The Black Dragon, Chapter 34, Part 2.

Here’s part 2 of chapter 34. things are heating up and the Black Dragon has taken Tim prisoner. What will Suzy do?

Tim.

Saturday July 30, 1932.

I should never have listened to Vic when he gave me the assignment. Find a party and crash it. As he gave me the assignment he added, “Find something at a museum, they are always easy to crash.” I should have picked something easy like a mob party, something on the Gold coast or maybe something that the Rockefellers were having. Since all those people knew who I was, crashing would have been a breeze. But I had to go for the very easy since I didn’t want to use the car or be someplace where Alex and Xing could just trap me. When Abe, the Creator that Jonney had found, told me about the party at the Botanical Gardens it had seemed like an easy thing to do. It was close to the navy yard and the river as well, so I could run if I had to. Doris was always complaining about the stuffed shirt things at places like the Botanical Gardens. Rather than the bigwigs and the rest that I expected, it turned out to be Alex’s family getting together, with pixies dancing and Bob and Scott producing the show with Nera. I had been setup like Xing’s cousin had. Of course, he was crashing the party too. So Alex and Xing caught me at last and dumped me right in front of Suzy for a big Suzy tease. We did spend a wonderful night in the harbor watching a liner arrive in the late evening and finding a nice cozy nook to be together in.

Saturday morning, I Swam up to my little headquarters and got dressed in the Little Timmy outfit that I kept there. The first order of business was Vic, who showed up right after I did. “So how did it go at that party that you crashed.”
“I wasn’t the only one who crashed that party. I think that I saw you there as well. Considering that it was a fae party, that is rather amazing, considering that the party must have had aversions on it.”
“It pays to have friends.”
“Noro, your old friend and fellow scoundrel.”
“Actually in this case, it was George the curator, who isn’t fae either, letting me and Doris into a rather special party. Noro didn’t know about it until Nera recruited him to catch the boys.”

“That party seemed to go together very fast. Faster than something that Chrissie could setup.”

“Actually the party was already in the works. Alex was the surprise, but according to Barbara, who also knows me, they had decided to put something together a month or so ago and work around what Suki was planning for the thing yesterday morning. Nera and her people were just a bonus when Barbara discovered her down at Bennie’s. They were going to take advantage of the wedding on Sunday and whatever Suki was going to do.”

“Suki lost out.”

“Actually, she and Tochi snuck in with the kids. They were all there. But this way it wasn’t something they did and official and they could enjoy themselves without the circus that goes with them doing something themselves. They brought Misako and her parents. Leo brought Nanami. So what else did you get while evading our dragon friends?”

I handed him the notes I had written up about some of the things I had overheard. I had written the notes before Vic showed up. There was a bunch of Brooklyn politics and some business stuff. Of course I had had one problem. “A big bunch of the people couldn’t talk with me.”

“That happens. Not because they are in Change, but for because of other issues. You did fairly well for a first time. You were also being fairly discreet.”
“I was trying to avoid getting Alex and Xing on my tail. Not discreet enough.”
At this point, I was fairly sure that I had been set up. This had Noro and Vic’s fingerprints all over it. How Abe was involved, I would have to find out. The good thing is that Alex found his family if all the dragons I had seen last night were any indication.

As the boys trooped in I had them looking into what the Yaoguai were up to. Frankie poked his head in and said, “The truck is back.”

“What truck?”

“The truck that’s bugging Mr.Lanza.”

Mr. Lanza had been letting us alone, something which made me rather happy because when I had had my spot, his boys had tried to shake me down and it had taken quite a bit of effort to get them off my back. After the boys and I went back and forth with some running on my part, some pain on theirs and quite a bit of mayhem all around, I recruited some other boys, punched back and they stopped trying to shake me down. I’m not sure why. Knowing what I know now, my dad may have told Socks to back off. “Why is the truck bothering Socks?”
“It’s been here Thursday and yesterday, didn’t load anything and is a cattle truck. There’s also something really wrong about it. We could all feel it, even Jimmy. All the kids could. Come out and look.”
I went to the door and in front of the fish market, across the street, was a cattle truck just parked and as Frankie said, not doing anything. I saw several kids cross the street to get away from it. I looked around and there were a bunch of Greek looking characters and some Yaoguai hanging around as well.

I turned to Frankie and said, “Quietly put the word out to the boys that we want this truck to get the treatment. You have pictures already.”
“Yes, we took them when the truck first showed up and again yesterday. The obvious pictures taken with an unshielded camera had issues. Do you think that this is one of Noro’s gags?”

“If the kids were acting normally, I would. This could be something else. I’m going to make a trip. I will be back in a bit. Give me the negatives for the pictures. I think that I want to have more prints made.”

Frankie went back in and handed me the envelope with the negatives. I reached into my satchel and took my camera out and took still more pictures. That was when Mr. Lanza spotted me and waved me over. I sauntered down the street to his usual spot in front of the little hotel. “Tim, I saw you taking some pictures of that truck. I think I know what you are going to do with them. Make sure that your dragon friends get them.”
“I’m on my way there right now. I’m also making some stops and giving that truck the same treatment that the Sharks got. So if it goes someplace, we’ll know where it goes.”
“You should have done that yesterday.”
“I was busy yesterday and wasn’t here. Frankie just told me about the truck.”
“What are your plans for the clowns over there?”
“I’m hoping that I can tie them up this afternoon at the festival and give them to Alex for an engagement present.”

Socks gave me a little slap on the head, “Get going kid! I better hear that you got that done quick!”

I ran off and over to the office. Mary was there and said, “So what is Little Timmy finding for us today?”

“Some pictures of a truck that I want to give the treatment to.”

“You haven’t done that since the Manager’s car. What’s special about this truck?”

“I think it’s full of dragon. Kids won’t go near it and cameras get messed up when they take pictures.”

“Those are pretty big clues. Did you bring the negatives?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Take them back and then come back and tell me about the wonderful party that Alex and Xing had.”
“You missed it? Mike and Nera were there. So were Steve and Rillia and some others.”

“We went to Bennie’s and talked with Meria and your parents. We were going to do that earlier, but meeting with Barbara was a bit more important and then we came back to the office to check in. So we couldn’t make it this time. It looked like it was going to be amazing.”
“It was. Alex’s family is almost as big as Eric’s and likes to have fun. They certainly helped me get caught.”

