Dark Flo froze in the middle of the courtyard and listened intently as a lonely wind stirred up the dust. She looked around slowly, taking in the general scene. She squatted to observe more closely an area of ground that had attracted her attention. She began a microscopic examination of the open gate.
“What’s she doing now?” asked Phoebles as Flo spotted a small pile of poo beside the path.
“Your ninja has picked up a turd,” observed le Brocq.
Flo held the nugget between finger and thumb. She sniffed at it and then touched it to the tip of her tongue.
“Eeuugh!” The entire company, which had been watching with interest, turned away in disgust.
“That’s the last time I let you kiss me. Er…” Beryl blushed and suddenly discovered a need to study her left shoe.
“Les Chats Suterrains,” cried Flo triumphantly.
“Is anybody there?”
The voice was faint and echoey, as if it came from the bottom of a well. Boz sauntered over to the convent’s well and peered down. It was deep and dark.
“Are you friendly? I’m a bit stuck. Could you pull me up?”
“Where are you?” asked Boz.
“Down here, in a bucket.”
Boz tried to wind the wellhead winch, but it was too stiff. “A hand here one of you. Summat talkative’s stuck down the well.”
“It’ll be Little Timmy,” said Phoebles, “It’s always Little Timmy in the films.”
“Here,” said le Brocq, grabbing the handle. “Make sure the pawl’s on or the winch could run away from us.” Author’s note: this is important information if you are ever winching someone out of a well.
They wound and wound and wound, and the pawl clanked reassuringly. Eventually a strange creature, with Mohican hair and a grubby, wet, orange jumper, emerged sitting in a bucket.
“I’ve lost my specs.”
“We’d best get you wrung out,” said Beryl, “Who are you? And what happened here?”
“Zelda. And I don’t really know. There was a lot of shouting and Mother Superior told me to hide. Then she stuck me in this bucket and dropped me down the well.”
“You didn’t see who was attacking you?”
“It was all a bit of a blur without my spectacles. There’s not many of us here. The front has moved well to the west and most of the girls have gone off with the resistance. If only Captain Blenkinsopp had still been here.”
“You’ve seen Rotskagg?” asked Boz.
“Yes. He threw us a big party, but then he shipped out in his airship to track down Captain Midlands and the renegades.”
“Over here.” Flo was feeling neglected. She pointed to a significantly bent blade of grass. Boz was impressed.
“Grass,” he observed.
“They went this way.” Flo bounded down the hill. Her tracking skills took them directly to the Neolithic tunnel entrance and without hesitation Flo went in. No one followed. After a few minutes she re-emerged.
“It’s a low tunnel, leads to a chamber and then stops. Looks old. They definitely came in, but there’s no tracks coming out.
“It’s a stone age passage, but a space/time tunnel too,” said Zelda, “Les Chats must have turned it off.”
It was pitch black and they were bound tightly with gaffer tape. Kiki had twice as much gaffer tape as the others and her mouth was taped shut too. She was fuming!