THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR - 5.2

[Book V, Act II, Scene I. Outside the burning ruins of Castle Scanruil. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, DARIUS, TAMSIN and STATSY are here. There is a huge limosine parked here, with a man, ALAN PHEASANT, leaning against it. His face brightens as he sees the party.]

Alan : Hey there! My name's Alan M Pheasant, that's M for Impressed!

Tamsin : [Rolls her eyes] What an idiot.

Alice : Yeah. [Calls out] Hey idiot, impressed starts with an E.

Alan : [Does a little pretend drum roll and gives a laugh] Ouch! You got me there!

Darius : [Lights a cheeseratte off the burning ruins] Actually, everything starts with an E.

Austin : [Nodding in agreement with Darius, whilst lighting up a cheesearette, smirking, throwing his still lit match into the fire. To Alan] Well Mr. Peasant, where is the nearest town?

Alan : [Does that peculiar repeated pointing motion thing with each hand for a few seconds, giving a little laugh] Oooh! Nice one! The nearest town is Amnesia, or have you forgotten? [Laughs aloud]

Alice : No. They were dead.

Alan : [Face drops] Oh. Of course, I mean, how would they know? It's like [smiles again] I mean, I'm here so you don't need to think about things like that.

Clint: [Chuckles at Austin. To Alan] Nice ride. You the driver? On 02/06/05, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alan : You like the car? It's yours! This suit? Genuine Smelvin Jyne, you want it? [Starts taking off his shoes]

Clint: [To Alan] Thanks! [Offers Tamsin his arm gallantly and nods to the car] Shall we? [To Austin, with a smirk] Now, I know you got no experience with this kind of thing, Lawyer, so don't be alarmed by the noises coming from the car. It's called the physical expression of love, and it's a very tender and touching thing. So stay the hell away from us while we're doing it, got it? [Gives Tamsin a thumbs-up and a cheesy grin]

Monty : In that case, Mr. Sleaze, I shall brace the door whilst you separate them across the room. [Earnestly.] As a lawyer, your talent for dividing people is undoubtedly far better honed than mine. [Takes up the table (or remains of it) and attempts to barricade the door.]

Austin : [To Alice] It's wrong to kill anyone, regardless of their state of bondage. A plea of Self defence may keep you out of prison, but it doesn't make killing right. [To Clint] Go ahead.

Clint: [Attempts to grab Reg and drag him back in the room] Hey, where you going, geek? Your little friends miss ya!

Tamsin : [To Clint] Cool it big guy, we've done enough. [Looks to Alice and Darius] Right? They've lost their power now?

Alice : Right.

Clint: [Shrugs and releases Reg. To Tamsin] Guess that means our work here is done. Got any plans now, baby? [smiles expectantly]

Tamsin : [Gives a smile and looks Clint up and down] That depends. You expecting to take a wash any time soon?

[The party start moving towards the exit.]

Alice : [Sigh] How about we just turn a hose on the two of you altogether?

Reg : [Brushes himself down as the party walk passed] This isn't the end, you know, you haven't heard the end of us!

[Exit the party, as REG runs to the window, to continue berating them from there.]

Reg : There are more of us, you know! We've got cousins, friends, even a guy we pay to be friends with us. You should have killed us all while you had the chance, because we're going to come back stronger than ever, and wreak horrific revenge on you! [Gives the classic evil maniac laugh]

[REG's laugh is cut short by the entire house suddenly collapsing from fire damage.]

Austin : We don't know what the source of their power is do we. How can we know that they have lost it permanently [Gestures towards the sphere shield] What powers that thing?

[Book V, Act II, Scene I. Outside the burning ruins of Castle Scanruil. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, DARIUS, TAMSIN and STATSY are here. There is a huge limosine parked here, with a man, ALAN PHEASANT, leaning against it. His face brightens as he sees the party.]

Alan : Hey there! My name's Alan M Pheasant, that's M for Impressed!

Tamsin : [Rolls her eyes] What an idiot.

Alice : Yeah. [Calls out] Hey idiot, impressed starts with an E.

Alan : [Does a little pretend drum roll and gives a laugh] Ouch! You got me there!

Darius : [Lights a cheeseratte off the burning ruins] Actually, everything starts with an E.

Austin : [Nodding in agreement with Darius, whilst lighting up a cheesearette, smirking, throwing his still lit match into the fire. To Alan] Well Mr. Peasant, where is the nearest town?

Alan : [Does that peculiar repeated pointing motion thing with each hand for a few seconds, giving a little laugh] Oooh! Nice one! The nearest town is Amnesia, or have you forgotten? [Laughs aloud]

Alice : No. They were dead.

Alan : [Face drops] Oh. Of course, I mean, how would they know? It's like [smiles again] I mean, I'm here so you don't need to think about things like that.

Clint: [Chuckles at Austin. To Alan] Nice ride. You the driver? On 02/06/05, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alan : You like the car? It's yours! This suit? Genuine Smelvin Jyne, you want it? [Starts taking off his shoes]

Clint: [To Alan] Thanks! [Offers Tamsin his arm gallantly and nods to the car] Shall we? [To Austin, with a smirk] Now, I know you got no experience with this kind of thing, Lawyer, so don't be alarmed by the noises coming from the car. It's called the physical expression of love, and it's a very tender and touching thing. So stay the hell away from us while we're doing it, got it? [Gives Tamsin a thumbs-up and a cheesy grin]

Monty : In that case, Mr. Sleaze, I shall brace the door whilst you separate them across the room. [Earnestly.] As a lawyer, your talent for dividing people is undoubtedly far better honed than mine. [Takes up the table (or remains of it) and attempts to barricade the door.]

Alice : [Nodding at Monty's words] Sure sounds like sex to me!

Tamsin : Tender and touching? [Looks Clint up and down] Right.

Clint : [Gives Tamsin a sexy growl, before turning to Austin] Sure, but I don't count dead ones.

Austin : [To Clint] Well, most people call it sex, and I have plenty of experience in it thank you, probably a great deal more than you do, with female humans at least. [Checks his nails briefly]

Austin : [To Clint] Mr. Scar, I really do not want to know what, or how many, dead animals you have [Pauses] physically expressed yourself with. [Watches the fire] My how you have changed since we brought you back from the dead. [Smirks] I take it that there were a considerable number of English language teachers in the shield with you.

Clint : As long as you weren't trying to have sex with me when I was dead, Lawyer, I don't care how attracted you are to me now. [To Alan] Let's see the inside of this thing. [Goes to open the door]

Alan : [Blocks Clint, but smiling] No, no! We have people to do that - folks like you don't have to open doors. [Knocks on the window] Driver! [Gives a big, broad smile at the party, which, as time goes on, flickers a little, betraying his annoyance at the non-appearance of the driver]

Austin : [Watches Alan with disdain. To Clint] I have never been attracted to you. Your body odour would deter a noseless jackal. And that's when you're alive. [Snappily to Alan] Come on man, we don't have all day.

Monty : [Helpfully.] Ah, assuming that you are not, in fact, the driver and have forgotten this fact, perhaps one of us might stand in for the driver, if he or she is missing as may be the case?

Alice : Me! Me! Me!

[Everyone pales slightly, and heave a collected sigh of relief when the driver's door opens. However, it is soon followed by the sound of someone falling out.]

Alan : [To Austin] Of course you don't! You're busy, important people, with places to go and damsels to save, dragons to kill and treasure to find.

Monty : [Shakes his head at Clint's antics.] [To Alan.] Sir, may I inquire who sent you here to meet us? Our last ride proved to be somewhat less than fortuitous despite meeting with a certain degree of success before its unpleasant final consequence.

Monty : Ahem. Is there a problem around there? [Circles the vehicle to discover whom it is that has fallen.]

Austin : [Checking the dates on what looks like the worlds most extensive travel insurance certificate] Perhaps Alice would like to drive, to hone her skills a little further. [Peers to see what fell out of the car]

Alan : [Laughs nervously] Oh, no problem, no problem at all! We've got one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, especially for you, Schmichael Umacher!

Alice : Wow! Schmichael Umacher? Seven times winner of the World Carriage Racing Championship? The [excitedly] handsomest driver of all time? [Face drops] Didn't he die in a firey wreck?

Alan : Oh no, he was just scratched.

[Enter SCHMICHAEL UMACHER, a man covered from head to toe in bandages, and wearing thick black glasses, feeling his way along the carriage to the door, which he then opens.]

Alan : [Beaming madly] Isn't he great?

Clint: [Looks at Schmichael skeptically and shrugs] Well, we're better off with him driving than the bimbo, at least. [To Alan] So, why the royal treatment? Who sent you? This some kind of trap, or what??

Alan : [Laughs good naturedly] Trap? Gosh, you battle hardened adventurers are always on, aren't you? I work for your agent, you know, that was hired by the Watchers?

Clint: Our agent? [Excited] Oh, because of that nature show crap we did?! [Pantomimes the dropping of his pants to jog Alan's memory] You catch that one?

Alan : Oh yes, Mr. Scar, sir, it was excellent, the best nature show in years. And I don't think the reviews were fair at all, you didn't come across at all gay. [Shakes his head] But no, it's because of what you did in Apraxia, breaking up all those religions. Good is new black, and you guys are at the forefront of it. It's all cocaine and high class hookers from now on!

Monty : [Sighs, shakes his head, and mutters quietly.] And thus, the maxim of, "No good deed goes unpunished," continues to hold.

Alan : [Chuckles] Ah, the famous rapier wit of Monty. [Flinches as though stabbed] Ow! Good one, Monty!

Alice : [To Schmichael] Hi Mr. Umacher, I'm your number one fan, you're truly the greatest sportsman ever - I was there that time in Moanacow when you killed those six drivers ahead of you in a huge smash, it was great!

[SCHMICHAEL turns to face ALICE, and starts feeling her up and down, in virtually every part except her face.]

Alice : [To Alan] Uh, what's he doing, trying to uh, feel what my face looks like?

Alan : Nah, he can see fine. He's just getting a quick grope.

Austin : [Eyes Schmichael suspiciously] Hoe do we know that that isn't Trindle? [Gestures to Schmichael]

Clint: [Tries to high-five Alice] All right! It worked out just the way we planned! [To Alan] So, where you taking us? Publicity tour??

Alice : [Looks down unimpressed at Schmichael's hands, which are on her chest, before lifting them off and turning to Austin] That's not him.

Alan : Wow! You [emphasis] are sharp, Austin. I'm sure glad you're on our side!

Austin : [To Alan] Shut up Peasant, you're anoying and we have more important things to discuss than ourselves. [To Alice] So you know he isn't Trindle because he was too competent at groping you?

Alan : [Still beaming madly] You got it, Mister Sleaze, sir! Not a word out of me from here on in, not a single beep.

Alice : [With a dismissive wave of her hand to Austin] It's all about the differences in where pressure is applied.

Alan : My mouth is zipped, I'm going to be as quiet as a mouse.

Alice : [Nodding at Monty's words] Sure sounds like sex to me!

Tamsin : Tender and touching? [Looks Clint up and down] Right.

Clint : [Gives Tamsin a sexy growl, before turning to Austin] Sure, but I don't count dead ones.

Austin : [To Clint] Well, most people call it sex, and I have plenty of experience in it thank you, probably a great deal more than you do, with female humans at least. [Checks his nails briefly]

Austin : [To Clint] Mr. Scar, I really do not want to know what, or how many, dead animals you have [Pauses] physically expressed yourself with. [Watches the fire] My how you have changed since we brought you back from the dead. [Smirks] I take it that there were a considerable number of English language teachers in the shield with you.

Clint : As long as you weren't trying to have sex with me when I was dead, Lawyer, I don't care how attracted you are to me now. [To Alan] Let's see the inside of this thing. [Goes to open the door]

Alan : [Blocks Clint, but smiling] No, no! We have people to do that - folks like you don't have to open doors. [Knocks on the window] Driver! [Gives a big, broad smile at the party, which, as time goes on, flickers a little, betraying his annoyance at the non-appearance of the driver]

Austin : [Watches Alan with disdain. To Clint] I have never been attracted to you. Your body odour would deter a noseless jackal. And that's when you're alive. [Snappily to Alan] Come on man, we don't have all day.

Monty : [Helpfully.] Ah, assuming that you are not, in fact, the driver and have forgotten this fact, perhaps one of us might stand in for the driver, if he or she is missing as may be the case?

Alice : Me! Me! Me!

[Everyone pales slightly, and heave a collected sigh of relief when the driver's door opens. However, it is soon followed by the sound of someone falling out.]

Alan : [To Austin] Of course you don't! You're busy, important people, with places to go and damsels to save, dragons to kill and treasure to find.

Monty : [Shakes his head at Clint's antics.] [To Alan.] Sir, may I inquire who sent you here to meet us? Our last ride proved to be somewhat less than fortuitous despite meeting with a certain degree of success before its unpleasant final consequence.

Monty : Ahem. Is there a problem around there? [Circles the vehicle to discover whom it is that has fallen.]

Austin : [Checking the dates on what looks like the worlds most extensive travel insurance certificate] Perhaps Alice would like to drive, to hone her skills a little further. [Peers to see what fell out of the car]

Alan : [Laughs nervously] Oh, no problem, no problem at all! We've got one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, especially for you, Schmichael Umacher!

Alice : Wow! Schmichael Umacher? Seven times winner of the World Carriage Racing Championship? The [excitedly] handsomest driver of all time? [Face drops] Didn't he die in a firey wreck?

Alan : Oh no, he was just scratched.

[Enter SCHMICHAEL UMACHER, a man covered from head to toe in bandages, and wearing thick black glasses, feeling his way along the carriage to the door, which he then opens.]

Alan : [Beaming madly] Isn't he great?

Clint: [Looks at Schmichael skeptically and shrugs] Well, we're better off with him driving than the bimbo, at least. [To Alan] So, why the royal treatment? Who sent you? This some kind of trap, or what??

Alan : [Laughs good naturedly] Trap? Gosh, you battle hardened adventurers are always on, aren't you? I work for your agent, you know, that was hired by the Watchers?

Clint: Our agent? [Excited] Oh, because of that nature show crap we did?! [Pantomimes the dropping of his pants to jog Alan's memory] You catch that one?

Alan : Oh yes, Mr. Scar, sir, it was excellent, the best nature show in years. And I don't think the reviews were fair at all, you didn't come across at all gay. [Shakes his head] But no, it's because of what you did in Apraxia, breaking up all those religions. Good is new black, and you guys are at the forefront of it. It's all cocaine and high class hookers from now on!

Monty : [Sighs, shakes his head, and mutters quietly.] And thus, the maxim of, "No good deed goes unpunished," continues to hold.

Alan : [Chuckles] Ah, the famous rapier wit of Monty. [Flinches as though stabbed] Ow! Good one, Monty!

Alice : [To Schmichael] Hi Mr. Umacher, I'm your number one fan, you're truly the greatest sportsman ever - I was there that time in Moanacow when you killed those six drivers ahead of you in a huge smash, it was great!

[SCHMICHAEL turns to face ALICE, and starts feeling her up and down, in virtually every part except her face.]

Alice : [To Alan] Uh, what's he doing, trying to uh, feel what my face looks like?

Alan : Nah, he can see fine. He's just getting a quick grope.

Austin : [Eyes Schmichael suspiciously] Hoe do we know that that isn't Trindle? [Gestures to Schmichael]

Clint: [Tries to high-five Alice] All right! It worked out just the way we planned! [To Alan] So, where you taking us? Publicity tour??

Alice : [Looks down unimpressed at Schmichael's hands, which are on her chest, before lifting them off and turning to Austin] That's not him.

Alan : Wow! You [emphasis] are sharp, Austin. I'm sure glad you're on our side!

Austin : [To Alan] Shut up Peasant, you're anoying and we have more important things to discuss than ourselves. [To Alice] So you know he isn't Trindle because he was too competent at groping you?

Alan : [Still beaming madly] You got it, Mister Sleaze, sir! Not a word out of me from here on in, not a single beep.

Alice : [With a dismissive wave of her hand to Austin] It's all about the differences in where pressure is applied.

Alan : My mouth is zipped, I'm going to be as quiet as a mouse.

Monty : [To Chastity.] Sister, perhaps you or I should drive whilst Clint, Tamsin, Alice, and Mr. Umacher take the back seat area, as they seem so... ahem... desperately in need of doing?

Alan : Ah! You like driving? Great! Super! You like the carriage? It's yours!

Monty : [To Alan.] Why, thank you for the offer, but I wouldn't wish to take advantage of your generosity, sir.

Alan : Nonsense! I'm just here to help you folks! Anything you want, I'll sort it out. You like my suit? It's yours! [Starts taking off his jacket] My watch? That my father gave? That was passed down through his family for years? Yours! Don't like it? It's gone! [Takes off his watch and throws it away]

Monty : Ahem. I think that I would prefer that you continue wearing both your suit and your watch, sir.

Clint: [To Alan] Got any booze? Smokes?

Alan : [With his pants down around his knees] Of course! [Pulls them back up] Everything you could possibly want is in the car! [Takes an identical watch out of his pocket and puts it on]

Alice : Yay! Have you got Louis XIV brandy?

Alan : Almost everything you could possible want is in the car!

Clint: [Outraged] Hey! Is that how you show gratitude to the greatest heroes of all time?! Get us some damn Louis XIV, and make it snappy! In the meantime, we'll be in the car drinking whatever swill you got to offer us. [Offers Tamsin one arm and Alice the other] Ready, girls?

Harvey : And one would think that the least you could have done was prepare a sumptuous feast, what! Or at least breakfast! By the saints, man, dying is a hungry business!

Monty : Please, Colonel, there's no need to be so irate over what I'm certain is a simple misunderstanding. No doubt there'll be a proper repast awaiting us at our destination. Ahem. Though given past experience, it would be wise to have taste-testers present to ensure its safety.

Alan : Oh no, there's a huge breakfast waiting for you, all the media are there and you've even got a live spot on K Duck! [Beams madly]

Alice : [To Clint] I'm ready Stinky. [To Tamsin] Let's agree not to fight over him on our way to fame and fortune.

Tamsin : I'll try.

[CLINT and ALICE get into the carriage, which has eventually been opened by SCHMICHAEL. As TAMSIN is about to get in, DARIUS approaches her and whispers something to her.]

Tamsin : Oh. [Looks around the party, before glancing back at Darius, looking like a cross between disappointed and annoyed] Okay. [To the party] I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to join you. Me and the smug git here [juts her thumb at Darius] have something we need to do.

[From inside the carriage comes the sound of "Click-click".]

Tamsin : No, Clint, not that.

Monty : Ah. I see. Well, best of luck to you, then. Both in whatever you're doing and in minding Darius. [To Darius.] No offense, of course, but you can be quite a handful.

Darius : I'm sure that's what she's hoping for. [Points at Tamsin] Click-click!

Tamsin : No problem, Monty, I'll be able to deal with him.

[Enter ALL, except DARIUS, TAMSIN and STATSY, into the carriage. SCHMICHAEL shuts the door and feels his way around to the driver's seat.]

Alice : What's a K Duck?

Alan : Only the greatest radio station in the realms!

Monty : [To Schmichael.] Sir, are you sure you wouldn't prefer to rest in a passenger's seat and allow Sister Chastity or myself to do the driving?

Clint: [Annoyed] Damn that Darius! Me and that broad were [puts fingers up to indicate "really really close"] that close to having the best night of her life! [Snaps at the others] How can you expect me to maintain my rock star aura if I never get any action?! [To Alan] Order up some hookers for me, would ya?

Chastity : [Opening one of the windows] I don't think that's the [emphasis] aura that we should concern ourselves with, Mr. Scar.

Monty : Ahem. Mr. Scar, if Mr. Umacher is to be driving, as seems to be the likely case, it would be best for the car to remain undisturbed by your... ahem... gyrations in the back seat, as the ride is liable to be perilous enough as it is.

Alice : I think, Sister, that you'll find the word is aurora.

[SCHMICHAEL ignores MONTY, and slips into the seat, before the carriage shoots off, driving very fast, but surprisingly smoothly. Within minutes, it arrives back at Amnesia, where there is a large crowd of people, bunting, balloons etc. and a huge banner that says "Amnesia Welcomes The Queens View Party - Sponsored by Dunfaithful Hotel". There is a huge carriage here that has a stage built onto it, which has a bunch of people standing on it, including SNYDER and MAXWELL HOUSE. The crowd all start cheering as the carriage approaches.]

Clint : What the hell is going on here?

Alan : You're famous! On 07/06/05, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alice : [Gives Clint a disgusted look] Not to mention leaving [emphasis] us undisturbed by his gyrations!

Monty : [Brightens.] Ah! Mr. Snyder is here! I really do need to give him my report, so it's just as well.

Chastity : [To Monty] I doubt if he'll be grateful. [To Alan] Modesty begs the question, why are we famous?

Alan : Why? Because you helped saved the realms, of course! Those eggs were appearing everywhere, but when you killed the king, they all died. North and South are now united in the fight against the Horsemen because of that. Cigarette? [Holds out a pack of "Queens View Flavour Cigarettes]

Alice : [To Monty] Yes, Snyder. Oh great.

Chastity : [Looks with dismay at the cigarettes] No thank you. [To the others] I dread to think what they've called other consumer goods [Glances at Clint and Alice] or what they've associated with certain party members. [Looks out the window again] Although it is nice to have ones good work appreciated for a change.

Clint : Click-click!

[The carriage makes its way to the stage, expertly avoiding the crowds and somehow managing not to knock anyone down. As the carriage stops, SNYDER beams with happiness, unable to contain his joy.]

Alice : Looks like our public are ready to shower us with adoration. [Looks around at the others] Now, let's look cool here, let's have no one doing anything foolish or embarrassing.

[SCHMICHAEL opens his door and falls out onto the ground.]

Alice : Like that.

Clint: [Excited] Maybe I can get some endorsement deals outta this! Ride this fame thing into the ground! [Strikes serious actor guy pose] For an smell that'll drive the ladies wild, try Scent O' Clint! [Shows imaginary bottle of cologne to Chastity and flashes a cheesy actor guy smile]

Alice : [Joins Clint, beaming madly] Now with extra horse manure smell!

Clint: [Snorts] Yeah, what are you gonna endorse? [Mimicks Alice] If you wanna be sure not to get whatever it is SHE's got, use Bimbo brand condoms!

Chastity : Come now, you two. Now is not the time to be jealously bickering over who get royalties for what. [Dramatically gestures outside] Our public awaits. [Carefully exits the carraige, smiling and waving]

Alice : [Still beaming] Or, simply don't stand too close to stinky individuals. [Moves back to her own seat and speaks with a serious voice] Remember, kids, stinkiness can spread.

Alan : [Gives in irritating little clap] Well said, Sister! Remember, the tighter the party unity, the greater the sponsorship deal!

[SCHMICHAEL feels his way around, and opens the door, causing the gathered crowd to whoop and cheer, while SNYDER's face snaps into a sneer.]

Snyder : [Whispering to Maxwell and, despite their distance from the party, inexplicably audible to them, but not the crowd] Scumbags!

Alan : Why? Because you helped saved the realms, of course! Those eggs were appearing everywhere, but when you killed the king, they all died. North and South are now united in the fight against the Horsemen because of that. Cigarette? [Holds out a pack of "Queens View Flavour Cigarettes]

Alice : [To Monty] Yes, Snyder. Oh great.

Chastity : [Looks with dismay at the cigarettes] No thank you. [To the others] I dread to think what they've called other consumer goods [Glances at Clint and Alice] or what they've associated with certain party members. [Looks out the window again] Although it is nice to have ones good work appreciated for a change.

Clint : Click-click!

[The carriage makes its way to the stage, expertly avoiding the crowds and somehow managing not to knock anyone down. As the carriage stops, SNYDER beams with happiness, unable to contain his joy.]

Alice : Looks like our public are ready to shower us with adoration. [Looks around at the others] Now, let's look cool here, let's have no one doing anything foolish or embarrassing.

[SCHMICHAEL opens his door and falls out onto the ground.]

Alice : Like that.

Clint: [Excited] Maybe I can get some endorsement deals outta this! Ride this fame thing into the ground! [Strikes serious actor guy pose] For an smell that'll drive the ladies wild, try Scent O' Clint! [Shows imaginary bottle of cologne to Chastity and flashes a cheesy actor guy smile]

Alice : [Joins Clint, beaming madly] Now with extra horse manure smell!

Clint: [Snorts] Yeah, what are you gonna endorse? [Mimicks Alice] If you wanna be sure not to get whatever it is SHE's got, use Bimbo brand condoms!

Chastity : Come now, you two. Now is not the time to be jealously bickering over who get royalties for what. [Dramatically gestures outside] Our public awaits. [Carefully exits the carraige, smiling and waving]

Alice : [Still beaming] Or, simply don't stand too close to stinky individuals. [Moves back to her own seat and speaks with a serious voice] Remember, kids, stinkiness can spread.

Alan : [Gives in irritating little clap] Well said, Sister! Remember, the tighter the party unity, the greater the sponsorship deal!

[SCHMICHAEL feels his way around, and opens the door, causing the gathered crowd to whoop and cheer, while SNYDER's face snaps into a sneer.]

Snyder : [Whispering to Maxwell and, despite their distance from the party, inexplicably audible to them, but not the crowd] Scumbags!

Harvey : [Practically jumps from the carriage] I believe breakfast was mentioned, troop! Hut hut, lets not dilly dally eh, there's feasting ahead!

Maxwell : [Beaming] On behalf of the Watchers Council, I would like to welcome you all to Amnesia.

Chastity : [To Maxwell, stepping out the carriage ] Thank you very much. Let me assure you that no-body is more happy to be able to be here than us. [looks around] What a super welcome. [Waves to the crowd again]

Monty : [Ensures that he is presentable before disembarking from the carriage.] Thank you, sir!

[The crowd all give a loud cheer, with several of the holding up large pictures of CHASTITY.]

Maxwell : Sister, it's so wonderful to see you again. You have been sorely missed. We've got such a great celebration here, and [trying to contain his excitement] wait until you meet Count Quackula, he's just [titters] quackers!

Snyder : [Steps forward and shakes Monty's hand] Monty, what a pleasure it is to see you. [Looks Chastity up and down with a look of contempt] Sister. [Suddenly hugs Chastity, and steps back again, embarrassed]

Monty : [Genuinely, to Snyder.] And a great relief it is to be back, sir! I'll have quite a report for once these requisite festivities are out of the way. [Politely avoids drawing attention to Snyder's moment of weakness.]

Snyder : Ah! I knew you wouldn't let us down, Monty. [Gives a big smile as the others get out] Alice! Harvey! Austin! [With absolute delight] Clint! Wow! [Composes himself] About time you scumbags came back. You're not going to get paid for the time you were dead, you know.

Alice : We're being paid?

Snyder : Uh, no. You're doing this for the glory of good, isn't that right, Mr. Giles?

Monty : [Nods firmly.] Quite right, Mr. Snyder! Besides which, I'm certain that their proposed merchandising sideline will provide them with appropriate financial compensation and allow them to fund future just endeavors in the name of the Hierophantic Knights!

