“Well Mr Bisset,” said Pook merrily, “this all seems to be proceeding very well.”
“Indeed,” said Bisset, “I’m sure your master will be very pleased with your work.”
A small grimace passed over Pook’s face and Bisset smiled discreetly.
Burns, doesn’t it, he thought, when we are ruled by one we think lesser.
“I’m sure he will be too,” said Pook. “I wonder if I can draw your attention to the lady hovering over the lawn over there and heading towards us. Is she also part of the army of Paris?”
Bisset squinted into the distance and saw that Pook was correct. Heading toward them was a woman hovering around six feet above the ground. Bisset didn’t recognise her, but she looked mediterranean.
“Well Mr Pook,” said Bisset, “I have to report the sad fact that I cannot explain this phenomenon, but as she appears to be heading towards us we may soon be able to understand ourselves.”
The woman did indeed seem to be heading toward them at some speed, and a long white dress was billowing behind her. She moved rapidly toward the two men with a fierce look on her face.
“Boss…” said one of the two bodyguards.
“I think I recognise her,” said Pook. “But I can’t say where.”
“Murderer!” said the woman, in a strong accent Bisset couldn’t place. She seemed to be heading toward Pook and descended in front of the men.
“Murderer!” she repeated, staring intently at Pook.
“Madam,” said Bisset. “Please allow me to make introductions, I am Monsieur Bisset and this is Mr Pook.”
“I know who he is,” said the woman. “He killed him, he killed Emile.”
“May I be so bold as to ask your name?” said Bisset.
The woman turned to look at Bisset and he recoiled under her glare.
“I am Sabine Bellevoix… or rather I was,” she said.
“The woman in the picture,” said Pook, clicking his fingers. “Now I place you, although you seem… different somehow. Darker hair and more airborne.”
The woman lurched forward and grabbed Pook by the lapels. He flinched a little.
“Bellevoix… French for good voice… Calliope in Greek,” she said. “My true name. I am the daughter of Zeus, muse of poetry, and lover… and lover of the man you murdered.”
“I see, well perhaps you can inspire us all to write a nice ode to him,” said Pook smirking.
Calliope’s eyes flared and light poured out of them into Pook. He spasmed in her grip and made a terrible moaning sound. When she stopped he stared at her, appalled.
“Those were the powers you were given by someone,” said Calliope. “I have taken them, little creature of the woodlands.”
“It wasn’t me,” said Pook with a look of horror on his face. “It was Clackprattle, I killed Clackprattle. We’re on the same side.”
Light flared once more from Calliope’s eyes and Pook spasmed. Bisset approached the two.
“Please, madam, please,” he said. “There is no need for this. I beg you to stop.”
Bisset got down on his knees as if to emphasise this point.
“You killed my friend,” said Calliope nodding to where Miss Henderson lay. “Your turn will come.”
Bisset ran back in horror and Calliope turned to Pook, now limp in her hands.
“And those were the powers you were born with. Now you are broken, powerless and mine to destroy,” said Calliope.
“Sabine?” said Miss Henderson, weakly.
Calliope dropped Pook and looked at Miss Henderson.
“You’re… alive,” she said.
“Thank god for whalebone corsets,” said Miss Henderson pulling herself up. “Kicks like a donkey when you’re shot but no long term harm done. You look different, you’ve changed your hair. And your skin.”
“Get her!’ said Bisset. Calliope looked at the bodyguards and they both ran away.
“Wise move,” said Calliope.
“Thank you,” said Bisset.
Calliope looked confused for a moment and then saw what Bisset meant. He held the key to the army of Paris aloft. A large number of gargoyles approached the group.