“You were warned by Xing’s cousin to watch out for food being left out.”
“This wasn’t food, though there was plenty of that, including some from Bennie’s. There was pixie dancing with the band from the Pennsylvania again and dragons dancing too. Of course Suzy made me think she was annoyed that I was watching the dancers without her. That just happened and we came right back after Xing caught me and dropped me in front of Suzy.”
“So they caught you at last. You led them on a merry and informative Chase. Now go take the film and come back and tell me all about it.”
I took the film back to a grinning Steve and said, “I hope that you were taking pictures at the party last night.”
He grinned. “Yes I was. Weren’t you taking any?”

“I was crashing and didn’t want to make it obvious. Vic was watching and he would have caught me taking pictures.”

“So you were on an assignment. What will you trade for the pictures?”

“What do you want?”

“Good coverage of our wedding next month. You are invited.”
“That’s easy. You have a deal. I would throw in cookies, but you know about those already.”
“How come you didn’t use those to bait Alex?”
“I did, but they seemed to miss them. Somebody found them, the Yaoguai, more than likely.”

“So what are these pictures?”
“A truck that’s been hanging around the fish market and bugging some people.”
“Little Timmy?”
“No, but Little Timmy is making the local boss happy by giving the truck the treatment.”

“So this is the truck that Socks was complaining about yesterday. That means that I don’t have to get pictures. I was going to stake out the fish market a bit later, but this way the pictures don’t connect to us. Go back out front and keep Mary happy while I make the prints. You want about twelve to start, probably.”

“That should do it. Use this picture of the side of the truck. I want one for here, one for my shack, two for the paper, two for Steve and some more for the boys. I’ll leave those at the desk here and at the loading dock at the paper.”

“That sounds like a plan. Who will handle the map?”

“I will, I think. Who has Vinnie’s pins?”

“Mary does. We collected all that stuff after everything was over in case we needed it again and set it up in a box. Vinnie actually went over the system at the FBI’s thing this year.”

I went back out front, talked with Mary and collected the box with the pins in it and rest. Steve brought the pictures out and I headed over to the paper and said, to the loading dock manager, “Tell the boys that I want this truck given the treatment. Same deal as last time. Tell them to bring the pictures over to my place next to the fish market.”

“Lunch here again, Tim?”

“Yup. They’ll go for it. Let’s have it next Saturday.”

If this was the Dragon, I figured that he wouldn’t last that long. I went upstairs to the news desk, dropped the picture off and told the guy at the desk the same thing. Then it was off to a map store to find a big map of the city and then back to my shack to hand over the map and pins to Frankie. I said to him, “We’re going to give that truck the treatment. You know what to do with this. Put the word out. I’m going to use the Tiger’s money to buy some lunches.”

Frankie grinned as I headed back to the bridge and navy yard. The truck was still there as I walked past. Some Yaoguai tried to tail me, but I lost them and handed a spritz bottle to a paperboy with a fiver and told him to spritz a trail and hand it off to somebody else. Taking a bath and keeping the water was paying off. I used a mud puddle and some horsecrap to mask my trail somewhat as I was heading to the navy yard. I reached the navy yard and went in through the gate. There was no sign of a tail as I went through. I went over to the girl’s pool where Suzy was waiting. “Are we still on for the festival for lunch?”

“Yes, unless something shows up.”
“What might show up?”
“There is a truck near the fish market that has been making people nervous.”
“Did you tell Mary?”

“Just came from there. The truck is getting the treatment.”

“Good. Do you think that the Black Dragon is inside?”
“I think so. Kids won’t go near it and the truck makes every fae on the street nervous. So far he hasn’t shown himself. If he does, it’s going to be painful for him. I’ve had the Joey and some of the other boys from the Academy up in the buildings looking through the windows with their rifles the whole time. Nobody’s noticed them yet. The Dragon might be tough, but he’s going to get hurt if he starts something.”

“Don’t take risks.”
“I’m trying not to. So far my precautions are working.”
“I’m not working today, so, I will be coming over.”

“Good, I need to make another stop and arrange to get something delivered.”
“What?”

“Puppet Tim.”
Suzy smiled. “You had a Puppet made?”

“I figured that it would be useful for the exchange, especially when the exchange went bust. I wasn’t too worried about the Yaoguai, but the other characters and the Black Dragon are a different story.”

Mary must have told Alex and Xing that I was coming here, because they showed up. Xing was grinning and said, “I hear that you are giving that truck the treatment. What is the ‘treatment?’”

“Ask Robert. He knows.”

“Bill at the gate said that you had a picture for me,” Steve said as he walked in.

“The boys got pictures of the truck. I gave most of them to Steve at the bureau and had Steve make copies to pass around. I had copies made for you and Tim.”

I handed him the photos. “I also put out the word that the truck gets the treatment.”

“Make sure that you tell Robert. He’ll be glad that the car won’t be a target anymore.”

Xing frowned. “Somebody explain the ‘treatment’ and why it involves various vehicles.”

“Tim, you were responsible for it, so you tell her,” Alex said with a grin. “Otherwise she might Chase you again.”

I explained about the Manager’s car, Andy and using the paper boys to track the car. “By the time it was over Athena said that she felt like a movie star and Robert was rather annoyed at me.”

“What about the Sharks?”

“They never figured out what was going on, right up to the last day.”

“Is the truck still at the fish market?”

“It was when I was there before coming over here. I think that something wants to see what I am like.”

“I understand that you need to pick something up, Alex said. “I brought the car and we can go over and pick it up.”
“So I was set up yesterday. I thought that your family was on my side, Xing?”

“Mine was. Father and mother did very well in working to confound us. Alex’s family was on ours. The problem we had was that we didn’t discover them until Thursday night.”
“That party went together very quickly, but Vic explained that they were already planning something for the gardens and Barbara just took advantage, along with Suki and Stella.”

“We missed Suki,” Alex said. “Her kids were there, but we sort of figured that they were with Jim’s and Andy. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised that she would be looking into my family.”

“No you shouldn’t have, especially when you turned out to have a wonderful family, Alex,” Suki said as she walked in with Xing’s parents, Jim and Adelle. “We missed you this morning.”

“We were trying to catch up with Tim before things got too involved,” Alex said. “So we went straight to the office this morning. Mary sent us here. We wanted to make sure that we have a plan for the exchange at the festival this afternoon. Little Timmy is supposed to exchange the treasures for a large sum of money today.”

“The Dragon will not hand the money over. He will attempt to steal what he wants.”

“How are you certain, Suki?”

