Bisset tried to stop listening to the shouting and instead tried to estimate the damage. Since Messieurs Clackprattle and Pook had returned from their disastrous attempt to retrieve the key piece, Monsieur Clackprattle had been shouting rather a lot. The focus of his wrath had vacillated from Pook, for his failure, to Bisset, for allowing him to be persuaded to let Pook participate, to the whole of Paris, for, well, existing.
In fact, M Clackprattle seemed to find blame in everyone but himself. Although, he did repeatedly question why he had bothered to rescue Pook, a question that had crossed Bisset’s mind as well. Clackprattle didn’t seem the type to worry about loyalty to those who had failed him. Bisset wondered whether Pook had more influence over Clackprattle than he had assumed, wondered who was really in charge here.
Annoying though the shouting had been, the real problem had been the damage. In his anger, Clackprattle had used that cursed hand of his on any number of priceless objects. Several pieces of original Louis XIV furniture were now just rotting wood. The golden cutlery and plates that Bisset was accustomed to dining on were now a collection of leaden lumps. The Persian carpet that had once been owned by Hassan I Sabbah had been reduced to a threadbare rug. It was extremely vexing. The body of the dead servant lying on top of the rug was something of an inconvenience as well, as it would need to be disposed of. All in all, Bisset was seeing a small fortune being decimated in front of him. If he hadn’t been afraid of that damned hand of Clackprattle’s, he may have intervened.
Bisset glanced across at Pook and saw the same bland, serene smile that the creature always favoured his master with. Not a hint of nerves in spite of his failure. Was there even a small smirk at the corner of his mouth? What did he know that he wasn’t saying?
Finally, the onslaught on humanity and art that Clackprattle had mounted seemed to be coming to an end. The man leaned on his chair and looked around the table with a rheumy eye. He scoffed once.
“I shall take my rest,” he said. “On my return I will expect some answers.”
The fat man waddled out of the room leaving Pook and Bisset alone.
“Your master is indeed most perturbed by events,” said Bisset. A look of confusion and fear flashed across Pook’s face.
“He… ah yes indeed,” said Pook. “I fear he blames me for our predicament. It was indeed an unfortunate situation and one we could not have forseen. It seems that the prominent intellectual thrust of our age is not the well reasoned argument but rather the clipped, sentimental aphorism.”
“You are very lucky that M Clackprattle rescued you from the judgement of the Oisienne,” said Bisset, smiling. Pook smiled blandly back at him.
“Indeed,” Pook said. “My master is indeed most generous when need arises.”
“I hope my brotherhood will be equally generous,” said Bisset. “It is not composed of men who respect failure.”
“Well I am sure a short period of time with Mister Clackprattle will help them understand the situation,” said Pook. “He has a very persuasive manner, I find.”
“Just so,” said Bisset, “although I doubt he could sway all the brotherhood. It may be better to consider the next steps to recovering our position. They will respond better to that encouragement I feel”
“I have naturally considered these next steps,” said Pook. “I believe I understand how we may have failed and indeed have managed to secure a path to not only succeeding next time but to recovering that which was so criminally taken from us.”
Bisset tilted his head and raised an eyebrow.
A pleasant smile spread over Pook’s face and he took something out of his pocket. His hand opened to reveal a small insect made of stone.
“Hello, little one,” said Pook sweetly. “From now on, you can be my friend.”