“Well done Miss Henderson,” said Sir John. “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint us.”
“Indeed,” said the maid, “I have secured the position that Lucy previously held, so I shall have access to all the house.”
Sir John, Marie, Phlebotomous all turned to look at Lucy, who was dressed in plain clothing.
“Once you told me all the terrible things his lordship had done, and was planning, I was glad to be out of it,” said the former maid. “But I do worry now how I shall look after me wee bairns.”
“Miss Smith,” said Sir John, handing her a fat envelope, “thank you for your help. Please accept this payment as compensation for your troubles.”
“Thank you,” said the maid and rose to leave.
“How many children do you have?” said Sir John conversationally.
“Oh none yet,” said Lucy as she was leaving. “But I hope to one day.”
Miss Henderson put her hand over her mouth as Sir John’s mouth dropped.
“Well…at least you made ingress in the castle,” said Sir John.
Miss Henderson looked shocked.
“I did no such thing,” she said, “I had an interview. It was all fine and proper.”
“I mean you secured the role,” said Sir John, panicking slightly.
Miss Henderson recovered.
“Oh I see,” she said.
“How is the… Conjuror getting on?” said Marie.
“Well, he telegrammed to say he had made contact with his friends, and he hopes to persuade them to help,” said Sir John, grateful for the change of topic. “I don’t think we can truly rely on him, or them to tell the truth. But we’ll have to see. Phlebotomous, can you tell us what we’re assuming about the castle?”
“Yes,” said Phlebotomous.
There was a pause.
“Oh now?” he said. “Yes, well I have calculated that in order to achieve the magical transference that he wishes, the Viscount will need a source of power equivalent to 1.21 gigawatts of electricity,”
“Great Scott!” said Sir John. “That’s around the power of a lightning strike.”
“Indeed,” said Phlebotomous, “and that’s what I think he plans to do. Look, here’s a touristic guide to the castle.”
Phlebotomous opened a leaflet explaining about the castle. Everyone muttered appreciatively.
“Here in the centre is a tall spire-like structure. I believe the Viscount will attach his machine to this. He will then wait for a storm, and use the power of the lightning to drive his machine.”
Sir John looked grim.
“Then he may have overcome the problems he had in London. When is the next storm due?” he said.
Phlebotomous pulled out a local newspaper.
“In three days time,” he said. “There is a warning about it, it’s likely to be a dark and stormy night.”
“When do you start?” said Sir John to Miss Henderson.
“Tomorrow at six,” she said.
“You must try and get access to that central spire,” said Sir John. “Meanwhile we’ll need to think of a way to make ingr… to get into the castle. Since he’s Draco Viridis, he’ll know me and Marie for sure. In fact, Miss Henderson, you need to be careful too. You were at the church that night.”
“Don’t worry,” said Miss Henderson, “us maids have a way of passing unseen, like the Scarlet Pimple.”
Sir John looked puzzled.
“I think,” said Marie, “I have an idea.”