The Masters have a visitor. So does the castle.
Tuesday November 22, 1932.
Boris and I returned to Suhl right after Gert and Anna did. My aunt had had the habit of going and talking with Gert after we did something that bothered her. That had probably been getting expensive in train fares. In any case I wanted to surprise my aunt face to face. I had also talked with some of her old adversaries both fae and not and discovered some interesting habits. I was going to spend the next few days visiting my aunt’s old associates, in Change and returning my aunt from the dead, since everybody said that we looked alike in Change. With that in mind, I waited in Change until I felt Aunt pass me discreetly toward Uncle’s shop. I followed her and she went right past Boris talking with Johan and into Uncle’s office. She started to berate him far too loudly for somebody who was supposed to be dead as I slipped into the office as she was talking about mother and me, especially. As she went into another tirade I dropped my shields and said, “Aunt you don’t need to shout. I’m right here.”
I think that she just about had a heart attack and turned white instead of our healthy golden color. She turned and said, “YOU! What are you doing here?”
“Keeping an eye on you for mother and some others among other things. Entertaining myself being you.”
“So many people have said that we look alike in Change that I figured that I could do all your tricks, probably better than you could with your old associates. Who now think that you faked your death and sent them on missions all over the place. They are now chasing spies and what not all over Europe. Berlin was fun and your boyfriend’s associates were rather stupid.”
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? They will kill me!”
“How, you are already dead.”
“I WILL KILLYOU!”
A hole appeared an inch from my aunt’s head. I turned to Uncle and said, “Sorry about your wall, Uncle.”
He was laughing and said, “Not a problem, Stephie.”
My aunt looked rather shocked as I said, “Having seafolk relations means that you learn new tricks and if Tom is your brother, you learn all sorts of new tricks. You have to understand, Aunt, that I grew up with an unattached royal fae as a brother. A brother that had shields so strong that my aunts thought he was defective when he started to play with tools and toys. But the fact is that my sisters and I had to keep learning and becoming stronger just to keep our brothers and especially Tom from rolling all over us. That was when he didn’t have touch with his abilities. You have probably seen the pistol that mother had me give Uncle because she wanted to make a statement and Tom didn’t have the week that it takes Tom to do a family gun. You don’t want to know what he did for my birthday present this year. Or any of the other things that he does.
What you do need to know is that as a result of you and your associates sending all those things after us,we have had to become strong and more than a bit ruthless where the dark is concerned. If you continue to bother us, you may find that something bad will come your way. You said that you could kill me. Do you know that you could be in the most secure place in the world and if I wanted you dead, you would be and nobody would know how it happened. You killed the grandparents that I will never meet and want to kill my mother. Don’t think for a second that if you were to actually try something, let alone succeed, that I and the rest of the family would rest until you were dead, for real this time.”
I touched my aunt on the head with my finger. “Do you want to dance with me, the dance of death. We can start now. Otherwise I think that you should leave.Uncle is working on my sister’s commission and I want it finished before Christmas.”
She charged back out and Uncle said, “Stephie, that was scary.”
“It was meant to be. Mother doesn’t like it when I do things like that. She doesn’t think that it is ladylike to shoot our own adversaries. We have husbands for that. Shooting is supposed to be reserved for defending ourselves and having fun. Shooting people for the fun of it is right out even if they are not really people. Mother will be rather annoyed at me if I were to shoot Aunt. But Aunt doesn’t know that and if she does go after mother for real I won’t have to shoot her. Mother will.”
Uncle laughed “I will let you know that your mother was not adverse to going out and shooting and when we get things ready to leave I will make a point to point out her special guns.”
“Why didn’t she shoot Hans?”
“I have no clue. Probably because mother would have gotten mad. I think that mother thought that Hannah would outgrow her play toy.”
Boris and Johan came into the office. Boris was smiling as he said, “Stephie, you gave your aunt the dance of death speech didn’t you?”
“I figured that when she went charging out in Change, without being discreet. I wonder what people on the street thought.”
“Did you actually play my sister in Berlin, Stephie?” My uncle asked.
“No. Not yet anyway. I did in Cologne after I made a discreet visit to her apartment. She left her registration in her car and it had her address on it.I had to go to Cologne and let the car people know that my aunt was deceased and that the ownership was transferred to my mother. I even brought the death certificate.”
“Not the Bugatti! She likes that car.”
“Where is it now?”
“Shooting trouble in the south of France with a friend of the family. That is why we wanted to make sure that my aunt couldn’t say that the car was stolen.”
“My poor sister. She always thought of Greta as soft. She thought that bonding with Eric gave her a soft life.”
