Victoria turned and looked haughtily down her nose at the Sergeant in front of her. “No not tonight. They are children, it is late and they have been through enough of an ordeal without having to sit in a dank room in a police station all night. I am taking them all home to their families, who will bring them to see you in the morning. Now I suggest you lock these villains up and let us get on.” The two sergeants looked at Vicky gob smacked before Bachman stuttered “erm, yes, I will go supervise the constables...”
  • 148. Vicky watched the sergeants walk away, before going and starting to round up the children. It was by now very late and she wanted to get them home, and Bertie to her uncle.
  • 149. The three women managed to commandeer three carriages and for the next hour they travelled round the city reuniting the children and their families.
  • 150. “Thank you Mrs Simself, I knew you would find my son.” Said Sid as Ivan dashed past him into the house. “You’ve found our little cheesy puffs.” Squealed a very pale blonde woman coming to the door. “Yes, thankfully we managed to find everyone, and they are fine.” Replied Vicky taking a guess that cheesy puffs was a term of endearment for the alien children she had just returned home. “They will need to go the police tomorrow to give a statement, but this should be the end of it for all of you.”
  • 151. Back in one of the carriages, Dean’s jaw dropped. “Is that a...?” “A what?” Asked David looking over, but Dean was already clambering out of the carriage.
  • 152. He tapped Pipi on the shoulder. “Is she a vampire?” Dean asked pointing at Cadence. Pipi shrugged. “Night-grandmother is a-night-grandmother.” “That was informative.” Muttered Dean heading towards the vampire in the doorway as the bemused alien girl watched him go.
  • 153. “Excuse me are you a vampire?” Asked Dean pushing his way past Sid, Vox, Myotis and Vicky. “Oi am indeed.” Said Cadence smiling down at him. “So does that mean you sleep in a coffin and drink blood and can turn into a bat.” Asked Dean tripping over his words in his excitement at meeting a real live vampire.
  • 154. Cadence just looked at the blond boy in amazement. “Why drink icky blood, when you can ‘ave the yummy, gooey goodness ov cheese? We’d all be in a roight state if peoples went around drinking each ovver’s blood we would.” She said. Dean looked disappointed and Vicky walked up the steps and put her arm round his shoulders. “Come now Master Whedonberry, let us not bother these nice people any more.” She said steering him down the steps towards the road.
  • 155. “We will be by to settle the account tomorrow.” Said Vox running his hand through his smexy hair. “Thanks again, why don’t I take you out for a drink to show my appreciation?” “I am a married woman.” Said Vicky shocked. “So? Why let that stop us having a nice drink, just the two of us.” Replied Vox with a smile “You’re incorrigible.” Muttered Sid. “I know.” Replied Vox with a smile. Blushing, Vicky led Dean back to the waiting carriages.
  • 156. There were only a few children to drop back home now, and the next stop was the Whedonberry residence. The door was opened by Cordelia, and as soon as she saw her son standing there with his brother she pulled him into her arms. “Derri, oh thank goodness, Derri. We have all been so worried about you.”
  • 157. Johnny came into the hall at that moment, followed by Deanna, and as Derri was snatched into another hug by his father, Cordelia stood up and hugged Vicky. “Thank you for finding him.” “It was my pleasure, and my job.” Replied the investigator. “The police will want to interview you tomorrow, but for now I will let you and your family get to bed.”
  • 158. She turned and smiled at Dean. “It was a real pleasure to meet you Master Whedonberry. I hope you continue to look for the evidence of the supernatural you seek.” “Oh I will.” Said Dean. “Can I meet your aunt? I have many questions for her. An’ I was thinking about going to see Mrs Tegenaria again.” Continued Dean.
  • 159. “Dean, I think that is enough for tonight.” Said his mother a fond smile on her face. “We should be letting Mrs Simself go.” “Aw, but Mom...” “Dean, don’t forget I’ve not said anything to you yet about sneaking out of the house tonight. Don’t push your luck.” “I was looking for Derri.” Said Dean petulantly. “I know.” She fondly ruffled her youngest son’s hair.
  • 160. “Good night.” Said Vicky as she took a step towards the street. “Good night.” Said Cordelia waving. “We will be by the office to settle your account after we visit the police.”
  • 161. There was one more stop that they needed to make in Simdon before heading to Regalton. The two carriages had barely come to a halt before the door to one of the town houses in the terrace was flung open and a blonde woman came running out. “Have you any idea how worried I have been?” She cried as she alternated between hugging her children and scolding them as she tried to usher them into the house. “How many carriages I have run out into the street after in case you were in them?
  • 162. “Vicky! What on earth?” She had finally seen her sister. “They followed Rosie and I as we were looking for Celestia. We did not realise until we had found her, and then it was too late to send them home, since they would not go.” Explained Vicky.