“The Dragon has been around a long time and there are a lot of stories about him, even in Japan. Adelle, Chin-ling and I combined what we knew and we found a wonderful man at the museum who had access to old scrolls with still more stories. Adelle talked with him and he shared a lot. In all the stories the Dragon almost always resorts to treachery.”

Mike came in with Noro and a man that I hadn’t seen for over three years after he set the con up, cleaned that character out and set Sal and Vinnie on him. Noro said, “Since we are probably coming to the end of Tim’s little game, I brought in a professional to evaluate the end. Tim, how were you planning to end this?”

“I was going to use a variation of the shell game” I said. They know that I have all four of the objects and the cabinet. I was going to act as if I didn’t trust them, which I don’t, show them the cabinet and then handle the money. I was going to keep the cabinet in a car and tell them that I would hand over the keys to the car when they handed the money over. Then I was going to arrange for some cops to show up, confuse the issue, switch the cabinets and have the car left behind. The cabinet in the car was going to have the fakes that we had all had made, which are actually better than their fakes because we had the real things when we had them made.”
“That would have actually worked, especially since you and I had the fakes constructed so that they mimic the response of one of the treasures to somebody that is unfit,” Noro said. “How were the Puppet and Olivia supposed to fit in?”
“Olivia was going to mimic me and run in a different direction and Ray was going to spritz my scent up to Houston St. where Sal was supposed to shoot Puppet me.

Sal, Ray, Olivia and I talked about it when the Yaoguai set things up.”
“You didn’t tell us,” Alex said. “I think that you didn’t get the chance and Ray would have if you hadn’t this morning. I don’t think that this plan will work. That truck hanging around is an indication that it will not.”

“Do you think that the Dragon will kill me right off the bat?”

“That would be stupid,” Xing said, “especially if he thinks that you are the only one who knows where all four of the treasures are. Where are they, by the way?”

“Noro’s building, in his office, in the shielded room, in separate shielded boxes, scattered in other shielded boxes. Both cabinets are there as well with all the fakes inside. Your parents and I set it up after they got back from the Cape.”

“So which of my, oh so loyal employees set me up,” Noro said.

“Figure it out.”

“It has to be Stacey. You used your family slots and picked up Altris and Stacey. Very clever. Cornelius would have loved it. Stacey can get in the building anytime she wants and you work for the newsletter. So I wasn’t paying attention when you were talking with them. She’s been down here this week as well. Altris to get you access to the business office and Stacey to get you access to the building that was hidden from me. Who made the second cabinet?”

“Xing’s dad brought it. It was made at the same time as the first one.”
“Father, you didn’t tell Alex or me about that!”
“Xing dear, we were on Tim’s side, remember?” Chin-ling grinned. “You didn’t need to know about a second cabinet and Tim might have needed it in the Chase to distract you. It was better that you didn’t know.”

‘I think that I can understand why. So how do we handle this?”

“Joel, what do you think?”

“If the mark is already thinking of using ways to cheat, you have him. This character is probably looking to grab Tim and force him to hand over what he wants. Since you have fakes already, that’s easy. You hand them the fakes.”
“It might be hard on Tim,” Alex said. “On the other hand, maybe we can play a shell game with that as well. Tim, why don’t we collect your other self? We’ll be right back.”

Xing, Alex and I left in a bureau car and headed for Abe’s. I wasn’t really surprised that Alex knew the way. “How do you know Abe?”

“He was a friend of my father’s. He is also the community that I didn’t know about’s Creator. I found out about that when I went to talk to him about bait.”

“Bait for me, probably.”

“That was a big part of it,” Xing said. “Once we talked to Abe, other things became more important. By the way the whole family owes you a debt and appreciates your sacrifice. Alex and I learned a lot about you during the Chase.”
“The Yaoguai got your cookies, though.”

“What cookies!? Alex!”

“I left some cookies for you to find at the warehouse, but you weren’t in Change and didn’t smell them. The Yaoguai did and took them.”

“Kay’s cookies? I hope that they ate them in front of the Black Dragon. Since he cannot release his Change, he can’t taste sweets anymore.”

“I’m not sure what they did with them. I suspect that they enjoyed them.”

We arrived at Abe’s and Abe was talking to Bob and Scott about projectors. Bob saw us come in and said, “Alex, I wish that you had told us about Abe a long time ago. On the other hand, we didn’t exactly have a lot of time to ask around when we were here with Uncle Tom and we didn’t figure out how many Constructs we were going to need until later.”
“Could you manage some Constructs if we need them?”

“We talked with Abe about getting some. Mike was saying the same thing last night and we were talking to Xing’s dad and her cousin last night. We called my dad and he’s having Uncle Boris pull our Construct handling equipment out and sending it down by railroad express. We’re going to pick it up at Grand Central tomorrow.”

“The Black Dragon has dealt with Constructs before,” Xing said. “My father used them against him when my father attempted to assault the Dragon’s fortress.”

“He told us. On the other hand the Black Dragon hasn’t seen us manage Constructs and we’re better than just about everybody else. We only want them for diversions anyway.”

“Let’s see how Tim does with Little Timmy. I hope that you brought appropriate clothing.”
I had and after dressing it, I played around with the Puppet, then we put it the car and headed back to the navy yard. After going through the gate, we went over to Steve’s office and Steve said, “How about I run Little Timmy over and stash him in the fish market on the pier. That way the Yaoguai and whatever’s in the truck won’t see him. I also will put some people on the pier until the truck leaves.”

Steve went to bring back some people and with one of his people took Little Timmy toward the harbor. Suki, Noro and Xing’s parents had already left and Alex said, “We’ll take Suzy and wait across the street from your little operation.”

I made my way back to the shack and the truck was still there but things seemed quiet otherwise. As it was getting closer to the rendezvous time I started toward the festival. I had already arranged for the car and cabinet to be brought downtown from the office after I made a call. I was going to make the call to the office when I arrived at the festival and checked things out. What I hadn’t told Noro was that it wasn’t just one employee in on the prank. The entire building was in on it. Stacey gave the ok for the access to the shielded room because she was family and family had to do that, because of the way Noro had set up the aversions when he shielded the room in the first place, but I had George and most of the security staff and Noro’s secretarial pool in on it as well as Lou. Josh was staying out of it other than keeping Noro distracted a bit. Once Noro had involved himself in the Chase, he hadn’t realized yet that it had started a keep Noro occupied mission and his entire building was trying to put one over on him. George was going to hand the cabinet to some of his people who were going to come down with it. Big Jim and Dom already had some people at the festival who were going to keep an eye on the car.