“Us? Not hardly. We try to find softness and love where we can find it because we kept getting things thrown at us, like my other grandparents being killed by the Director and Bill’s wife and her parents being taken by vampires. You’ve seen what he does to vampires. He learned to do that because a vampire king came after him in a barn we had away from the main farm, there was no one to help him and the only thing he had to fight with was an old barn shotgun and some rather ratty shells. But he didn’t despair and the vampire king learned that a load of shot to the back of the head is rather permanent.”
“The vampire was not using his shields?”
“He dropped them to get Bill to shoot then put them up again. But he didn’t think about the fact that he was walking on a dirt floor that was dry and dusty and by dropping his shields he told Bill how tall he was. Bill tossed a can of nails that he found, so the thing thought he was someplace else, went past Bill toward the can and Bill fired the gun about a foot from his head, essentially blowing it off.
The fact is that we, and mother have not had an easy time of it. My aunt has been able to play her games with the weak and terrified and she enjoys it. She thought that she was going to play those games with us. For the first time she has had to deal with opponents that are not the least bit frightened of her and she can’t handle it. If we had known that this was going to happen, we would have pulled her to the states and let the three, no four menaces now, have her for a playtoy.”
“Who are the four menaces?”
“Hilda’s son Andy, Ed’s son Bruce,our friend Ginny’s son Jimmy and one of the indentured’s son Gregor who has worked very hard to overcome being in a gilded cage and become a menace. He’s done it too. At least it will be a couple of years before Boris lets them drive on the road and three of them are going to have tail issues. Jimmy isn’t fae or Ginny hasn’t said, but that doesn’t matter and Ginny is well preserved for being a grandmother.”
My uncle laughed. “Boris, how are you going to handle them?”
My husband had a grin. “The tail issues and the Sound bower needing Andy and Bruce means that all four are not my problem. I doubt that Andy and Bruce will have access to cars and the farm can’t be reached by boat. Gregor is going to have the same issues. He also has bonded with the Toubleshooter’s youngest sister and he’s going to have to watch his step. That just leaves Jimmy and I hope that he finds a tail in the city too and I will have some years of peace and quiet until my kids grow up a bit and Tom’s bunch shows up.”
“So the menaces could handle my sister?”
I laughed. “We had to restrain them from handling the Colonel and it wasn’t easy. Of course my sisters and I were already working to drive the Colonel’s people crazy, at least Theresa was.”
“What did she do?”
“My nephew recieved a record player for Christmas one year when he was four. There was one record that he especially liked, even more, after it was scratched. Because of Colonel issues, Tom’s old adversaries tapped our phone. It wouldn’t have done them much good as any line in use caused the sytem to drop to one of the other lines. The farm has a phone system that Bell was trying out in our town and replaced with a bigger one. They needed some parts fast and Tom was there with his shop so they made him a deal. I think that Tom did it to help him with his fun and games with me for the most part and Tom’s access with Bell made him a terror in the fun and games in Washington. But when Tom went to Washington somebody had to take over management of the phones and since the board is behind Larry’s shop and Theresa does a lot of the farm management anyway, she took it over. She likes playing with it and really hates it when she thinks something is wrong. So when the spies tapped the line there was a click when somebody hung up. Theresa spent a week with her son and his cousin who had taken over service and couldn’t find the fault until she realized that the click was outside the exchange and that the click was a tap cutting out. So she hooked up the record player on that line when they tried to tap it again. Nobody but the Colonel’s people have tried to tap the line since. When Tom discovered the tap, Theresa put the record on. We didn’t have any crazy werewolves raiding our farm stand looking for the record, but it was close and if my daughter knew what the objective was, the werewolves would have had an inside girl working for them.”
My uncle turned to Boris and asked, “Is that true?”
“The Colonel’s support people and some werewolves took my daughter prisoner briefly and the Major was willing to let her go on the promise that the record have an accident. By that point it already had, and we have been lucky that another copy has not turned up, at least that Jeremy found. It is a good thing though that I don’t think that Herr Shultz has not bothered to tap the phone at the estate. Jeremy didn’t find a copy, but Stephie came prepared.”
“Before Boris says too much and gets me in trouble, I think that we should get going and visit Aunt’s haunts and confuse her minions.”
I flew back to our hotel room, released my change and dressed so that we could be going.
Wednesday November 22, 1932.
The troubleshoots had gone amazingly well. We had done three of them so far and this was the fourth. Stelios was getting the reputation that he didn’t want as his team made hitting places look easy.This was the fourth and the last one that I would have Stelios people for for a few days. The villa that we were hitting today was a typical Twisted factory and quite large. We were waiting for the ‘visitors to start arriving in the late afternoon. This place was going to make a lot of noise and create a huge scandal as the “visitors” in this case were well connected and not just tourists looking for sleazy night life. Etienne was with me as the Committee’s representative and I said, “Keep Paul away from Bill for a few days.”
