The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 12

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
10/21/01

Watson walked alongside Merry and Pippin, and tried to get his bearings straight. Wherever he was, it wasn't New London, nor anywhere near there. His sensors couldn't detect the normal trace elements in the soil. Or rather, they detected them, but they couldn't recognize them. He would have to have someone look them over. If there was anyone able to.
The forest they had been walking in became denser, until they came out into another clearing. This one was darker than the last, though Watson's sensors could detect no reason for this. In the middle of the clearing was a small campfire with three individuals sitting around it. One was an adult male and the other two were Deidre and Wiggins.
"Deidre! Wiggins!" Watson called, running towards them.
"Watson!" Deidre cried, "They got you too? Where is Mr. Holmes?"
Wiggins and Deidre met him halfway, and the girl threw her arms around him in a forceful hug. She stepped back and looked up at him. "Well?"
Watson shook his head. "I do not know. However, you don't need to worry, kids. He is perfectly fine doing some case or another...." he trailed off as he realized he really didn't know what had become of Holmes. The last memory file he could access was of watching Holmes grumble about a book he had borrowed from Lestrade.
"What?" Wiggins asked in concern.
Watson quickly gave them an overview of the situation, and they told their story, while the two...well, he didn't quite know what to call them, waited impatiently. In the meantime, the man who had been sitting with the two Irregulars walked over to them.
"This is grim news indeed," the man said softly, "Whoever these people are obviously do not care what happens to children." Watson looked over at him. He was tall with rather unusual features.
"Yes," Watson said, anger growing, "They are the vilest of... well, they don't even have the right to be called people!"
Wiggins placed his hand on Watson's arm. "Easy, Watson. Mr. Holmes wouldn't want us to lose our heads. And I think these two hobbits should tell us what they know about Inspector Lestrade." He turned to glare at Merry and Pippin.
"What! I knew when you hesitated you were hiding something." Watson too turned to glare at the hobbits. However, they were looking at the man, who nodded.
"Well," Merry began, "I don't know any Inspector Lestrade, but he might be related somehow to this girl we found. Is he a hobbit?"
"She most certainly is not!" Watson stated indignantly.
"Oh," Pippin said, "Then they couldn't be related because Beth is most certainly a hobbit. Did you say 'she'?"
"Yeah," Deidre said, "He did. Inspector Beth Lestrade is her full name."
Merry sighed and looked defeated. "Very well. I shall tell all that I know. I knew she hadn't told the truth."
When he had finished, he looked up at Watson. "You don't have to worry about her, though, if she is the same Beth Lestrade as yours; she's perfectly safe back in the Shire."
"Well, that's something at least," Watson said. He then turned to the man. "By the way, sir, I didn't get your name."
The man smiled. "That's because I didn't give it. You may call me Strider." He held up his hand when Pippin started to protest. "And I think you should not have to worry about your friend Holmes. From what these two have told me, he can well take care of himself. Our job now is to find a way to get you back to where you belong, and I believe that the only way to achieve that goal is to find the leaders of this group of attackers."
Watson nodded, reassured by Strider's logic. He was right. Holmes could take care of himself.
And so could Lestrade.

On to Part 13A!
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