Chastity : [To Monty] I might suggest the Hierophantic Accountants create a trust fund to deposit some peoples savings until they are [glances back at Clint and Alice] a little more responsible. [Looks round the crowd again, smiling] My! so many nice pictures. [Her face darkens for a moment and she strides over to a member of the crowd and snatches the picture postcard they're waving from them. To crowd member, scolding] No, its not funny, you know, nor clever! [pauses to put the picture in her bag] It doesn't even look like me! [Composes herself and rejoins the group, smiling and waving to the crowd]

Crowd member : I was just looking for an autograph!

Snyder : [Smiles and claps Monty on the shoulder] Ah, Monty! I always knew you had it in you to go far - that's just the kind of thinking that will ensure the survival of the Knights in the long term.

[The thunderous music that has been playing since the party's arrival ("Do the Crucifixion") comes to an end, and a super enthusiastic DJ comes on.]

DJ : Put your wings together for the Queens View party, conquackulations on their return!

[The crowd go crazy clapping and cheering as the party are brought onto the stage.]

Austin : [Passing out phone numbers to some lucky ladies on the way up] It will be interesting to peruse our contract, to see what percentage of our earnings the Watchers are getting.

Monty : [Smiles and waves politely to the crowd.] [To Austin.] I'm certain that it will be reasonable, Mr. Sleaze.

Chastity : Surely the wathchers will only get video rights?

Clint: [Groans. To Chastity] Don't give away the video rights! That's the sweetest plum of all! [Scanning the crowd for babes, flashing a cheesy grin and giving a thumbs up to a variety of potential future ex-Mrs. Clint Scars]

DJ : And now, Radio K Duck's very own, the gorgeous, the talented, Frances Drake! [Makes some noise with a duck call]

[Enter FRANCES DRAKE, staggering onto the stage, banging off ALICE, before coming to a rest, leaning against AUSTIN and CLINT.]

Frances : Quack!

Clint: [To Frances with a big smile] Hey, baby. Got anymore of whatever it is your drinking?

Frances : [Lifts a finger as though she's about to make a point] Hic. [Throws up on the stage in the middle of the party, causing no small amount of splashback]

[The crowd react with horror, and start booing.]

Frances : [Angrily addressing the crowd] Hey! Hey! You love me! I bring joy to your pathetic lives!

[Some beer bottles are thrown onto the stage at FRANCES, narrowly missing the party.]

Alice : [Pointing to a group of people in the direction that the cans came from] Look, it was those nuns!

Austin: [Quickly moves away from Frances, repulsed] Finally, we've found a woman good enough for our Clint. [Fastidiously begins removing any trace of vomit from his clothes with a silk hanky]

Clint: [Glares at Austin] Yeah, I think I'll pass on whatever you're drinking after all, babe. [Eyes the crazed nuns uneasily and attempts to pick up Frances and get her off the stage]

Chastity : [Ducking another bottle from the group of Nun's] I see Phili still moves in mysterious ways. [Looks round the now rabble] How the fickle crowd turned nasty so quickly. [Looks at Frances] This often happens at radio road shows I hear. The DJ's are never quite as attractive in person!

[Enter BILL MALLARD, a devastingly handsome man, with a shock of blonde hair and dazzlingly white teeth.]

Bill : [Flashes a smile and speaking into a portable microphone] I beg to differ, Sister!

[The crowd begin to whoop and cheer at BILL as he introduces each of the party members, distracting the crowd from the bouncers removing FRANCES.]

Bill : People of Amnesia, may I present [dramatic pause] the [overlong pronounciation] eggstremely quackalicious Queens View party! [Pause for cheering, before continuing in a low and serious voice] We'll be right back after these messages. [To the party] Sorry about that folks, they're very [draws out the "egg" again] eggcitable! Come on, let's go somewhere private and I'll show you some of the merchandising.

Chastity : [Following Bill, To Alice] I really hope that wasn't a euphemism for something else.

Alice : [Totally distracted by Bill] Huh? do with ducks

Austin: [Follwing Bill. To Bill] Merchandise bearing our images, you mean? I'll need to see the contracts immediately, of course, to ensure we are being properly compensated, minus the usual legal fees, etc. Oh, I represent that party in all legal matters, if I failed to mention that. [Examines nails casually]

Clint: [To Bill, annoyed] Drop the egg and duck crap, would ya? We're not fans, all right?!

Bill : [To Austin] Sure sure. [To Clint] Aw, are you getting [emphasis] down?

Harvey : [Thinks for a moment before bursting out laughing and claps Bill on the shoulder] By the saints, that's a good one! In fact, I believe you might say it's a...[eyes bulge and face goes red with supressed mirth]...cracker! [Bursts out laughing loud and long and alone before stopping suddenly] Er, I meant quacker.

Clint: [Brightens] I got one for you! Duck! [Fakes a punch at Bill, stopping well short of actually hitting him]

Bill : [Looking at Harvey like he's crazy] Huh? [Throws himself to the ground at Clint's feint] No! Not the face! Not the face!

[BILL curls up in a ball, moaning and whining to himself, while everyone stands around in an awkward silence.]

Alice : [Glares at Clint] Shouldn't that have been duck down?

Harvey : [Thinks for a moment before bursting out laughing and claps Bill on the shoulder] By the saints, that's a good one! In fact, I believe you might say it's a...[eyes bulge and face goes red with supressed mirth]...cracker! [Bursts out laughing loud and long and alone before stopping suddenly] Er, I meant quacker.

Clint: [Brightens] I got one for you! Duck! [Fakes a punch at Bill, stopping well short of actually hitting him]

Bill : [Looking at Harvey like he's crazy] Huh? [Throws himself to the ground at Clint's feint] No! Not the face! Not the face!

[BILL curls up in a ball, moaning and whining to himself, while everyone stands around in an awkward silence.]

Alice : [Glares at Clint] Shouldn't that have been duck down?

Austin: [Sighs. Offers Bill a hand] Please excuse Mr. Scar. I'm afraid his mental capabilities are not sufficient to grasp anything so complex as a pun.

Bill : [Takes Austin's hand and leaps to his feet] No problem my friend, his type of thuggery runs off me like water off a duck's back.

Alice : [To Clint] But shouldn't it? Shouldn't it have been duck [unnecessarily large emphasis] down?

Clint: [To Alice, shrugging] What the hell do I care?! Ask the egghead.

Alice : Well, that's just typical you, Clint. All you care about is feathering your own nest.

Monty : Ahem. And speaking of feathers, let's get going before any more of them get ruffled.

Bill : [Smiles and claps Monty on the back] That's the spirit! We're all part of the same flock, aren't we?

Harvey : [Stomach gives a rumble] With all this talk of ducks, this old soldier is getting hungry!

[BILL looks aghast.]

Maxwell : Er, yes, perhaps we should have a moment with the party in private, to let them know what's going on?

Monty : [Nods to Maxwell.] [Agreeably.] Yes, quite.

Bill : Indeed.

[BILL stands there and makes no move. Everyone is now in a small room backstage, with BILL, the party, SNYDER and MAXWELL.]

Chastity : [Looks around awkwardly, waiting. To Bill] Well? Get out. Go on shoo! I'm afraid this is one party you're not invited to. The crowd want you.

Bill : [After a brief pause, brightens his smile] Surely! I'll get the flock out of here!

Alice : Don't you mean swarm?

Bill : Huh?

Alice : Like as in a swarm of ducks?

Bill : Uh, sure. I'll get the um, swarm out of here.

[Exit BILL.]

Maxwell : Well, I'm sure you must have loads of questions!

Harvey : Absolutely! Where's our breakfast?

Clint : How do I find the brandy?

Austin : What is our percentage from the merchandising?

Alice : [Taking a small, stone like object from her shoe] What the hell [emphasis] is this?

Clint: Well?! Let's have some answers, dammit!

Harvey : Well? Let's have some breakfast, dammit!

Maxwell : Er, well, uh -

Snyder : [Angrily] Look, you scumbags, keep your swearing to yourselves, and whatever seedy dives you hang out in. Ask a proper question and we'll answer it.

Harvey : [Coldly] Sir, all of the previous questions were proper, just perhaps not in your own over inflated opinion. Just what is going on here in this town and why do all of these people know who we are and what we've done? Why are our faces splashed across everything from huge banners to t-shirts to commemorative mugs and glasses?

Austin: [Nods] Excellent questions. And, more importantly, where were our royalties checks sent while we were dead?

Harvey : So in other words, all of our friends and relatives believe we are dead and are at this moment, dividing up our worldly goods and putting a For Sale sign next to our houses!

Snyder : [Drinking from a novelty mug in the shape of Harvey's head] Really! Is money all you people think about? [To Harvey] Once we heard what you did to the King, and how you were then killed, the PR machine immediately swung into action.

Alice : What does that mean?

Snyder : I told my brother's wife not to tell anyone about you. Within minutes, the entire Realms had heard of the affair.

Snyder : I don't know sir, it depends on what kind of friends and relatives you've got!

Chastity : Surely you family wouldn't be quarrelling amonst themselves over your inheritance, Colonel. [Thinks for a moment] Actually, there might well be a new war on.

Alice : [Nods] Yeah, they're a pretty strange bunch, alright. Not like my family.

Chastity : [Uncertainly] Yes, quite, dear. I'm [emphasis] sure that Bertie hasn't rushed out and sold all your shoes. [pauses] to Fabian!

Clint: [Disgruntled] Well, so far fame sucks. I'm still hungry and sober, and I haven't gotten any action yet. Other than copping a feel offa that broad who puked everywhere. [Smirks and nudges Monty] Did you notice her rack?! What am I saying?? How could you NOT notice it?

Austin: [Frowns at his nails for a moment, then fishes out a deluxe mini-manicure set to repair a slightly jagged nail] Please control yourself, Mr. Scar. Once I've renegotiated our contracts, you'll be swimming in cheap brandy with even cheaper women. [Smiles at the now perfect nail]

Monty : [To Snyder.] Perhaps you might further elaborate upon the presence circumstances, sir? [Glances at Clint.] Ahem. Perhaps accompanied by a small round of celebratory potables in order to keep Mr. Scar's attention focused on the things that are important to him.

Alice : [Giving Clint a baleful look] Yeah, and I wonder what made her sick!

Snyder : [With an even more serious face than normal] We have a very serious situation on our hands. North and South are united in the fight against the Horsemen, and our best negotiator has been sent East.

Alice : What about the West?

Snyder : [Dismissively] Ah, we're not going to bother with them, they're all whores and rugby players.

Alice : Hey! My mother is from there!

Snyder : Er, really? Uh, what team does she play for?

Chastity : [To Snyder] So Peter has gone East? Are there any reports of where the horsemen are at present?

Snyder : [Gravely] I'm afraid so.

[A few moments of silence pass.]

Alice : Afraid of what?

Snyder : [Takes a big gulp from his Harvey's Head mug] Nothing. Except those damned post-it notes.

Maxwell : Er, what Mr. Snyder means is that Peter has gone East, and he is missing.

Alice : No he's not, he's right there, hiding behind that mug that's shaped a bit like my Aunt Mabel. [Points at Snyder]

Monty : Ahem. While I congratulate you on your keen observational skills in locating Mr. Snyder, I believe that what he meant was that Peter is missing. This would, indeed, be a most unfortunate circumstance. The loss of his witticisms would be a severe blow to morale, for starters...

Snyder : [Sounding a little tearful and grabbing onto Monty with an awkward hug] My whole world is crashing down around me! [Backs off and composes himself] Ahem.

Maxwell : We were going to send our top team of Knights to find him, but now that you're alive, we're going to send you instead.

Monty : [Adjusts his glasses.] A suitable choice, sir! There is the matter of my report on all matters preceeding this one, however, which will be quite substantial. As time is undoubtedly of the essence in locating Peter, it would seem inopportune to delay departure on my behalf; shall I be accompanying them and delay reporting until a subsequent return, or would you prefer that I remain whilst they carry on?

Snyder : [Leans in confidentially, but speaking loud enough to be heard by the party] Those scumbags getting to you, eh?

Monty : [Quietly to Snyder, so as not to be readily overheard.] The most difficult people that I have ever worked with, sir.

Snyder : [Under his breath and with barely concealed contempt] Scumbags! [Calms down a bit] It's because of their difficulty that we'd like you to continue, they need a firm hand. Probably more so when they hear the ramifications of their deaths on the merchandising arrangements.

Monty : [Still quietly, albeit with a small sigh.] Understood, sir. I'll continue to do my best, though Phili knows, herding cats would be like a vacation compared to this lot. If there's time, I really should give you at least a summary before we leave, however.

Austin: [Eavesdropping on Monty and Snyder's conversation. To Snyder] What ramifications do you allege our deaths had on the merchandising arrangements?

Chastity : Yes, I would like to know that. We've already seen what can happen to reputations by witnessing an un-official play.

Alice : [Giving Clint a baleful look] Yeah, and I wonder what made her sick!

Snyder : [With an even more serious face than normal] We have a very serious situation on our hands. North and South are united in the fight against the Horsemen, and our best negotiator has been sent East.

Alice : What about the West?

Snyder : [Dismissively] Ah, we're not going to bother with them, they're all whores and rugby players.

Alice : Hey! My mother is from there!

Snyder : Er, really? Uh, what team does she play for?

Chastity : [To Snyder] So Peter has gone East? Are there any reports of where the horsemen are at present?

Snyder : [Gravely] I'm afraid so.

[A few moments of silence pass.]

Alice : Afraid of what?

Snyder : [Takes a big gulp from his Harvey's Head mug] Nothing. Except those damned post-it notes.

Maxwell : Er, what Mr. Snyder means is that Peter has gone East, and he is missing.

Alice : No he's not, he's right there, hiding behind that mug that's shaped a bit like my Aunt Mabel. [Points at Snyder]

Monty : Ahem. While I congratulate you on your keen observational skills in locating Mr. Snyder, I believe that what he meant was that Peter is missing. This would, indeed, be a most unfortunate circumstance. The loss of his witticisms would be a severe blow to morale, for starters...

Snyder : [Sounding a little tearful and grabbing onto Monty with an awkward hug] My whole world is crashing down around me! [Backs off and composes himself] Ahem.

Maxwell : We were going to send our top team of Knights to find him, but now that you're alive, we're going to send you instead.

Monty : [Adjusts his glasses.] A suitable choice, sir! There is the matter of my report on all matters preceeding this one, however, which will be quite substantial. As time is undoubtedly of the essence in locating Peter, it would seem inopportune to delay departure on my behalf; shall I be accompanying them and delay reporting until a subsequent return, or would you prefer that I remain whilst they carry on?

Snyder : [Leans in confidentially, but speaking loud enough to be heard by the party] Those scumbags getting to you, eh?

Monty : [Quietly to Snyder, so as not to be readily overheard.] The most difficult people that I have ever worked with, sir.

Snyder : [Under his breath and with barely concealed contempt] Scumbags! [Calms down a bit] It's because of their difficulty that we'd like you to continue, they need a firm hand. Probably more so when they hear the ramifications of their deaths on the merchandising arrangements.

Monty : [Still quietly, albeit with a small sigh.] Understood, sir. I'll continue to do my best, though Phili knows, herding cats would be like a vacation compared to this lot. If there's time, I really should give you at least a summary before we leave, however.

Austin: [Eavesdropping on Monty and Snyder's conversation. To Snyder] What ramifications do you allege our deaths had on the merchandising arrangements?

Chastity : Yes, I would like to know that. We've already seen what can happen to reputations by witnessing an un-official play.

Snyder : I'm busy talking to Mr. Giles, Maxwell will sort you out.

Maxwell : [Taking off his glasses and nervously cleaning them] Well, perhaps we should talk about this in the next room. [Gestures towards one of the doors]

Clint: [Goes over to open the door Maxwell gestures toward] Fine, let's get the boring part over with. [Adds menacingly] But there'd better be some damn snacks and booze behind this door! We aren't exactly getting the star treatment we deserve!

Maxwell : Of course there will be! The first delivery of Chastity Browne's Brown Bread has just arrived, and we were able to prevent the radio staff from drinking all of the Clint's Wicked Ale.

[Exit ALL, but MONTY and SNYDER.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene II. A large room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and MAXWELL are here. The room looks like some kind of storage room, and is filled with all sorts of Queens View Party related material, such as "Chastity Browne's Brownies", "Colonel Kingston-Short's Medal Polisher", "Clint's Wicked Ale", "L'Oreal Feria Hair Colouring Kit - 'Alice Colour'", "Sleaze Hand Cream" and "The Montgomery Giles Young Investigator's Kit", amongst other things, including a set of novelty mugs in the shapes of the party's heads, all of which are, of course, very crude approximations. All the stuff is fairly cheap and vulgar, without being downright offensive.]

Alice : [Picking up the hair colouring kit, and turning to the party with tears in her eyes] This is the proudest moment of my life!

Clint: [Cracks open a bottle of Clint's Wicked Ale and toasts Alice] Congrats, bimbo! Couldn't have happened to a blonder blonde! [Starts investigating the goodies and picks up a random box] Hmm. Hey, Lawyer, what the hell is Loafer Lightener, anyway?!

Austin: [Ignores Clint and sniffs the Sleaze Hand Cream distastefully, tossing it aside disdainfully] Who's in charge of quality control for these products?! [Picks up a Sleaze Do-It-Yourself Quickie Divorce Kit and reads the box aloud, outraged] No need to hire a professional?! Why on earth would I endorse such rubbish?!

Alice : [Opens a bottle of beer] Thanks Stinky! [Takes a drink, and then looks suspiciously at the bottle, swishing the beer around her mouth noisily before swallowing it] Where did this beer come from?

Maxwell : [Nervously avoiding Austin] It's a really rather nice deal, actually, we get the beer directly from Queens View. [Pauses as Alice takes another drink] It's bottled by the new owner of Moe's Tavern. [Looks around the party] Maybe some of you are familiar with establishment?

Alice : [Spewing out the beer] Ew! Who [emphasis] is in charge of quality control?

Clint: [Swallows his enormous mouthful of beer and shrugs] I've had worse. [Takes another swig and digs into the brownies] Hey, look! [Hands Alice a box containing a plastic Alice doll] There's a bunch of 'em, all of the different things little broads can grow up to be! There's Knocked-Up Alice, which comes with a buncha fat chick clothes, Housewife Alice, which comes with a six-pack of brew for her to take to her man, and Spinster Alice, which comes with some nun clothes and a tiny mustache bleaching kit.

Harvey : [Picks up an aftershave bottle] I say, what's this? Eau deu toilette d'Clint? [Give the bottle a spray and sniffs, grimacing mightily] By the saints, troop, at least the marketers are honest about the contents of the products! says

Alice : [Picks up another doll] What's this? Bitchy Alice? Oh, my mistake. [Shows the party a Clint doll]

Harvey : [Picks up the "Colonel Kingston-Short's Medal Polisher" and applies it to one of his medals he removes from his bag, watching in shock as it melts to nothingness] I say, that medal was given to me by the King himself for 'Best Polished Boots of '69"! [Swings around to Maxwell] You there, chappie, what the devil are the Knights doing marketing these woeful products? It's outrageous!

Austin: [Takes a Gentleman Giles Fancy Walking Stick and pokes through the piles of items in disgust. To Maxwell] I've seen enough. Show me the contracts immediately.

Maxwell : I'm sorry, Colonel, but it costs a lot to run a war! The price of coffins has shot up in recent times. [Swallows hard as he addresses Austin] Well, there are actually no contracts, I'm afraid. They weren't needed.

Austin: [Glares at Maxwell] What do you mean, no NEED for contracts?!

Clint: [Spits out beer] What the hell?! You mean we aren't making any dough offa this crap?!

Maxwell : Well, you were officially dead!

Chastity : I fear we may be witnessing the [does quotes] "no need to pay them because they're dead" profiting system. It's nothing new. The church has been doing it for centuries. Those gold goblets don't pay for them selves, you know. [Picks up a "Chastity Browne design your own teatowel kit"] Oh, this looks good though.

Maxwell : [With some relief] Exactly, Sister! The PR company handled everything for us, they also represented the Church of Phili until all those nasty rumours of embezzlement.

Chastity : [Tuts] You know fine well that that large collection of used notes was being kept in the locked box hidden under the alter for security. The crippled homeless orphan's pet fund would never have been secure anywhere else! Anyway the church was completely exonerated with the conclusive not proven verdict. [Opens up the box to find a small scrap of cloth and two chewed coloured pencils] Hmmm, obviously a beginners kit.

Austin : This is simply outrageous! Let me see the contracts.

[MAXWELL hands over a huge wad of paperwork, which AUSTIN flicks through in a matter of seconds.]

Austin : [With a smile] Well played, Mr. House.

Maxwell : [Nervously] Of course, I'm not personally responsible for all of it! [Laughs nervously]

Clint: [Goes over to open the door Maxwell gestures toward] Fine, let's get the boring part over with. [Adds menacingly] But there'd better be some damn snacks and booze behind this door! We aren't exactly getting the star treatment we deserve!

Maxwell : Of course there will be! The first delivery of Chastity Browne's Brown Bread has just arrived, and we were able to prevent the radio staff from drinking all of the Clint's Wicked Ale.

[Exit ALL, but MONTY and SNYDER.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene II. A large room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and MAXWELL are here. The room looks like some kind of storage room, and is filled with all sorts of Queens View Party related material, such as "Chastity Browne's Brownies", "Colonel Kingston-Short's Medal Polisher", "Clint's Wicked Ale", "L'Oreal Feria Hair Colouring Kit - 'Alice Colour'", "Sleaze Hand Cream" and "The Montgomery Giles Young Investigator's Kit", amongst other things, including a set of novelty mugs in the shapes of the party's heads, all of which are, of course, very crude approximations. All the stuff is fairly cheap and vulgar, without being downright offensive.]

Alice : [Picking up the hair colouring kit, and turning to the party with tears in her eyes] This is the proudest moment of my life!

Clint: [Cracks open a bottle of Clint's Wicked Ale and toasts Alice] Congrats, bimbo! Couldn't have happened to a blonder blonde! [Starts investigating the goodies and picks up a random box] Hmm. Hey, Lawyer, what the hell is Loafer Lightener, anyway?!

Austin: [Ignores Clint and sniffs the Sleaze Hand Cream distastefully, tossing it aside disdainfully] Who's in charge of quality control for these products?! [Picks up a Sleaze Do-It-Yourself Quickie Divorce Kit and reads the box aloud, outraged] No need to hire a professional?! Why on earth would I endorse such rubbish?!

Alice : [Opens a bottle of beer] Thanks Stinky! [Takes a drink, and then looks suspiciously at the bottle, swishing the beer around her mouth noisily before swallowing it] Where did this beer come from?

Maxwell : [Nervously avoiding Austin] It's a really rather nice deal, actually, we get the beer directly from Queens View. [Pauses as Alice takes another drink] It's bottled by the new owner of Moe's Tavern. [Looks around the party] Maybe some of you are familiar with establishment?

Alice : [Spewing out the beer] Ew! Who [emphasis] is in charge of quality control?

Clint: [Swallows his enormous mouthful of beer and shrugs] I've had worse. [Takes another swig and digs into the brownies] Hey, look! [Hands Alice a box containing a plastic Alice doll] There's a bunch of 'em, all of the different things little broads can grow up to be! There's Knocked-Up Alice, which comes with a buncha fat chick clothes, Housewife Alice, which comes with a six-pack of brew for her to take to her man, and Spinster Alice, which comes with some nun clothes and a tiny mustache bleaching kit.

Harvey : [Picks up an aftershave bottle] I say, what's this? Eau deu toilette d'Clint? [Give the bottle a spray and sniffs, grimacing mightily] By the saints, troop, at least the marketers are honest about the contents of the products! says

Alice : [Picks up another doll] What's this? Bitchy Alice? Oh, my mistake. [Shows the party a Clint doll]

Harvey : [Picks up the "Colonel Kingston-Short's Medal Polisher" and applies it to one of his medals he removes from his bag, watching in shock as it melts to nothingness] I say, that medal was given to me by the King himself for 'Best Polished Boots of '69"! [Swings around to Maxwell] You there, chappie, what the devil are the Knights doing marketing these woeful products? It's outrageous!

Austin: [Takes a Gentleman Giles Fancy Walking Stick and pokes through the piles of items in disgust. To Maxwell] I've seen enough. Show me the contracts immediately.

Maxwell : I'm sorry, Colonel, but it costs a lot to run a war! The price of coffins has shot up in recent times. [Swallows hard as he addresses Austin] Well, there are actually no contracts, I'm afraid. They weren't needed.

Austin: [Glares at Maxwell] What do you mean, no NEED for contracts?!

Clint: [Spits out beer] What the hell?! You mean we aren't making any dough offa this crap?!

Maxwell : Well, you were officially dead!

Chastity : I fear we may be witnessing the [does quotes] "no need to pay them because they're dead" profiting system. It's nothing new. The church has been doing it for centuries. Those gold goblets don't pay for them selves, you know. [Picks up a "Chastity Browne design your own teatowel kit"] Oh, this looks good though.

Maxwell : [With some relief] Exactly, Sister! The PR company handled everything for us, they also represented the Church of Phili until all those nasty rumours of embezzlement.

Chastity : [Tuts] You know fine well that that large collection of used notes was being kept in the locked box hidden under the alter for security. The crippled homeless orphan's pet fund would never have been secure anywhere else! Anyway the church was completely exonerated with the conclusive not proven verdict. [Opens up the box to find a small scrap of cloth and two chewed coloured pencils] Hmmm, obviously a beginners kit.

Austin : This is simply outrageous! Let me see the contracts.

[MAXWELL hands over a huge wad of paperwork, which AUSTIN flicks through in a matter of seconds.]

Austin : [With a smile] Well played, Mr. House.

Maxwell : [Nervously] Of course, I'm not personally responsible for all of it! [Laughs nervously]

Harvey : Outrageous sir! Outrageous! Well now that we are back in the land of the living, you will have to remove these inferior products from the shelves. You do not have permission to use any member of this troop for the sale of these products.

Maxwell : [Choosing his words carefully] Yes, Colonel, I understand your ire, however, permission wasn't needed once the death certificates were obtained. Lastd from Conor - 02.02.016

Harvey : What? What? By the saints, this is unbelieveable! You people are incredible!

Maxwell : Er, well, thank you, Colonel.

Clint: [Tosses his nearly empty bottle of Clint's Wicked at a wall] Fine! Let's trash this joint, rock-star style! [Grabs a nearby Chastity Browne's Broom of Renown and smashes it down on a pile of merchandise, in rock-star guitar-smashing fashion]

Maxwell : Please! Mister Scar! These items are the property of the Super Slippy Slimey Public Relations company!

Chastity : [To Maxwell] I'm sure they'll be insured against accidental storage damage, Mr. House.

Harvey : Well then sir, it leaves us with a drastic course of action, but seemingly our only one. We are going to the press and denouncing every product bearing our image, plus, no doubt those wily interviewers will make us reveal our true feelings about this organisation, and those who organise it. Front page expose, no doubt!