“I can’t say, but it may not be Bill for a few days. I’m not going to be hitting any more places for a bit until next week.”
“So something else is going on.”
“A lot of things, but not here. Your daughter can tell you about it when it is over.”
“You seem to know what you are doing with these places.”
Mr.Luciano came up with Bill and said, “Because he’s had a lot of practice. How many did you and Vinnie play your games on, back in the day, Sal”
“I don’t know, Mr. Luciano. My mother does, because she has the clippings. At a guess, it was one about every other month or so after I made detective. Vinnie was trying to push me to the fast track to lieutenant. It didn’t work like he figured, but we did a lot of clean up.”
“You did, which made Dom look good and made Vinnie’s reputation as well as yours. Why did you leave the force?”
“Because they didn’t want me, I was attacked by something that shouldn’t exist and I wanted answers, so when this character’s brother came and made me an offer, I took it.”
Tony had just walked up. He had made a big impression on just about everybody, first because of his obvious strength and then because he was so good at what he was doing. At first the local people were a bit frightened of him, but that had changed to respect.
“Tony, what offer did your brother make to Sal?”
“I’m not going to say. I wasn’t there and my brother wouldn’t like it. Sal, we’re ready to go. The Lieutenant has his people waiting.”
I turned to the other and said, “Gentlemen, that is my cue. Enjoy the show.”
Everything went pretty much the way we expected and when it was over we had some rather surprised dark fae, who committed suicide for the most part, a bunch of dead Twisted, some busted big shots, with pictures and the press and most importantly, some happy kids out of the horror that was their life. After it was over, Stelios and his people quietly left and disappeared. Bill and Hilda left rather more discreetly. Of course “Bill” was too obviously still there. Things were about to get hot.
Thursday November 22, 1932.
Johan from the museum had been one of the people doing the inventory and had been the man at the museum that I had contacted when the news of Hannah’s ‘death’ had reached us. I had expected that a good portion of the house’s contents would go to the museum. It wasn’t going to work out that way. In any case, Johan and I were going over the details. He looked at me and said, “Greta, I am sorry that Hans had to do things this way. He’s wanted to get his hands on these things since your parents were killed but the Shultz’s wouldn’t let him as long as Hannah was alive and in the country even if the other family was not present.”
“I’ve set aside some things for your museum people, the Caravagio especially. It wasn’t nearly as much as I wanted,but I imagine that Han’s friends like Herr Goering are anticipating getting their hands on things. I’m surprised that fat Herman hasn’t been down here looking at his prizes.”
“I think that it is the fact that you are American now and that there was some heat from the American embassy about how this estate was going to be handled. I was surprised that you had that much influence from your farm.”
“I don’t, but my sons do. Do you know what they do?”
“The royals, yes. They have a rather large mystique about them. I’m surprised that Hans and his friends weren’t hoping that you brought one with you”
“They were good for sales, but there are days that I wish that Tom hadn’t done things quite that way. The reason that the royals are special is because Tom made them for his friends. The fairly influential friends that he neglected to tell us about until recently. The boy does that so that he can surprise people, especially Stephie. But that kept us separate from people that have become dear friends since. We have the guest list for our Christmas party this year and it is rather unbelievable. So I’m not surprised that there was some heat from the embassy.”
I managed to get the things that I was sending with Johan arranged separated and had the chests and the things that had been crated that I was visibly taking were all ready to go. Most of the rest was crated by Han’s people. They would deal with it after we were gone. At least they thought that theywould be. It was sad to lose the place that I had grown up in, but I had had my home in Vermont and my family and that was far more than enough.
Eric came in with a man from the Embassy. He said, “Mrs. Benton, your husband has been going over the actions of the Landesinspekteur with me. I apologize for not sending somebody sooner, but we were tied up in some things. We will be filing a complaint with the government, but you can guess how well that will work. Miss Vicky sends her regards. By the way, we will get some mileage from that interesting picture that your daughter took and we are glad that we were told that Fraulien Schee was still with us. Not looking out for her can be dangerous.”
“My sister has given a lot of people trouble. I hadn’t realized how bad it was and she terrorized a good portion of my family so that they would not contact Eric and I, so we didn’t even know that they were alive.”
“Eric has given me their contact information and I have been told that if it is necessary, to put your family at the top of the quota list. Of course your family members would have been there in any case, but I’m not going to annoy Tom and especially his wife by tangling your family up in paperwork.”
“You know Tom?”
“Very well, actually. I was his boss in the congressman’s staff until I decided to get my job at State so that I could travel. I am not, unfortunately, one of the elect as Tom didn’t start giving those pistols away until after I had been sent to France.”
