Sir John suddenly appeared in front the doors of the Hotel Raoul; blinking into the Paris evening and said,
“Oh no, not again.”
This spontaneous comment had been prompted by the sight of Miss Henderson hitting the policeman known as Pierre very, very hard. The man looked surprised, offended and ultimately unconscious as he made his way down to the ground.
“Felicity!” said Morag, “You’ve punched a policeman! Again!”
“Miss Henderson,” said Sir John crossing the road. “We should probably have a talk about this.”
Miss Henderson stood over the policeman and breathed heavily. Her face was a deep crimson colour that Sir John hadn’t seen before.
“Wake up you backstabber,” said Miss Henderson. “Wake up so I can hit you again.”
“We really can’t keep on hitting policemen,” said Sir John, careful to maintain a reasonable distance.
“Feel free to stop anytime you like,” said Miss Henderson, staring at the constable and seemingly willing him awake. “I’m happy with the arrangements as they stand.”
“But Felicity,” said Morag. “He is on our side. Or was.”
“No, he was not,” said Miss Henderson. “I saw him look at the other chap, the poncey one, and before that he scratched his nose.”
“If you hit every copper that scratches his nose, we’re going to be hitting an awfa lotta coppers,” said Morag.
“What other chap?” said Sir John.
“The one that went in with you,” said Miss Henderson.
“The lizard?” said Sir John. “He was already there.”
“A lizard?” said Miss Henderson, finally turning away from the policeman.
Pierre, apparently noticing he was unobserved, jumped up and ran off.
“Oh… Blast” said Miss Henderson, “Come back you coward, so I can hit you some more.”
“Does that ever work?” said Morag.
“Funnily enough, yes”, said Miss Henderson.
“Look everyone, stop please,” said Sir John. “What has happened here?”
Miss Henderson sighed, the anger leaking out of her.
“That so-called copper, Pierre was a fraud, I’d bet my life on it. Just before you went in Sir John, he looked down the road and scratched his nose, and the next thing you know this fancy looking fellow comes tearing down the street and runs into the doors. They glanced at each other.”
“Miss Henderson,” said Sir John, “I know we need to be cautious but, Morag was right earlier. It’s not strange to scratch your nose or look at someone running.”
Miss Henderson looked a little crestfallen.
“There was something else,” she said, “something that made me think…”
“Look, I’m sure they’ll understand if we explain, it’s an easy mistake to make and everyone is very on edge….” started Sir John.
Miss Henderson clicked her fingers.
“When did you tell him about the avatar?” said Miss Henderson.
“I didn’t,” said Sir John. “I mean we agreed…”
“He said, ‘Is that the avatar?’,” said Miss Henderson.
“Oh dear,” said Sir John.
“Did you see the other fella in there?” said Morag. “Did he get the key piece?”
“No, in fact, actually, well, without wishing to brag, I got the piece,” said Sir John. “So, no harm done.”
“Except,” said Miss Henderson. “if those coppers were in cahoots with Pook and Clackprattle, they know where we stay, they know where the other key pieces are and they know we’re all here.”
The three of them looked at each other then started running.