  • 163. “But they are alright?” Asked Alexandra, her maternal instincts working overtime. “Bertie hit his head, but the rest are fine. Minor cuts and bruises.” Reassured Vicky. “Where is Bertie?” Asked a worried Alexandra. “In the carriage with Rosie. She thinks he is going to be fine, but she wants Uncle Robert to check him over anyway.” Explained Vicky calmly. Alexandra nodded. “I will just check on him.”
  • 164. Something else Vicky had said penetrated Alexandra’s consciousness. “You found Celestia?” Vicky nodded and pointed to the second carriage where Louisa, Peter, Andrew and Celestia were sitting. On seeing they were being watched, the children waved, and Alexandra waved back, a smile on her face. “Bertie.” She said suddenly, heading to the other carriage.
  • 165. She opened the door to see Bertie laying with his head on Rosie’s lap, Stuart sitting across from them, his eyes fixed on his brother. “How is he?” Alexandra asked quietly. “He hit his head hard, and is concussed. I am certain he will recover with no ill effects, but I want Father to verify that.” Said Rosemary as she stroked Bertie’s hair.
  • 166. Alexandra leant into the carriage and kissed her nephew’s forehead. She then turned to Stuart and pulled him into a hug. “Bertie is going to be fine, I promise. Did you want to come in and go to bed? I will make you a cup of special cocoa.” She said gently.
  • 167. Stuart shook his head. “Not gonna leave him.” He said quietly but resolutely.
  • 168. Alexandra stood up and looked at her sister. “I think he is going back to Regalton with you.” She looked over her sister’s shoulder to see her children excitedly telling their father about their night’s adventures. “Thank you for taking care of my children Vicky. I know they can be headstrong.”
  • 169. “You do not need to thank me, they are my niece and nephews, and headstrong is a bit of an understatement.” Said Vicky with a laugh as she pulled her older sister into a hug. Vicky looked at the second carriage where she saw a very tired looking Celestia snuggling up to her aunt. “I think we should be going. I will call to see you tomorrow afternoon.” Said Vicky heading to the waiting carriage. ***
  • 170. Just over an hour later in the drawing room of the house Major Harrison had bought for his family when he had moved to Regalton from Riverblossom Hills many years before, his grandson was sitting with his head in his hands. Theo had everyone he and his wife knew looking for his daughter and no one could find out anything. He was despairing of ever seeing her again.
  • 171. He looked up as he felt pressure on his back, and found himself looking into his wife’s eyes. She looked so tired; haggard even, and he was almost as worried about her as he was about his daughter. He didn’t realise she felt the same way about him. That it was breaking her heart to see him fast becoming a shadow of his former self, his nummy features stained by dark shadows and deep lines.
  • 172. “I’m going out again.” Proclaimed Archimedes Vetinari loudly. “No point sitting here when we could be out there looking.”
  • 173. The rest of the room just looked at him. “It is late Mr Vetinari.” Said Eddie reasonably. “It seems unlikely that you will unearth anything new if you go back to the city tonight. Best to get some rest, wait a few hours until the sun comes up and go back then.” “Is that right blondie?” Said Archie taking a step towards Eddie.
  • 174. “Archie stand down.” Said Indy with a sigh. “We all want to find her, but Eddie has a point. What more will we find now that we won’t find if we wait four hours?”
  • 175. The room was saved from hearing Archie's answer by the doorbell. “It’s probably Gin and Spider.” Said Doc getting up from the settee. The rest of the room watched her go.
  • 176. Doc opened the door to find Vicky standing there. “Vicky what...?” She caught sight of Celestia. “Celestia, oh my god.” She fell to her knees as her daughter flung herself into her arms.
  • 177. “You found her, thank you.” She said to Vicky, a huge smile on her face as she took in her daughter’s features, features she had wondered if she would ever see again. “You are very welcome.” Said Vicky smiling.
  • 178. “Come on, come in.” Said Doc ushering them inside, her eyebrows raising at the sight of her sons following Vicky. “I thought you two were staying at your Aunt Louisa’s.” She said addressing the boys. “We wanted to find Celly.” Said Andrew. “And we did.” Put in Peter. “I can see that. I can also see your brother’s black eye and are you missing a tooth?” Asked Doc. “Maybe. It is nothing.” Said Peter trying to shrug it off. Doc shook her head and followed Celestia who was heading to the drawing room. She would deal with her sons later, now she was just happy to see her daughter.
  • 179. Theo had stood up and was pacing the room. At the sound of a floor board creaking, he turned and looked at the doorway, expecting to see Gin or Spider Jerusalem there. When he saw the green skinned little girl he nearly keeled over.
  • 180. “Papa.” Celly let out a cry and threw herself at him.
  • 181. “Celestia? Oh dear plumbbob, I thought I would never see you again.” Choked Theo holding his daughter tight as the other Victorians in the room tactfully looked away. “Wuss.” Muttered Archie careful not to let Doc, now standing in the doorway, hear him.