Austin: [Adds coolly] And we'll sue the ill-fitting, poorly tailored pants right off of you! [Surreptitiously kicks over the open bottle of Colonel Kingston-Short's Medal Polisher and watches, fascinated, as it eats away at a can of Can-Can Alice's Can-Do All-Purpose Purposing Spray]

Maxwell : Please! Colonel! Can't you of all people see sense? If you do that, the entire Hierophantic Knights organisation could fall apart!

Alice : [Playing with a pack of Clint's Flints, and not even making a spark] Maybe if you just agreed to take this stuff off the market, there wouldn't be a problem.

Maxwell : I'm afraid we're not in a position to do that.

Clint: [Shrugs and takes another whack at the piles with the broom] Allow me!

Alice : [Wincing each time Clint hits a batch ofthe Alice dolls] Come on, Stinky, take it easy. [Enter SNYDER and MONTY, the former looking aghast at CLINT's behaviour.]

Snyder : You scumbag! What the hell do you think you're doing?

Snyder : My god, Monty, what a trial the last while must have been for you.

Monty : [Emphatically.] Mr. Scar! Have you gone mad? [Long pause.] [Calmly.] Ahem. More so than usual, that is?

Clint: [Stops smashing things but hangs onto the broom. To Snyder] You think he's had it bad?! What about us, having to listen to him rambling on and on about every little thing. [To Monty] How hard is it to just say something like, Hell, I don't know? Or, Let's try hiding and cowering instead of fighting? Simple, to the point, you know? I mean, don't your jaws ever get tired?

Austin: [Sighs. To Clint] Mr. Scar, wrecking the place is not the way to handle this situation. ["Accidentally" steps on an Easy Sleaze Automated Toenail Buffer] Oops. [To Maxwell] Now, we demand an explanation! Or our royalties!

Maxwell : I already told you - the contractual situation is such that there is no obligation to pay people who are dead for the use of their image. The PR company handled all the details. I think you met one of them earlier, Mr. Pheasant, a very pleasant chap.

Snyder : He's a scumbag.

Monty : [To Maxwell.] Ahem. Perhaps a copy of the contracts and other work which was signed in pursuit of the arrangement could be provided for the review of Mr. Sleaze whilst we are en route to rescuing Peter? It would provide time for reflection and a greater understanding of the situation in an environment less prone to tantrum-based destruction.

Clint: [To Snyder, jabbing a finger toward Monty] See what I mean?

Austin: [To Monty] I've already reviewed the papers [shows Monty the wads of paper Maxwell gave him earlier], but I agree we should investigate Peter's disappearance immediately. [To Chastity, with a mournful look on his face] What a loss!

Snyder : [Looks at Clint for a moment, curling his lip up in disgust, before turning to Monty] I see what you mean. [Glares at Clint again]

Chastity : [Checking out a box of Uncle Harvey's Favourite Golden Honeyed Locusts, and reading from the list of ingrediants] May contain up to 1% locusts. Hm. [Turns to Austin and waves the box threateningly at him] That had better be the loss of Peter that you're mourning!

Monty : Regardless, let us make ready and be off before the loss becomes permanent! [To Snyder.] Was Peter travelling alone, sir, or was he accompanied? I assume that he did leave proper documentation regarding his travel plans and proposed route; that should make following his trail much easier.

Monty : [To Maxwell.] Ahem. Perhaps a copy of the contracts and other work which was signed in pursuit of the arrangement could be provided for the review of Mr. Sleaze whilst we are en route to rescuing Peter? It would provide time for reflection and a greater understanding of the situation in an environment less prone to tantrum-based destruction.

Clint: [To Snyder, jabbing a finger toward Monty] See what I mean?

Austin: [To Monty] I've already reviewed the papers [shows Monty the wads of paper Maxwell gave him earlier], but I agree we should investigate Peter's disappearance immediately. [To Chastity, with a mournful look on his face] What a loss!

Snyder : [Looks at Clint for a moment, curling his lip up in disgust, before turning to Monty] I see what you mean. [Glares at Clint again]

Chastity : [Checking out a box of Uncle Harvey's Favourite Golden Honeyed Locusts, and reading from the list of ingrediants] May contain up to 1% locusts. Hm. [Turns to Austin and waves the box threateningly at him] That had better be the loss of Peter that you're mourning!

Monty : Regardless, let us make ready and be off before the loss becomes permanent! [To Snyder.] Was Peter travelling alone, sir, or was he accompanied? I assume that he did leave proper documentation regarding his travel plans and proposed route; that should make following his trail much easier.

Snyder : He was with a delegation of eight others, six of whom are dead and one of whom just barely made it back alive. They were attacked just outside Anaesthesia - [darkly] for laughing. What chance had they when they were with Peter? [Shakes his head] No travel plans, I'm afraid, Monty. Normally we insist on it, as you know, but, well, Peter plays by his own rules, [big smile] you know what he's like! [Laughs]

Maxwell : [Awkwardly enthusiastic] He's a maverick!

Snyder : [Irritated] Control yourself, Mr. House!

Clint: Where's the guy who made it back?

Snyder : What guy? No one made it back

Clint: [Holds up eight fingers. To Snyder] You said Petey was with eight others, six dead [folds down six fingers], Petey's missing [wiggles one of the two remaining fingers and then folds it down] and that leaves the one you said just barely made it back alive [jabs his remaining finger in an obscene gesture], right?

Austin: [Wearily] Mr. Scar, please don't injure yourself while attempting higher math. [To Snyder] So you're saying all of the party has been accounted for, save Peter?

Alice : Actually, Clint, that leaves two alive. Peter was with eight others, six are dead, leaving two, one of those barely made it back alive, so that leaves one more. What's going on here, Mr. Sniper?

Snyder : Look, the one who made it back barely alive is dead.

Clint: [Holds up eight fingers, muttering to himself, putting some down and up and puzzling through the problem. Growls] Whatever! [Points to Maxwell] You! Get us some real beer, none of that pisswater, and some real grub. I don't know what the hell was in those brownies, but my tongue is getting furry. [Stomach rumbles alarmingly, right on cue] MOVE! [Points to Snyder] And you! Stop confusing us with logic puzzles! We're Knights, men of action, not a bunch of geeks!

Alice : [Takes a quick peek into Clint's mouth] Furrier.

Maxwell : Er, yes, yes, of course. [Starts heading off]

Snyder : Mr. House! Stop that! Don't you dare let anyone order you around. And that's an order! [To Clint] What about saving Peter?

Harvey : [Stomachs growls in answer] We can't save a man on empty stomachs, what!

Monty : [To Snyder.] Sir, seeing as provisions for the journey will undoubtedly be needed, would it be accurate to suppose that breakfast-capable edibles are included among them? Perhaps that would mollify Mr. Scar and Colonel Harvey sufficiently to allow us to indulge in a meal whilst on the road?

Snyder : Of course, of course, Monty, good thinking! We'll give you anything you want. [Leans in close to Monty] Let's get them out of here quickly, the carriage is down stairs and ready to go.

Austin: [Sigh. Scowls at Clint. To Snyder and Maxwell] Please move quickly. Peter's life may be at stake. [To Monty] Where do you suggest we start? Anaesthesia?

Snyder : Yes! Anaesthesia! Quick! Quick!

Clint: [Looks at Snyder suspiciously] You trying to get rid of us or something?

Monty : [Firmly.] Of course not, Mr. Scar! But Peter's life is at stake and he must be rescued, lest the world be deprived of his wit! Now, let's be off. [Heads for the carriage.]

Snyder : [Looking down at his shoes] No!

Austin: [Joins Monty. To Monty, gravely] Can you imagine a world without Peter?!

Clint: [Groans. To Alice] C'mon, bimbo. We gotta trap to walk right into! [Nods to the carriage and joins Monty and Austin]

Harvey : Not without at least a hamper jammed packed with delicious treats! There's no good trying to save private Deadpan when we ourselves drop dead from famishment!

Alice : [Excitedly to Clint] Can I be the one to say "God Himself can't stop us now" just before we get caught in the trap.

Snyder : [Nodding as Monty approaches the door, but turning to Harvey] Yes, yes, whatever, it's all in the carriage.

Harvey : [To Snyder] I certainly hope so, private, I certainly hope so! [Looks from Monty to Snyder suspiciously and turns to the others] Well troop, let's be on the off and away on a rescue!

Maxwell : [To Snyder] Phew! Looks like we pulled it off!

Harvey : [Quietly to the others] I say troop, a pair of rum looking coves and no mistake, eh! [Loudly] Are you both here meet with us?

Harvey : [Stops suddenly] Ah yes, Mr House, thank you for reminding me, what! [To Snyder] Why are you trying to get rid of us so quickly, eh? Speak man!

Snyder : [Glares at Maxwell for a moment] No reason! [Glances anxiously at the other door]

[The door the party were about to exit through opens. Enter MICHAEL PORTICO and DEREK HALL. The former is a sleazy looking type in a hugely expensive suit, while the latter is rough looking and smoking a huge cigar.]

Michael : [Smarmily] Ah! Our clients.

Derek : Monster!

Clint: Who the hell are you?!

Michael : [With a smile that has smarm just dripping off] Dear fellow, we are the directors of the Super Slippy Slimey Public Relations company, the top PR company in the realms.

Derek : It's monster!

Monty : [Sighs and shakes his head.] Ahem. Perhaps we should leave whilst Mr. Snyder discusses business with these gentlemen?

Alice : But what kind of business will he be discussing? [Theatrically] Us?

Michael : Of [emphasis] course not. Just the merchandising.

Monty : [Politely.] Quite. Which, to judge by what we've seen, has essentially nothing to do with any of us. [To the party.] Therefore, we might as well be going.

Austin : [Pointedly ignoring Monty, and addressing Michael] Once we return, there will be a case brought against you.

Derek : Let me guess, [with a big smile] Alice didn't like the dolls.

Alice : No, they were fine.

Derek : [Taken aback] Really?

Alice : Sure, they're just action figures.

Derek : [Laughs] Oh those dolls! Yeah, sure.

Monty : [Sighs.] [Helpfully.] Mr. Sleaze, the sooner we depart, the sooner we can return and you'll have the time available to launch that case. Of course, the element of surprise is now lost to you given your announcement of said case far prior to being able to bring it, thus giving them a bountiful span of time in which to prepare for it. Now, before anyone else makes any gratuitous tactical errors to our detriment, let's get going.

Austin: [Looks down and frowns. Whips out a small magnifying glass and kneels down to examine his left own shoe with it.] Mr. Giles, I do not presume to tell you how to be a note-taker. Do not pretend to know the first thing about the law. [Frowns even more deeply at seeing his shoe and sighs] That will have to be repaired at once.

Derek : [Cheerily squeezes Austin's shoulder] Chin up, mate, have some of this. [Hands over a tin of Short Shoe Shine] It's monster!

Austin: [Reaches for the tin but lets it drop through his fingers when Derek releases it] Oops. [Nonchalantly kicks the tin back into the pile of merchandise]

Clint: [Annoyed. To the party] Are we gonna get moving or what?!

Monty : [Disgruntled.] That's what I've been recommending for some time now, Mr. Scar.

Derek : [Roars with laughter] Monster! How about we talk about you making some personal appearances?

Chastity : [Looks disapprovingly at Derek and Michael] And quite rightly, Mr. Giles. Let's go before Alice realises what he was talking about.

Chastity :[To Austin] We really should be going to get Peter, we don't have time for delicate negotiations. I'm sure you could quickly draft an interim contract, probably incorporating the phrases misrepresentative, production halt, [rattles the mostly empty unopened honeyed locust box] shoddy tat.

Harvey : [To Derek] The only personal appearances we're likely to make, sir, is when appearing in a courtroom to have your mediocre merchandise put to the torch!

Alice : [Looks at Chastity's box] Hey! Are there [emphasis] any golden honeyed locusts in there?

Derek : [To Harvey] Monster, me old mucker! That'll keep you in the public eye - maybe we could get you a spot on Celebrity Big Sister after that?

Monty : [Sighs and shakes his head.] Ahem. Perhaps we should leave whilst Mr. Snyder discusses business with these gentlemen?

Alice : But what kind of business will he be discussing? [Theatrically] Us?

Michael : Of [emphasis] course not. Just the merchandising.

Monty : [Politely.] Quite. Which, to judge by what we've seen, has essentially nothing to do with any of us. [To the party.] Therefore, we might as well be going.

Austin : [Pointedly ignoring Monty, and addressing Michael] Once we return, there will be a case brought against you.

Derek : Let me guess, [with a big smile] Alice didn't like the dolls.

Alice : No, they were fine.

Derek : [Taken aback] Really?

Alice : Sure, they're just action figures.

Derek : [Laughs] Oh those dolls! Yeah, sure.

Monty : [Sighs.] [Helpfully.] Mr. Sleaze, the sooner we depart, the sooner we can return and you'll have the time available to launch that case. Of course, the element of surprise is now lost to you given your announcement of said case far prior to being able to bring it, thus giving them a bountiful span of time in which to prepare for it. Now, before anyone else makes any gratuitous tactical errors to our detriment, let's get going.

Austin: [Looks down and frowns. Whips out a small magnifying glass and kneels down to examine his left own shoe with it.] Mr. Giles, I do not presume to tell you how to be a note-taker. Do not pretend to know the first thing about the law. [Frowns even more deeply at seeing his shoe and sighs] That will have to be repaired at once.

Derek : [Cheerily squeezes Austin's shoulder] Chin up, mate, have some of this. [Hands over a tin of Short Shoe Shine] It's monster!

Austin: [Reaches for the tin but lets it drop through his fingers when Derek releases it] Oops. [Nonchalantly kicks the tin back into the pile of merchandise]

Clint: [Annoyed. To the party] Are we gonna get moving or what?!

Monty : [Disgruntled.] That's what I've been recommending for some time now, Mr. Scar.

Derek : [Roars with laughter] Monster! How about we talk about you making some personal appearances?

Chastity : [Looks disapprovingly at Derek and Michael] And quite rightly, Mr. Giles. Let's go before Alice realises what he was talking about.

Chastity :[To Austin] We really should be going to get Peter, we don't have time for delicate negotiations. I'm sure you could quickly draft an interim contract, probably incorporating the phrases misrepresentative, production halt, [rattles the mostly empty unopened honeyed locust box] shoddy tat.

Harvey : [To Derek] The only personal appearances we're likely to make, sir, is when appearing in a courtroom to have your mediocre merchandise put to the torch!

Alice : [Looks at Chastity's box] Hey! Are there [emphasis] any golden honeyed locusts in there?

Derek : [To Harvey] Monster, me old mucker! That'll keep you in the public eye - maybe we could get you a spot on Celebrity Big Sister after that?

Derek : [Roars with laughter] Monster! [Takes out an obscenely big cigar and offers it to Harvey] How do you fancy having and affair with a porn model?

Harvey : [Glares at Derek] And how, sir, do you propose to do that, seeing as you'll no doubt be covered from head to foot in plaster, praying that your bones reknit? Eh?

Clint: [To Derek] Wait, that one should be mine!!

Monty : Ahem. Calm yourself, Colonel, please. Quite apart from the impropriety of making threatening statements of that sort, they may also prejudice Mr. Sleaze's case.

Derek : [Big smile at Clint] That's the spirit! Although, our research department suggested you find god and turn all religious. [Gives Harvey a wink, but says nothing, turning instead to Chastity] Hey Sis, fancy autographing a few postcards? We're selling ones with fake autographs at five times the normal price, there's a monster demand for them.

Chastity : [Glaring at Derek] Although I can see Colonel's point. [catches herself and brushes down her habit] Not that the church condone violence, of course.

Alice : [Visibly disappointed] Aw!

Chastity : [Glaring at Derek] Although I can see Colonel's point. [catches herself and brushes down her habit] Not that the church condone violence, of course.

Alice : [Braces herself for Chastity's reaction] This is gonna be great!

Chastity : [Calmly to Derek] Perhaps you would allow me to light your cigar for you? [Looks round] Does anyone have a match or similar light?

Clint: [To Derek, shrugging] No problem. That's where the real money is, anyway.

Austin: [To Derek] And what did your research department suggest for me?

Derek : Fairytale marriage to pop teen sensatation Spritney Beers following on from rumours of homosexuality. [Gives a smile and a wink to Chastity] Monster! [Holds out the cigar, with a salicious grin] Anything else you can do cigars?

Alice : [Beams in delight at this hopelessly transparent set up by Chastity] Sure, Chas, here's mine [throws it over] be careful though, the flame is turned down really low at the moment.

Harvey : I'm afraid not, dear sister!

Chastity : [Catches the lighter and takes the cigar, lights it, takes a couple of surprisingly long drags, blows a smoke ring and tosses the lit cigar onto the most flammable looking piece of merchandise in the pile. Looking at Derek] Ooops. [Hands the light back to Alice] Thank you my dear. [Turns back to Derek, growling with rage] You odiously dispicable little man. How dare you sully me name, the groups name, the churches name in the peddling of your vile [emphasis] contraband filth. [Looks him up and down] You make me sick.

[The cigar lands on top of a pile of Chastity's Guaranteed Anti-Flammable Nightwear, which immediately catches fire and starts burning at an enormous rate, quickly ripping through the pile of tat.]

Derek : [Looks at the fire] Hey! [Back to Chastity] That was a really good cigar!

Snyder : [Horrified] You scumbags! The Knights will have to pay for all those! Now, come on, weren't you supposed to be going to rescue Peter? The carriage and the DJs are waiting downstairs.

Clint: [Beams at Chastity admiringly] All right, Chas!! Now we're talking! [Picks up a stack of unauthorized biographies entitled "Scar's Scars" and tosses them on the fire]

Chastity : [To Derek] Good Cigar? There is no such thing! [To the other] Maybe we should go now.

Alice : Good idea, Chas. [To the party in general] I don't know what you're all getting so upset about, it's not like any of the stuff was that bad.

[The party head out the door as the fire continues to spread, causing the poorly constructed air valves in a bunch of previously unnoticed inflatable Alice dolls to fail, sending about fifty of them flying all around the room. Exit the party, MAXWELL and SNYDER, blissfully unaware.]

Michael : Well, I think that went rather well, didn't it? Come on, we'd better go too.

Derek : [Rescuing one of the dolls] Monster, mate, just Monster! [Looks around] Hey, why don't you go on ahead, we'll catch up with you.

[Exit MICHAEL, through a different door to the party, leaving DEREK alone.]

Clint: [Unzips his pants and starts urinating on the wall opposite Snyder, mooning Snyder in the process] Hey, what should I write, bimbo?

Austin: [Looks at Clint, disgusted. To the party] Yes, we're wasting valuable time here. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't want to know precisely how those brownies might have affected Clint's bowels. [Shudders and heads out the door]

Austin: [To Alan] In time for what, exactly? Some humilating public appearance, no doubt?

Chastity : [Grumpily] For what?

[Book V, Act II, Scene III. A stairway. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, MAXWELL and SNYDER are here, heading down the stairs to an exit, through which the strains of mindless pop music and duck puns is coming.]

Alice : [To Clint] I thought it best not to ask you to spell anything, lest the others spot your poor spelling ability.

[Just as the party get to the exit, it flies open. Enter ALAN PHEASANT, out of breath, slamming the door behind him.]

Alan : Phew! Just in time!

Harvey : By the saints, can we not have a moments peace?

Alan : No! No, of course not. Just in time for me to open the door for you, your carriage awaits! [Stands with his hand on the door ready to open it] Ready when you are!

Clint: [Heads for the carriage door and snarls] Let's get going, already!

Alan : [To Harvey] Uh, not until 8pm tomorrow, according to the schedule. Right, I presume you've been briefed on the top secret rescue mission? Great! [Steps back to let the party out]

[As the party emerge through the door, a recording of "The Queens View Affair" (from Book III, Act I) is pumping out, and there are loads of screaming fans here. The carriage from before is nearby, with SCHMICHAEL leaning against it, drinking from a bottle of whiskey. Also here are BILL MALLARD and a now slightly more sober FRANCES MANDRAKE, both standing near the carriage. COUNT QUACKULA'S voice booms out over the music.]

Quackula : Put your wings together and cause a flap, it's the Queens View Party, sponsored by Radio K-Duck! Joining them on their top secret mission to Anaesthesia are K-Duck's own Frances Mandrake and Bill Mallard. They must be quackers, folks!

Austin: [To Bill] What is this, some kind of publicity stunt?! A man's life is at stake!

Clint: [Extends a hand to Frances] Hey, baby. Feeling better? [Big smile]

Frances : [Gives a huge smile as she shakes Clint's hand, causing a chorous of "whooos" to echo around, but talks through gritted teeth, so only those near the carriage can hear] Look, you piece of shit, I'm only here because I'll be fired if I don't go to Anaesthesia with you lot, so in public I'll smile and say I like you, but there's no way on this planet that I'm going to sleep with you or any of your sick buddies. [Turns to face some cameras, still holding Clint's and smiling as she gives a friendly wave]

Clint: [Big fake smile to the crowd. To Frances, loudly enough for bystanders to hear] What's that?! A raaaaaging case of genital herpes, you say?? Sorry to hear it, toots! [Still smiling, in a low voice, to Frances] Take that, bitch! [Kisses Frances' hand with a big smile]

Frances : [Pulls her hand away] I hate this job.

Alan : [Claps his hands together, all smiles] Right! You don't mind if the K-Duck folks tag along, do you?

Harvey : [Getting angrier by the minute] Of course we mind! This is serious business, not a serious business opportunity! A mans life is at stake for goodness sakes! Now out of our way! Come along troop!

Frances : [Under her breath] Thank god.

Alan : But Colonel! It was going to be the first ever mission carried out live on radio!

Chastity : [To Alan] Correct, was. We've already had enough media narration from a wild life presenter, without adding the wireless to our list of hindrances. What benefit is their to our mission?

Alan : Uh, why don't you wait here? I'll get Derek and Michael. [Heads back to the door the party came from]

Bill : [To the party] That's right, you guys stick up for yourselves! It'll be great, just you lot, me and Schmichael, it'll be great, won't it Schmicael.

[SCHMICHAEL says nothing, but continues drinking.]

Bill : See? He's all excited!

Chastity : Well lets get going before the sleazy counterfeit pornographer gets here. [Makes to get into the carriage]

Harvey : Good idea, Sister!

[The party all leap into the carriage, as does BILL, while SCHMICHAEL starts slowly feeling his way around to the driver's door.]

Bill : Quickly, Schmichael! We need to get going!

Austin : [Turns and looks at Bill with a look of utter disgust] You are not coming.

Harvey : Very true private Sleaze! [To Bill] You sir, out of this carriage now!

Bill : [Smugly] I think not, Colonel, I'm here to stay.

[SCHMICHAEL finds his way back into the carriage and revs up the horses, as DEREK, MICHAEL and ALAN come running out. He pulls a lever on the dashboard which causes BILL's door to open, before roaring off at huge speed, causing BILL to fall out with a scream.]

Alice : [Leans over and shuts the door] See? I told he was the best driver in the world!

Chastity : [Quickly belting herself in] Quite, my dear. Unless of course he thought that was your door. [Looks out the window at the blurred landscape whizzing by]

Alice : I'm sure that's the one he wanted to go for, Chas. After all, you're not beside one, are you?

[The carriage races off into the countryside, and the party travel for a few hours without seeing anyone. After about twelve hours driving, and an immeasurable number of toilet stops, another carriage finally comes in the other direction, travelling at high speed. As it gets closer, the party can see that there are two people in it, a man and woman. These are CAMPION PEAKSTON and CORKY FORD, the former who looks in his late twenties, while the latter is probably at least ten years older, although is dressed like a perky teenager, all in pink and with her hair up in pigtails. They keep travelling at speed until the last possible moment when CAMPION begins to jam on the brakes, eventually stopping right beside the party, who, conveniently, have all the windows on that side open.]

Campion : [Loudly and very, very fast] Hi! Hi! I'm Campion, Campion Peakston. That's peak as in hill, mountain, nipple, a top, if you will, not as in peeking in through someone's window through a pair of binoculars late at night from on top - the peak, say - of a very high tree. This here's my best girl and number one hon, Corky, say hello Corky, say hello to the nice people, they're just dying to meet you, I bet. Come on, say hello.

Corky : [Leans forward so the party can see her] Hi.

Campion : She's just great! Fantastic girl! Just look at her legs! Corky, show the nice people your legs.

[CORKY stretches one of her legs out over the front of their carriage. It does appear to be a well toned leg.]

Campion : And not just that! She's flexible too! Show them, Corky!

[CORKY giggles self consciously, and slowly, and apparently a little painfully tries to put her ankle behind her head, while CAMPION, beaming madly glances back and forth between her and the party.]

Cameron : Isn't she great?

Clint : [With a big cheesy grin] Hi Corky!

Monty : [Does up his own belt, double-checking its sturdiness.] [Murmurs.] Let's hope that he's one of those rare people whose reflexes while driving are unaffected by alcoholic intake.

Alice : [Visibly disappointed] Aw!

Chastity : [Glaring at Derek] Although I can see Colonel's point. [catches herself and brushes down her habit] Not that the church condone violence, of course.

Alice : [Braces herself for Chastity's reaction] This is gonna be great!

Chastity : [Calmly to Derek] Perhaps you would allow me to light your cigar for you? [Looks round] Does anyone have a match or similar light?

Clint: [To Derek, shrugging] No problem. That's where the real money is, anyway.

Austin: [To Derek] And what did your research department suggest for me?

Derek : Fairytale marriage to pop teen sensatation Spritney Beers following on from rumours of homosexuality. [Gives a smile and a wink to Chastity] Monster! [Holds out the cigar, with a salicious grin] Anything else you can do cigars?

Alice : [Beams in delight at this hopelessly transparent set up by Chastity] Sure, Chas, here's mine [throws it over] be careful though, the flame is turned down really low at the moment.

Harvey : I'm afraid not, dear sister!

Chastity : [Catches the lighter and takes the cigar, lights it, takes a couple of surprisingly long drags, blows a smoke ring and tosses the lit cigar onto the most flammable looking piece of merchandise in the pile. Looking at Derek] Ooops. [Hands the light back to Alice] Thank you my dear. [Turns back to Derek, growling with rage] You odiously dispicable little man. How dare you sully me name, the groups name, the churches name in the peddling of your vile [emphasis] contraband filth. [Looks him up and down] You make me sick.

[The cigar lands on top of a pile of Chastity's Guaranteed Anti-Flammable Nightwear, which immediately catches fire and starts burning at an enormous rate, quickly ripping through the pile of tat.]

Derek : [Looks at the fire] Hey! [Back to Chastity] That was a really good cigar!

Snyder : [Horrified] You scumbags! The Knights will have to pay for all those! Now, come on, weren't you supposed to be going to rescue Peter? The carriage and the DJs are waiting downstairs.

Clint: [Beams at Chastity admiringly] All right, Chas!! Now we're talking! [Picks up a stack of unauthorized biographies entitled "Scar's Scars" and tosses them on the fire]

Chastity : [To Derek] Good Cigar? There is no such thing! [To the other] Maybe we should go now.

Alice : Good idea, Chas. [To the party in general] I don't know what you're all getting so upset about, it's not like any of the stuff was that bad.