“Blame Tochi for those. It was his fault.”
“I have, I have, trust me. On the other hand I don’t want to inflict the wrath of Suki on myself.”
Eric laughed. “That is perfectly understandable. She was a lot of fun for everybody except Tom and a young reporter that we know.”
“Did he survive intact?”
“Yes, but he was rather frazzled.”
“Well, I need to go over the pillage list and see if I can keep things to a minimum. Unfortunately I probably will not succeed.”
He left and Eric said, “Tom’s time in Washington has paid large dividends. I don’t think that your sister realizes how lucky she was. If she had pulled this stunt next year, Tom would probably have insisted on playing. He is going to be losing a lot of sleep with twins.”
“If my sister comes after me, or forces me to be delayed, there is going to be trouble. These are my grandchildren and I want to be there for their first Christmas.”
“We should be fine. Of course there will be some rather large distractions coming.”
Thursday November 24, 1932.
The Chancellor had sent me to the Red Lady’s castle yet again and I at least had to go through the motions of chasing the wolves. I used my cover as a senior police inspector to round up some of the local police and tramp through the woods chasing Tom’s gags and the noise they made. Sergeant Barron said, “So what idiot sent you for this thankless task?”
“I’m not going to say but a prominent resident was complaining about noise and the fact that you folks were incompetant.”
“No, we are not idiots. We have boys and we know that the boys wanted those books and what is in them. In fact the central office sent copies around so that we could look out for things.”
“I know, and I told the lady that,but she made noises about wolves and sent me out on this wild goose chase. The funny part, and I am not going to tell the lady this, but I had an assignment in The States recently and met the writer of the book.”
“Is he coming up with more devilment?”
“His publisher waved a rather large check at him, so yes, he is. He actually played some of it on his sister while I was there. At least his proxies did, because he was off to Japan at the time.”
“That is world class devilment.”
“Yes it was. Amazing to watch and a lot of fun. The sister loved her birthday present.”
“I see. He planned a surprise for his sister’s birthday while he wasn’t even going to be there. That sounds amazing.”
After our tromp through the woods, I headed back toward the castle. There were some bangs in the lake, so I went down to the shore next to the bridge to look. An exploding boat floated by and I watched as it floated out into the lake, exploded and sank. Another one floated by and since it was close to the shore I reached out and tried to grab the boat. I did, but I suddenly fell into the cold water. I struggled, but the current had me and I was sweeping out into the lake when an arm grabbed me and a voice said, “Now then, what did you do that for?”
I blacked out.
Tim had told me how it had been when Suzy rescued him and I awoke with somebody splashing me. I opened my eyes and there was the most beautiful face that I had ever seen. She said, “I finally bond and it is with an idiot. Now that you are awake, why don’t we get to my cottage, get you out of those wet clothes and find out exactly what you were thinking. Let me release my Change and get dressed so that we don’t startle people.”
I watched as her Change faded and her scales, the wonderful scales that covered her turned a more normal color. She quickly put on a peasant dress and some shoes and said, “lean on me. You will be weak until we get something hot inside you.”
I did, and we left the little hiding place and followed a path to a cottage. She went into a room and returned with a pair of pants and a shirt. “Put these on while I make a quick trip to father’s tavern and get something hot to drink.”
I did and she took my clothes and disappeared. A bit later she returned with a steaming mug and said, “I think that we should start by exchanging names. I am Glinde Nixe and you are?”
Ok, so why was a police inspector, if that is what you are, reaching into the water for a paper boat.”
“I was requested by somebody to find and deal with the people making noise and disturbing somebody.”
“That somebody being the Red Lady and since you are not tainted, at least not heavily, you are indentured, probably because you have special skills that the Masters want or your family does.”
“Im my case it is both. I have the gift of communication and my nephew is a Creator.”
“That makes you very valuable to the Masters indeed. So why are you doing petty jobs like this?”
“Because I was available and the Red Lady has been rather disturbed by the loss of her assistant.”
“She is probably the only one that misses that woman. So the Masters have you looking into the wolves and others that are pestering the Red Lady. That explains why you were going after one of those exploding boats. If you want some, I can have my brother bring some that have already gone off. That might help you a bit.”
“It would somewhat. I can show the Red Lady what they are and that they are harmless.”
“She is not here in any case. She boarded her train car and left this morning.”
“Probably to attend another meeting. They do that. The meetings do not accomplish very much.”
“So tell me about yourself and your family. You are not as stupid as I thought.”
I shared my rather unusual life with my new bonded and we laughed over the various things. I told her about my voyage with the Black Dragon and how it had ended. I also shared with her my much happier last trip to America and how my niece had found a bond. She said, “I think that she was here, a day or so ago. She was travelling with a young American.”