As I was making my way across the street into downtown, I was accosted by the character that had been pushing before and his Greek friend. “We wish to talk to you about the things that you acquired.”

“We were gonna make de transfuh at de festival. I have it all set up. All yuh have tuh do is brin’ de money and it will go ovuh nice and easy. Yuh with me?”

“You don’t seem to have the objects with you.”

“Do I look stoopid tuh yuh? Of cawhse not. Dose tings are hot in mawh than one way. De dragons are lookin’ fawh dem and so are some othuh people I can’t tawhk about. If I go wawhkin’ around wit’ dem, I could brin’ all sawhts of pain down on me dat I don’t want and piss off my family mawh than dey are already, okay? I’m already in shallow watuh wit’ dem and I wanna keep dis as quiet as possible. Your clowns haven’t helped one bit. Dis was supposed tuh be easy. Ya’ dig? Just find some tings and tell dat charactuh where dey were, nice and simple. Den yuh characters showed up and wanted me tuh ackshully get de tings since yuh couldn’t. Dat was aftuh pissin’ off most of de fae in town includin’ my family. Yuh also offered Mr. Benton a price and I thought dat was a good numbuh fawh de grief I was gonna get when dis is ovuh. Now aftuh de hard wawhk is done, yuh don’t wanna pay up. Well if yuh don’t, I can find othuh customers, now dat I have de tings.”

“How will we inspect the objects during the exchange?”

“I’ve got it handled. Don’t wawhry about it. I’ll tell yuh at de exchange when yuh brin’ de money, okay?”

“My principle would like to make the inspection now. Can you obtain the objects?”

“Not here. As I told yuh, dey are in a shielded box in a shielded room in a shielded buildin’. De room has strong aversions on it and even I don’t know where it is in de buildin’. I make a call and dey show up at de festival. Yuh show me de money and I tell yuh where tuh go tuh see dat de tings are ackshully dere. Yuh with me? Yuh send somebody tuh see de tings and when he says dat dey are de real tings, yuh hand me de money, I hand yuh a key and we all wawhk away happy, okay? Haven’t yuh evuh done a deal befawh?”

The character stood as if was talking with somebody and then said, “Unfortunately, that is not good enough.”

The truck shook, the canvas cover ripped and the Black Dragon slunk out and headed toward me. I did the obvious thing and ran, as all hell broke loose behind me. I could hear shots going off and reached for my gun, gripping on air. Only after my hand closed on nothing did I remember that it was hanging on the hook in my shack with my suit because I was going to change clothes after switching with the Puppet. I headed up the pier toward where Steve had the Puppet and suddenly a large section of the pier collapsed in front of me as the Dragon Pulled on it. I turned around through the fish market trying to sense where the Dragon was as I ran back toward the street. I figured that the Dragon had put people in the water, where they were getting a nasty surprise from Steve’s people and headed back toward the street. I never sensed the guy with the sap as everything went dark.

I woke up with a headache being slapped around. I was on steel cot being slapped by one of the Greek characters. He looked a bit battered and not happy. He dragged me up and out the door. When he did, I realized that I knew where we were. This was the old dye factory that had been abandoned and that Billy and I had been exploring when the vampire started to hunt for us. He found Billy first and I got away and tried to tell my dad about it. Dad hadn’t listened and the cops hadn’t either. Of course the cops probably had somebody who had been compelled telling them to ignore certain things. Billy’s parents tried but the vampire was too slippery. They didn’t want me to know certain things anyway.

The Greek character dragged me into a big room where the Dragon and the other character were waiting. The character said, “I am Jean and I will be the go between.”

“Well Jean, yuh can tell your boss here dat he has made tings painful fawh himself. Ya’ dig? I was playin’ it straight wit’ yuh. Butcha had tuh mess it up.”

“The Dragon has already experienced some pain and the Lieutenant here lost five of his people in the water.”

“What d’jexpectt? Yuh people have been sittin’ dere in dat truck fawh de last three days. De fish market’s boss called me in tuh look into yuh and we don’t get along. He probably made some othuh calls.”

“The seafolk in the water?”

“De navy yard is across de rivuh. Dere are a lot of seafolk dat wawhk dere. Includin’ my girl and huh dad. Yuh’ve been sittin’ dere in dat ship. De ship dat dey’ve been lookin’ fawh. Yuh shouldn’t have been surprised when de navy people show up.”

“How did you know that the navy was looking for the ship?”

“I’m in de business of findin’ tings fawh people. Dat Chinese Charactuh wasn’t my only client. I also have connecshuns and I just said dat my girl wawhks dere. We met at de market next doawh while I was lookin’ into somethin’. So I can tawhk tuh de navy guys. Yuh got me so fahr?”

“Are they a client?”
“I wouldn’t tell dem dat de Chinese Charactuh is a client and I’m not gonna tell yuh if de Admiral is one of my clients. Especially since yuh aren’t.”

“You did some work for us.”
“Dat Chinese charactuh paid fawh dat. He said tuh wawhk wit’ yuh, so I did, okay? Frankly I should have just told yuh characters tuh take a hike. All yuh’ve done is try tuh push me around and mess tings up. Since de Chinese Charactuh has left de picture, yuh need tuh start payin’ and right now it’s lookin’ tuh get expensive.”

He had that talking look again and then said, “Your life might seem to be a fair exchange.”

“Yuh’ve been sayin’ tings like dat right along. Are yuh really dat stoopid? Didn’t yuh listen when I said dat I had connecshuns. Dat charactuh dere could eat me. Den what? Yuh still won’t have whatcha came fawh and if I’m out of de picture yuh won’t even know where tuh start lookin’. Dat charactuh has been lookin’ fawh dese tings fawh a long time and if he eats me, I’ll tell yuh right now dat he will nevuh see de tings fawh de shawht time dat he is alive. Yuh with me? My family and I may be on de outs, but dey will take somethin’ like me bein’ eaten radder personally. Since de ting wit’ de Directawh, so will a lot of othuh people, okay?”

“You worked for the Director.”
“Dat was strictly business. I was a kid and my grandparents started me into dat. Dey had done de same ting fawh a long time. Most of dat was watchin’ his idiots and chasin’ aftuh what happened when Mr. Benton was in town, along wit’ lookin’ into de people dat were bumpin’ off de Directawh’s monsters. I kept doin’ it tuh see how the Directawh operated and when de Directawh was gone, spilled everythin’ tuh my family. But dat is why I have de Troubleshootuh keepin’ an eye on me.”