[The party head out the door as the fire continues to spread, causing the poorly constructed air valves in a bunch of previously unnoticed inflatable Alice dolls to fail, sending about fifty of them flying all around the room. Exit the party, MAXWELL and SNYDER, blissfully unaware.]

Michael : Well, I think that went rather well, didn't it? Come on, we'd better go too.

Derek : [Rescuing one of the dolls] Monster, mate, just Monster! [Looks around] Hey, why don't you go on ahead, we'll catch up with you.

[Exit MICHAEL, through a different door to the party, leaving DEREK alone.]

Clint: [Unzips his pants and starts urinating on the wall opposite Snyder, mooning Snyder in the process] Hey, what should I write, bimbo?

Austin: [Looks at Clint, disgusted. To the party] Yes, we're wasting valuable time here. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't want to know precisely how those brownies might have affected Clint's bowels. [Shudders and heads out the door]

Austin: [To Alan] In time for what, exactly? Some humilating public appearance, no doubt?

Chastity : [Grumpily] For what?

[Book V, Act II, Scene III. A stairway. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, MAXWELL and SNYDER are here, heading down the stairs to an exit, through which the strains of mindless pop music and duck puns is coming.]

Alice : [To Clint] I thought it best not to ask you to spell anything, lest the others spot your poor spelling ability.

[Just as the party get to the exit, it flies open. Enter ALAN PHEASANT, out of breath, slamming the door behind him.]

Alan : Phew! Just in time!

Harvey : By the saints, can we not have a moments peace?

Alan : No! No, of course not. Just in time for me to open the door for you, your carriage awaits! [Stands with his hand on the door ready to open it] Ready when you are!

Clint: [Heads for the carriage door and snarls] Let's get going, already!

Alan : [To Harvey] Uh, not until 8pm tomorrow, according to the schedule. Right, I presume you've been briefed on the top secret rescue mission? Great! [Steps back to let the party out]

[As the party emerge through the door, a recording of "The Queens View Affair" (from Book III, Act I) is pumping out, and there are loads of screaming fans here. The carriage from before is nearby, with SCHMICHAEL leaning against it, drinking from a bottle of whiskey. Also here are BILL MALLARD and a now slightly more sober FRANCES MANDRAKE, both standing near the carriage. COUNT QUACKULA'S voice booms out over the music.]

Quackula : Put your wings together and cause a flap, it's the Queens View Party, sponsored by Radio K-Duck! Joining them on their top secret mission to Anaesthesia are K-Duck's own Frances Mandrake and Bill Mallard. They must be quackers, folks!

Austin: [To Bill] What is this, some kind of publicity stunt?! A man's life is at stake!

Clint: [Extends a hand to Frances] Hey, baby. Feeling better? [Big smile]

Frances : [Gives a huge smile as she shakes Clint's hand, causing a chorous of "whooos" to echo around, but talks through gritted teeth, so only those near the carriage can hear] Look, you piece of shit, I'm only here because I'll be fired if I don't go to Anaesthesia with you lot, so in public I'll smile and say I like you, but there's no way on this planet that I'm going to sleep with you or any of your sick buddies. [Turns to face some cameras, still holding Clint's and smiling as she gives a friendly wave]

Clint: [Big fake smile to the crowd. To Frances, loudly enough for bystanders to hear] What's that?! A raaaaaging case of genital herpes, you say?? Sorry to hear it, toots! [Still smiling, in a low voice, to Frances] Take that, bitch! [Kisses Frances' hand with a big smile]

Frances : [Pulls her hand away] I hate this job.

Alan : [Claps his hands together, all smiles] Right! You don't mind if the K-Duck folks tag along, do you?

Harvey : [Getting angrier by the minute] Of course we mind! This is serious business, not a serious business opportunity! A mans life is at stake for goodness sakes! Now out of our way! Come along troop!

Frances : [Under her breath] Thank god.

Alan : But Colonel! It was going to be the first ever mission carried out live on radio!

Chastity : [To Alan] Correct, was. We've already had enough media narration from a wild life presenter, without adding the wireless to our list of hindrances. What benefit is their to our mission?

Alan : Uh, why don't you wait here? I'll get Derek and Michael. [Heads back to the door the party came from]

Bill : [To the party] That's right, you guys stick up for yourselves! It'll be great, just you lot, me and Schmichael, it'll be great, won't it Schmicael.

[SCHMICHAEL says nothing, but continues drinking.]

Bill : See? He's all excited!

Chastity : Well lets get going before the sleazy counterfeit pornographer gets here. [Makes to get into the carriage]

Harvey : Good idea, Sister!

[The party all leap into the carriage, as does BILL, while SCHMICHAEL starts slowly feeling his way around to the driver's door.]

Bill : Quickly, Schmichael! We need to get going!

Austin : [Turns and looks at Bill with a look of utter disgust] You are not coming.

Harvey : Very true private Sleaze! [To Bill] You sir, out of this carriage now!

Bill : [Smugly] I think not, Colonel, I'm here to stay.

[SCHMICHAEL finds his way back into the carriage and revs up the horses, as DEREK, MICHAEL and ALAN come running out. He pulls a lever on the dashboard which causes BILL's door to open, before roaring off at huge speed, causing BILL to fall out with a scream.]

Alice : [Leans over and shuts the door] See? I told he was the best driver in the world!

Chastity : [Quickly belting herself in] Quite, my dear. Unless of course he thought that was your door. [Looks out the window at the blurred landscape whizzing by]

Alice : I'm sure that's the one he wanted to go for, Chas. After all, you're not beside one, are you?

[The carriage races off into the countryside, and the party travel for a few hours without seeing anyone. After about twelve hours driving, and an immeasurable number of toilet stops, another carriage finally comes in the other direction, travelling at high speed. As it gets closer, the party can see that there are two people in it, a man and woman. These are CAMPION PEAKSTON and CORKY FORD, the former who looks in his late twenties, while the latter is probably at least ten years older, although is dressed like a perky teenager, all in pink and with her hair up in pigtails. They keep travelling at speed until the last possible moment when CAMPION begins to jam on the brakes, eventually stopping right beside the party, who, conveniently, have all the windows on that side open.]

Campion : [Loudly and very, very fast] Hi! Hi! I'm Campion, Campion Peakston. That's peak as in hill, mountain, nipple, a top, if you will, not as in peeking in through someone's window through a pair of binoculars late at night from on top - the peak, say - of a very high tree. This here's my best girl and number one hon, Corky, say hello Corky, say hello to the nice people, they're just dying to meet you, I bet. Come on, say hello.

Corky : [Leans forward so the party can see her] Hi.

Campion : She's just great! Fantastic girl! Just look at her legs! Corky, show the nice people your legs.

[CORKY stretches one of her legs out over the front of their carriage. It does appear to be a well toned leg.]

Campion : And not just that! She's flexible too! Show them, Corky!

[CORKY giggles self consciously, and slowly, and apparently a little painfully tries to put her ankle behind her head, while CAMPION, beaming madly glances back and forth between her and the party.]

Cameron : Isn't she great?

Clint : [With a big cheesy grin] Hi Corky!

Monty : [Does up his own belt, double-checking its sturdiness.] [Murmurs.] Let's hope that he's one of those rare people whose reflexes while driving are unaffected by alcoholic intake.

Alice : Well, there's only person who's been insisting on stopping for a toilet break every twenty minutes, Monts.

Clint : Yeah, but that's you, Bimbo.

Alice : So?

Harvey : [Nods to Campion and Corky] Er, hello there, and yes, she is very, er, limber.

Campion : [Speaking very, very fast] Where are you going? We're going to Amnesia to forget about all our troubles, it's gonna be great, we're going to have a house with a bedroom and everything, we're going to be totally happy! Why? And sense of humour? Corky's got the greatest sense of humour ever - tell them your joke, Corky, you know? The one about the pig?

Corky : [A little self consciously, but smiling] You see, this man was driving through the South, and he saw a farmer trying to lift up a pig, up to an apple tree.

Campion : [Roars with laughter, real tears in the eyes stuff] He's lifting a pig! Right up there, [huge emphasis] right up! Tell them what happened next, Cor, go on.

Corky : Uh, yeah, so the man -

Campion : [Interrupting] The man in the carriage now, not the farmer!

Corky : The man, he asked the farmer, why are you lifting up the pig like that?

Campion : [Roars with laughter again] Apples! [Over earnestly addressing the party, still with a huge smile] Don't you see? He was trying to get the pig to eat the apples - [collapses in a fit of laughter for a moment, but composes himself] but he wasn't picking them off the tree like you'd imagine, no, he was [emphasis] lifting the pig, lifting - I mean, a pig! Lifting! A pig! So the guy, anyway, go on, Cor, you tell it, you tell it better than me. [To the party] She's just great at telling jokes!

Corky : [Clearly anticipating a fantastic reaction from the party to her upcoming punchline] So the man said, why don't you pick the apple and give it to the pig? That would save a lot of time, but the farmer looked at him and said -

Campion : [Saying this with Corky, but faster and louder] Time? What's time to a pig?

Corky : [Trailing off] .. to a [sigh] pig.

Campion : [Hardly able to contain himself as he addresses the party] Don't you see? The farmer, right, he thought the man meant that it would save time for the pig! [More laughter] Aw, wow, you just get better telling that each time, Cor, you really are my number one hon.

Corky : [Looking lovingly into Campion's eyes] You're my number one hon too, Camp. [Gives him a kiss]

[The party all exchange glances, feeling a little tired from just watching CAMPION.]

Monty : [Glances at the other party members whilst the two are distracted with their mutual gazing.] [Murmurs very quietly.] Ahem. Yes. I think we'd best be going so as not to further distract them from their mutual amore?

Campion : Say! You folks aren't going to Anaesthesia, are you? [Shakes his head] Oh no, my friends, oh no! Cor, what do I always say about Anaesthesia?

Corky : [Thinking hard, but still smiling] Uh, that you don't like it?

Campion : No, hon, what I say is that it's an emotional quagmire that drains the energy from the souls of even the happiest of people.

Corky : [Shakes her head from side to side] Sorry hon!

Campion : No problem, hon. [To the party] It is an emotional quagmire that drains the energy from the souls of even the happiest of people, though, you really should avoid it.

Cork : [Squeezes Campion's arm supportively] Camp doesn't like it! [Looks at admiringly] He saved me from there.

Monty : Ahem. Yes. I wouldn't mind knowing, but not at the expense of another torrent.

Monty : [Politely.] Well then, perhaps we'll be able to save someone from there as well. [To Schmichael.] Shall we be off?

Alice : Don't we want to ask them what the problem is with Anaesthesia?

Monty : Ahem. Yes. I wouldn't mind knowing, but not at the expense of another torrent.

Alice : Hey! They're just perky! Why, I bet Anaesthesia is the perkiest place in all the East!

Campion : [Out of his carriage and right up to Alice's window] Perky? Perky? [Almost shouting] Perky? [Suddenly back in his own carriage and totally relaxed] 'fraid not, it's the saddest place in all the East. Even Corky's dancing couldn't cheer them up. Show them your dance, Cor! [To the party as Corky gets out] She's just great, watch how fast she can dance - hey Cor! Forget the dance a sec, show them how fast you can run on the spot!

[CORKY starts running on the spot really fast. Not shockingly so, although certainly quicker than any of the out of condition party members could.]

Campion : Isn't she great? to work. According to Sam had been entrusted poor naive Conor.

Chastity : Anaesthesia the saddest place in the East? Obviously Peter hasn't got there yet. [Concerned] I do hope he's OK. [To Corky] You can stop that now, dear. Can you tell us why the town is so sad? [Quickly pointing at Campion] And let her speak. Not a peep!

Monty : [To Campion, enthusiastically.] Yes, surely your familiarity with the mood of Anaesthesia allows you to demonstrate the sobriety and silence of its morose inhabitants with as much vigor as Miss Corky does her running on the spot, sir!

Clint : [Shaking his head at Chastity's words] Nah, she's doing fine, let her keep going with the jogging. [Moves his head up and down, following Corky's movements]

Corky : [A little breathlessly to Chastity] Oh, I'm fine, I can keep this up all day!

Campion : Sobriety? [Laughs] You must be joking! [Laughs again, before turning to Corky] Show them how high you can kick your knees up, Cor! [Turns to Monty once again] Sobriety? Oh no my friend, no! We're finally alive, alive, I tell you! [Gets into a story telling position] The mood of Anaesthesia mirrors the mood of our queen. [Gets distracted by Corky] Wow! Look at that that! Her knees come up almost to her forehead! You rock, Cor!

Harvey : [Trying hard not to stare at Corky. To Campion] Queen? What queen is this, eh?

Chastity : [Nodding] You took the words right out of my mouth, Colonel. [Looks to Campion with expectation]

Campion : The Queen of Anaesthesia. Everyone there feels sorry for her, and think that she's a terribly tragic figure. [For once looks less than super enthusiastic, but quickly perks up again] Hey! Corky can swing her leg right over my head [huge emphasis] while running! Like this, look!

[CAMPION starts running on the spot, even faster than CORKY, and swings his leg up high over her head.]

Corky : [Gushing, but still running] Wow! You're the best, Camp!

Campion : No, Cor, you're the best!

Alice : So, uh, do you think the Queen is a terribly tragic figure?

Campion : Nah, she's a cranky and sulky old bitch.

Harvey : So Queen and town are cranky and sulky, is that what you're saying? [Quietly to the others] To be honest troop, after meeting this pair of perky poltroons, I'll be quite happy with cranky and sulky, what!

Harvey : [Looking at Campion and Corky] Hmmm, I wonder.

Monty : [To Campion.] And what would the reason be for her presumed-tragic disposition?

Austin : [Looking unimpressed by the interruption] She was born that way. [To the Driver] Drive on please, [To the others] Time is of the essence, Peter's life may depend on it.

Chastity : [Nods] For once I must agree with you, Mr. Sleaze. All that appears to be happening here is time wasting and distraction. We should get going before Mr. Scar gives himself a neck RSI from watching this deluded girls chest!

Austin : [Breifly frowning at Clint. TO Chastity] I think Mr. Scar went way beyond RSI some time ago.

Chastity : True, Mr. Scar, but his callused palms would point to his wrist having taken the strain. [Shrugs] But I suppose it means he can handle hot items better.

Harvey : True indeed, Sister Chastity, private Scar is certainly one to wield his weapon when need arises!

Clint : True Harv, but when you've got a weapon as huge as mine, there's nothing to be embarassed about.

Campion : Hey Cor! Show them how you can do the crab!

[CORKY mercifully stops running, panting heavily, and bends down, before leaning over backwards onto her hands.]

Campion : Look at that! Look how limber she is!

Austin : [To Chastity] Of course the problem is that Mr Scar weilds his weapon when there is no necessity at all. [Watches Corky doing a crab] Hmmm, that would certainly save money on mops. A little clumsy for good domestic efficiency although I suppose that you don't need to bleach her hair separately.

Chastity : What disguises do we need? Or are you just referring to covering up our new found fame and in some cases [glances at Clint distastefully] notoriety.

Clint : Handy footstool, too.

Campion : [To the party] Hey! Have you got disguises? You really need disguises. You'll have a hard time in Anaesthesia without disguises.

Campion : Wow! [With a big smile] Are you guys famous? We're gonna be famous some day, aren't we, Cor?

Corky : [Does a backwards rollover, giving everyone a flash of her knickers, and jumps to her feet] We sure are, Camp!

Campion : Cor's just the greatest singer ever! Give them a blast, Cor!

Corky : [Singing in a passable, but by no means brilliant or even particularly good voice] I will survive, oh yeah! [Stops singing] Campion is just the greatest lyricist ever, he -

Campion : I write the songs! I write them and Corky brings them to life! You're my number one hon, Cor!

Corky : [Leaning in and rubbing noses with Campion] And you're my number one hon!

Clint : [To the party] I think I'm gonna be sick. [Shouts at them] Hey! If we're not famous, why would we need disguises?

Campion : [Surprised, but at the question, not the tone] Uh, well, you're those guys on the cards, aren't you?

Austin : [To Campion] Which cards? Tarot cards? Which one am I?

Campion : Yep, they're like tarot cards - the Deck of the Path, they're called. [Enthusiastically] You're on our favourite one, tell him, Cor, tell him which one is our favourite.

Corky : [Excited] Well, our favourite is -

Campion : The Lovers! You and a beautiful woman. What a cool card! It's been an inspiration to me and Cor. It's because of that card that she's my number one hon!

Alice : [Mock annoyed to Austin] So it's [emphasis] your fault!

Austin : [Deadpan to Alice] You have my most sincere appologies. [To Campion] Alas my fiancee was murdered on the eve of our wedding by a psychopath called Jerome Trindle [To the party] Shall we go and find Peter.

Chastity : Yes. [To Campion] What does the Queen look like? Anyone here? [To the others] Remember that when we went down to Cachexia the tarot cards led the inhabitants to recognise me as [pauses dramatically and brushes down her habit] their queen.

Clint : True Harv, but when you've got a weapon as huge as mine, there's nothing to be embarassed about.

Campion : Hey Cor! Show them how you can do the crab!

[CORKY mercifully stops running, panting heavily, and bends down, before leaning over backwards onto her hands.]

Campion : Look at that! Look how limber she is!

Austin : [To Chastity] Of course the problem is that Mr Scar weilds his weapon when there is no necessity at all. [Watches Corky doing a crab] Hmmm, that would certainly save money on mops. A little clumsy for good domestic efficiency although I suppose that you don't need to bleach her hair separately.

Chastity : What disguises do we need? Or are you just referring to covering up our new found fame and in some cases [glances at Clint distastefully] notoriety.

Clint : Handy footstool, too.

Campion : [To the party] Hey! Have you got disguises? You really need disguises. You'll have a hard time in Anaesthesia without disguises.

Campion : Wow! [With a big smile] Are you guys famous? We're gonna be famous some day, aren't we, Cor?

Corky : [Does a backwards rollover, giving everyone a flash of her knickers, and jumps to her feet] We sure are, Camp!

Campion : Cor's just the greatest singer ever! Give them a blast, Cor!

Corky : [Singing in a passable, but by no means brilliant or even particularly good voice] I will survive, oh yeah! [Stops singing] Campion is just the greatest lyricist ever, he -

Campion : I write the songs! I write them and Corky brings them to life! You're my number one hon, Cor!

Corky : [Leaning in and rubbing noses with Campion] And you're my number one hon!

Clint : [To the party] I think I'm gonna be sick. [Shouts at them] Hey! If we're not famous, why would we need disguises?

Campion : [Surprised, but at the question, not the tone] Uh, well, you're those guys on the cards, aren't you?

Austin : [To Campion] Which cards? Tarot cards? Which one am I?

Campion : Yep, they're like tarot cards - the Deck of the Path, they're called. [Enthusiastically] You're on our favourite one, tell him, Cor, tell him which one is our favourite.

Corky : [Excited] Well, our favourite is -

Campion : The Lovers! You and a beautiful woman. What a cool card! It's been an inspiration to me and Cor. It's because of that card that she's my number one hon!

Alice : [Mock annoyed to Austin] So it's [emphasis] your fault!

Austin : [Deadpan to Alice] You have my most sincere appologies. [To Campion] Alas my fiancee was murdered on the eve of our wedding by a psychopath called Jerome Trindle [To the party] Shall we go and find Peter.

Chastity : Yes. [To Campion] What does the Queen look like? Anyone here? [To the others] Remember that when we went down to Cachexia the tarot cards led the inhabitants to recognise me as [pauses dramatically and brushes down her habit] their queen.

Campion : No, she's totally different to you lot - and she's pretty pissed about not being on one of the cards. When the Page arrived, well, that was the final straw!

Chastity : The Page? Do you mean Peter?

Austin : [To Campion] And this page, did he make lots of people laugh? And did the Queen resent his popularity and have him imprisoned?

Monty : I see. Well, if disguise is not an option, then perhaps we could claim to be impersonators; the current popularity level of this group will certainly spawn at least a few. [Frowns at the thought.]

Alice : Hey! How do we know you're the [emphasis] real Monty? Anyway, who are we going to pretend to be impersonators of? None of you lot could do me!

Campion : Oh, the Page was just great - he had everyone laughing and funning, what a positive guy. It's because of him that Corky's going into the music business. Tell him, Cor!

Corky : He said "You've got the voice of -

Campion : The Voice of an Angel, he said! An angel!

Austin : [To Campion] And can you tell us what happened to the Page, where is he now?

Monty : [To Alice.] You don't, but then I don't know that you're the real Alice, either. However, that's quite the point: You may simply claim to be "an impersonator of Alice" without actually telling them that you're the real Alice. However, I do think that disguises would be a better option, assuming that we don't simply avoid the queen's notice... unlikely as that last option would be.

Harvey : Indeed private, some form of disguise is definitely in order! [To Corky, bending over to look her in the face] I say, madam, do you know where we could get a disguise?

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmm, and how commonplace are these cards? Would everyone have access to them and therefore, all social groups would recognise us?

Corky : [Shrugs] I'm afraid not, but I bet Campion does. He's ever so clever.

Alice : Hey, are [waves her hand around the party] all of us on those cards?

Campion : Yep, all except him. [Points at Schmicheal]

Harvey : I see, I see. Well, we'd best not take the risk of being recognised, so could you tell us where we might find a disguise?

Campion : Hard to say, Emperor. I doubt too many ordinary people would have seen them, the queen is very private about them.

Monty : [Murmurs.] And a great comfort that must be to Mr. Umacher. Ahem. [More clearly.] Well, it shouldn't to be too difficult to disguise Mr. Sleaze; if he wears one of Mr. Scar's outfits no one would ever believe it to be him. And, I suppose, that vice versa would also apply. That leaves the matter of disguises for the rest of us.

Alice : [Annoyed] Forget that! Isn't anyone in the slightest bit curious what cards Monty and I represent?

Austin : [To Monty] If you even try to dress me in Mr Scar's clothes I shall skin you alive [Checks the point on his very sharp pointy dagger] I shall disguise myself as Quintin. [Starts rummaging in his bag, changing his hair do etc]

Clint : [Shakes his head] Nah, Monty, I'll wear a pair of Alice's frilly knickers instead. They're a lot less girly.

Alice : [Folding her arms petulantly] If only it was, Monty, but I fear it's something far worse, [with disgust] indifference.

Monty : Oh, very well, Mr. Sleaze. That should suffice. I would still advise that Mr. Scar, attired in your customary outfit, would be all but unrecognized, however. [To Alice.] As for that question, I have this strange feeling that the subject is being dramatically led up to. Undoubtedly to the amusement and/or embarassment of many. Ahem.

Harvey : Not at all, dear niece, but from the sound of this [face darkens] card you appear on, perhaps it would be best to not know at all!

Campion : Well, we took some of the cards, so we can show you. I gave them to Corky to look after, 'cause she's just great at looking after things. Corky, show them the cards.

Corky : Uh, where did I put them again?

Campion : [Leans into his carriage and takes out what appears to be Corky's handbag, and takes out a card, which he shows to the party] Here it is, Cor.

[The card is the The Knight of Swords, and contains MONTY's face.]

Campion : Pretty cool card! Quoting Conor Ryan :

Austin : [Returns from rummaging and changing and now has reddish-auburn hair, much much paler, older looking skin, a white silk evening suit by 'Chang-ching', and is wearing platinum accessories, (no gold)] There we are, just like Quintin. Oooh [Puts on a white tie with a noticeable red wine stain on it. Frowning at the stain] The things I do for this country! is always stain free. Always.

Chastity : An apt card for you, Mister Giles. The Knight of Swords represents someone who is a master of logic and reason, has a keen intellect that grasps the fine points of any subject and who speaks clearly, directly and always with authority. His judgments are sure and free of emotion. Others rely on his lucid analyses of problems and solutions.

Alice : Sounds great, Monty!

Chastity : On the negative side, however, it can also represent someone who is tactless, rude and intolerant.

Clint : [Laughs, but puts on a serious face] Yeah, but what do the cards know?

Austin : [Musing] This card thing is obviously connected to Trindle killing Lucy. I quite obviously cannot be the 'lovers' card alone.

Alice : Maybe it means self love?

Campion : [Hands over the Lovers card. It is indeed Austin and Lucy, and the face of the (female) angel is not familiar] Here you go!

Chastity : [Examines the card with a harrumph] Well, this cards represents love and the physical act of love, and all the [emphasis] good things associated with it, but can also represent a moral or ethical crossroads.

Corky : It's such a special card to me and Camp. We used it all the time when we were in Anaesthesia.

Alice : Used it how? Like porn or something?

Campion : Uh, no, but [a smile comes over his face, which he quickly gets rid of] I mean, we used it as something to aspire to, to be close together. And now? Well, Corky's my number one hon.

Monty : [Peers at Campion.] Oh? You just told us a few moments ago that the Queen was very private about the cards. How, then, do you happen to have one?

Campion : I don't have one.

Harvey : So you have no more? What of the one depicting my dear niece Alice, the one that influenced you to get together?

Campion : No, I don't have one, [as though expecting applause] I have three!

Corky : [Applauding happily] You're the best, Camp!

Campion : It wasn't hers that made us get together, it was The Lovers. That's the card that made Corky my number one hon.

Corky : [Perkily] And made Camp my number one hon.

Alice : [Beaming in anticipation] Come on! Let's see my one. [To the others] I just bet mine's going to be the best of all!

[CAMPION takes out a card that has ALICE's face on it. It is, of course, THE FOOL.]

Alice : [Dismayed] Hey!

Monty : Ahem. I did warn you.

[Book V, Act II, Scene IV. A Roadway. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, CAMPION and CORKY are here.]

Campion : Warn her? Why, she's just the number one Fool ever! I'm totally psyched that you're like this, that ought to show those other Fools.

Alice : [Slowly looks around the rest of the party] Er, these guys, you mean?

Campion : No! The other Fools! Hi folks, At the risk of giving away something that's coming up, the party will soon get an opportunity to play Duck Poo Bingo, which, as I'm sure you all know, involves putting a duck in a confined area, which is divided into a grid, and betting where it does its business. To ensure fairness in the game, I've written a Duck Poo Bingo Simulator, which will simulate the movements of the duck, and is the *exact* same simulator that I will use for the game. The bingo game will run over a number of posts, basically in parallel with the game, and I will explain the mechanics of that closer to the time. At each time step - which will be each of my posts once the thing starts - the duck will either do nothing, turn left, turn right, move or poo, in which case the game will be over. I've spent much of the last few weeks generating a coarse physical model of the bowel movements of ducks, and the fruit of my labour is up on :

http://www.queens-view.com/Resources/duckpoo.html For each time step you can either enter your own number (helpful if you're not familiar with simulations) or leave the field blank and let it choose its own number. I've put this up to give people a chance to put their duck watching skills to good use, so if you don't get a chance to look at it, you will still be able to play, but the final game will use the same simulator, so it will probably be helpful to have studied the duck. There isn't much feedback given in the simulator, but a few runs through it should give you an idea of how it works, and should be enough to get a rough idea of how long the duck is likely to be able to hold it in. And yes, I'm aware of how totally lame the thing looks, but that's the nature of the sport!