“They are here in Europe. The young man’s grandmother lost her sister and is handling the estate.”
A young man came in with my dried clothes and a cloth bag full of exploded boats. “The man’s clothes are dry and here are the boats that you wanted. Is this the bonded you dragged out of the lake? You should have left him there.”
“You be quiet, Gert. He’s mine and I am keeping him. We are going to Swim the world together. If you stop the nonsense, maybe we will let you came along.”
Swimming the world sounded like a wonderful idea. For right now, Sergeant Barron came in and said, “We were worried about you,but it looks as if you were rescued. Why didn’t you ask me to send somebody to collect those boats. That job is for young men like this character, not important people like you, even if it ended well.”
Glinde said, “Uncle, you be quiet. We just met and I don’t want to make a bad impression until after we meet his family.”
I scanned the sergeant and it was apparent that the overweight and rather stupid appearance was more glamor than anything else. The sergeant was very good at hiding the fact that he was fae. I said to Glinde, “You should be careful about revealing certain things.”
‘I am, but you are family now and that makes a difference. Uncle Johan, you take care of him from now on.”
“He’s been pretty careful about taking care of himself up to now, putting himself in the drink being an exception. There was that character he dragged in a few weeks ago. What was that all about?”
“Do you know about the lady’s ‘children’?”
“Yes. They sometimes visit and we have to make sure that when they show up that certain kids are not out on the street. There was a rather close call with Gert here one time.”
“One of the lady’s children Turned the bonded of a man in America and he took offense because he had to kill his wife. He destroys any of the lady’s children or any vampires for that matter that he encounters.”
“They let him? They haven’t tried to kill him?”
Gert said, “If you are talking about Bill, Jean, he was at the Farkas’ recently and Ken told me about it. Old man Farkas asked him about that and despair and he said that he learned two things from his first vampire king. One was not to despair and two, a shot to the bottom of the head is permanent even if the vampire can regenerate. From what Tony told us, Bill kills vampires faster than they could deal with him.”
I said,“A vampire queen took the bonded of my nephew recently which would have caused severe strife among the Masters because my other nephew has not bonded and is the only Creator that the Masters have access to. But the lady made the rather stupid mistake of doing that right in front of Bill as he was visiting my family to introduce the family that my niece had bonded to. Bill and Hilda, along with some other family dealt with the vampire and her family in a few hours, most of which was Bill playing cards in a casino to get the lady’s attention. I arrived at my sister’s home right after it was over and later had to tell the Red Lady that Bill, of all people, had saved her from all out war with the other Masters. My younger nephew, Paul, idolizes the man.”
Sergeant Barron asked, “So what does the family think about that?”
“They are annoyed that the monsters here did not run and that Bill is like the child in the candy store with a gold coin. They are a bit upset that Bill has been indulging himself as he collect his Colonel bounties.”
The poor sergeant looked rather aghast. “He killed the Colonel!? He could prove that it was the Colonel and he was dead? Men have thought that they had killed the Colonel before and discovered that they had failed.”
“It was the Colonel and he did die. Bill was given the Colonel because he hadn’t been able to destroy some other monsters. You can get the whole story from Tony and my niece. Tony was there for the Colonel and my niece prys into everything and had some long chats on the voyage over.”
“I will make a point to get the story. It sounds like a good one.”
“Since I am dried out, why don’t I take you all to dinner?”
Friday November 25, 1932.
It was showtime. I had some jitters and that should not have been surprising. Aunt Kitty had arranged this warehouse where we could put the pieces together. We were lucky and the noise that Stelios and Sal had caused, along with what Stephie and Boris were doing had triggered off another meeting of the Masters. Since Stephie had been going around Germany, being her aunt, that meeting was probably going to be rather interesting as the Masters realized that Hannah was not dead after all and other people did as well. I also expected that certain pictures had gotten around. So the Red Lady was not at home. She also used a private rail car. So it was easy to track her. Not as easy as it would be in the states, where dad only had to make some calls but easy enough. That brough us to now, Friday morning.
Bill, Hilda, Stelios and his team arrived. A bit later, later Kitty and ‘Hǔ showed up with Mary and Roger. Little Tiger and his people showed up with Charlie from White’s and some trucks clearly marked “White Farbenwerk” and the company logo. Leo and the boys set up the maps and pictures of the castle. Shortly after that, Farkas and Gerhard showed up with Tony and Jeanette, the trio that had been going around the town with Tony and Jeanette and two more youngsters. Gerhardt introduced the two grandsons. Then he said, “ I hope that my english is good enough. My younger daughter was supposed to keep an eye on these two, but she bonded yesterday and they are keeping each other occupied as the man plays police inspector to keep the Red Lady Mollified.”