“Who is your family?”

“Yuh will find out, de easy way or de hard way. I was tryin’ tuh make tings easy and yuh had tuh mess tings up.”
“How about we contact your girl and have her retrieve the objects?”
“She can’t.”

“For tail reasons?”
“No, becawze she doesn’t know de connecshun and de connecshun won’t just hand de tings ovuh wit’out my call.”

“You could call now.”

“Show me de money first, plus anudder hundred grand kidnap bonus. Ackshully I can’t call until Tuesday. My connecshun was gonna use lunch tuh pull de tings and come downtown. Since I didn’t make de call, de tings are still where dey were.”
“We could get them if you tell us.”

“Do I look stoopid? Yuh’ve been threatenin’ tuh kill me. Why should I make your life easy and get eaten fawh dat. I’ll tell yuh anyway since it won’t do yuh any good. De tings are in de White Buildin’. Good luck gettin’ in dere. I’ve been watchin’ yuh operate. Geawhge at de desk will just take yuh apart.”

“You can get in the building easily enough.”

“I know de angles and de back doawhs. Nobody pays much attenshun tuh kids makin’ deliveries and I use dat. I also do favawhs fawh people and it pays off. As I said, dat Chinese Charactuh is not my only client. So I can get in and rattle de old man a bit, Geawhge growls at me and throws me out when he catches me, okay? It’s a game we play and we’ve been doin’ it fawh a while. He wants de old man rattled anyway. But I can’t just prance in dere and get tuh a room dat I don’t even know where it is dat has aversions on it dat de old man put on. Yuh need permission from a family membuh and I don’t have it, let alone yuh. So even if yuh could get in de buildin’, it won’t help yuh.”

“Why did you put the objects in a place that you couldn’t even get to?”

“If I couldn’t get tuh dem, and I didn’t tell anybody else, nobody was gonna mess wit’ dem and mess tings up.”

“You told us.”

“Why not? Yuh haven’t been able tuh keep up wit’ de dragon lady and huh partnuh, let alone de old man. Ya’ dig? If yuh try tuh go into de old man’s buildin’ now dat he knows dat yuh are tryin’ fawh it, he’ll just arrange tuh have yuh Troubleshot. Dat is if de Troubleshootuh doesn’t show up on his own. As I told yuh, he’s a relative and since yuh made such a splash right in front of Mr. Lanza, who knew who I was and almost certainly called my dad right aftuh tings were ovuh, I imagine dat de Troubleshootuh has been called already.”

“They won’t find us.”

“De clock started when yuh showed up in dat ship last Friday, de ship dat is still in de harbawh and bein’ watched. At least dat was when I found it. Are yuh sure dat yuh haven’t been tailed. I wouldn’t be, since if my boys could do it, othuh people could as well. Den dere is de problem dis charactuh has. If dey’re any fae kids near here, somebody is gonna wonduh why dis place has a taint. My boys have been watchin’ dat truck of yawhs fawh de last three days and we picked up on it almost immediately. Socks has some Swimmers dat wawhk fawh him and dey have kids too, so he probably was tawhkin’ tuh people about your truck. Den dere are de people dat I can’t tawhk about lookin’ into tings and de old man pokin’ around, tuh say nuttin’ of Mr. P. and his crowd. If de Yaoguai know about dis place and come here, yuh will be found. Of cawhse your biggest problem is gonna be Bill.”

“Bill?”

“He’s Mr. Benton’s fawheman. Really likes tuh hunt monsters and enhanced adversaries. Gives a class on how tuh do it and yuh just gave him a huge monstuh tuh hunt. He’s in town right now givin’ a class. He’s probably lookin’ fawh yuh, right now and when he finds yuh, I hope dat your will is all made up. As fawh dis charactuh, is dere a bounty on his head in China? Bill already has enough trouble collectin’ on de Colonel. He’s makin’ a trip latuh in de year and gettin’ de royal treatment along wit’ all sawhts of presents. He’s been lean on monsters recently and dis charactuh will be just de ting tuh give him a wawhkout. Yuh got me so fahr?”

Apparently somebody had already told ‘Jean’ about Bill, because he started to look very nervous. He had that talking attitude and then said to the Greek character, “Lieutenant, take the young man back to his room and then come back.”

They took me back to the room and I lay down on the bed. My head still hurt a bit and I was sweating more than a bit. I was also going to have to break out and call before Suzy got too upset. Now that was scary. Monster dragons had nothing on an upset mermaid. She was going to be mad at me for leaving my gun behind. Not that it would have changed anything as I had been so focused on the Black Dragon that I never even saw the guy who sapped me.

The lieutenant brought dinner, I ate the food and left the plate by the door. Things seemed to be quiet and when I scanned next to the door, the guard there wasn’t moving. I tried using my abilities on the lock, but they didn’t work. I knew how to pick locks, but I didn’t bother, since the guards was right outside the door and I didn’t want him to think that I could do things that the typical fae couldn’t do.

Once it was getting dark, I phased through the wall and discreetly went to the fence and moved the board that was still loose from the days when Billy and I used to explore here. Then I walked down to the general store where we used to get candy and soda pop. The place was closed, but the phone booth was still there, I dropped a nickel in the phone and dialed Bennie’s. I figured that they had used it as a headquarters again if they tracked the truck into Brooklyn. Bennie picked up and I said, “Bennie, it’s Tim.”

“Tim! Where are you? Hold on, there’s somebody here who very much wants to talk with you.”

“Tim, how come you didn’t have your gun?”

“Suzy, I put it on the hook with my suit so that I could make the switch with the Puppet. I never got the chance to make the switch and then everything blew up. What happened?”
“The Black Dragon started to go after you, all sorts of people shot at him, you ran, the Black Dragon destroyed part of the pier, Xing’s grandfather attacked the Black Dragon and was killed. The Black Dragon managed to get back on his truck and the truck got across the bridge before we lost it. Where are you? Wait a second, Alex is here, tell him. Sal and I are starting right up with your dad as soon as you tell Alex where you are.”

 

Alex came on the line. “Tim, where are you?”

“In front of a general store that I know about.”

The operator cut in to request another nickel and Alex said, “Operator, this is part of a Federal investigation” and gave a number. The operator cut out and Alex said, “Where is the store and where is the Black Dragon?”

I gave the address and added. “The Black Dragon and his people are in an old dye factory that Billy and I used to play in. He set himself up in my old neighborhood.”

Alex repeated the address and said, “Stay where you are, Suzy, Sal and your dad are on the way.”