Some useful links :

Austin : [Sighing] I think he means that there is either more than one deck of cards, or that there are several fools competing to be the best fool. [To Campion] Which is correct? [Checks his nails] I do hope it's not the latter. I'd feel most etiolated. Trindles purpose becomes clearer perhaps.

Alice : [Confidentially to Austin] If you need to etiolate, just go behind the carriage, we won't peek.

Campion : Uh, neither, actually. There are several decks, but they are all the same. And the Fools? Well, they're more like followers of the Fool.

Alice : Cool! I've got followers? What are the like?

Campion : Pretty foolish, to be honest.

Austin : [To Campion] So you and your 'best hon' are followers of the lovers, myself and the late Ms Angel?

Campion : [Laughs at Austin] She's not my best hon! Tell him, Cor, tell him what you are!

Corky : I'm his -

Campion : [Getting in before Corky can finish] She's my number one hon!

Corky : [Tailing off, but not all that bothered at being interrupted yet again] number one hon. [Brightens up] And Camp's my number one hon too!

Campion : [Shakes his head] No, my friend, we're not your followers, only Fools follow cards.

Monty : Are we likely to meet many of these followers of [Glances at Alice] the Fool if we proceed to the town ahead? And, if so, will their probably intentions involve murder and mayhem? It seems to be the case more often than not, these days.

Austin : [Glances at Monty and frowns. To Alice] I thought english was his first language. [Checks Maplin's nails]

Campion : It's not so much murder and mayhem, rather irritating mischief. They're really annoying.

Corky : Really, really annoying.

Campion : Not like you, Cor.

Corky : Nor like you, Camp, you're my number one hon.

Alice : [Glaring back at Monty for a moment] What kind of stuff do they do?

Campion : Oh, juggling, jestering, telling stupid jokes and putting whoppee cushions under people.

Chastity : Sounds downright dangerous - there's many an innocent nun who was frightened by the evil positioning of a whoppee cushion by an errant child.

Harvey : [Nods his head] Indeed so, dear sister! Never underestimate the danger inherent in all forms of japery! Why, how many people have lost an eye due to the misuse of a water squirting flow attached to a japers lapel?

Chastity : Indeed, Colonel, it's all fun and games until one of those jester pointy hats has someone's eye out.

Harvey : [Face darkens] And as for clowns...[knuckles go white gripping his sword hilt] These foolish fools who foolishly follow the fools, where can they be found?

Clint : Easy, Harv, if any of those big handed bastards comes near, I'll deal with them.

Campion : You tell them, Cor, show them your special way of pointing!

Corky : [Big smile] Sure! [Stands up and, with her hands on her hips, aims her chest in pretty much the direction that the party were already going] Now, Camp, you show them your special way of pointing.

[A look of horror comes over all the party as CAMPION gives a cheesy smile, and prepares to stand up.]

Harvey : [Aghast] By the saints, sir, we get the message! [Points in the direction that Corky was pointing] That a way!

Campion : [Looks puzzled for a fraction of a second, but then laughs] Good one, Emp. [Does a really lame hand jive type thing before giving a twirl, and pointing in the same direction that Corky and Harvey did]

Corky : [Applauds] What a fun way to point! You're my number one, Camp!

Campion : And -

Alice : [Interrupting] Look! We know, okay? She's your number one hon too, right? We get it, okay!

[CORKY and CAMPION look at each other and do a handbags at twenty paces move, going "Ooooooh!"]

Austin : [With a miserable frown] And they think the Fools are anoying. This is going to be just awful. [To Corky and Campion] Nice pointing.

Corky : Thanks! Camp showed me how to do it! He's just great at pointing.

Campion : [Looks puzzled for a fraction of a second, but then laughs] Good one, Emp. [Does a really lame hand jive type thing before giving a twirl, and pointing in the same direction that Corky and Harvey did]

Corky : [Applauds] What a fun way to point! You're my number one, Camp!

Campion : And -

Alice : [Interrupting] Look! We know, okay? She's your number one hon too, right? We get it, okay!

[CORKY and CAMPION look at each other and do a handbags at twenty paces move, going "Ooooooh!"]

Austin : [With a miserable frown] And they think the Fools are anoying. This is going to be just awful. [To Corky and Campion] Nice pointing.

Corky : Thanks! Camp showed me how to do it! He's just great at pointing.

Austin : [Nodding to Corky in agreement. To the Party] Well, shall we get going then?

Chastity : [Glancing at Campion and Corky] Most emphatically yes.

Campion : We'd be better be going too, we can't stand around all day gabbing, but that's Corky for you, she's all just chat chat chat! Aren't you Cor? What do I always say, Cork?

Corky : That those pants are too tight in the crotch area?

Campion : [Beams lovingly at Corky before turning to the party] She's always looking out for me, she's my number one hon.

Corky : And you're my number one, hon, Camp. You're the best.

Campion : No, you're the best.

Corky : No, [emphasis] you're the best. [Gives a little giggle]

[The carriages tears off into the distance at high speed with a squeal of tyres.]

Alice : [Aghast, to the others] And these people call the others fools? Oh my God!

Monty : [Nods firmly.] Yes, I believe so. [Quietly, so that only the party can hear.] I surely hope that the rest of the fools aren't like these ones... these people, I mean. Ahem.

Austin : [To Monty] Well plese don't tempt fate, they could be worse.

Alice : Don't be such a glass is half empty, Aus, how bad can they be?

[As the carriage approaches the crest of a hill, a man, dressed in a colourful Jester's costume, leaps out, causing the carriage to skid to a halt. This is ACORN OAK.]

Acorn : Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow went moo, and said [Bows ostentatiously] "How are you?"

Chastity : [Smiles and looks from Acorn to Alice. To Alice] It's almost like playing a game of happy families. This must be your Mr. Fool, dear. [To Acorn] We are very well thank you. And who may you be?

Austin : [To Alice, with a grimace, pointing guardedly at Acorn] That bad! [To Acorn] We were having a lovely time until you jumped out infront of us. You could have been killed! What do you want?

Acorn : Jack and Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of water, she tripped on his tool, and said [suddenly spots Alice] "You're the fool!"

Harvey : [Claps happily] By the saints, sir, what a rhyme! Wonderful, just wonderful!

Alice : [To Clint] I think we should kill him.

Clint : Come on, Bimbo, we can't kill someone just 'cause they're a fool!

Acorn : There was a crooked man, who had a crooked leg, he liked to watch a lot of porn, because his name was Acorn!

Chastity : [Frowning slightly] Hmmmm, I'm not so sure. We're nearly getting into the realms of smutty limericks again. Something I'd hoped this party had seen the last of.

Monty : [Shakes his head.] I'm afraid, Sister, that if this is an example of the local populace, we have entered said realm. Did you chance to bring earplugs? I really must ensure that they're added to the list of standard equipment for knights. Unfortunately, as a Watcher, I must observe even those things which I find objectionable. [Glances at the other party members, then at Acorn.]

Harvey : [To Acorn, unhappily] Now sir, that was just not the thing for ladies to hear, let me tell you. Stick to the ones about girls tripping over spanners and the like, there's a good fellow. But answer this, why the blue blazes did you leap out at us like that? There could have been an accident!

Monty : [Mutters.] We should be so lucky... [Normally.] Ahem. Yes, quite.

Acorn : There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe, and shock you nice people, I do not want to do.

Harvey : But you did, sir, and quite nearly had your jingling hat bells crushed beneath our wheels, what! Now sir, what do you want?

Acorn : Old Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, Acorn just wants to entertain and play, and greet the Fool, of course!

Monty : Indeed. [Brightly.] Well then, since you've greeted her, perhaps you could entertain by taking up the part of a mime from this point on?

Austin : [To Acorn] If you would mime for the rest of time, it would be [Pauses, with a look of disgust at Acorn] Sublime. [To the party] Right, I think Alice has been greeted quite sufficiently, let's get going.

Harvey : Agreed indeed, private Sleaze! Let us be on the off!

Acorn : You may leave, and you may flee, but then the full Deck, you will not see.

Chastity : [To Acorn] But we've just seen some othe rpeople with some cards. You, fellow, would seem to be a few cards short of a full deck!

Acorn : Fah la la, fiddle de dee, if you want to know, why ask me?

[The party all exchange irritated glances at this latest nonsense.]

Clint : [Aggressively grabs Acorn by the shirt] Look, you're a follower of the Fool, right?

Acorn : Yappa dippa do, yappa dippa dee, I climb high, when I climb the tree.

Clint : Then you do what the Fool tells you?

Acorn : Inside, outside, upside down.

Alice : He means no.

Harvey : Does he indeed, dear niece? [Looks at Alice quizically] Do you actually understand what he's saying? Sounds like a load of gibberish to this old soldiers ears, eh! Perhaps if you asked him why he stopped us, and what he mean by that full deck thing, we'd get a clear answer!

Acorn : [In a normal voice, and still being held roughly by Clint] Oh? Corky and Campion, I suppose? Man, they're really annoying, aren't they? With their "You're my number one hon" and "Yes, and you're my number one hon", "Oh your my number one hon" [carries on for a while]

Alice : [Speaking over him] Suddenly they don't seem quite so bad.

Austin : [To Alice, quisically] Does that make sense to you?

Alice : I'll try. [To Acorn] Now, I order you to give a straight answer, seeing as how I'm the head, [mumbles] er, Fool. Why did you stop us?

Acorn : Fee fie fo fum, bumbiddy bum bum, bum bum bum!

Harvey : [Glares at Acorn before looking around] Hmm, I wonder how long it would take the local wilderbeast in this area to pick a mans bones clean?

Alice : [To Austin] No, I haven't a clue! You'd think that as a Fool he would do what he's told.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmm, perhaps he's the type of fool who'll only do what he's told not to do?

Alice : Okay, [to Acorn] stop speaking in riddles and talk properly.

Acorn : Sure, no problem.

Alice : Now, get down on all fours.

[ACORN complies.]

Alice : Bark like a dog.

Acorn : Woof! Woof!

Alice : Like an angry dog!

Acorn : Grr! [Menacingly] Woof!

Alice : [Applauds] Yay! This is fun!

Harvey : [Full of pride] Why dear niece, you are simply without match! Make him tell us why he stopped us and what he meant about the full deck!

Clint : Surely he just did exactly what you said?

Alice : Yep.

Clint : And didn't we just figure out he does the opposite of what you say?

Alice : [To Acorn] You're a bit of a fool, aren't you?

Acorn : [Nods] You know it.

Alice : Anyway, don't tell us why you stopped us.

Acorn : Because I wanted to bring fun and frivolity to your humdrum lives.

Austin : [To Acorn] Well you have only succeded in bringing sighs and foolery to our live so far. Where are the other cards of the Deck?

Acorn : Foolery toolery!

Alice : Don't answer the question Austin asked, nor any that anyone else asks you.

Acorn : [To Austin] In the carnival! Last from Conor #47

Austin : [To Acorn] And where is the carnival?

Acorn : [Waves behind him] Just over the hill. [Takes out a huge piece of paper] You get half off the free candyfloss with this flyer.

Austin : [Glances at the flyer. To Acorn] I don't want half off the free candyfloss, I want it all, thank you.

Chastity : [To Acorn] But we've just seen some othe rpeople with some cards. You, fellow, would seem to be a few cards short of a full deck!

Acorn : Fah la la, fiddle de dee, if you want to know, why ask me?

[The party all exchange irritated glances at this latest nonsense.]

Clint : [Aggressively grabs Acorn by the shirt] Look, you're a follower of the Fool, right?

Acorn : Yappa dippa do, yappa dippa dee, I climb high, when I climb the tree.

Clint : Then you do what the Fool tells you?

Acorn : Inside, outside, upside down.

Alice : He means no.

Harvey : Does he indeed, dear niece? [Looks at Alice quizically] Do you actually understand what he's saying? Sounds like a load of gibberish to this old soldiers ears, eh! Perhaps if you asked him why he stopped us, and what he mean by that full deck thing, we'd get a clear answer!

Acorn : [In a normal voice, and still being held roughly by Clint] Oh? Corky and Campion, I suppose? Man, they're really annoying, aren't they? With their "You're my number one hon" and "Yes, and you're my number one hon", "Oh your my number one hon" [carries on for a while]

Alice : [Speaking over him] Suddenly they don't seem quite so bad.

Austin : [To Alice, quisically] Does that make sense to you?

Alice : I'll try. [To Acorn] Now, I order you to give a straight answer, seeing as how I'm the head, [mumbles] er, Fool. Why did you stop us?

Acorn : Fee fie fo fum, bumbiddy bum bum, bum bum bum!

Harvey : [Glares at Acorn before looking around] Hmm, I wonder how long it would take the local wilderbeast in this area to pick a mans bones clean?

Alice : [To Austin] No, I haven't a clue! You'd think that as a Fool he would do what he's told.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmm, perhaps he's the type of fool who'll only do what he's told not to do?

Alice : Okay, [to Acorn] stop speaking in riddles and talk properly.

Acorn : Sure, no problem.

Alice : Now, get down on all fours.

[ACORN complies.]

Alice : Bark like a dog.

Acorn : Woof! Woof!

Alice : Like an angry dog!

Acorn : Grr! [Menacingly] Woof!

Alice : [Applauds] Yay! This is fun!

Harvey : [Full of pride] Why dear niece, you are simply without match! Make him tell us why he stopped us and what he meant about the full deck!

Clint : Surely he just did exactly what you said?

Alice : Yep.

Clint : And didn't we just figure out he does the opposite of what you say?

Alice : [To Acorn] You're a bit of a fool, aren't you?

Acorn : [Nods] You know it.

Alice : Anyway, don't tell us why you stopped us.

Acorn : Because I wanted to bring fun and frivolity to your humdrum lives.

Austin : [To Acorn] Well you have only succeded in bringing sighs and foolery to our live so far. Where are the other cards of the Deck?

Acorn : Foolery toolery!

Alice : Don't answer the question Austin asked, nor any that anyone else asks you.

Acorn : [To Austin] In the carnival! Last from Conor #47

Austin : [To Acorn] And where is the carnival?

Acorn : [Waves behind him] Just over the hill. [Takes out a huge piece of paper] You get half off the free candyfloss with this flyer.

Austin : [Glances at the flyer. To Acorn] I don't want half off the free candyfloss, I want it all, thank you.

Clint : Why the hell would anyone want free candyfloss at half price?

Acorn : No, what I mean is that you only get half a candyfloss with this flyer.

Harvey : [Stomach rumbles mightily] By the saints, candyfloss! Do you have a second flyer by any chance? Perhaps combined I could get a whole free candyfloss!

Acorn : I sure do! [Hands over the second flyer]

Alice : [Intercepting the flyer] It doesn't work like that, Unc, half of a half free candyfloss is only a quarter of a candyfloss. I bet he's skimming the other halves off - [snarls at Acorn] what do you do with all the left over candyfloss?

Acorn : We give it away - it's free!

Austin : [To Acorn] What is you favourite spectacle at the carnival?

Acorn : The Sandwich of Death.

Chastity : I dread to ask, but what's that?

Acorn : A mysterious sandwich with a best before date of three years ago. It's totally exciting, much better than the Duck Poo Bingo.

Chastity : It just sounds like an excuse for lazy larder management, if you ask me! And Duck Poo Bingo?

Acorn : A mysterious duck with a best before date of three years ago. It's totally exciting, much better than the Sandwich of Death. [Pauses for a moment] Squid.

Clint : Why the hell would anyone want free candyfloss at half price?

Acorn : No, what I mean is that you only get half a candyfloss with this flyer.

Harvey : [Stomach rumbles mightily] By the saints, candyfloss! Do you have a second flyer by any chance? Perhaps combined I could get a whole free candyfloss!

Acorn : I sure do! [Hands over the second flyer]

Alice : [Intercepting the flyer] It doesn't work like that, Unc, half of a half free candyfloss is only a quarter of a candyfloss. I bet he's skimming the other halves off - [snarls at Acorn] what do you do with all the left over candyfloss?

Acorn : We give it away - it's free!

Austin : [To Acorn] What is you favourite spectacle at the carnival?

Acorn : The Sandwich of Death.

Chastity : I dread to ask, but what's that?

Acorn : A mysterious sandwich with a best before date of three years ago. It's totally exciting, much better than the Duck Poo Bingo.

Chastity : It just sounds like an excuse for lazy larder management, if you ask me! And Duck Poo Bingo?

Acorn : A mysterious duck with a best before date of three years ago. It's totally exciting, much better than the Sandwich of Death. [Pauses for a moment] Squid.

Chastity : I hope this isn't gambling. Next to drink and fornication it's a deadly sin.

Austin : [To Chastity] So you advocate doing them one at a time, with reasonable interludes, to avoid commiting sin?

Alice : Don't be silly Austin, she meant it's a sin when you do it near people who are drinking and fornicating, and fair enough, too, because what kind of idiot would waste their time and money on gambling when there are entirely more pleasurable activities to be enjoyed?

Austin : [To Alice] Absoultley! Why on earth they call you a Fool I just don't know. [Ponders] So drinking and fornicating are not sin as long as you are a respectable distance from any gamblers. Excellent, now I know why gambling is not allowed in churches.

Chastity : That's not what I meant and you know it. And it won't wash as an excuse come your judgement day. [Sighs and shakes her head] Some people are just so determined to be damned.

Monty : [Quietly.] Ahem. We do have proper business to conduct in this area, so let's not become distracted by these hedonistic and most uncivil entertainments, shall we? After all, as others have stated, a life is at stake.

Austin : [To Acorn] Do you know the where abouts of an exceptionally witty and humerous fellow, who might be going by the name Peter?

Acorn : Squid.

[A few moments of silence pass.]

Clint : What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Acorn : Squid squid, squid squid squid.

Monty : [Frowns.] That must be his attempt to imitate Peter. Ah well, let's continue on then!

Alice : Hey! I thought you were supposed to talk sense to us!

Acorn : Squid.

[Enter PINK CASSIDY, an attractive woman dressed in a very figure hugging black and white outfit, with a black and white mask over her eyes. She is carrying a small log and looks very angry.]

Pink : [Shouts, as she is still some distance from the party] Hey! [Even louder] Hey!

[Everyone, including ACORN, turns to look, only to see PINK throw the log at him and hit him in the head, knocking him down.]

Pink : You bastard!

Clint : [Gives a huge laugh and a cheer] Excellent! That's the funniest thing I've ever seen a jester do!

Monty : [Brightly.] Indeed. I wasn't aware that there was a caber-tossing segment among the jester community! [Calls out] Good show, ma'am!

Austin : [Does a brief and gleeful clap] Bravo! Good shot! [Watches cautiously as Pink approaches. To the party] She does not look like she has seen Peter recently.

Chastity : [To Austin] Indeed, Mr. Sleaze. See would be in much finer fettle if she had. [To Pink] You should really watch were you drop your log, you could damage it.

Pink : [Breaks into a big warm smile as she approaches] Aw, thanks!

Acorn : Hey! That really hurt!

Pink : [Picks up the log and hits him with it again] Shut the fuck up! [Turns to face the party, once again with a nice, pleasant smile] Hi. My name's Pink Cassidy, and I hope that this [turns and hits Acorn again, in time with each of the next few words] piece of crap [turns back to the party, all pleasant again] hasn't been bothering you.

[It is now clear to all the party that PINK is not wearing any clothes, rather that the colours are painted on her.]

Clint : [With a cheesy grin and click-click] Wanna slip out of those clothes, babe?

Pink : [Gives Clint a wink before turning to Chastity, looking a little teary] Oh, wow, you are so like your card, thinking of other people all the time. [Gives Chastity a big hug and holds it for a few seconds]

Austin : [Blinks at Chastities comment. To Pink] Please excuse my colleagues, this silly chap [Gestures to Acorn] dived infront of our carriage as if he we suicidal, babbled some nonsense at us and then just started saying 'Squid' alot. We're headed for the carnival, to find a frined of ours called Peter, would you like to come along?

Pink : Sure! That would be great, you all seem like such nice people. [Hits Acorn hard on the head again] Except you, you prick. [Back to her nice demeanour] The carnival is just over the hill.

Chastity : [As Pink releases her] Phew, That was nearly as keen a greeting as old Sister DeGeneres at the convent. [Looks at Pink and then her habit] Em, I'm afraid that some of your...outfit seems to have rubbed off. You may want to cover up, dear, [glances at Clint] before you catch chill.

Pink : [Looks Chastity up and down] It's okay, only the black part seems to have rubbed off onto you.

Austin : [To Pink] You look simply fabulous to me, why don't you take a seat [Pats the empty seat beside him] and we'll get going.

Pink : Sure! [Sits in beside Austin, and being momentarily startled by Clint slipping in beside her, so the three of them are together] Oh! This is cosy.

[SCHMICHAEL turns completely around in the driving seat to look at PINK, and starts driving off, with everyone in the carriage except ACORN.]

Pink : You all seem such nice people. What is your interest in the carnival? The Deck, I guess? There's a lot of interest in it since Louise disappeared.

Acorn : [Staggers to his feet] Tra la la, tra la la, tra la lee, Oh, but woe is me! Fiddle de dah, fiddle de dah, fiddle de dah de de de, I -

[ACORN is abruptly cut short as SCHMICHAEL jams on the brakes and reverses over him at high speed, pausing to run over him another few times before carrying on.]

Acorn : Ow.

Austin : [To Pink] Love the body paint! Was Louise into body painting too?

Alice : Hey! I thought you were supposed to talk sense to us!

Acorn : Squid.

[Enter PINK CASSIDY, an attractive woman dressed in a very figure hugging black and white outfit, with a black and white mask over her eyes. She is carrying a small log and looks very angry.]

Pink : [Shouts, as she is still some distance from the party] Hey! [Even louder] Hey!

[Everyone, including ACORN, turns to look, only to see PINK throw the log at him and hit him in the head, knocking him down.]

Pink : You bastard!

Clint : [Gives a huge laugh and a cheer] Excellent! That's the funniest thing I've ever seen a jester do!

Monty : [Brightly.] Indeed. I wasn't aware that there was a caber-tossing segment among the jester community! [Calls out] Good show, ma'am!

Austin : [Does a brief and gleeful clap] Bravo! Good shot! [Watches cautiously as Pink approaches. To the party] She does not look like she has seen Peter recently.

Chastity : [To Austin] Indeed, Mr. Sleaze. See would be in much finer fettle if she had. [To Pink] You should really watch were you drop your log, you could damage it.

Pink : [Breaks into a big warm smile as she approaches] Aw, thanks!

Acorn : Hey! That really hurt!

Pink : [Picks up the log and hits him with it again] Shut the fuck up! [Turns to face the party, once again with a nice, pleasant smile] Hi. My name's Pink Cassidy, and I hope that this [turns and hits Acorn again, in time with each of the next few words] piece of crap [turns back to the party, all pleasant again] hasn't been bothering you.

[It is now clear to all the party that PINK is not wearing any clothes, rather that the colours are painted on her.]

Clint : [With a cheesy grin and click-click] Wanna slip out of those clothes, babe?

Pink : [Gives Clint a wink before turning to Chastity, looking a little teary] Oh, wow, you are so like your card, thinking of other people all the time. [Gives Chastity a big hug and holds it for a few seconds]

Austin : [Blinks at Chastities comment. To Pink] Please excuse my colleagues, this silly chap [Gestures to Acorn] dived infront of our carriage as if he we suicidal, babbled some nonsense at us and then just started saying 'Squid' alot. We're headed for the carnival, to find a frined of ours called Peter, would you like to come along?

Pink : Sure! That would be great, you all seem like such nice people. [Hits Acorn hard on the head again] Except you, you prick. [Back to her nice demeanour] The carnival is just over the hill.

Chastity : [As Pink releases her] Phew, That was nearly as keen a greeting as old Sister DeGeneres at the convent. [Looks at Pink and then her habit] Em, I'm afraid that some of your...outfit seems to have rubbed off. You may want to cover up, dear, [glances at Clint] before you catch chill.

Pink : [Looks Chastity up and down] It's okay, only the black part seems to have rubbed off onto you.

Austin : [To Pink] You look simply fabulous to me, why don't you take a seat [Pats the empty seat beside him] and we'll get going.

Pink : Sure! [Sits in beside Austin, and being momentarily startled by Clint slipping in beside her, so the three of them are together] Oh! This is cosy.

[SCHMICHAEL turns completely around in the driving seat to look at PINK, and starts driving off, with everyone in the carriage except ACORN.]

Pink : You all seem such nice people. What is your interest in the carnival? The Deck, I guess? There's a lot of interest in it since Louise disappeared.

Acorn : [Staggers to his feet] Tra la la, tra la la, tra la lee, Oh, but woe is me! Fiddle de dah, fiddle de dah, fiddle de dah de de de, I -

[ACORN is abruptly cut short as SCHMICHAEL jams on the brakes and reverses over him at high speed, pausing to run over him another few times before carrying on.]

Acorn : Ow.

Austin : [To Pink] Love the body paint! Was Louise into body painting too?

Pink : That ugly old bitch? No way! She's a disgusting, filthy old hag. I hate her! [Smiles and squeezes Austin's arm] But, thank you! The Page did it for me. [Gets a little flushed, which is just about possible to make out beneath the paint] He's just the greatest, I love him. He told me that I was the sanest person he'd ever met and that his mother would just love me.

Harvey : [Staring intently into the distance, face glowing red] Well my dear, it's nice to meet you. Do you work at the carnival with this Page person?

Pink : Oh, God no! I'm far too beautiful to work, that's really only for ugly people. [Turns and looks at Alice] What's your job?

Alice : Well, I, uh, hey!

Pink : But no, the Page doesn't work in the Carnival. He's also too beautiful.

Harvey : What are you doing out here all by yourself, painted as you are and attacking jesters?

Pink : I wasn't attacking jesters, just that idiot Acorn, because I knew he'd be bothering you, and you all seem like such nice people. And anyway, here's the carnival, I wasn't too far from it.

[The party come across a sorry excuse for a carnival, which seems to consist of a few ratty looking tents and a disturbingly high number of people dressed as jesters.]

Pink : You should take a look, it's gonna be great!

Harvey : [Brightens up suddenly] By the saints troop, look at all the jesters! Why, this might be just the most fun we've had since Old Batty Bumpkin shaved his monkey and enroled him as a first year in our school back in '52!

Chastity : And a good deterent from gambling. No-one will be able to spot where the smart money is going. [Looks around. To Pink] Where is this Page you talk of? [To the others] The description of him sounds just like Peter.

Pink : No idea, I'm afraid, he hasn't been seen since the Queen sent for him - that old bitch, I hate her, she probably had him killed. That's why the Deck has been put up as a prize - but you'd better hurry, that little brat Surly Cue is buying up all the squares. I hate her.

Austin : [To Pink] Where can we find this brat Surly? [Glances out of the carriage. To Pink] We'll sort her out [Gives Pink a kiss on the cheek and steps out of the carriage]

Chastity : [To Pink] So we have to bet on thid Bingo game to win The Deck? We'd best get going then.

Chastity : And a good deterent from gambling. No-one will be able to spot where the smart money is going. [Looks around. To Pink] Where is this Page you talk of? [To the others] The description of him sounds just like Peter.

