And His Two Veg

Our rummage around the dressing rooms back-stage produce some sweet meats next to a bottle of what we know to be the poison when ingested in sufficient quantites. It's quite damning evidence, damning and obvious enough to be framing someone for the crime, but it's the best clue we have so far and so we are compelled to investigate it further.

We find the gentleman concerned, who does indeed seem either to be the ideal suspect or the perfect patsy, being new in town, replacing someone who has mysteriously disappeared himself, and, of course, having the implicating evidence in his implied possession. He gets spooked with our line of questioning, for some reason, and we give chase. It doesn't take too long to catch him again, and we concoct a little plan to keep him safe and where we can find him, so that if he is framed then it looks like the frame-up is going to plan and we can investigate that, and if he isn't being framed then he is not in a position to evade us. Tal takes the fellow to the local lock-up, and the rest of us head back to the theatre for further investigations.

On the way, we wonder how the next group on our suspect list, that of the acrobats, could be cajoled in to confessing. Dexter, our chief thinker, comes up with another storm of an idea, 'Why don't we ask them how they would go about getting in to a first floor, barred window? If they tell us how they did it, they're obviously guilty. If they can't think of anything, they're covering their tracks and must be guilty. It's a foolproof way of determing their guilt!'

'Or', I say, 'we could just find out if they float, and burn them if they do'. Apparently, my idea wasn't quite as clever, and we pretty much went with Plan C (we rarely have anything good enough to be a Plan A). The acrobats were practising on stage, and we spoke to their leader manager. He refused to discuss anything in private, and Tal had the Scroll of Authority that would have forced him by law to obey us, so we had to improvise. When our line of questioning wasn't going anywhere, Dexter brought out the poisoned sweet meats we had found earlier, hoping to provoke a reaction.

'Okay, boys, KILL THEM!' came the cry from the leader of the acrobats, and the tumbling, leaping, fire-breathing troupe changed their focus from the stage to us. Not quite the reaction we were after, but that's what you get in an oligarchy. If it had been a monarchy I'm sure we could have put him under citizen's arrest, to which the only reply that can be made is 'It's a fair cop, guv', with one's hands held out to accept the cuffs.

As the acrobats spring in to action, Dexter opines to us that 'of course, this isn't the first time that someone has come after my sweet meats with acrobatic intention', remembering how he was previously seduced by Illoya as a ruse to get close to a cult that we were trying to infiltrate. 'Perhaps I should learn from this.'

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