“So she bonded with my uncle,” Jeanette said. ‘Mother will be pleased that her brother found somebody at last. How did it happen?”
“He fell in the lake chasing an exploding boat and she rescued him.”
“Then he was being his typical self. I’m glad he has somebody to look after him.”
Since everybody was here, it was time to start the briefing. I said to Gerhardt, “Your English is fine and if you don’t understand something, please ask. This next part is going to be tight so let me get started.”
I tripped the Construct that had been made from Persai’s model of the castle and suddenly a duplicate appeared on the floor. “This is our objective. When we started planning for this, we had several approaches. We could enter here, to the water cistern, and come up through the old well, we could climb the wall or we could use a gate. I looked at the gates earlier in the week and the sally port has good cover thanks to some construction by the neighbors and is not guarded. I don’t think that that has changed. The shields on the castle have not been renewed for a very long time and they apparently did not consider that people could phase through doors and walls. I expect that they thought that the thickness of the lower wall would preclude that, but Stelio’s people penetrated thicker concrete when they penetrated the magazine of some shore batteries earlier this year. In any case, the fact that the Sally port is unguarded makes that unnecessary. If they do put a shield on the gate, we can blow it and Mary has made a small boom to do just that if necessary. I would prefer to not use it as that will make things messy.
Since the Red Lady is away we do not have to take her into consideration. Right about now she and the other masters are having their party crashed. She will probably be rushing back, but the rail line that she uses may have some landslide issues. Tony, Mike and David, you will provide cover fire from that cliff that Bill and Hilda found. Use the BAR’s, and if necessary, don’t hesitate to spread bullets around. Bill, you and Hilda will take point and deal with the vampires as fast as possible. Stelios and I will be right behind you. Lisowski, your job is to discreetly come up behind the delivery truck that will be making the delivery that came from White’s this morning and getting the truck through the gate. That is very important. If you have to steal the truck and make the delivery yourself, that is what you will do.”
Lisowski smiled. He was going to that regardless, now that I mentioned it. That was fine, since he and the rest of his team were going to leave the truck and the crates behind.
“Once the truck is in, we take the chests and take them to the great hall. The rest of the team covers Kitty and ‘Hǔ as they remove the keystones and place them in the chests. Then we exit. Mr. Farkas, I want your trucks waiting with the crates that we will supply here at the bottom of the path from the sally port. We split the crates in three separate loads, one of my people takes each truck and you go about your daily business and end up here. The rest of us hit the water and disappear.”
“What about Bill and Hilda?” Farkas asked.
“We will take advantage of our Change and just become two more of your wolves for a bit. We’ll get a nice run out of it and with the boys and Jeanette and trip off some things that Mary and the boys are going to leave. Roger will help with that and then sit in the café while this goes off watching the street and the bridge.”
“If the Red Lady should get her hands on a car she has to cross the bridge to get to the castle. There may be problems with that.”
Gerhardt asked, “So when does this all happen? Tomorrow evening?”
That was when the castle disappeared in a cloud of dust. I said, “It was a good thing that I had finished with the castle part of the operation.”
“Why the morning?”
“Vampires are torpid in the morning,” Bill said. “Not like the vampire stories where they have to sleep in a coffin, but they tend to stay up at night and prey on things and sleep in the morning. If we go in in the morning, about breakfast time during normal deliveries, the vampires will be at their lowest and the rest of the staff will be busy. So that is when we go.”
Friday November 25, 1932.
The meeting was another round of accusations and counter accusations. The German Master had a copy of a picture that showed lady Hannah entertaining herself with one of his tools. The Red lady was still going on about her dead children and French Master was complaining that her operations in the south had all been troubleshot. All which was pointless. Nobody had any idea about what to do about any of it. The German Master pointed his finger at the Red Lady. “You set us up! You planned this! He held up the picture. You are disrupting my plans and meddling in my affairs! You faked the death of your pet to give her a clear hand at attacking us!”
“She nearly killed me! How would that be faking? And what about all my dead children?”
“Maybe they are not really dead. It all seemed to be so easy and you did nothing to protect them. You arranged this with your pet so that we would not see your attack.”
“That is not true! I thought that the Golden Butterlfy was really dead. The Chancellor released the gargoyles and we saw the body. I was as deceived as the rest of you. Chancellor, find my Butterfly and I will have a discussion with her about her behavior.”
Suddenly it seemed that the Butterfly was there. At least at first I thought that it was milady Hannah. The Butterfly had a camera in her hands and said, “Hello folks. I just wanted to get your picture for my mother and the folks back home. It seems that you are having some problems. Well, my mother sent me to politely ask you for something that you have that belongs to her. My mother wants her keystone returned.”