Pink : No idea, I'm afraid, he hasn't been seen since the Queen sent for him - that old bitch, I hate her, she probably had him killed. That's why the Deck has been put up as a prize - but you'd better hurry, that little brat Surly Cue is buying up all the squares. I hate her.

Austin : [To Pink] Where can we find this brat Surly? [Glances out of the carriage. To Pink] We'll sort her out [Gives Pink a kiss on the cheek and steps out of the carriage]

Chastity : [To Pink] So we have to bet on thid Bingo game to win The Deck? We'd best get going then.

Pink : [Gives Austin a passionate kiss, and pulls him close] Aw, thanks! She's over there. [Points at a huddle of people]

Alice : Oh no! Look at how much paint came off on you, Austin! [Lie, of course, he's perfectly clean]

Clint : Yeah, thanks for all the help, babe. [Gives Pink a hug, who returns is, holding him close as he gives Austin a cheesy wink over her shoulder] What kind of a brat is Surly Cue?

Pink : [Slowly moving back] The worst kind. A [with venom] curly haired brat! soon as it comes

Austin : [To Pink] Stay gorgeous! [Gives Pink a passionate kiss, then heads towards the bingo with a swashbuckling swager]

Pink : You too, sexy!

[Exit the party, leaving just SCHMICHAEL and PINK.]

Pink : You don't say much, do you?

[SCHMICHAEL doesn't answer.]

Pink : So, uh, do you think I'm gorgeous?

[Still no answer.]

Pink : Wanna leap into the back seat of the carriage? [SCHMICHAEL opens the door for her, and PINK jumps in, soon followed by SCHMICHAEL.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene V. The Duck Poo Bingo Stall. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and MONTY have just arrived. There are quite a lot of people gathered around here, all of whom are wearing some sort of jester garb, except for a young girl, SURLY CUE, a super cute young girl that everyone immediately takes a strong dislike to. She is in the middle of a temper tantrum that appears to be directed at ELFIC, yet another jester.]

Surly : But I want it! I want it! I want it!

Elfic : [Smiling, but clearly straining not to backhand her] But Surly, it's a competition, other people are entitled to enter.

Surly : [Lower lip starts quivering and tears appear in her eyes] I don't have any more money left, so I need everyone else to promise that they won't play. [Looks around the party with big, sad eyes, glistening with tears] Or I'll be weally, weally sad, sniff!

Alice : [To the party] Man, she's good! Last from Conor #001

Chastity : Disgraceful behaviour! George, my second husband, would have had her sent directly to the coal shed!

Harvey : By the saints, Sister, how right he would have been! I hate seeing grown men who let themselves be held to ransom by the tears and sad face of a spoilt brat.

Alice : [Touches Harvey's arm and blinks her sad eyes at him] Har-vey, I know I shouldn't ask, but is there any way that [pause] no, I shouldn't even ask. [Turns away, biting her knuckle]

Harvey : Niece! What is it?

Alice : Oh, I was going to ask you for fifty GP, but no, I shouldn't, it's okay.

Harvey : Here's a hundred! [Hands over the cash]

Alice : [Takes the hundred GP, and returns to her normal demeanour] See? That's how easy it is. Here's your fifty GP.

Harvey : [Takes the fifty, looking rather miffed] I think it was a hundred, Alice.

Alice : Oh, okay! Here you go. [Hands over a hundred GP, before suddenly checking her pockets] Hey! I just lost fifty GP!

Harvey : [Good naturedly] Ah ah! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

Monty : [To Harvey.] Well played, Colonel. [Surveys the crowd, looking for anyone else whom the party might be aquainted with.]

Austin : [To Elfic] How many tickets are there left, and how much does it cost per ticket?

Elfic : [Face lights up] Ah! Well done, my well dressed friend. There are just twelve tickets left, at a cost of a hundred gold pieces each. Expensive, but I guarantee you, the prize is worth it.

Austin : [To Elfic] What is the prize, and how many tickets have already been sold? Nintey I presume, since there are ten left? [Austin ponders the squares, Surly. Then looks for the duck] And where is the bingo Duck?

Alice : No, Austin, there are eighty eight left. [Glances at Chastity] Two fat ladies!

Elfic : Your friend is correct, Austin, for there are twelve left.

[ELFIC heatrically pulls a cover off a cage, revealing the well dressed JULIA DUCKLING.]

Julia : Quack.

Harvey : Mmmm. Duckling.

Austin : [To Elfic, slightly disconcerted] Oh, twelve. My appologies, I miss heard you, probably the jingling of all of these jesters bells and the squealling of badly behaved street urchins [Glances at Surly, then back to Elfic] And the prize is?

Surly : [To the crowd around her] That mean man is making me sad!

[No one says anything directly to AUSTIN, but there are murmurs of "For Shame" and such.]

Elfic : The remains of an almost complete Deck of the Path, with just three cards missing, and, [with relish] a potion of Thaddeus, which will increase your no doubt already impressive skills. effectively raises someone

Surly : It's mine! It's mine!

Alice : [To the party] Let's play! How much have we got? Any extra that

Austin : [To Surly, sternly] No, you made yourself sad through your greed and selfishness. Your parents or guardians ought to be ashamed. [To the crowd] Has anyone seen an extreemly witty man called Peter? I heard that the Queen was looking for him, does anyone know where he is?

Surly : Oh, he's so mean! [Bursts into tears]

[The crowd don't answer AUSTIN, but are clearly unhappy about his callous treatment of SURLY.]

Elfic : Quickly now, folks! The game has to start in juuuuust a few minutes!

Monty : I am currently in possession of enough for one ticket, if the going rate remains one hundred each. Ahem. Officially, I must disapprove of gambling, and the knights' funds should never be used in its pursuit... but as this instance involves a strategic objective, I believe that an exception can be argued as warranted.

Alice : Fair enough. When the Knights actually give us some money, we promise not to gamble! [Searches through her pockets, purse, bag etc., eventually turning up forty gold pieces] Well, I thought I had ninety, but just the forty.

Monty : [Sympathetically to Surly.] Come now, don't let Mr. Sleaze upset you. His fiancee was murdered not long back and he's become very, very bitter. [Casts a disapproving frown at Austin.] [Quietly to Austin.] We aren't going to find Peter if you provoke a mob to run us out of town, Mr. Sleaze.

Chastity : I have enough for one ticket as well. If it is the only way to obtain this crucial item, then I suppose it'll have to be done. I won't enjoy it though!

Austin : [To Surly, calously] Now look what you have done. Your greed and selfishness has softened the minds of the crowd and they are more interested in you crying like a spoilt brat than in saving Peter's life. If he dies it will be your fault! [Strides off a short way to look around for any signs of Peter or royal guards or persons]

Surly : [Bursts into tears at this awfulness] Mean man make Surly cry!

[Enter JAKE JAPERS, who's juggling, stepping in front of AUSTIN, blocking him from leaving.]

Jake : Alright, mate, take it easy, she's just a kid. I don't know who this Peter is, but it ain't Surly's fault if anything happens to him.

Monty : [Mutters to himself.] Amazing. A complete stranger in a strange town is being more sensible than Mr. Sleaze... Ah... wait, that's not amazing at all. [To Elfic, presenting his every last coin.] Ticket? Last from Alfred #16.

Chastity : [Taking Austins elbow gentley and trying to draw him back to the party] Come on, Mr. Sleaze, I think we've got to try and get the remaining deck first. I'm sure that a man of Peter's talents will be fine while we all crowd round and watch a duck foul on a table. [To Elfic] Another ticket over here as well, please.

Alice : [To Monty] He's so attractive when he plays with kids!

Harvey : I'll take care of the collection, Troop, and see if I can't make up the difference to buy all twelve tickets. [Pats his pocket with a smile] This old soldier ran into some luck earlier. [Takes the cash from Chastity and Monty]

Clint : [Tossing a bag of gold over to Harvey] Here y'go, two hundred and fifty GP, Harv.

Austin : [Rolls his eyes] Good grief [To Jake and Chastity] Of course it's not Surly's fault. I was simply being a [Emphasises] responsible, adult trying to get her to see that there are more important things in life than material possesions. The life of a good man was the example I gave, and I thought it a good one. [Turns to the others, ranting] Instead all of you simply pandered to her wishes. [Inhales, ranting authoritively] Why would anyone want a deck of cards with three cards missing and a dodgy potion, made by person or persons unknown? Does it have a guarantee? Does it have a warranty? How do you know it is not passed it's sell by date? How do you know which three cards are missing? Have you actually seen each card to see if they are genuine and in good condidion. They could be forgeries! And you all stand here and let a small child gamble all of her money away on such rubbish! You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Alice : [Suppressing a snigger at Austin's material possessions remark] Uh, being a responsible adult by trying to frighten her? Let me guess, you went to the same child minding school as Nanny did?

Jake : [To Austin] Hey! Calm down! You don't want to play? Fine, get the hell out of here. If you don't know what the Deck of the Path is, I sure as hell won't tell you what it is.

Austin : [Rolls his eyes] Good grief [To Jake and Chastity] Of course it's not Surly's fault. I was simply being a [Emphasises] responsible, adult trying to get her to see that there are more important things in life than material possesions. The life of a good man was the example I gave, and I thought it a good one. [Turns to the others, ranting] Instead all of you simply pandered to her wishes. [Inhales, ranting authoritively] Why would anyone want a deck of cards with three cards missing and a dodgy potion, made by person or persons unknown? Does it have a guarantee? Does it have a warranty? How do you know it is not passed it's sell by date? How do you know which three cards are missing? Have you actually seen each card to see if they are genuine and in good condidion. They could be forgeries! And you all stand here and let a small child gamble all of her money away on such rubbish! You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Alice : [Suppressing a snigger at Austin's material possessions remark] Uh, being a responsible adult by trying to frighten her? Let me guess, you went to the same child minding school as Nanny did?

Jake : [To Austin] Hey! Calm down! You don't want to play? Fine, get the hell out of here. If you don't know what the Deck of the Path is, I sure as hell won't tell you what it is.

Austin : [To Jake, calmly, as if he had never raised his voice] That was not my point. My point was that you let a little girl gamble everything she owns on something she probably knows nothing about. [Gives his 50gp to Harvey. To Jake] And I do know what the deck is, and it has very little value in itself. Do you know what the cards mean?

Jake : If you believe that, then you're even more of a fool than you've made yourself look.

[HARVEY hands the cash over to ELFRIC, much to SURLY's dismay, and the party choose their squares.]

Elfric : [Puts Julia on the board] Here we go!

[The crowd start cheering and whooping.]

Clint : Come on, Julia!

Chastity : [Getting Unexpectedly excited and immediately wrapped up in the action. Shouting] No, no you stupid duck, don't turn right, go now!!

Surly : [Throws a half eaten piece pie at Monty] Look! That bad man is trying to spoil our fun!

Alice : [Delightedly gives Harvey a nudge] He's facing our way!

Chastity : [As the duck turns again to face down] Don't just twirle, poop on Mr. Giles!

Austin : [Sighs] What a ridiculous gambling game! [Smirks] If it poops on Clint how will we know?

Clint : Because I'll suddenly smell like you, lawyer!

Chastity : [Punching the air] Wo-ho, she's facing our way.

Austin : [To Clint] How childish. [To Chastity, frowning, speaking hastely] That's not your square, that's mine!

Alice : Hey! What's with all the spinning? Last from Dom #029

Chastity : [Regaining her composure and turning to Austin] That was out in terms of a member of the teams, Mr. Sleaze. Don't be so posessive over a square you didn't even pay for. [Turns back to the bingo]

Harvey : Now now troop, let's just calm down, eh! Let's not cry [tears pour down his cheeks as his face goes bright red and he begins shaking with mirth] fowl just yet!

Chastity : Perhaps someone has drugged the poor beast!

Alice : [With a baleful look at Austin] No such luck!

Chastity : [As the duck finally moves, but down the grid off a parties square] No,no,no you stupid beast, the other way.

Alice : [Leaping up and down with excitement] Whoo! Turn left! Turn left!

Surly : I'm gonna win! I'm gonna win! [Points at the party] Losers!

Harvey : Yes you stupid feathery beast, do as the good sister says, what!

Chastity : [Putting her head in her hands as the duck turns right. To Alice] This is obviously one of your fool ducks, my dear.

Austin : [To Alice] Intoxicating the unfortunate beast with psychoactive substances would not change the outcome of the game in any predictabley useful way. Judging by the squares that we have purchased, a laxative would have been the best option. [Frowns at the duckling]

Alice : Noooo! Turn back! Turn back!

Clint : Whoo! Papa needs a new deck of cards!

Surly : [Does the international sign of the Loser, and shows it to the party] Fools! Now you'll have no deck and no money!

Austin : [To Surly] Charming. Do you have any friends?

Surly : I have loads of friends! And they're going to beat you up after this because you were so mean to me.

Austin : [To Surly] Do you always threaten people with Actual Bodily Harm infront of so many witnesses [Makes a few notes] Some would deem such behaviour to be indicative of mental illness.

Jake : [Steps in front of Austin and knocks the notebook from his hand] Leave her alone! She's just a little kid!

Monty : [Having ducked (har har) the pie thrown earlier, and still outwarly bored by the whole affair.] Ahem. Yes, quite, Mr. Sleaze. In fact, might a case be made that uttering threats in this situation forefits participation in the event?

Chastity : [Staring wide eyed at the duck like a nun obsessed] Sssssshh, people. We're only a waddle and a poo away from victory.

Alice : Or a turn, a waddle and a poo!

Chastity : [Looking frantically at the board] Yes?

Monty : One wonders that the thing doesn't collapse from dizziness, what with all that turning about.

Alice : Well, if we want me to win!

Chastity : [To Alice] We want any of us to win, dear. [Intensely with a hint of manic] Don't we. We're all team players here. [Looks back to the board, pointing] The duck has moved, look, look! Quickly get forward and soil Clint. [To Alice] The duck, not you.

Alice : [Sulkily] Yeah. Any of us.

Clint : Whoo! Keep it up, Daisy!

Alice : Her name is Julia Duckling.

Clint : [Shrugs] I don't care, they all taste the same to me.

Austin : [To Surly] Well, as a peace offering, would you accept an icecream, of a flavour of your choice of course?

Surly : [Nervously watching the duck peering into Austin's square] Shove it up your ass!

Jake : [Aggressively to Austin] See? Now you've made her all cranky!

Chastity : [Turns to Austin and snaps] Quick, Sleaze. [Turns back to the game] Hold it in, girl, hold it in!

Austin : [To Surly] How rude! [To Jake] Calm down why dont you. She was plenty cranky before we even got here. She'd make a good nun.

Jake : [Gives Austin a push, sending him stumbling back, but not falling] She wasn't, everything was fine until you came along. [Sticks his tongue out and down as far as possible, so it is lower than his chin] Aaaaaargh!

Clint : Made a new friend, Lawyer?

Austin : [Dusts off the spot where Jake manhandled him, frowning, and walks about fifteen paces away form the crowd, looking around to see what else is going on. Muttering to himself] Hard to believe that the bowel movements of one duckling could change the world as we know it, forever. [Smirks] One small squirt for a duckling, one giant squirt for ducklingkind!

Jake : [Sticks his tongue out at Austin again, although it's not clear if this is meant to be funny or scary] Raaaah!

Alice : [Covering her eyes, but opening her fingers a crack to see] How long does this normally go on for?

Elfic : Sometimes it can last for days! Last from Conor #055

Chastity : [Peeping shakely from behind her hands] The tension is unbearable. Anything could happen.

Harvey : [Watching as the duck first turns left, and then right again] By the saints! This is all making me very hungry!

Monty : [To Harvey.] Fancy roast duck afterwards, Colonel? The ingredients are clearly present.

Harvey : By the saints sir, even raw duck is starting to look inviting now! [Stomach grumbles to reinforce his point]

Chastity : [Watching as the duck makes an attempt strain but just stops short and turns left again] Hoooooo that was close. Just wandle forward first little one.

Austin : [Muttering to himself] Poor creature must be terrified. How can anything deficate with hundreds of people watching it, it must be so embarrased.

Alice : [Turns and glares at Austin] If it was that terrified, you'd think she'd have done it ages ago!

Austin : [Staying well out of the way, muttering] 'And the fearless knights hung around and waited for a duckling to poo'. Doesn't really read well. It's hard to be a hero at times like this. [Has a look, from a distance, to see where the prizes are, and how they are being stored and guarded]

Monty : [Bored.] How fortuitous that you're around to give us an appropriately heroic aspect, Mr. Sleaze.

Alice : [Nods at Monty's words] True, we'd never have made the little girl cry if it wasn't for Austin!

Chastity : Yes, I'm sure that'll make a much more impressive write-up. [Turns back to the action]

Alice : [Leaping up and down with excitement] Whoo! Turn left! Turn left!

Surly : I'm gonna win! I'm gonna win! [Points at the party] Losers!

Harvey : Yes you stupid feathery beast, do as the good sister says, what!

Chastity : [Putting her head in her hands as the duck turns right. To Alice] This is obviously one of your fool ducks, my dear.

Austin : [To Alice] Intoxicating the unfortunate beast with psychoactive substances would not change the outcome of the game in any predictabley useful way. Judging by the squares that we have purchased, a laxative would have been the best option. [Frowns at the duckling]

Alice : Noooo! Turn back! Turn back!

Clint : Whoo! Papa needs a new deck of cards!

Surly : [Does the international sign of the Loser, and shows it to the party] Fools! Now you'll have no deck and no money!

Austin : [To Surly] Charming. Do you have any friends?

Surly : I have loads of friends! And they're going to beat you up after this because you were so mean to me.

Austin : [To Surly] Do you always threaten people with Actual Bodily Harm infront of so many witnesses [Makes a few notes] Some would deem such behaviour to be indicative of mental illness.

Jake : [Steps in front of Austin and knocks the notebook from his hand] Leave her alone! She's just a little kid!

Monty : [Having ducked (har har) the pie thrown earlier, and still outwarly bored by the whole affair.] Ahem. Yes, quite, Mr. Sleaze. In fact, might a case be made that uttering threats in this situation forefits participation in the event?

Chastity : [Staring wide eyed at the duck like a nun obsessed] Sssssshh, people. We're only a waddle and a poo away from victory.

Alice : Or a turn, a waddle and a poo!

Chastity : [Looking frantically at the board] Yes?

Monty : One wonders that the thing doesn't collapse from dizziness, what with all that turning about.

Alice : Well, if we want me to win!

Chastity : [To Alice] We want any of us to win, dear. [Intensely with a hint of manic] Don't we. We're all team players here. [Looks back to the board, pointing] The duck has moved, look, look! Quickly get forward and soil Clint. [To Alice] The duck, not you.

Alice : [Sulkily] Yeah. Any of us.

Clint : Whoo! Keep it up, Daisy!

Alice : Her name is Julia Duckling.

Clint : [Shrugs] I don't care, they all taste the same to me.

Austin : [To Surly] Well, as a peace offering, would you accept an icecream, of a flavour of your choice of course?

Surly : [Nervously watching the duck peering into Austin's square] Shove it up your ass!

Jake : [Aggressively to Austin] See? Now you've made her all cranky!

Chastity : [Turns to Austin and snaps] Quick, Sleaze. [Turns back to the game] Hold it in, girl, hold it in!

Austin : [To Surly] How rude! [To Jake] Calm down why dont you. She was plenty cranky before we even got here. She'd make a good nun.

Jake : [Gives Austin a push, sending him stumbling back, but not falling] She wasn't, everything was fine until you came along. [Sticks his tongue out and down as far as possible, so it is lower than his chin] Aaaaaargh!

Clint : Made a new friend, Lawyer?

Austin : [Dusts off the spot where Jake manhandled him, frowning, and walks about fifteen paces away form the crowd, looking around to see what else is going on. Muttering to himself] Hard to believe that the bowel movements of one duckling could change the world as we know it, forever. [Smirks] One small squirt for a duckling, one giant squirt for ducklingkind!

Jake : [Sticks his tongue out at Austin again, although it's not clear if this is meant to be funny or scary] Raaaah!

Alice : [Covering her eyes, but opening her fingers a crack to see] How long does this normally go on for?

Elfic : Sometimes it can last for days! Last from Conor #055

Chastity : [Peeping shakely from behind her hands] The tension is unbearable. Anything could happen.

Harvey : [Watching as the duck first turns left, and then right again] By the saints! This is all making me very hungry!

Monty : [To Harvey.] Fancy roast duck afterwards, Colonel? The ingredients are clearly present.

Harvey : By the saints sir, even raw duck is starting to look inviting now! [Stomach grumbles to reinforce his point]

Chastity : [Watching as the duck makes an attempt strain but just stops short and turns left again] Hoooooo that was close. Just wandle forward first little one.

Austin : [Muttering to himself] Poor creature must be terrified. How can anything deficate with hundreds of people watching it, it must be so embarrased.

Alice : [Turns and glares at Austin] If it was that terrified, you'd think she'd have done it ages ago!

Austin : [Staying well out of the way, muttering] 'And the fearless knights hung around and waited for a duckling to poo'. Doesn't really read well. It's hard to be a hero at times like this. [Has a look, from a distance, to see where the prizes are, and how they are being stored and guarded]

Monty : [Bored.] How fortuitous that you're around to give us an appropriately heroic aspect, Mr. Sleaze.

Alice : [Nods at Monty's words] True, we'd never have made the little girl cry if it wasn't for Austin!

Chastity : Yes, I'm sure that'll make a much more impressive write-up. [Turns back to the action]

Harvey : Hmm, troop, I'm begining to wonder if this duck has been fed in days?

Austin : [Sighs] Why not give the poor creature a little privacy, how would you like to have an audience when doing your doings?

Alice : [Indignantly] I don't know!

Austin : [To Alice] At this rate we're all going to die of old age first. [Checks his hair in his pocket mirror]

Chastity : [To Austin] Perhaps if you gave the poor beast some sort of encouragement instead of just standing there picking fights with small girls and dreaming of your sordid fantasies we might win something!

Austin : [To Chastity] Sadly my sordid fantasies only exist in your mind, sister Chastity. [Pauses and considers this] It's probably the most appropriate place for them.

Alice : [Stifling a "Yes!" as the duck turns to face her square] Is that one of your fantasies, Aus?

Austin : [To Alice] No, but now you've mentioned it, it could be one of my nightmares. [To the duckling] Go duckling go! Forwards to victory! [Swipes the air enthusiastically, then watches to see if it has any effect]

Alice : [Horried at seeing the duck turn left again, so it is now looking into Austin's square] No! Turn back!

Surly : You losers! I'm going to win!

Monty : Now, do settle down. There won't be anyone winning this little contest if you frighten it to death before it... ahem... completes its business.

Clint : You mean, scare it shitless?

Austin : [To the duckling] Now duckling now! Excreet your spoor for the good of mankind! [Adds] And ducklingkind too of course!

Alice : [Trying and failing to sound enthusiastic] Yeah, go on Austin's square.

Austin : [To the Duckling] Your sense of drama is greatly appreciated, but the future of the world is at stake here, how about just a little poop on that square, you must be bursting!

Alice : Oh man! Now [emphasis] I need to go!

Austin : [Casually to the duckling] Just think of the relief! Just let it out! [Clearly getting enthusiastic] Come on, this is your golden opportunity!

Harvey : [Roars suddenly] By the saints, duck, come on lad, you can do it! [Turns] Anyone got any bran we can feed the thing?

Monty : Do please keep calm, Colonel. It will do no good for anyone else to... ah... lose control over the matter.

Surly : [Getting a little tearful] That mean man is trying to scare Julia!

Harvey : [Whoops in joy] By the saints, he's gone on the private Sleazes square! [Scratches at a sideburn, before whispering loudly to Alice] Is that a good thing, dear niece?

Alice : [Sulkily folds her arms] Yes.

Surly : [Bursts into tears] They cheated! They [punctuating each syllable with a sob] cheated!

Jake : [Turns to the party] You bastards!

Harvey : [To Jake] I say, sir, how dare you! We have not cheated, we never have cheated and we never will cheats! [Tuts loudly] By the saints troop, there is nothing worse than a sore loser!

Alice : [Glances at Austin, clearly in anticipation of some heavy duty gloating] Except a sore winner!

Monty : [Shakes his head disdainfully.] Quite, Alice. I do hope that Mr. Sleaze maintains some dignity about all of this. Ah... perhaps that should be develops some dignity about all of this?

Alice : [Trying and failing to sound enthusiastic] Yeah, go on Austin's square.

Austin : [To the Duckling] Your sense of drama is greatly appreciated, but the future of the world is at stake here, how about just a little poop on that square, you must be bursting!

Alice : Oh man! Now [emphasis] I need to go!

Austin : [Casually to the duckling] Just think of the relief! Just let it out! [Clearly getting enthusiastic] Come on, this is your golden opportunity!

Harvey : [Roars suddenly] By the saints, duck, come on lad, you can do it! [Turns] Anyone got any bran we can feed the thing?

Monty : Do please keep calm, Colonel. It will do no good for anyone else to... ah... lose control over the matter.

Surly : [Getting a little tearful] That mean man is trying to scare Julia!

Harvey : [Whoops in joy] By the saints, he's gone on the private Sleazes square! [Scratches at a sideburn, before whispering loudly to Alice] Is that a good thing, dear niece?

Alice : [Sulkily folds her arms] Yes.

Surly : [Bursts into tears] They cheated! They [punctuating each syllable with a sob] cheated!

Jake : [Turns to the party] You bastards!

Harvey : [To Jake] I say, sir, how dare you! We have not cheated, we never have cheated and we never will cheats! [Tuts loudly] By the saints troop, there is nothing worse than a sore loser!

Alice : [Glances at Austin, clearly in anticipation of some heavy duty gloating] Except a sore winner!

Monty : [Shakes his head disdainfully.] Quite, Alice. I do hope that Mr. Sleaze maintains some dignity about all of this. Ah... perhaps that should be develops some dignity about all of this?

Surly : [Bawls crying] I want the de-eck!

Monty : [To Alice.] She does a very good impression of you, Alice! [To Surly.] I can understand your disappointment, but you do realize that those who become involved with the deck frequently meet a gruesome demise at the hands of the notorious Dr. Trindle? Far better to forget about the deck and pine after cotton candy or a new top.

Alice : [Unimpressed] Yeah, I guess whiny bitches is her speciality. [To Surly] Do Monty next.

Surly : I don't want any cotton candy! I want my de-eck!

Jake : [To the party] Come on, she really wants that deck.

Monty : [To Jake.] Even though it may be missing cards? If she really must have one, shouldn't she be playing with a full deck? Ahem.

Elfic : Aw, come on, folks! He won it fair and square!

[The crowd start to get boistrous, and several boos are heard.]

Clint : [Angrily to the crowd] What the hell is wrong with you people? Austin's easily as cutesy as her! [Ruffles Austin's hair] That scamp-like golden hair! [Pinches Austin's cheek roughly] Those rosy cheeks!

Monty : [Turns an ill shade of green at the sight of Clint's actions.] [Mutters.] Ahem. Words fail me.

