The door to the old aquarium burst open and Clackprattle and Pook walked in.
“Another fine Parisien location,” said Clackprattle. “Truly we have seen the sorry arse of this sorry city. Are you sure there is something here, Pook? This isn’t another wild goose chase?”
“Indeed, I believe we have found something of true value here,” said Pook. “The bug couldn’t or didn’t go inside but went right up to the door which means…”
The door slammed suddenly.
“That the door probably slammed shut on it,” said Pook.
The darkened corridor seemed to turn from black gloom to blue glow. Tiny lights appeared that resolved into fish shapes.
“I think I’m seeing things in this blasted dark,” said Clackprattle and swatted at things in front of his face. Pook saw a shape forming down the corridor and moving towards them. Presently, it resolved form.
“The avatar of the water key, I presume?” said Pook to the gigantic ghost walrus.
The walrus nodded gracefully in the air.
“Indeed,” he said, “and you are?”
“Clackprattle and Pook sir,” said Clackprattle. “Master and servant, here to take the challenge, here to claim our just reward.”
“Which is which?” said the Walrus.
“I am Clackprattle,” said Clackprattle, “and this is….”
“No, who is master and who is servant?” said the Walrus.
“Why you impertinent swine,” said Clackprattle. “If you knew who you were dealing with you’d show some respect.”
“Excellent advice,” said the Walrus.
“Do I assume from your presence that the key part has not yet been claimed?” said Pook. “That we are, as they say, still in with a chance?”
“Indeed, I still possess the key part, and you may take the challenge,” said the Walrus. “I would advise a note of caution… powerful emotions may be released. Are you sure you are up to the task?”
“I think sir it will take more than a few little feelings to disturb my temperament. I am a man of unusual emotional fortitude,” he said.
“On that note I believe you,” said the Walrus. “If you wish to proceed you may go first.”
Clackprattle rolled his eyes and nodded and…
You’ve spent your whole life as a joke and you know it. A stupid man, too proud to learn, your so-called wisdoms are the guessworks of a moron. Since you are too fragile to live without the respect of others, you have bullied your way to power. But the respect you seek, you will never receive. All you can gift to others is fear, and in return loathing and contempt is your reward. At the end even your greatest servant plays you for a fool. Your grand attempt at grabbing power has left you grasping thin air – an emperor not only without clothes but also without an empire.
Clackprattle stared vacantly into space.
“What did you say?” said Pook, in an agitated manner, “I couldn’t hear? What did you do to him?”
And you, little pookah, think you’ve played such a grand game. From your little hedge magics and tricks to being here in Paris with the great and the grand. And how proud you are of having this fat buffoon on your puppet strings. But you forget little one the puppet strings that bind you and move you. You forget that when you plot to cut the strings you pull, the one above may do the same. Or do you believe your ultimate master will show you the mercy you will not show to your toy?
Pook stared in front of himself too, lost to the world. The corridor went dark again, and the ghosts disappeared like smoke. The door swung open, leaving the duo staring vacantly into the dark, damp, rotten building.