“Ok, but I want to go back in before they miss me.”

“Why?”

“You and Bill need time to get things set up and I don’t want the Dragon going on a rampage. He thinks that I can’t get to the things until Tuesday. So if I play him along, we can finish this.”

“Suzy is NOT going to be happy. On the other hand, Bob and Scott have Constructs ready, both Bills want a crack at this character and Xing wants her shot. She was rather upset with what happened to the old man.”

“So am I. He was a wonderful guy and I wanted a long talk with him.”

“Xing’s dad wants the Black Dragon’s head stuffed and Xing’s mom wants another part of him roasted. They are not happy. Noro isn’t much better and you’ll find out about your dad. As for making plans, we still have that thermite. I need to hang up. Mary and the boss just came in.”

He hung up and I sat down to wait. I don’t know how many traffic laws Sal broke, but about fifteen minutes after I hung up, the Duesie showed up with Sal, my dad, Suzy and Mike. Suzy called out, “Tim! You get over here right now! I have some things to give you.”

I went over and she handed me my gun, two spare magazines, a leather pouch that looked familiar and some water tubes.

“What’s in the pouch?”

“Bill gave it to me. He said that it can be useful in certain circumstances.”

I opened it and inside were things that looked like jacks but were pointed, marbles, some small cans of paint and oil, matches, some exploding boats, a bag of ground pepper and a bag of chalk dust. Suzy continued, “Bill thought that you would need this before he would. He had another one anyway.”

“This is the sort of things he talks about in his course. The Dragon is a bit big for this stuff.”

“The Yaoguai aren’t. We talked on the way up here and we think that you will have to go back in.”
“I was planning to. Why did you come to that conclusion?”

“The Black Dragon is getting desperate and if you just disappeared who knows what he might do. Your dad says that there are a lot of kids in the area, especially fae kids since a lot of fae families moved out here before the subway came.”

I gave Mike and dad a quick report of my conversation with the Black Dragon. Mike took noted and dad did not look happy. Alex had been right about that.

 

Dad said, “I want this thing destroyed. I lived here for years and I made some mistakes in not noticing the things that were happening, like Heinrich, that vampire and the funny house. But the things kept coming. I know that you, Billy and the others used to play in those woods over there and bug Ralph Dillings and his farm by raiding his sweet corn. I always assumed that things were essentially safe here. I had to watch most of my brothers and sisters shot by people compelled by a Twisted and I thought that I had a handle on them. Still the dark snuck in. I can’t destroy this thing myself, but I can let you know how proud I am of you, Tim and help you, Alex, Bill and the rest destroy this thing before it hurts more people. He killed his own brother today, a wonderful and insightful man who I was just starting to know. All to chase after you because he didn’t want to pay you the price he had agreed to.”
“I wasn’t going to turn the things over to him, regardless.”

“That would have been a minor sin and he was stealing them in the first place, after killing Xing’s brother and others. The money he had was stolen as well. I think that you need to get back inside. We don’t want him to rampage around looking for you. Kiss Suzy and get going.”

I kissed Suzy and she said, “You be safe. Don’t take dangerous risks and watch them.”

“I won’t. I know the building better than they do and the area even better, so I can find places to hide if I need them.”

“Be ready.”

With that, I left them and snuck back into the building and the old office as Sal drove away again. I put my gun under the pillow and fell asleep.”

Alex

Saturday July 30, 1932.

We woke up early and I nudged Xing out of the apartment before her parents could show up. As we were eating breakfast in the usual place, she asked, “Why the rush? The Chase is over.”

“The Chase is over, but Tim’s game with the Black Dragon isn’t. I want to get together with him this morning, see what his strategy is and make sure that we have a handle on things. So we’re chasing him, rather than Chasing him. I’m a bit concerned that if we get together with your parents we’ll get locked down doing something else and leave Tim in the lurch.”

“Good point, especially as mother probably wants to get together with Barbara and us about the house.”

Chasing Tim turned out to be a bit exasperating as we looked into his shack, where the truck had shown up again, the office, where Mary pointed us at the navy yard and I picked up a car and finally the navy yard where we caught up with Tim, Xing’s parents, Suki and Noro all caught up with us and it turned out that Xing’s parents and Noro had been concerned about the same things we had been. We took Tim over to pick up Little Timmy and handed him over to Steve for discreet transportation across the river and took Suzy to wait for Tim while he made his way across the bridge.

We parked the car more or less under the bridge and watched the truck. Tim came back and as it was time to head over the festival and check things out, he starrted across that street and the man that Xing and I had seen talking with Tim earlier in the week accosted him with the other man who was probably seafolk. I put a sense string out and listened and then suddenly all hell broke loose as the Black Dragon emerged from the truck and started to go after Tim who ran toward the pier. I pulled my gun, not sure how much damage that I could do, but I was about the last one shooting as from about five different places, the Dragon was hit with rifle fire. The Dragon bellowed and tried to flame the windows where the shooters were,but they backed away, probably to reload anyway as the Dragon was hit by some water tube guns from boys on the street and a tommy gun from one of Sock’s people. The Dragon ignored that and Pulled to wreck a chunk of the fish market pier that Tim was probably on. There was some swirling and blood in the water and suddenly Xing called out, “Master, NO!”

A white shape barreled into the Black Dragon and tore into him, but the Black dragon managed to get his fore paw on the White Dragon and cut a deep gouge down the front of the White Dragon before tossing him away. The shooters were back and firing as the Black Dragon limped toward his truck. I looked around for Tim and there were two of the Greek men carrying him quickly to a car that drove off. Xing and I quickly got back in the car and pursued, but the other car lost us in traffic and we went back to the mess. Two of Tim’s boys were trying to perform first aid on Bai Long, but the injuries were deep and severe and it was unlikely that he would last long enough for Mary to get here. Xing went over and I followed, as Bai Long, in obvious pain, said, “I guess that I will not get the chance to teach your children after all. I was looking forward to that.”

Xing’s mother showed up and cried as Bai Long breathed his last. Xing and her mother both cried over the man that they loved so much. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the time to grieve for the man right now. I looked around, but the Yaoguai and the rest had disappeared except for some bodies on the ground, guns still nearby. Sirens signalled approaching cops as Socks came over and said, “How do you want to handle this? We can’t exactly tell them about the Dragon.”

“Mob war or Communists.”