Austin : [Positivley seething with smugness] Excellent! Truly prophetic, [Unruffles his hair] Nothing short of genius! I must say I couldn't have chosen those squares better if I was Phili himself! [Checks his nails. To the crowd] I'd just like to thank you all for comming, and can assure you that the prizes I have won will be put to good use, by my hand, namely the saving of the world, not to mention countless other great and heroic deeds. [Composes himself, but still looking really smug and pleased with himself] If anyone would like my autograph I might be happy to oblige after the prize presentation ceremony. [Looks to the prizes] To those valliant loosers, better luck next time. [Does a tiny bow]

Surly : He's just so mean! [Grabs a box that was near Elfic and runs towards a nearby tent]

Austin :[Pointing to Surly. To Elfic] Did she just steal the prizes? [Starts running after Surly]

Chastity : Yes, stop her. If that's a potion of Thaddeus just imagine how unbearable she'll be if she takes it! [Blanches slightly at the thought]

Clint : Thieving little bitch. [Lights his cigar] I think I like her! [Heads off after Austin, quickly followed by the rest of the party]

Elfic : [Watching them all disappear for a moment] Okay folks, just give Julia a few minutes to eat her curry, and then we're good to go again!

[Book V. Act II. Scene VI. Surly Cue's Tent. AUSTIN, ALICE, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and MONTY are here, just outside the tent, which is quite large.]

Clint : I hate tents. [Pushes it with his foot] No doors to kick down.

Austin : [Looking dark] There's a nasty streak in that child!

Monty : We'd better make sure that she doesn't slip out the back somewhere... [Circles the tent.]

Austin : Let's go [Slips into the tent cautiously]

Alice : [Momentarily getting tangled up in the door] Ow! [Stabs it]

[All but MONTY go in, and see that the tent it decorated like a child's bedroom. SURLY is here, with the box she took from the bingo, and is pushing it under her bed.]

Surly : [To Austin] It's mine! Get out of here before I get my teddies to beat you up!

Austin : [To Surly] It's not your's, it's mine. You stole it which makes you a theif. [Sincerely] Please give it back to me. If you do I may let you borrow it back, then you could uses them and not be a thief, but right now you are just a thief.

Chastity : Now look here, little girl. If you don't stop this behaviour you'll get no nice things and have no friends and be sent away.

Surly : I'll always have friends, I have my Smellytubbies!

[The Smellytubbies are, of course, one of the more popular kids' characters of the Realms.]

Alice : Aw, she's so cute. [To the party] Let's steal our stuff back and get Austin to make her cry.

Surly : But you'll still be a fat smelly.

Alice : [Nods seriously] She makes a valid point.

Alice : [Unimpressed] Yeah, I guess whiny bitches is her speciality. [To Surly] Do Monty next.

Surly : I don't want any cotton candy! I want my de-eck!

Jake : [To the party] Come on, she really wants that deck.

Monty : [To Jake.] Even though it may be missing cards? If she really must have one, shouldn't she be playing with a full deck? Ahem.

Elfic : Aw, come on, folks! He won it fair and square!

[The crowd start to get boistrous, and several boos are heard.]

Clint : [Angrily to the crowd] What the hell is wrong with you people? Austin's easily as cutesy as her! [Ruffles Austin's hair] That scamp-like golden hair! [Pinches Austin's cheek roughly] Those rosy cheeks!

Monty : [Turns an ill shade of green at the sight of Clint's actions.] [Mutters.] Ahem. Words fail me.

Austin : [Positivley seething with smugness] Excellent! Truly prophetic, [Unruffles his hair] Nothing short of genius! I must say I couldn't have chosen those squares better if I was Phili himself! [Checks his nails. To the crowd] I'd just like to thank you all for comming, and can assure you that the prizes I have won will be put to good use, by my hand, namely the saving of the world, not to mention countless other great and heroic deeds. [Composes himself, but still looking really smug and pleased with himself] If anyone would like my autograph I might be happy to oblige after the prize presentation ceremony. [Looks to the prizes] To those valliant loosers, better luck next time. [Does a tiny bow]

Surly : He's just so mean! [Grabs a box that was near Elfic and runs towards a nearby tent]

Austin :[Pointing to Surly. To Elfic] Did she just steal the prizes? [Starts running after Surly]

Chastity : Yes, stop her. If that's a potion of Thaddeus just imagine how unbearable she'll be if she takes it! [Blanches slightly at the thought]

Clint : Thieving little bitch. [Lights his cigar] I think I like her! [Heads off after Austin, quickly followed by the rest of the party]

Elfic : [Watching them all disappear for a moment] Okay folks, just give Julia a few minutes to eat her curry, and then we're good to go again!

[Book V. Act II. Scene VI. Surly Cue's Tent. AUSTIN, ALICE, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and MONTY are here, just outside the tent, which is quite large.]

Clint : I hate tents. [Pushes it with his foot] No doors to kick down.

Austin : [Looking dark] There's a nasty streak in that child!

Monty : We'd better make sure that she doesn't slip out the back somewhere... [Circles the tent.]

Austin : Let's go [Slips into the tent cautiously]

Alice : [Momentarily getting tangled up in the door] Ow! [Stabs it]

[All but MONTY go in, and see that the tent it decorated like a child's bedroom. SURLY is here, with the box she took from the bingo, and is pushing it under her bed.]

Surly : [To Austin] It's mine! Get out of here before I get my teddies to beat you up!

Austin : [To Surly] It's not your's, it's mine. You stole it which makes you a theif. [Sincerely] Please give it back to me. If you do I may let you borrow it back, then you could uses them and not be a thief, but right now you are just a thief.

Chastity : Now look here, little girl. If you don't stop this behaviour you'll get no nice things and have no friends and be sent away.

Surly : I'll always have friends, I have my Smellytubbies!

[The Smellytubbies are, of course, one of the more popular kids' characters of the Realms.]

Alice : Aw, she's so cute. [To the party] Let's steal our stuff back and get Austin to make her cry.

Surly : But you'll still be a fat smelly.

Alice : [Nods seriously] She makes a valid point.

Austin : [Attempts to get the box back. Sigh] I really hate doind this.

Surly : My teddies will stop you! [Pulls a sheet that is covering three teddy bears, and sprinkles some dust on them before Austin gets to her]

[The three immediately grow to over eight feet tall each. They are STINKYWINKY, TELEDUBYA and TELESTUBBLY.]

Stinkywinky : La la!

Telestubbly : [Burp] Bastards.

Alice : Aw! Aren't kids toys great these days?

Teledubya : [Points at Alice] You're a god damned whore, and I'm gonna church you up!

Harvey : [Gasps in shock] By the saints, I've never been so outraged. However it does go somewhat towards explaining childrens foul language these days! [To Teledubya] I'll....I'll....I'll knock the stuffing out of you! [Attacks the bear]

[HARVEY swings and cuts TELEDUBYA, causing some fluff to spill out, but he immediately heals again.]

Teledubya : God damned terrorist! [Produces a sword from somewhere and swings at Harvey, who parries the blow]

Alice : [Drawing her sword] Let's kill the teddies!

Monty : [Draws his sword as he enters through the rear of the tent, presumably coming upon the battle from behind.] [Looks at the opposition, sighs, and mutters.] I should have known that it would be something unbearable. Ahem.

Teledubya : [Grabs hold of Harvey, despite being cut by each of Alice and Clint] Damned foreigners! [Throws Harvey at Austin, knocking them both to the ground]

Stinkywinky : [Spots Monty and advances] La la!

Telestubbly : [Takes a drag of his cigarette and advances on Chastity as Surly grabs the box] I like killing nuns.

Monty : [If there's an opening, attempts to retrieve the box. Otherwise, takes up a defensive posture attempts to slice off any limb which reaches or swings towards him.]

Stinkywinky : [Hits Monty with her handbag, knocking him to the ground] La la la!

[CHASTITY tries to hit TELESTUBBLY with her mace, but he breaks a bottle over her head.]

Surly : [Applauding] Yay! This is great!

[Enter SMOCK, a scruffy looking girl of about sixteen years.]

Surly : [Turns and looks at Smock] Kill her!

Smock: [angrily, to Surly] You never could get real bears to like you! [waves her hands in the air and shouts an incantation] promises of torment)

[In a second, the three SMELLYTUBBIES turn back into soft toys.]

Alice : [Slicing off Teledubya's head] Get that stitched!

Surly : [Now effectively surrounded by the party] You bitch!

Monty : How undignified! [Gets back up and resumes his defense.]

Monty : [Smoothly decapitates the stuffed Stinkywinky.] Just in case there's any more of that dust around. Ahem. Unfortunate that we seem to have a budding Ms. Trindle Jr, here. [Frowns at Surly.]

Smock: [Draws a dagger. To Surly] Look who's talking! [kicks a stuffed bear out of the way]

Austin : [Holds out his hand] Give me the box.

Surly : [Looks around for a second, and then throws the box to Austin, which he catches] I'm gonna get you! [Makes a break for it through Austin's legs]

Smock: Coward! [Goes after Surly]

[The entire party follow, but when the get to the door of the tent, there is no sign of SURLY, so they slowly drift back in.]

Harvey : [Gives a Surly a clap on the back] By the saints young lad, that was wonderful stuff!

Monty : Yes, very well done. [To Austin.] And now, without further ado, please check whether we've actually obtained the advertized prize or if this has all been a wild duck... ah... goose chase. Ahem.

Austin : [Opens the box to reveal a large pack of cards, of the same type as the ones the party have already] The cards are here. [Lifts out a phial, with an unbearably smug look] And a potion.

Smock: [Beams at Harvey. Sheaths her dagger and pushes some tangled locks of hair out of her face.] So who are youse anyway? An' whatcha got there? [Peers at what Austin is holding.] How come Surly had it? Is it real important? [Leans closer to Austin.] Oooh! What's it do?

Chastity : It makes the drinker stronger in some way. [Tries to subtly come between Smock and Austin, holding out her hand to shake] Thank you for your help, dear. May I ask who you are? And how do you know that spoilt little girl?

Smock: [Grabs Chastity's hand and shakes it vigorously] I be Smock. And I knows [with distaste] Surly because we both got taught by Alban, but Surly was mean and nasty and no one liked her, and then Alban died and [crosses her arms] I think she had something to do with it. [Brightens] What's your name?

Chastity : [gesturing to the relevant party members] This is Alice Bassett-Short, professional blonde, and this is her Uncle, the honourable Colonel Harvey Bassett-Short retired, this is the considerably less honourable Clint Scar, this, ehem, gentleman is Austin Sleaze, lawyer for hire, and this is the parties [emphasis] official conscience Mr. Montgomery Giles. [Releasing Smocks hand and putting it modestly on her chest] I am Sister Chastity Browne.

Smock: Hello. [Directs a smile to each as they are introduced to her] You all sound mighty interesting! [To Chastity] Who's sister are you? [Glances to the rest of the group, trying to guess before being given an answer.]

Alice : [Raises her eyebrows] Conscience? [To Smock] He's not our conscience, he's just our, uh, really annoying thing.

Austin : [Grimacing at Smock, and holding up the potion] This [distastefully] be a potion. [Sniffs it]

Smock: [To Alice] Like an itch you just can't reach to scratch? [Grins, doubly so at Austin, in spite of his distaste]

Chastity : [Patiently to Smock] I am a Nun of the Church of Phili based at the convent in Queens View. Hence my title is Sister.

Smock: [To Chastity, somewhat uncertainly] Oh, okay. So what're you doing here, then? Or have you been chasing Surly for ages?

Chastity : No, we've only just recently have the misfortune to come across her at the duck poo bingo. We are here to save the world, and the cards in that box will hopefully help us along the path.

Alice : [Nods at Smocks words, still looking at Monty] Kinda like that, except a whole lot more so.

Harvey : [To Smock] And you lad, what are you up to? Where are your parents? We'd like to thank them for your help. [Ruffles her hair playfully, and is only slightly dismayed at the filth of his hand afterwards]

Smock: [To Chastity, astonished] You're gonna save the world? The whole entire world? [Reconsiders her new aquaintances] Wow. I know those cards, an' you must be pretty powerful if you can use them, huh? [Smiles at Harvey, seeming not mind or notice being called 'lad'] Well, I was here mostly to find Louise Merriweather. She's in town, but they won't let me in. So I was walking around and then I saw Surly, and I was going to get her, but now that she's gone, I guess I'm doing not much at all. And I don't know where my parents are. They've been gone for years, to jail, I think. People say it was because mum was making cheese.

Austin : [With a superior look] We're going to save the world [emphasis] again. [Knocks back the potion]

Alice : Louise? [To the party] Didn't Pink say that someone called Louise was involved in the Deck? [To Smock, as though she's four] Hello little girl! Can you tell Auntie Alice who Louise is? since Louise

Smock: [To Alice] Um. Not really. [Whispers to Chastity behind her hand] Is she alright?

Chastity : [Quietly back to Smock] Mostly. But in her defense she is slightly disadvantaged by her bloodline. [Glances at Clint] It's a bit complicated.

Smock: [To Chastity] Oh. [To Alice, raising her voice slightly] I don't really know Louise. All I know is that Alban told me to find her if something happened to him, and so I tracked her down to here. But I can't get in to see her yet.

Clint : Why? [Takes out a cigar and lights it, before thinking for a moment and then offering one to Smock] Cigar?

Smock: [Sniffs at the proffered cigar, but declines, shaking her head] There was some mean, boring guards. They said the Queen doesn't like people like me.

Clint : Whiskey? People like you, what does that mean?

[AUSTIN finishes the potion, and staggers back, arms and hands shaking.]

Austin : Oh God! Last from Conor #43

Chastity : [just noticing what Austin has done] Sleaze! Put that potion back this instance! Of all the selfish...

Smock: [Pauses thoughtfully. To Clint] I don't really know what people like me are... [Smiling hopefully] You have whiskey? [Turns at Austin's exclamation, watching him shake. Frowns, a little concerned] Is he meant to be doing that?

Smock: [Sniffs at the proffered cigar, but declines, shaking her head] There was some mean, boring guards. They said the Queen doesn't like people like me.

Clint : Whiskey? People like you, what does that mean?

[AUSTIN finishes the potion, and staggers back, arms and hands shaking.]

Austin : Oh God! Last from Conor #43

Chastity : [just noticing what Austin has done] Sleaze! Put that potion back this instance! Of all the selfish...

Smock: [Pauses thoughtfully. To Clint] I don't really know what people like me are... [Smiling hopefully] You have whiskey? [Turns at Austin's exclamation, watching him shake. Frowns, a little concerned] Is he meant to be doing that?

Austin : [Staggers a little, and then stands up straight, with a big, big smile] Yes, yes I am. [To Chastity] Control yourself, Sister. I won the potion. You said yourself that all that mattered was that the party got control of it.

Chastity : [Unimpressed] I think you'll find, Mr. Sleaze, that [gestures round everyone] the party never did get control of it. [Sighs] But how are you feeling?

Smock: [Suddenly enthusiastic about Austin] Yeah, do you have muscles now? Did the potion work? Did it hurt any? [Looks over him appraisingly] You don't look strong. Maybe you should do a test!

Chastity : [To Smock] Let me assure you that his most used muscle is his tongue. [Rolls her eyes] If we test it out the world will have ended before we've finished.

Alice : Uh, what about his, you know... [does a jerking motion with her hand]

Harvey : [Shocked] Alice!

Alice : [Innocently] I meant his wrist, you know, from signing all those forms?

Austin : [To Smock] The potion appears to have worked, however, we will need to wait for a chance to test out how well. [Turns to Chastity] Remember, Sister, I won the potion, so it was mine to use as I saw fit. I resent your insinuation that it was party property and will thank you to refrain from such offensive and unlawful behaviour.

[The wounds of those hurt in the fight, that is, HARVEY, MONTY and CHASTITY magically heal.]

Alice : Wow! Look at that!

Harvey : [Still glaring suspiciously at Alice, before stretching mightily] By the saints, troop, I've not felt this good in years! However, I've also not felt this hungry in years also! [To Smock] Tell me, young lad, where can we get a hearty meal around here?

Smock : Well, the jesters are giving out candyfloss, but if you want real food, you'd probably have to go to Anaesthesia, if you can get in.

[Enter ELFIC.]

Elfic : [Smiling] Hi! Congratulations on your victory. I'm very pleased for you. [Smile flickers a little] Unfortuntely, there's an angry mob outside.

Monty : May we rightfully surmise that Surly has worked them up into a surly mood?

Elfic : Not so much surly, as downright aggressive.

Chastity : [To Smock] Our esteemed lawyer here [gestures to Austin] took time to tangle with Surly. Her dramatics sobs and accusations were taken on board by the surrounding crowd. [To the others] We may have to use Mr. Giles' special tent entrance to exit here.

Alice : Forget that! You lot are invulnerable now too! Let's take them on!

Monty : Even if we all are invulnerable - and overwhelming odds is not the best situation in which to test that theory - invulnerable does not mean invincible. A crowd could well drag us down by sheer weight of numbers even if they can't actually do injury.

Monty : Sir, precisely why is it that the crowd here seems to be so enamored of that little troublemaker? Given her rude manner, one would think her to be the least popular person in town.

Smock: Me? What'd I do? [Folds her arms across her chest] I didn't do nothing! What did Surly tell 'em?

Elfic : That you're a smug git. [Looks down at a piece of paper] Oh, sorry, that's [nods at Austin] you. She said you killed her teddy bears. [Looks at the decapitated Smellytubbies] Look, I'm not here to judge.

Chastity : At this stage the facts or lack of don't matter. It's what the mobs outside believe. As we saw in the Bingo tent they are completely swayed by Surly.

Monty : [To Austin] She doesn't happen to be on any of those cards, does she?

Clint : Why don't we just head towards the town?

Elfic : Not a bad idea - if they see you're being chased by a bunch of jesters and a small child, they mightn't kill you because of your, well, you know.

Chastity : I would thinnk that it would be perfectly understandable why someone would run away from a crowd of jesters and a small child. No offense meant, of course.

Smock: [To Elfic] How come you don't want to beat us up too?

Elfic : Hey, not all jesters are evil, despite what the queen says!

Chastity : Who is this Queen anyway? Where does she stay? She sounds miserable. Everyone seems to be scared of her.

Elfic : Oh, they are! She's in Anaesthesia - we were expelled because we're [finger quotes] diseased.

Alice : What's the problem? Something wrong with your fingers?

Elfic : I'm afraid so, but that's not why we were expelled.

Chastity : What disease do you all have?

Elfic : The disease of mirth! Of jollity! She has expelled anyone who doesn't fit in with her idea of fun.

Clint : [Raises his eyebrows] And what's her idea of fun?

Elfic : Nobody knows!

Smock: If the guards are anything to go by, I reckon she best likes boring, wearisome things. [To Austin] Maybe she'd like you because you're a lawyer.

Chastity : I think I would like to meet this Queen. Where does she stay in town?

Austin : If I can protect her from irksome children, I'm sure she will.

Elfic : Uh, the palace?

Smock: [Looks anxiously toward the flimsy flap separating them from the mob] So is there a way out of here where we don't end up gettin' lynched?

Elfic : I'm not sure - maybe if you had a hostage?

Clint : [Grabs Alice and playfully puts a sword to her throat] Everyone back off or the girl gets it!

Alice : Help! Help!

Elfic : A hostage people care about?

[CLINT and ALICE huffily stop their act.]

Last from Conor #74

Chastity : [To Elfic, in a friendly manner] I'll bet you get on with everyone. You've such a friendly, carefree manner.

Smock: [Smiles sweetly at Elfic] Being as that you're so helpful and lovely, an' don't want to tie us to a stake right now, would you perhaps, pretty please with a cherry on top, maybe volunteer? I mean you wouldn't get hurt or nothing I'm sure. [Glances at the others] I mean I wouldn't really hurt you, nosiree no way no way. And it would just be for a little bit.

Elfic : [Chuffed at Chastity's kind words, and a little embarassed] Well, I suppose I do get on with everyone, and I'm probably the only one everyone likes and [realises what Smock has said] Hey! I'm not going to pretend to be a hostage!

Alice : Come on! There's nothing to it! [Grabs Clint and playfully puts a sword to his throat] Everyone back off or the girl gets it!

Clint : Help! Help!

Alice : [Lets Clint go] see?

Smock: You don't have to pretend, but it might be nicer for everyone if you do.

Austin : Indeed. Perhaps if one of the burlier members of the party, for example, Clint or Alice, roughly held a sword to his throat, he wouldn't need to?

Alice : [To Austin] How about we hold a sword to [emphasis] your throat?

Chastity : [Moves between Elfic and the tent door] yes, because if you don't pretend we really will have to take you hostage!

Smock: [To Elfic] Pleeeeeease?

Elfic : Uh, help! Help!

Alice : Now, is he pretending or not?

Chastity : [Patting Elfic on the shoulders] Of course he is, Alice, because that way he knows he won't have Clint pressing his sword roughly against his throat. [Looks round and claps her hands school mistress style] OK, everyone, lets look lively. We've a hostage aided escape to get through. [pauses] Everyone ready?

Elfic : Certainly not! [Tries to walk around Chastity]

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Sorry, Elfic, but it's you or us!

Elfic : But - but!

Harvey : By the saints! Well done that man! [Slaps Elfic on the back] Good sport, what!

[The party leave the tent, causing the crowd outside to push back.]

Clint : Everybody be cool this is a hostage situation!

Alice : [Pushing her sword menacingly against Elfic's neck] Any of you fuckin' pricks move and I'll execute every one of you motherfuckers! Got that?

Elfic : Ow! [Lowly] You nearly cut me!

Alice : Aw! I'm sorry!

Chastity : [To the crowd] Yeah! [Pauses] Except maybe all that awful foul language. [To Harvey] You really must try to stop impressionable Alice going to see those Quentin Tarantula films, Colonel. What she needs is a film with a role model, like Breakfast at Trifidies, or Beautiful Woman.

Alice : Come on, Chas! I'm just getting in character!

Smock : [Pointing out] There are the gates to Anaesthesia, we can easily walk it.

Chastity : [To the crowd] Will you let us past please? Or do you want to be responsible for Jester Blood being spilled?

[The crowd respectfully parts, and let the party through, but follow from a safe distance.]

Jake : It's okay, Elfic! We won't desert you in your time of need, we all stand together! We're with you all the - [turns away] hey look! Julia's just done a big poo!

Crowd : Hooray!

[The crowd all rush back to the Duck Poo Bingo stall, leaving the party unattended.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene VII. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, SMOCK and ELFIC are here, approaching the gates of Anaesthesia.]

Elfic : [Fuming after being abandoned by the others] Those bastards! Those absolute bastards.

Alice : [To the party] Boy, for a funny man he sure is serious, isn't he?

Elfic : But - but!

Harvey : By the saints! Well done that man! [Slaps Elfic on the back] Good sport, what!

[The party leave the tent, causing the crowd outside to push back.]

Clint : Everybody be cool this is a hostage situation!

Alice : [Pushing her sword menacingly against Elfic's neck] Any of you fuckin' pricks move and I'll execute every one of you motherfuckers! Got that?

Elfic : Ow! [Lowly] You nearly cut me!

Alice : Aw! I'm sorry!

Chastity : [To the crowd] Yeah! [Pauses] Except maybe all that awful foul language. [To Harvey] You really must try to stop impressionable Alice going to see those Quentin Tarantula films, Colonel. What she needs is a film with a role model, like Breakfast at Trifidies, or Beautiful Woman.

Alice : Come on, Chas! I'm just getting in character!

Smock : [Pointing out] There are the gates to Anaesthesia, we can easily walk it.

Chastity : [To the crowd] Will you let us past please? Or do you want to be responsible for Jester Blood being spilled?

[The crowd respectfully parts, and let the party through, but follow from a safe distance.]

Jake : It's okay, Elfic! We won't desert you in your time of need, we all stand together! We're with you all the - [turns away] hey look! Julia's just done a big poo!

Crowd : Hooray!

[The crowd all rush back to the Duck Poo Bingo stall, leaving the party unattended.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene VII. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, SMOCK and ELFIC are here, approaching the gates of Anaesthesia.]

Elfic : [Fuming after being abandoned by the others] Those bastards! Those absolute bastards.

Alice : [To the party] Boy, for a funny man he sure is serious, isn't he?

Smock: [Bounding along, evidently finding the escapade exciting now that the mob has dispersed.] Come on! We're nearly there! Then Skinny [gestures at Austin] can bash up the guards with his new strength powers.

Monty : [With very slight sarcasm.] Oh, yes. One never knows what Austin's powers will do next.

Austin : [Disdainfully] If the [with extra disdain] "skinny" had new strength powers, I doubt the guards would the first ones [with extra extra disdain] bashed.

[The gates are soon within sight.]

Elfic : Can I go now? If I get anywhere near the gates there'll be trouble. They go crazy as soon as they hear the tinkling of a jester's bells.

Chastity : [To Elfic] Yes, I suppose so. But before you go, do you know of any secret ways in to the town or the Palace.

Elfic : Of course not! If we did, they'd hardly be secret, would they?

Monty : Very well then, sir. Do you know of any non-secret ways in, other than the front gates?

Smock: What's wrong with the front gates?

Elfic : [Looks Monty up and down] The rear gates.

Monty : And no other means? I see. [Sighs.] [To the party.] Well, it was worth a try.

Smock: But you’re heroes, and you’re going to save the world, and you’ve got awesome powers. A few guards are no match for you. Right?

Harvey : Come on, young lad! We can't simply go around beating up everyone we meet! Looks like we'll need to talk our way passed.

Monty : Well said, Colonel. The front gate it is, then, and Mr. Sleaze may demonstrate the newfound efficacy of his glib tongue in gaining our way past.

Chastity : Or getting us into trouble.

Smock: [Pouts, her fun spoiled.] Alright. But the guards didn’t seem all that interested in listening.

Chastity : Most guards tend to be only interested in when their shift ends and the can go to the nearest Inn. [Shakes her head] Such are the sad service standards now-a-days.

Austin : [Shakes his head as he regards Monty] It's just as well we're not depending on your charm and charisma getting us anywhere.

[ELFIC slopes off as the party approach the guards. There are two of them here, ERNIE BECCLESTONE and DENNIS RONS, both look completely miserable.]

Ernie : [Glares at the party] What do you want?

Smock: [Scowls at the guards, still miffed at being refused entry] We wanna get into town... Oh! [Clasps her hand over her mouth, remembering Austin is the assigned spokesman]

Austin : [Gives Smock a disapproving glance, before turning back to the guards] We wish to gain entry to the town.

Ron : [With a pained expression] No. It is only for very, very serious people.

Chastity : [to Ernie] We would like to enter the town, please.

Chastity : [Steps forward] I am Chastity Browne, founding member of the "Mothers Against Fun" movement I can assure you that I am very serious! As are my colleagues, here.

Smock: [Nods emphatically and attempts to look serious]

Ernie : [Looks over the party, all of whom have their cross and/or serious faces on] Well, you certainly do look serious. [Gravely to Dennis] Administer the test.

Dennis : [Droning] Which of the following would you prefer? A, a really boring lecture about grain. B, a man in a funny hat on a unicycle telling hilarious jokes, or C, a puppy?

