Marie, Emile, Sabine and the two vampires sat around a table in the art church that had become their home in Paris. In front of them was a collection of papers and a 3 tiered tray with sandwiches, small cakes and and scones on the top. They were untouched and everyone was looking morose and thoughtful.
Sir John, Miss Henderson and Morag came into the church talking loudly.
“I’m just going to get changed,” said Sir John, oblivious to the air of gloom. Miss Henderson looked in confusion at the high tea.
“What is that?” she said, just managing to keep annoyance out of her voice.
“I made it,” said Sabine, brightening a little, “to lift our spirits and remind you of home.”
Miss Henderson glowered at the indignity of being offered a treat from Sabine. The maid sat down at the table and sniffed at the food.
“That clotted cream looks a bit strange,” she said.
“It’s creme fraiche,” said Sabine, elegantly scooping some onto a spoon with a flourish. “I couldn’t get this English cream.”
Miss Henderson took the spoon and put it in her mouth. She pulled a face instantly.
“I don’t think it is fresh at all Miss Bellevoix,” said Miss Henderson patiently. “It’s really quite sour.”
“Ooh, what’s this?” said Sir John arriving at the table. He grabbed a scone and liberally plastered butter, jam and cream on it. “So what have we found so far?”
“Do you want the bad news first?” said Emile.
“There’s some good news?” said Sir John.
“No,” said Emile, “the other news is very bad.”
Sir John looked a little deflated and took a bite of his scone. His expression turned to one of surprise and he put the scone down. Miss Henderson suppressed a little smile.
“Do tell,” said Sir John, now eyeing the rest of the tea with suspicion.
“Well, we know Pook and Clackprattle have the first part of the key. We also know they have the map, and hence should be able to find the second part of the key,” said Emile.
“But have Dinard’s notes” said Sir John, “they should help, shouldn’t they?”
“Yes and no,” said Sabine, “I have read the notes and they tell us something disturbing. It seems that to find the second key, you must have the first. The map is not enough. There are some five or six possible places, which Dinard identified, but you need the first part to be sure.”
“And so we are, as you say, stuffed up,” said Emile.
“Hmm,” said Sir John, “that is a conundrum.”
“So…” said Miss Henderson, “we can’t find the next part of the key, but Pook and Clackprattle can?”
“Indeed,” said Emile, “the situation in a nutshell.”
“So we need to find them, then,” said Miss Henderson. “Pook and Clackprattle.”
Everyone looked at Miss Henderson.
“Why didn’t I think of that,” said Emile.
“Miss Henderson has some interesting family connections,” said Sir John, “Marie my dear, can you, er, think of a way.”
“The stone bug!” said Phlebotomous, “She made one before.”
“Yes, but that was using the mud of the gollum,” said Miss Henderson. “We don’t have a gollum.”
“But there was one before,” said Morag, “You told us about it, that followed Pook didn’t it?”
“Everyone, please,” said Marie, looking mildly panicked.
“What is this bug?” said Emile. “What did you do,”
“Ah,” said Sir John, “erm, its, well…”
“It’s alright, mon cher,” she said. “It is time to explain, I think. Emile, Sabine, I am a…. I am a witch.”
“I knew it!” said Sabine and grabbed a petit four in triumph.