Chapter 18: Being the Conclusion of this Tale

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Corvus was not sighted all week.

The following weekend Slops was dragged along by his parents to Croakumshire where a clandestine gathering of inventors, painters, and other creatives was being held, but by this time Carmen had grown too anxious about Corvus to await Slops's return. So she collared a stray Bargie on the street and convinced it to take a message to Ward and Mildew.

Ward was holed up in the Okies' dorm. Mildew, Wrinkler, and Lightfinger were away at Hector headquarters. Nick hadn't been sighted since the burning of Parliament, and except possibly for Bunker, nobody knew where he was. "Let sleeping nines lie," Mildew had said. "We'll lay low and keep our lamps open."

So Ward found himself in limbo, helping the few remaining Scowerers while his friends were, as one Doodle put it, "fratranising with the enemy."

Then the Bargie arrived with the note.

"You Ward?" The Bargie was about seven, of unclear sex, with a disposition not unlike that of a rat.


"Letter forya." A grubby piece of paper folded over a ludicrous number of times, until it was no larger than a postage stamp, and cubic in shape, was deposited in Ward's hand.

"Thanks," he said.

The Bargie scuttled off.

Ward unfolded the note. Meet me at the usual place at four, it said. There was no name on it. Ward suspected Carmen had written it – he doubted Slops would have shown that much initiative.

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Chapter forya.

*scuttles off*

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