The German Master’s pet went for his gun.
Snap! There was a hole in the gun as it hit the ground.“That was rather stupid, Herr Frick. If I had wanted you dead, you would already be dead. Since I don’t want to waste any more of your time, here’s the deal as the Peacekeeper would say. Milady, if the keystones are placed on your gate’s drive next to the road tomorrow morning, Bill will stay his hand and not go after any more of your children for the rest of his stay here. If you don’t, mother will not ask Bill to restrain himself. As for the rest of you, I would encourage the lady to give up the keystones, all of them, because Bill is not the only one annoyed at you all and Bill will probably run out of vampires all too soon. I think that I will take my leave now.”
She put the camera away, pulled out a small rifle and with one shot caused the window to shatter. The French master called out, “Chancellor, release the Constructs!”
I did and the nightmare in butterfly wings said, “Gargoyles, very nice. I don’t have time for a picture though. The boys will be rather annoyed at me.”
There were four more quick shots and the gargoyles fell from the sky. “Oops. I hope that you have more jars. My nephews have sort of tied them all up. Taa Taa.”
She disappeared again, leaving confusion behind her. The Russian Master turned to me and said, “What should we do?”
“I would give her what she wants. Maybe she’ll go straight home and take Bill and Hilda with her.”
The Red Lady strode up. “I will not send the message that she wants. Chancellor, when this meeting is over, you will come with me. We will find the Agent and send him to find my Butterfly. Then we will send them against this lady and destroy her.”
At last, decisive action. Action that was almost certainly going to fail, but decisive action nonetheless. The problem was that Hannah probably didn’t want to be found right now and Greta had just sent us a fairly strong message that she and the others were not ignoring us any longer.
Saturday November 26, 1932.
A relative of somebody my dad had saved back in the day was a big man in the Riechsbahn. He connected with the guy who was in charge of special moves and that guy had contacted me and said that a certain railcar had started on it’s way, yesterday morning. The government was giving the car the royal treatment and it was being expedited on its way home. Stephie had apparently delivered the message and the lady wanted to be back here as soon as possible. The guard out front had increased and apparently nobody had been told to place the keystones next to the road. Well, that was too bad for them. I could see the trucks next to the café where the drivers were having coffee. Stelio and his team came up along the street and slipped one by one up the path in the direction of the sally port. I waited until I could see the delivery truck driving up and then joined them. When I arrived at the sally port, there was an unconscious policeman sleeping next to the path and Stelios said, “I gave him a nighty night.”
The Chemist left over from the Colonel’s team, Albrecht, and Stelios had been working on nice little things that we could use to dispense small doses of sleepy gas and other things. Some of them we were going to test today.
Stelios and I phased through the still unshielded gate and I opened it while Stelios covered me and the entering team along with Bill and Hilda. Bill and Hilda went off chasing the vampires on the wall as the rest of us moved across the courtyard. The phone rang, shattering the silence and rather sleepy eyed vampire emerged through a door and headed toward the front of tha castle. We waited a bit and then when the vampire was out of sight, Stelios and his squad went through the door that the vampire had just emerged from. There were four almost silent clipping sounds and Stelios emerged and held up four fingers. The other squad had made it inside and headed toward the main building. The truck emerged from the direction of the gate and stopped. Lisowski held up his hand and two fingers and then both hands and six. So the other squad had taken all the people out front and Lisowski had dealt with the gate guard and the character that we had just seen exit. So far so good. Suddenly a man with a submachine gun emerged from the main building and saw us. There was some noise from the hill and the man’s head exploded as five or six rounds hit it in rapid succession. Two more men came out the door and this time, Stelio’s squad was in postion and quietly took them both before they knew that Stelio’s squad was there. I followed the second squad into the main building, holding my pistol and a nighty night as the squad and I looked for staff.
we managed to surprise some and it was obvious that Kitty and ‘Hǔ had preceded us as there more staff put out by nighty nights and two vampires that had been shot by a pistol. I caught up with my Aunt Kitty and ‘Hǔ in the main hall and when I saw the gun in Aunt Kitty’s hand, said, “Al must have gotten to you, Aunt Kitty.”
“Al, Tom and Uncle Eli.”
‘Hǔ said, “That was a good thing too. One of those clowns must have been discreet and came up behind me when I was giving a maid the Nighty Night treatment. Kitty got him.”
“Where are the keystones?”
“Right though there. They seem to be happy to see us.”
I went through the door and the room was filled with joy. The keystones, over a hundred of them, were indeed happy to see us. Stelios’s squad came in and the third squad came in carrying the chests. I said to Stelios, did you short dose one or two of the staff?”
