The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 4

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
9/25/01

After changing back into her street clothes in the spare bedroom, Lestrade walked out to the living area and flopped down on the couch. Holmes hadn't emerged yet, so she busied herself by twiddling her thumbs and thinking about the mysterious Toutarien. There was something more about that guy than just wanting his identity kept secret.
Holmes came out then, dressed in his normal attire, and carrying a datapad. He raised an eyebrow at her, then handed her the pad. She quickly scanned it. It had several short histories of certain valuable and rare gems that were owned by various collectors throughout the world, including the Cat's Eye emerald.
"I sent Watson to collect that data," Holmes explained. "I did not want him to question me about this case." He smiled then. "Now look and see what he has found about our gem."
Lestrade shrugged and pulled up the bit about the Cat's Eye. The first few paragraphs explained in detail the finding of the emerald and where it was taken. So far it was everything she had heard. Then she read the next in disbelief. It seemed that the one who had discovered the gem had disappeared under misterious circumstances.
The general public knew nothing of this, as it was information that could not be bandied around during a war. The experts who had studied the jewel feared that it would be construed as some sort of weapon made by the enemy. Especially since there was no one in the room with the man, and the jewel was still there sitting in a room with no windows and only one door with a guard standing just outside it.
Lestrade shook her head and looked up at Holmes. "So, this jewel could be dangerous?" she asked.
Holmes shrugged. "Perhaps," he admitted. "However, it is useless to conjecture without receiving all the facts, and there is the fact that Toutarien is perfectly fine and still with us." He paused, changing the subject. "Now, we shall go to Toutarien's house in Sussex to examine the evidence."
Lestrade nodded and stood up, a frisson of something passing through her. Something was going to happen; whether good or bad, she didn't know.
As they stood before the door of Toutarien's 'house', Lestrade groaned at Holmes' wont towards understatement. It was a large estate, and she hadn't prepared herself for such, though she should have known. After all, Toutarien was a collector of rare gems.
A young man wearing a pair of worn jeans and a t-shirt answered the door. Lestrade would not have recognized him for who he was until she looked at his eyes. They held that same timeless wisdom that Toutarien's had. She shook her head in annoyance when he laughed, having obviously deduced the reason for the odd look she gave him.
"Well," he said, his voice not much changed, "Come in, my friends. I would offer you tea or some other refreshments, but I am certain you wish to get on with the case."
Holmes gave a perfunctory nod and stepped inside. Lestrade sighed and followed him, that feeling of premonition settling heavily on her. She looked back at Toutarien who had just shut the door. She imagined she saw a satisfied smirk on his face, but it disappeared so quickly she dismissed it as her overactive imagination.
"This way to the vault where I keep my collection," he said, swiftly moving to walk in front of Holmes in the direction he had indicated.
They moved through what seemed like hundreds of winding corridors that all looked the same to Lestrade, though she was sure Holmes had marked each and every one and could make his way here again. They stopped before a large bookcase that marked what appeared to be a dead end. Toutarien pulled out one of the books, causing the case to swing outwards and revealing a doorway. He then motioned with his arm for Lestrade and Holmes to proceed him. Holmes stepped inside and Lestrade followed. Once they were through, the door slammed shut behind them. Lestrade immediately turned around and began beating on it.
"I am sorry, my boy," Toutarien's voice said, coming faintly through the thick walls, "But this was the only way for me to get you here so you could return. Your healing is finished now, and there is need of you. I also apologise to you, Inspector, but I am certain that you are the best to go with him."
Lestrade frowned, wondering what the guy could possibly mean, and extremely angry to have been caught in so obvious a trap. It was little consolation that Holmes had been taken in as well. She looked over at the detective to find him staring at an emerald sitting prominently in the middle of the vast collection of gems. It was the Cat's Eye, and it was glowing with a faint white light. The light then brightened and grew until it enveloped the entire room. Then, everything went dark.

On to Part 5!
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