“Well, here we are again,” said Lord Hollingbury cheerily. “Midnight on the promenade with the Omega device.”
He shot a glance at Sir John, who didn’t say anything, then smiled a little.
“Is that them there?” said Marie as they saw a group of men approach. They walked without talking in a small group. They seemed to be carrying a heavy bag.
“I think so,” said Sir John. “They look to be heading toward that new paddling pool.”
The men stopped in front of the pool and dropped the bag gently. Tools were removed and passed around. Mr Wombly started first, leaning down and prying the tiles from the edge of the pool. The tiles were passed back to the group and broken apart, Other members of the group joined Wombly in removing the tiles.
“Good guess on the pool,” said Lord Hollingbury.
“It looked like the most attractive thing after the merry-go-round,” said Sir John. “Now let’s try the Cryptozoetropometer.”
He got the device out and pointed it at the wrecking crew in the pool. He grunted an affirmative sound.
“It’s as we thought, lines of power as we saw before,” he said. “Now I’ll trace them back to their source.”
“Forgive me if I don’t act surprised,” said Lord Hollingbury. “Is it the church, perchance?”
“Exactly,” said Sir John. “Let’s go and see what’s happening there.”
“Tell you what, let’s not.” said Lord Hollingbury.
“But this is what we’ve been looking for?” said Sir John. “We can conclude our investigations.”
“Just out of interest, have you gone up against a group of mysterious cultists before,” said Lord Hollingbury.
“Yes, we did in London,” said Sir John.
“And how did that work out?” asked Lord Hollingbury.
“It went well, by and large,” said Sir John, “although we did have a martial arts expert, a vampire, and a powerful alchemist to hand at the time. Not to mention a large dog.”
“You know Sir John, I never really thought you had the capacity to surprise me but there you go,” said Lord Hollingbury. “The point is, we don’t have those things, just ourselves and our wits. Luckily, at least for me, that’s quite an arsenal, but we need to deploy it correctly.”
“How do you mean,” said Sir John.
“Well, this is my particular area of expertise,” said Lord Hollingbury.
“I thought that was wanton debauchery and drunken decadence?” said Sir John.
“Oh, touché, bravo,” said Lord Hollingbury. “Yes true, but in a professional capacity, this sort of thing is my area of expertise. Assuming these are your common garden cultists, then they’re probably all ensconced in a nice safe circle in the church whilst all sorts of ghoulish what-nots spin around. In order to get to the cultists and avoid the aforementioned what-nots we need a circle of our own and preferably one that moves.”
“What do you have in mind?” said Marie.
“Wait but a moment,” said Lord Hollingbury before opening the door in a nearby shop selling seaside toys. Sir John looked alarmed and Lord Hollingbury returned with 3 large hoops of the type rolled down a street by children.
“That’s robbery!” said Sir John.
“I know,” said Lord Hollingbury, “I only had a double sovereign to leave the shop owners. It’s a disgrace.”
“What do we do?” said Marie.
“Step in these hoops, I’ll mutter some incantations to protect us and we can pick them up and walk to the church, go into the church, and catch the cultists.”
“That’s … a rather good idea,” said Sir John.
“I know,” said Lord Hollingbury. “Look if you wiggle your hips like this you can keep the hoop up without holding it.”
Sir John and Marie tried to wiggle their hips like Lord Hollingbury, but their hoops fell to the ground. Lord Hollingbury sighed.
“I have no idea what you two do for fun,” he said.
The Sunnyport Shadow: Chapter 14