“Three. They should be waking up just as we leave. One of them is outside.”
Bill and Hilda came in and Hilda said, “We got rid of the vampires. There is one staff member hiding in one of the towers. Tony threw a burst with the BAR across the wall past the door.”
They left the room and went outside. They were going to be in the village watching things after we left, so they didn’t want to be seen if they could avoid it. I watched Kitty climb the wall and pop keystones out and toss them to ‘Hǔ and the others who quickly placed them in the tray and when the first chest was full, went to the second and then the last as the last few keystones were secured. Kitty jumped back down and we all prepared to leave. I scanned around and there was a maid looking into the room as we left. Now was the time for the slieght of had that was going to make this all work. Before we emerged from the building, I placed aversions and shields that made the real chests invisible, then I tripped three construct chests. Two men picked up each of the chests while the rest of us were carrying just our guns seemingly. The chests were packed back in the crates, the crates went back in the truck and the truck went back out through the front gate. That was when second squad handed me a problem. Petty Officer Mavrides came up and said, “Sir, we checked the dungeon. We couldn’t just leave them, sir”
There were ten rather torn and dirty children. “No you couldn’t, PO. Ok. Take them out to the trucks. You go with them on the trucks. Leave the quiet guns with us, but keep your pistols and take that MP18 that that character had. Anything gives the kids trouble, you argue, but if they are Twisted or vamps, shoot. If they are cops, and you are sure that they are not Twisted or vamps, turn the kids over. Otherwise we’ll turn the kids over to Gerhardt and Farkas at the warehouse.”
With that we made our way down the path. The trucks were waiting and we put the chests into the waiting crates, the crates in the trucks, followed by the kids and Mavride’s squad, the trucks drove off as the rest of us discreetly undressed, stored our clothes, guns and equipment in the cans that were waiting, Changed and headed for deep water and across the lake. Kitty and ‘Hǔ joined us in the suits that Tom had made. We were joined by Gert and Abel and Gert said, “Things must have gone well. There wasn’t that much noise.”
“It did and we got the thing done fast. My aunt will be pleased when she sees the report.”
“I’ve seen some of your other relatives. Is your aunt that scary?”
“You have to understand that she was very old before she found a bond. So she had a long time to get fairly good at some things. One of them is training. She and my sister were rather annoyed at the Colonel because of how he prepared or didn’t prepare his people for the same sort of thing like the thing that we just did. Also, I had sent some of my people into a situation blind, like I told your grandfather and lost somebody over a traffic incident that shouldn’t have happened.It could have been much worse because the thing with Ed could have tripped off my dad and Ed and dad might have gone toe to toe on each other, something that my bosses, their bosses and everybody else where I live do not want dad to be doing. My dad is almost as bad as Bill when it comes to monsters, but his hang up is Necromancers, not vampires. But Bill doesn’t keep a lid on certain activities by people who need a lid and dad does. So Dad is not supposed to go on monster hunts. So my aunt is going to make sure that I don’t make that kind of mistake again.”
“Everybody says that the Colonel was a good soldier. Very few people were able to beat him.”
“Believe me, I heard the same things, including from Leo, who you met. But most of his successes were when he had a lot of resources, especially manpower. He used troops in the diversions and used them up. When he came to the states he brought well over a hundred werewolves as well as other people and by the time it was over, the werewolves were all dead, many of them because they were totally unprepared and left to die in a foreign land where they were completely ignorant of where they were. My sister was their hostage for a week and did more in an attempt to prepare them for what they were involved in than the Colonel did with months of preparation. The man the Colonel put in charge of the men guarding my sister didn’t even put sentries out, enlist local support or do any sweeps and reconaisanse of the area. I put up a field telephone up right next to where they were bunking and they never saw me do it. That was not being a good soldier.”
I entertained the boys with our adventures with the colonel and his people until we reached the place where Little Tiger was waiting with the cars and trucks. Then we left the boys and returned to the warehouse. Farkas and Gerhardt were waiting and Farkas asked, “How did it go?”
“I don’t know yet. Let’s wait for the trucks to arrive.”
They did and I asked the PO, “Any problems?”
“No. The cops all seem to have been chasing noises in the woods and the lady’s train car seemed to have rocks on the track issues miles from the nearest road.”
I turned to the two men. “Gentlemen, we are a bit rushed right now, so if you please, find your stones among all the others and we will be on our way.”
Gerhardt resonated with one chest when we opened it and Farkas another, we extracted the stones, quickly closed the chests again, locked them fully so that they would not be easy to open, put the chests in the truck and Kitty, ‘Hǔ, Leo and I followed the truck with the chests as the rest went their separate ways.