  • 182. As Theo was being reunited with his daughter, and Andrew was excitedly regaling his Uncle Larch with tales of that night’s adventures, Vicky was stealthily making her way to her brother. “You found her then? I knew you would, that is why I suggested to Theo he engage your services.” Said Eddie with a smile. “Thank you for you faith brother.” Replied Vicky returning his grin. “I see that Peter and Andrew are here.” Eddie nodded at them. “Yes, all of our nieces, nephews and cousins turned up. I will have to tell you all about it tomorrow.” Said Vicky with a laugh.
  • 183. “Were my sons among them? I did wonder why they seemed so keen to stay with Alexandra tonight.” Said Eddie his smile broadening. “They were.” Vicky’s expression grew serious. “Eddie, Bertie was hurt.” She put a hand on her brother’s arm as he started. “He hit his head and has a concussion. He is going to fine: Rosie looked after him at the factory, and now Uncle Robert is seeing to him.”
  • 184. Eddie swallowed and nodded slowly. “What of Stuart? Is he with Alexandra?” Vicky shook her head. “He refused to leave his brother’s side. He is even now at Uncle Robert’s house” Eddie gave a small smile. “That sounds like Stu. Those two boys are joined at the hip.”
  • 185. Theo chose that moment to pull Vicky into a hug and thank her for finding Celly. “I cannot thank you enough. We thought she was gone forever...” Tears rolled freely down his cheeks as the emotion of the night got the better of him. “Theo, you do not have to thank me. You are family.” Said Vicky, her voice choked.
  • 186. Eddie put a hand on his best friend's shoulder when he stepped back from Vicky. “I think I am going to go and see my sons. Bertie was hurt, I...” Theo nodded sympathetically. “Of course Eddie, go and see to your son. Thank you for all your support and help.” Eddie gave a weak smile. “Theo you are my best friend, you know I will always be there for you, any time of day or night.” “I must be going too. I have to get back to Simdon.” Said Vicky as Theo smiled at her brother.
  • 187. “You are not going back tonight Vicky. It is nearly three in the morning.” Said Eddie. “What do you suggest I do?” “Stay with me, Mother and Father. You can sleep in your old room.” Replied Eddie.. A slow smile spread across Vicky’s face. “That sounds lovely.” She replied truthfully. The adrenaline that had carried her through so much of the night was dissipating and in it’s place as a deep fatigue. She felt like she could sleep for days. The thought of curling up in her childhood bed was very appealing.
  • 188. Vicky and Eddie took their leave of the Harrison family and friends and as Eddie headed to their uncle’s, she looked out at the village. She and Rosie had successfully found all the children they had been charged to, and there would be money on the coffers the next day when the Whedonberrys and Tegenarias paid them. Not a bad conclusion to their first major case. Not bad at all. ***
  • 189. V. & R. Legacy Investigate the Case of the Viridian Child starred:
  • 190. The Whedonberrys are from Whedonberry by Stacielee
  • 191. The Tegenarias appear courtesy of GintasicNecat and her Science of a Legacy.
  • 192. Abe and Chelley are originally from the Munster Legacy by HurriKaty
  • 193. The Dorans’ home is the Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy as written by LadyLarkRune, Charris and Orikes.
  • 194. The Testers are here thanks to my multi-PT experiment.
  • 195. All the Vetinaris appear thanks to DrSupremeNerd and her Vetinari Dualegacy.
  • 196. Sergeant Bachman and Constable Fairchild are on transfer to Simdon from Veronaville, Sergeant Landry and Constable Courderc have just transferred from Strangetown.
  • 197. The Carter twins are from Tlhs0’s Barsoom Legacy.
  • 198. The Familiars are originally from Ndainye’s Familiar Faces Legacy
  • 199. The Fitzhughs’ home is a Villainous Apocalypse by Smoothiequeen87
  • 200. Persephone is from the Pseudo Legacy by Orikes. Henry, well you should all remember my Henry.
  • 201. Time now for the thank yous. I couldn’t play this neighbourhood without the creators who made my amazing CC. That includes these two lots by Black Orchid and StephSim found at MTS. All other lots in this story were made and decorated by me, but finding these two saved me from builder’s burnout and allowed me to start writing and shooting sooner than I expected, so thanks. Thanks also to Judie at All-About-Style for most of my costumes, and everyone else whose talent has contributed to the look of my neighbourhood. A massive thanks goes to Treeg for the freezer clock, and SilentLucidity for his OMSPS. This would not have been made without those two pieces of cc, nor without all the various pose and animation boxes I’ve picked up on my travels of the internet.
  • 202. Thank you to all my readers for your support, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Vicky and Rosie’s first case. A huge thanks to everyone whose characters I nicked for this. Some of you knew, some of you didn’t and I hope you enjoyed seeing what they got up to. Now this is over, I can get back to the legacy, and let you know what the family has been up to. I can’t wait. Until then, happy simming.