“Crazy anarchists, or considering that those boys are Chinese, Chinese gang trying to cause trouble down here. Jim doesn’t want a mob way making the papers. But the Chinese don’t listen and they came down here to shake us up. They started shooting and we defended ourselves. The Yaoguai have been making a name for themselves as being pushy and more than a bit crazy.”

“They have, haven’t they?”

We both grinned. Socks said, “We were lucky. With the exception of the old man, nobody else was even hurt.”

The cops arrived, followed shortly afterwards by the cleanup team from the bureau and a bunch of reporters. Somebody had tossed Suzy in the water, at least she managed to get in the water and disappear, leaving the kimono that she had been wearing behind, so that was one issue that I didn’t have to deal with. The boys that Tim had upstairs disappeared with their rifles, using back doors and alleys to reach the subway and boxes to hide the rifles. One of Tim’s young men came up to me and said, Mr. Draka, I’m Frankie. We’ll have reports on the truck pretty soon, now that it’s started to move. We have pictures of the cars as well. We won’t let Tim down.”

Steve showed up and said, “Other than Tim and the old man, that worked very well. I think we got five of the Swimmers responsible for the ship.”

“How did your people do? Anybody hurt?”

“Some scratches and bruises. These characters didn’t even have knives and Stelios’s people had something that Tom, Al and my aunt came up for for dealing with Sharks.”

“What is it?”

“A shotgun shell on a spear. You punch the Shark with the spear, the shell goes off and the Shark has a bad day. So does a Swimmer. We’re working on reloading, but this version worked very well.”

The boss showed up with Sal and Xing’s dad in tow, “So what happened here?”

“The Black Dragon was sitting in a truck and decided to go after Tim. The Dragon drew fire, the old man attacked him and was killed. The Dragon’s goons managed to grab Tim and they left in a car and the truck. Tim put the treatment on the truck before he was taken.”

“What about the objects. Tim was going to play games with them today.”

“They are still up there in Noro’s building. Tim never had the chance to make his call.”

“So this was all for nothing unless they can coerce Tim into getting the objects. I doubt that they can get into Noro’s building themselves.”
“It’s even better than that,” Noro said as he walked up. “The shielded room has aversions on it that I set up when I set the room up.You can’t even find it without permission and I called Stacey to ask if Tim had it. He doesn’t, because they agreed to set it up that way and neither Josh nor I gave it to him previously. Frankly we didn’t even think of it. Josh’s parents have it.”

He went over to with Xing’s father to join Xing and her mother next to Bai Long. I wanted to mourn Xing’s grandfather whom I had come to respect even in the all too brief time that I had known him, but I had work. I needed to get things squared away and start to discover where Tim had been taken. Stelio’s people hauled up the seafolk that had been killed and piled them in a truck. I checked Tim’s shack and Suzy and the other girls from the navy yard had taken over and were dealing with the first reports on the truck, numbering and filing messages while some boys were putting pins on the map. The truck looked like it was heading east in a fairly straight course. Suzy rolled over and said, “Did you pick up my kimono?”
“Yes,why?”

“I think that before too long we should go over, get my parents and go to Bennie’s Tim’s parents are there, he knows East Brooklyn better than we do and might have some ideas. I will meet you at the navy yard.”

“Why do you think that they are in Joe’s old neighborhood?”
“The Dragon has to have a fairly large place to hide. That means a factory, wharehouse or something. Here, in the city, there are enough kids that have parents that will call if the kids see something that scares them because of the Sharks. The barge people were certainly on the phone over you and Xing on the bridge fast enough. If the Black Dragon were closer, somebody would have complained. We can see the truck here heading east. Also I can sense that
Tim is that way. We can reach a bigger area from Bennie’s anyway.”

“What about the map?”

“Frankie, can you and the girls handle the map?”

“Sure. We can handle it. We’ll also keep an eye on the Yaoguai for you. We have the number for Bennie’s and I will call every half hour with an update.”

Xing came in teary eyed and said, “My cousin is taking care of Master. So what is the plan?”

“The truck is heading east in Brooklyn. Suzy wants to go to Bennie’s and talk to Joe. She thinks that the Dragon is holed up in Tim’s old neighborhood.”

Suzy outlined her reasons to Xing, along with Mike and the boss when they came in and the boss said, “Alex, since this is your case, go to Bennie’s and meet up with Sal there. I’ll call ahead and get Joe up top if he isn’t already. Mike and I will keep an eye on the Yaoguai and have Bill and the shooters get ready.”

With everything arranged, Xing and I went back across the bridge to the navy yard, where Suzy was joined by her parents and we all drove down to Bennie’s. Bennie must have called Joe as he was in the back with people running down leads already. He saw me as I walked into his office and said, “What happened exactly?”

“Tim was planning to pull an exchange of the fakes for money at the street festival over in Chinatown and Little Italy. He had a Puppet and was going to arrange for Sal to shoot Little Timmy.”

“Leaving the Black Dragon high and dry. Apparently the Black Dragon jumped the gun.”
“He had been sitting in a truck at the fish market for the last three days. We knew about the truck and were watching it, but frankly we didn’t think that he would stupid enough to go after Tim when the treasures were not actually present. It turned out that we were wrong. We didn’t want to hit the truck in public and have to deal with the mess that would follow.”

Bill came in with Hilda. “I hear that you have a big monster problem. Did anybody get any pictures during the fight?”

“You know, I never thought to ask. Tim’s people had cameras. Let’s talk to Suzy.”

Suzy had stationed herself next to the phone and was taking down reports. She looked up as Bill and I came in and said, “I just called Mrs. MacDougal. She says that some kids thought something was weird at an old abandoned factory and it had scared them. She hasn’t found out where the factory is yet. It could be that place that you and Tim went to earlier in the week.”

Bill waited until Suzy was finished with her report. Then he said, “Suzy, did anybody take pictures of the fight?”
“Yes. Tim had some boys with shielded cameras watching the truck and the street. He wanted pictures for the bureau and the Chase. Frankie is sending them after they are developed.”

“Good. I want a look at this character. The only dragons that I’ve ever shot were Alex and Xing and I wasn’t trying to kill them. I want some pictures so that I can see what I need to hit.”

Sal came in and said, “I talked with Tony and the outfit is looking for the truck. Sillia is going down and tracking down Dom and Tara. They went to the Sound bower for a Swim and a talk with Tono and some of his people about some things. Nothing important, Tara just wanted to keep Dom under and she’s hiding him in the Sound Bower since Tony found out that Socks had some Swimmers and recruited a couple.”

“So Tony can bug Dom even when he under sea and Tara is playing games.”
“That’s about the size of it. Tony doesn’t do it very often and Tara likes Telia and Trillia anyway. She’s also nagging Sillia and I a bit.”

“Kids, right?”

“Since Chrissie and Tom started, yes. She thinks that Sillia isn’t dragging me under enough.”

“Is she?”

“I don’t know what enough is. We sleep in the pool every night and are in the Sound frequently for Swims. But I have the bureau and other clients now that want me to look into things for them. Sillia has things as well.”

“I’m going to have the same problem with Xing and my aunt.”

“How did that happen? As far as we knew you didn’t have any family.”
“The family was staying out of contact for royal fae issues. I knew about Abe and he pointed me at them when I was looking for Tim bait.”

“Make sure that you let us know about the next party. From what Ray was saying, it was a bunch of fun, even without Tim being Chased.”

“I didn’t see you there. Barbara mentioned that you and Tony set up the liquor.”

“Tara had something going and Tony and I were expected. Now that she knows that she should have things, she’s making up for lost time. We’ll catch the next one. I want to meet your family.”

Bob and Scott showed up. Bob said, “We went to Abe’s. He had some jars and we picked them up. We also called dad and my brother is coming down with the other big gun and some other stuff. My Aunt Mary is coming as well.”

“She wants to make some booms.”

“The trails have been clear this year and I think that she is looking for new opportunities. The county hasn’t needed any work either.”

Xing came over and said, “Alex, father and mother want to look into that old factory that Tim led us to the other day. So does Bill. Why don’t we take my parents, Bill can take the boys and we check it out.”

We did and the place was still empty. Looking at it, it was a good thought, because it was near the water and separate from anything else, which is why the vampire used it in the first place, but the Black Dragon was not here. So we checked in with Mrs. Macdougal who said, “The kids won’t say where the place is. At least they won’t tell me. Adam probably knows, since he was friends with Tim and Billy, but he’s driving for Karl and working today. I will catch him when he comes back in.”

“Call us down at Bennie’s when you find out. We may run into Karl before then, or Adam for that matter. His girl is down at the bower.”

We headed back to Bennie’s more than a little discouraged. When we arrived, Suzy had an update and a map on the table with a line showing where the truck had been seen and she was talking on the phone as we came in. She hung up the phone and said, “They lost the truck going east and nobody has reported it yet.”

She took a pencil and drew a circle on the map. “This is where it was last seen. There just isn’t anything in this area. Mary called the city and somebody is bringing down copies of the aerial pictures the city has. Since it’s dinner time, why don’t we eat?”

“You don’t seem to be too worried, Suzy,” Xing said.

“They will keep him alive as long as they don’t have what they want. All we have to do is find him. Actually, he will probably escape at the first opportunity since he can phase without Change and they don’t know about that.”

“What will you do if he calls?”

“Go where he is and give him a talking to about not having this.” She held up Tim’s holster with the gun still in it. “This was hanging on a hook and he should have had it with him.”

“That wouldn’t have have done him much good against the Dragon. On the other hand he wasn’t taken by the Dragon.”

Suzy turned to Tony, “Do you have any spare magazines for a .38 or should I call the navy yard.”
“I carry a .38. How many do you want?”

“Two, I think. If Tim needs to shoot more than that, we will have messed up.”

“I have two in the car, I’ll go and get them.”

Bill said, “Give Tim this when you see him.” He handed Suzy a leather pouch. “This is my enhanced pouch. He might find it useful.”

“Won’t you need it?” Suzy frowned. “We should have had you or Hilda make this up a long time ago.”
“I have another one in the car and Hilda keeps one in her purse, so we are fine. They won’t be much good with the big character.”

“Alex and I have something to deal with him,” Xing said. “Al just handed it over. We just need to have a place where we can set up. Of course there are the Yaoguai and the other characters.”

Bill handed the pouch to Suzy and Tony came in with the magazines. Bennie and Sissy served dinner around and we ate. It was getting toward eight when the call came in. Bennie took it, handed the phone to Suzy, who gave Tim a bit of a talking to before handing the phone to me. Tim told me where he was and I told Suzy. Sal took her, Joe and Suzy’s dad and left. I talked with Tim some more and then hung up. Xing looked at me and said, “Where is he?”

“An abandoned dye factory. I know the place. It was where the vampire used to go for his hunts since the kids would go in there exploring. He chased after Tim and Tim’s friend Billy there and fed on Billy. That was when Sal and I were called in. The Black Dragon must have had people find the place and since it’s still empty decided to use it as a hideout.”

The messenger arrived from the bureau with the aerials and the fire insurance maps for East Brooklyn and I pulled the area around the factory. Bob, Scott and Bill looked at it with us. Bill looked at the area around the factory and said, “A lot of empty there. That can work for us. These are trees aren’t they?”

“They were when Sal and I were looking at the place a couple of years ago. This place was one of the place the vampire went looking for kids and people because bums would go in there to shack up and the kids to explore. We didn’t deal with the vampire there because he had his nest someplace else and we wanted to make sure that he didn’t have any servants or progeny. We were lucky and he didn’t, but we wanted to be sure. I also wanted Sal to see how a vampire operated.”

“Do you think that Tim will run?”

“Only if Suzy insists. Otherwise I think that Tim will want to play hostage the same way that Andy and Chrissie did.”
Xing grinned. “The Black Dragon doesn’t know what he has done to himself.”

Noro came in with Joel. “So what is happening with Tim? I understand that things were rather more exciting at the fish market.”
“Suzy just went to talk with him. He promptly escaped and called here,” I said. “Sal, Joe, Mike and Suzy went to see him. He may want to go back in.”
“That will work for him,” Joel said. “They can’t actually hurt him until he coughs up the goods.”

“Which he can’t do right now,” Noro said. “Somebody has to get them for him and bring them out. There are a lot of opportunities for fun here.”

Sal rolled his sister back in while her dad rolled Joe in. Suzy must have heard Noro because she said, “We can do some things, but we don’t take chances with Tim. He’s taking a big risk already.”

“He didn’t come back with you?” I asked.

“He went back in. He figures that he can buy time to set things up. He said that he won’t be able to call the building until Tuesday.”

“He told them where the things were?” Noro grinned as he said that. “George will be entertained when they try something. I think that I won’t tell him that Tim told these characters where the objects were.”

“Won’t that cause problems for him?”

“Not particularly. At not as far as dealing with the Yaoguai.”

We made plans to meet again in the morning and Xing and I went back to the apartment.

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