[The party gather around in a huddle to discuss the matter.]

Alice : [Breaking from the huddle for a moment] Uh, is the puppy boring in any way?

Dennis : No. It is playful and endearing.

Alice : [Back to the huddle] Any ideas?

Smock: [Screws up her nose at the thought] The really boring lecture?

Alice : [Thoughtfully] Maybe... if Monty was giving it!

Smock: [Chuckles. To Monty] What do you think Mr Conscience since you are the mostest serious and boring besides Skinny?

Harvey : Well troop, I'm guessing that this is a fairly anti-funny and anti-cutsey type of town, so I'm guessing the correct answer is the boring lecture about grain. [Scratches at a sideburn] Let's just hope they're not seriously going to force the lecture on us, though!

Austin : Very well then. [To the guards] We choose the lecture on grain.

Ernie : [Very seriously] You have passed.

Harvey : Horra....I mean, [drolely] oh good. [To Ernie] Can you tell me if there's somewhere really quiet and uneventful where we can get a room and something plain and tasteless to eat?

Smock: [Stifles a 'Yay!'] That's... nice.

Ernie : That pretty much describes all of Anaesthesia. You probably want to avoid the palace, though, as that's even more serious than anywhere else.

Smock: [To guards] Do you happen maybe to know where Louise Merriweather might be?

Harvey : So the queen is quite serious then? Does she accept visitors to the palace, you know, if say, the town is too eventful, or perhaps an outbreak of jocularity strikes?

Clint : [Suddenly] Hey, they do sell drink here, right? I mean, it's not like somewhere you can only get soft drinks or milk, is it? [Quietly to Alice] Maybe we should find a cheese vendor before heading inside?

Ernie : She's very serious. Tell them, Ron.

Ron : [Takes an age before speaking] She's very serious.

Ernie : Anyone can visit the queen, but she's so sad that she can't bear anyone laughing or smiling, that's why those jesters had to be thrown out.

Alice : I don't know, Stinky, there are a lot of depressed drunks around, maybe there's something to cater for them?

Harvey : The queen is sad? Why?

Dennis : [Long sigh, before speaking in a very, very boring voice] Some say that she has become obsessed with the futility of her existence based on the absence of love and humour in her life.

[Before DENNIS even finishes, the entire party are in a pile on the ground asleep.]

Ernie : You're just getting better and better at this.

Dennis : [Puts on a pained expression] Yes.

Smock: [Wakes up with a start, looks around, frowns] He didn't even answer my question!

Dennis : She has been banished.

Alice : [Wakes up with a start] Who has been banished?

Dennis : Louise.

Harvey : [Wakes with a start] Who's Louise?

Dennis : This is very, very boring.

Chastity : [Wakes up with a small start] Not on the alter again? [Realises where she is] Ehem. [To Dennis, in an earnest fashion] Have you ever thought of a career as a lay preacher?

Dennis : [Long sigh] I considered it, but the life was too exciting.

Alice : [Stretching] How about as a priest?

Dennis : Too much sex.

Monty : [Gets up and slowly dusts himself off.] How about a monk, then? Between mumbling mantras and contemplating the oneness of the universe, it seems like quite a boring life. Ahem. And not to change the subject, but I assume that there is some completely uninteresting reason as to why Ms. Merriweather was banished? Best that we know what it is, so as not to become curious about it. That all too easily leads to excitement, and we don't want any of that, now do we?

Dennis : No, the queen just didn't like her. Us diseased ones always face the risk of expulsion.

Chastity : [Gesturing to the party] Well there is no chance of levity within this group, I can assure you. Miserable to a T. Can we please come in?

Dennis : [Steps back to let the party through] Yes.

Bernie : Be careful, though. Today is one of the busiest days of the year in Anaesthesia, with so many people around [gravely] you may become excited.

Chastity : Why is the town so busy?

Dennis : Busy? No one said the town was busy - are you implying that there is excitement in Anaesthesia?

Harvey : I do believe there is little chance of that, good sir! A fine days mundanity is what we strive towards, eh!

Smock: We ain't implying nothing. An' I don't like you getting all excited with your accusations.

Dennis : [Calmly] Then you can just leave.

Bernie : [Touches Dennis' arm] Calm down. [To the party] Please enter.

Harvey : Thank you good sir! Come on troop, let's find somewhere to fill our stomachs!

Clint : And join the depressed drunks in their drunken depression.

Smock: Yeah, we're serious as can be!

[The party cautiously enter through the gates.]

Alice : [Quietly to the others] Let's be careful here, we don't want to stand out.

[Everyone stops, suddenly realising that there is absolutely no one to be seen, and that the streets are completely empty.]

Chastity : [Dead-pan] Quick, lets disappear in the Hoi Polloi.

Aliec : What's that? Their tube system?

Harvey : I don't know dear niece, sounded more like a foreign restaurant! Hmm, can't abide foreign food, far too spicy for this old soldiers stomach! Perhaps we should just disappear into a tavern instead?

Chastity : Well, if you are referring to the towns sewer system - no! Let's find a place to eat, as the Colonel suggested.

Alice : [Shrugs] Sounds good to me. Where will we go?

[The party glance up the street and quickly notice that there is only one of each type of establishment there, such as "Food Shop", "Tavern", "Hotel" etc., including some very specific ones, like "Black Leather Jacket Shop", "Scissors Shop" and the like.]

Austin : [Straightens a cuff] "Tavern" might suffice. Of course, they may have a strictly over eighteens policy.

Clint : Shouldn't be a problem, lawyer! I'll have no problem knocking back more drinks than that!

[The party enter the tavern, which is open, but completely devoid of people. It looks as though everyone left in a hurry, though, as there are plenty of half open drinks and uneaten meals here.]

Alice : [Picks up a chicken leg and starts eating it] I wonder what happened to all the people?

Austin : Maybe they were poisoned?

Clint : [Shrugs] Surely if they were poisoned they'd still be lying here? [Starts pouring drinks down his throat] Mmm, free bar!

Harvey : [Walks over to the bar and begins hammering on it] Hello, I say, hello! Is anyone here?

Smock: [Sniffs the air] Maybe they knew Skinny was coming and ran in fear of his might!

Austin : [To Smock] Please refrain from referring to me as Skinny. My name is Austin Sleaze. You may call me Austin or Mister Sleaze.

[There is no response to HARVEY's hammering.]

Harvey : [Turns to the others] I say troop, what the blue blazes is going on here? Where has everybody gone? Perhaps we should begin our search in the kitchens?

Clint : [Goes behind the counter and begins cleaning glasses with a dirty rag] Well, who's for a drink? [Pokes around some unfinished meals before climbing up on to the bar. To Clint] Me! [To Austin] But I don’t like your name. And you [emphasis] are skinny.

Alice : [Sits down] Double rum and gin cocktail.

Monty : [Looking somewhat disdainfully around the place.] Well, either they're probably all outside the town, dressed as jesters, or they've been called into the palace for some purpose, or they're in hiding from something in the palace. We might reconnoiter the rest of the town to see whether anyone is about elsewhere; quite likely it will be the same as here, but certainty is something we see too little of. [Heads out to check the next building over, remaining within shouting distance.]

Clint : Sounds good bimbo, I'll have one as well while you're at it. [Starts randomly pressing buttons on the cash register]

Harvey : [To Alice] Good girl! I'll have a rum, and I believe the good sister will have a tea. And I think perhaps a milk for the sprightly young chap!

Smock: Maybe everyone got banished... [Starts selecting bits from various plates to eat]

Alice : [Dismayed] Hey! [Goes in behind the bar] Get out, Stinky, this is my bar! [Bends down to get a bottle, only get bashed in the head by the drawer of the cash register shooting open] Ow!

[K-ching! There's about twenty GP in loose change in there.]

Austin : [To Smock] I am not skinny, I am slim. I do not care if you like my name or not.

Smock: Milk? [Sits on the bar with her arms folded and pouts. To Austin] Well, 'slimmy' doesn't sound right. Too much like slimy.

Clint : [Steps around the counter, to Alice] Excuse me, barkeep, I left about twenty GP here earlier for you to mind. Can I have it back please?

Alice : [Angrily to Clint] No! You're barred! Now get out!

Austin : [Looks Smock up and down for a moment before addressing the party] Why is she with us?

Chastity : [Looks at Smock and then at Austin's distressed face. To Austin] I like her. [To Clint] Mr. Scar there will not be any unauthorised borrowing while I'm about. [Glances round the empty room] That money could be a whole months takings for the poor owner.

Harvey : [To Austin] Now, now, private! The lad has a point! Slimmy does sound quite a lot like slimy. [Scratches at a sideburn before turning to Smock] Actually that's quite true, why are you with us, laddie?

Clint : [Innocently] It's my brother, Clunt, you barred, not me.

Alice : [To Clint] Oh really? Oh, okay. What would you like?

Austin : Indeed, Colonel, and Speediot sounds quite a lot like idiot, yet that is not a reason to call you Speediot, is it?

Clint : I'll have a glass of loose change, please, barkeep.

Harvey : Speediots? They're some type of skimpy swimwear, aren't they private Sleaze? Why on earth would you call me that?

Chastity : [To the group] People, people. This is no time for bickering. You see this is what happens when you go to the taverns - social decay. Perhaps we should instead go to the "unflavoured milk bar" I saw further down the street.

Smock: [Directs a smug look Austin’s way. To Harvey] I have to find out where Louise is and I couldn’t get in here by myself because of those guards. And besides, you’re the mostest exciting people around here that don't want to lynch me. [Glances at Austin] Yet. [To Austin] Does that mean you want to be called 'slimy' then?

Austin : Because otherwise people might think you're an idiot.

Alice : Sure thing! [Pours out two glasses of milk and two of brandy, one of which she keeps and the other which she gives to Harvey] Enjoy! [Gives one to Smock and slides the other along the bar to Clint]

Austin : I already told you, either call me Austin or call me Mister Sleaze. If you are not capable of doing so, I will summon the town guards and have you removed from here.

Smock: [Sniffs the milk. To Alice, slightly disappointed] Thanks. [Downs the drink all in one go.]

Clint : [Looks at his glass of milk and picks up the drinks menu instead] Actually, I think I'll have a Hari Kari, followed by a Hangmans Noose, two Sweet Suicides, one Rusian Roulette and one Slit Wrist Sour.

Harvey : [To Chastity] A fine idea sister! [Looks around] Where on earth did that Monty person go?

Alice : All in the one glass, Stinky? Sure thing! [Turns her back to Clint, clearly trying to prevent him from seeing that she's pouring out a huge glass of milk, which is spilling quite a bit as she's laughing to herself so much] This is gonna be great! [Turns back to Clint, trying to keep a straight face] Here you go! [Gives Smock a big wink, warning her of the impending jocularity]

Clint : [Looks at the glass before looking at Alice] Hey, I was forgetting myself, and have one for yourself, barkeep! [Pushes the glass towards Alice]

Monty : [Re-entering.] As expected, the shop next door is similarly hastily abandoned. [Pauses, distracted.] I say, is Mr. Scar about to drink what I think he's about to drink? Quite the turn for him. [Resumes his previous line of thought.] I'm afraid that the most likely place to find answers is the palace. Which, of course, means that some further disaster undoubtedly awaits us there.

Chastity : [Looking at the spilled milk] Really! Look at this mess! Go and get a mop right now.

Alice : [Watches the glass sail up the bar passed her] Cheers, Clint. [Turns and pours out a glass of brandy which she drinks while the glass of milk falls off the counter and smashes] Ah! Excellent!

Smock: [To Austin] Fine. [Derisively] Austin. [Turns her back on the lawyer to watch Alice's antics with a grin]

Harvey : Now, now sister, let's not cry over spilt milk! [Bursts out laughing long, loud and alone]

Clint : This place has gone right down! Let's move on.

Austin : Well said, Mister Scar. [Pockets the contents of the cash register]

Monty : [Makes a quick inscription in his notebook.] Yes. The palace, then?

Smock: [Bounds over to the door, anticipating departure] To the palace?

Alice : Sounds good to me. [Looks at the others] Any other ideas?

[The party exit out onto the street, where DENNIS is standing, looking somewhat mystified.]

Dennis : [To the party] Where is everyone?

Monty : They all appear to have abandoned the place in a great hurry, which presumably means that something got them all excited enough to do so. Granted, the place is rather more boring for their absence, which undoubtedly suits the town quite well.

Harvey : Indeed so, private, an absence of populous certainly does limit the towns excitement potential, what! But I cannot shake the feeling that something ominous is going on.

Clint : Let's check the palace anyway. Maybe they're all in the dungeons or something.

Dennis : [With some menace] No. You don't give the orders here. Ernie, tell them what happens if we don't tell them where the palace is.

Ernie : [Smugly] You won't be able to find it.

Alice : [Standing in front of a tourist information map with a big "You Are Here" sign] Looks like it's on the next street.

Chastity : [Nodding] I agree. I am most interested in meeting the Queen.

Monty : [Nods.] Good, then. Let's stroll up this suitably boring street to see what dull events are ongoing within. [Leads the way.]

Clint : What? Don't tell me Hitchberk is here?

Harvey : Very well sister! [Begins smoothing down his hair] Let us head to the palace.

Smock: [Struggles to contain her energy and remain grave in front of the guards.] This is going to be the boringest. I can just see it. [Tags along after Harvey]

Dennis : [Walking quickly with Ernie to try and overtake the party] We will announce you, but you need to be careful, for there is no joy allowed in the palace, no mirth, no laughing and no peanuts.

Alice : No peanuts?

Dennis : The queen's allergic, even one could kill her.

[The group approach what is clearly the palace. The front doors are wide open and there is no sign of anyone.]

Dennis : Careful, it looks like something is very, very wrong here.

[The group enter the corridor, and can hear the sound of people absolutely roaring laughing, in complete hysterics, coming from further up.]

Smock: [Getting a little bit too excited] Maybe there's dancing peanuts!

Harvey : By the saints, troop, what's going on here? Sounds like the non excitement rule has been done away with! [To Smock] When I was serving a tour in Vietnumnum back in Last from colin - 02.07.083

Chastity : Perhaps they've all just been sentensed to death. Best not let our guard down.

Smock: [Momentarily enthralled by Harvey's story] Wow. Wouldn't it be great to have dancing peanuts though! [Peers down the corridor. To Chastity] Let's go see! [Heads toward the voices]

Chastity : [To Dave] Who is telling you these stories? Where are they?

Austin : [Momentarily abhorred by Harvey's story] Quite.

[The party move cautiously towards the doors from behind which the laughing is coming, and DENNIS slowly opens them, to reveal a huge ballroom, with hundreds of people inside, all screaming with laughter, clearly having a fantastic time. ALICE interrupts one of them, ANGRY DAVE RUDDOCK, who is in handcuffs and wearing prison garb, and who has tears in his eyes from laughing.]

Alice : Excuse me, what's going on here?

Dave : [Stops laughing and looks Alice up and down, before looking over the rest of the party] Uh, are you Alice?

Alice : [Surprised] Yes!

Dave : [Roars with laughter again] Hey everyone! It's Alice and the others!

[The crowd turn to look, and all begin applauding and cheering]

Alice : [Getting excited and starting to giggle herself a little] What? What is it? What's so funny?

Dave : You guys are the funniest! That story about being beaten up by girl scouts? Priceless!

Alice : [Dismayed] Hey!

Harvey : What! Who on earth told you that most private and quite embarrassing story, eh?

Smock: You guys really are famous! [Smiles, awed, at the party]

Austin : These stories could be considered slanderous. We may yet sue.

[The crowd part to let the party see who is telling the stories. In the middle of the crowd, sitting on a huge throne is none other than PETER DEADPAN. There is a woman, POSIE JACKARD, who is clearly the queen from her clothes, sitting on his lap, absolutely inconsolable with laughter, who is trying to dry her eyes. PETER has his normal deadpan expression on and seems to be regarding the crowd with barely concealed contempt.]

Austin : [Brightens up suddenly] Peter! [To the party] Everyone look! It's Peter!

Chastity : [Face lights up] Peter! Well that explains everything. [Waves to Peter] Peter, hello. We've been looking for you everywhere!

Monty : Ah, Mr. Deadpan. In the thick of things as usual, I see!

Harvey : [Face darkens even further] Oh...by...the....saints.

Clint : [Lights a cigar and puffs away, checking out the Posie appreciatively]

Peter : [Rolls his eyes] Did you look in the North Pole?

Smock: [Practically squeals with delight] Peter! [Runs up to the throne, grins at Peter, shifting from foot to foot excitedly] What're you doing here?

Chastity : [Giggles. To Harvey] Ah that Peter, what a character.

Monty : Entertaining the crowd, by the looks of it! And doing a far finer job of it than those uncouth jesters outside of town. [To Peter.] The Watchers became concerned when contact with you was lost for an extended period. May I inquire as to your present mission status?

Harvey : [To Monty] It would appear, private, that his present mission status is concerned with ridiculing our endeavours to do good, what!

Peter : [Gives Smock a dirty look] Playing in an international table tennis tournament. [To Monty] What mission is that? To assassinate the queen?

Posie : [Squeals with delight at Peter's hilarity] Assassinate me! Oh, Peter!

Smock: Peter, you're the greatest! [To party with a huge grin] Isn't he just the greatest? [To Peter] And this boring town really did need a good kick up the bum!

Clint : [To Posie] Well, if you want, I can make you feel like you've been to heaven and back! [Blows a few smoke rings her way]

Harvey : [Looks around] I thought this palace was a quiet, sober and above all, joyless place. What's happened? Did some rapscallion spike the water supply?

Austin : [Smiles at Smock] Peter is probably the greatest comedian of our or any other generation. He's just great!

Posie : [Gives Clint a cold look] I could have you killed for saying that.

[The whole hall goes quiet.]

Clint : Is that a no?

Harvey : Erm, [bows to Posie] good day your majesty! I am Harvey Kingston Short the third, ex colonel of his majestys fifth fusileers, and this is my dearest niece, Alice, and we have the ever saintly sister Chastity, and private Sleaze, private Scar, private Giles and this little fellow is cadet Smock. Pleased to meet you!

Chastity : [To Posie] Yes indeed, Ma'am. [To Clint] Mr. Scar, control you despicable urges. This is neither the time nor the place.

Alice : [Nods] It's [emphasis] never the time or place!

Posie : [To Ernie] Kill him.

[PETER whispers something to POSIE, who looks at CLINT and laughs.]

Posie : It's okay! You can let him go.

Clint : [Breathes a sign of relief and steps away from Posie]

Harvey : [To Peter] Well done that man, well done! Tell me this, sir, did you know that there were a lot of people back at base worried about your wellbeing?

Peter : No, I thought it was just you.

Posie : [Stands up to address the crowd] My people! Peter needs to talk to his friends [gives a little laugh, as do most of the crowd] in private. Please return again tomorrow for another audience.

[The crowd give a collective "Aw", and slowly melt away, so eventually it is just the party, POSIE, PETER, ERNIE and DENNIS left in the room.]

Chastity : [Watching the final townsfolk leave] Why did they laugh at the word friends?

Harvey : [Nods at Chastity] Quite right, sister, most rum behaviour, what!

Posie : [With a dismissive wave of her hand] Oh, you know people in Anaesthesia, they have a great sense of humour!

Ernie : Your majesty, shall I fetch some drinks?

Posie : [Breezily] Oh, no need, I'll do it! Peter likes his umbrellas placed just so.

Harvey : [Quietly] Yes, and I can just imagine where too, eh. [To Peter] Well, private Deadpan, you certainly seem to be on top of the situation here! Laset from Colin #106

Peter : No. I'm a prisoner being held against my will by a crazy spinster who has too many kits.

[Somewhere out of view a snarling miaow can be heard, before POSIE returns, with a big smile and huge drink loaded down with fruity bits and little umbrellas in it.]

Posie : I hope you like it, Peter.

Peter : [Takes a tiny sip] It's just like my mother used to make.

Posie : [To the party] He really loves his mother. That's why he can't marry me, you see.

Harvey : Eh? What on earth does the love of his mother have to do with not marrying you, my dear thing?

Clint : [Quietly to Alice] I'd imagine that being more limp wristed than Hitchberk might have something to do with it too.

Alice : I don't know Clint, never underestimate the attractiveness of a well dressed man.

[AUSTIN gives a modest cough, causing ALICE to roll her eyes.]

Posie : She's missing you see, and Peter wants to find her so he can introduce me to her before we get married. [Glances at Clint] But don't worry, he's going to give me a right old seeing to tonight!

[ERNIE and DENNIS both try to suppress gasps of horror, and exchange shocked looks.]

Posie : [Squeezes Peter's arm and looks at him adoringly] For my whole life people have been telling me to cheer up, and then Peter came along. Tell them, Peter, tell them how you set me free, tell them what you said.

Peter : [Deadpan] That I love sulky, whiny and neurotic women.

Clint : [Coughs on his cigar smoke]

Harvey : [Eyebrows lifted high] Er, yes, yes, I see how that could melt the heart of any woman, yes. [To Peter] And do you require some help looking for the dear Mrs Deadpan?

Peter : No. I have my lucky stick.

Harvey : [Quietly] Yes, and I can just imagine where too, eh. [To Peter] Well, private Deadpan, you certainly seem to be on top of the situation here! Laset from Colin #106

Peter : No. I'm a prisoner being held against my will by a crazy spinster who has too many kits.

[Somewhere out of view a snarling miaow can be heard, before POSIE returns, with a big smile and huge drink loaded down with fruity bits and little umbrellas in it.]

Posie : I hope you like it, Peter.

Peter : [Takes a tiny sip] It's just like my mother used to make.

Posie : [To the party] He really loves his mother. That's why he can't marry me, you see.

Harvey : Eh? What on earth does the love of his mother have to do with not marrying you, my dear thing?

Clint : [Quietly to Alice] I'd imagine that being more limp wristed than Hitchberk might have something to do with it too.

Alice : I don't know Clint, never underestimate the attractiveness of a well dressed man.

[AUSTIN gives a modest cough, causing ALICE to roll her eyes.]

Posie : She's missing you see, and Peter wants to find her so he can introduce me to her before we get married. [Glances at Clint] But don't worry, he's going to give me a right old seeing to tonight!

[ERNIE and DENNIS both try to suppress gasps of horror, and exchange shocked looks.]

Posie : [Squeezes Peter's arm and looks at him adoringly] For my whole life people have been telling me to cheer up, and then Peter came along. Tell them, Peter, tell them how you set me free, tell them what you said.

Peter : [Deadpan] That I love sulky, whiny and neurotic women.

Clint : [Coughs on his cigar smoke]

Harvey : [Eyebrows lifted high] Er, yes, yes, I see how that could melt the heart of any woman, yes. [To Peter] And do you require some help looking for the dear Mrs Deadpan?

Peter : No. I have my lucky stick.

Smock: I didn't know Austin was lucky.

Monty : [To Chastity.] Really! Youth these days...

Harvey : Well that duck certainly thought so, cadet!

Peter : [Gives Smock a look of digust] What a joy it is to hear your young voice and delightful japery again.

Chastity : [To Monty] Indeed, Mr. Giles. [To Smock] How do you know Peter?

Smock: [Smiles bashfully at Peter. To Chastity] When my parents got taken away, I was sad because I couldn't find them, and I was all alone until Peter found me, and he was so brilliant and happy and he made me happy too! [Glances cheerfully at Peter] It was him that introduced me to Alban too. He's just the best!

Harvey : Well I say, that was a very decent thing for him to do! I'm impressed! Well done that man, what!

Clint : Why were your parents taken away?

Peter : [Emotionless] And for her part, she brought light and joy to my life, as is evidenced by her hilarious ribbing of those now looking after her.

Peter : [Speaking in an even more deadpan than normal voice to Harvey] It was an uplifting experience.

Posie : [Squeezes Peter's arm] Oh, Peter! The more I know about you, the more I love you! I'm so happy to have found a non-diseased one!

Monty : [To Posie.] To which disease in particular do you refer, ma'am?

Smock: [To Clint] People said they got arrested. Because we made cheese. But I didn’t see or nothing.

Posie : [To Monty] The disease has no name, but I know the symptoms when I see them. [Darkly] Trying to cheer me up, telling me to be happy, all that sort of thing.

Peter : [Dryly] She's a regular ray of sunshine just as she is.

Posie : Aw! Thank you! [Tears of joy in her eyes] That's the genius of Peter, he sees the inner beauty of how someone really is, and isn't concerned with how one [emphasis] should behave.

[The non-Peterfied party members, that is, ALICE, CLINT, HARVEY and MONTY, as well as DENNIS and ERNIE turn and look slowly at the sour face of PETER.]

Posie : I love how he makes me feel about myself!

Harvey : [Pats Smock uncertainly on the head] There, there lad, don't be upset, we'll find them for you!

Smock: [Looks up at Harvey in wonder] You’d find them? Really? Oh, that would be fantastic! [Hugs Harvey]

Monty : [To Peter.] It would seem that you'll be... ah... engaged here for some time. If we should return to headquarters before you do, have you any messages for Mr. Snyder or the rest?

Peter : Tell him that the recording he sent me of him playing the accordian was top notch.

Posie : [To the party] Oh, but you'll stay here tonight, won't you? It is getting late.

Chastity : [Looking at Harvey unconsciously rubbing his stomach] Well, we could do with a rest and something to eat. We would be honoured, your Majesty.

Harvey : [More than a little embarrassed by Smock, bows to Posie] But of course, your highness, most obliged. We would be delighted to stay here at this fine palace for the night.

Smock: I've never slept in a palace before!

Harvey : Ha lad, they're fine places to lay your head, eh! Plumped up pillows, crisp starched sheets with an eiderdown so heavy it could squash you flat, the finest matresses so soft you could sink to the floor in a cloud of comfort and the best of all, a velvet rope that upon pulled, causes flunkeys to flood into your room and attend to your every gastromic desire! [Eyes light up] Mmm, nothing like a supersized plate of golden honeyed locusts and curried brussel sprouts at three in the morning. And again at four. And five. And five twenty five. [Eyes glaze over, lost in happy memories]

Monty : [Politely.] I concur, a night's good rest will work wonders. [Murmurs.] Though it would be the first one we've had in quite some time.

Smock: Oh, wow! [Licks her lips at Harvey’s culinary reminiscence] That sounds like heaven!

Clint : [To Monty] We'll sleep enough when we're dead! I vote we head to the nearest bar and in the interests of science, see exactly how many drinks I need before you start sounding interesting!

Monty : [To Clint, politely.] In that case, Mr. Scar, I shall endeavor to be as incomprehensible as possible whilst you do nothing but listen to me and drink as quickly as you may. After all, the sooner you render yourself unconscious, the sooner we can cease worrying that you'll say or do something to prejudice our stay here. [Nods.]

Clint : [Looks at Monty] Okay, I'm taking bets now that there's not enough alchohol in this whole town to do the job! Any takers?

Austin : Mr. Scar, you make the mistake of believing that any of us are interested.

Alice : [To the party] Maybe we should ask the queen if she knows about Louise Merriweather? She might be able to tell us about the Deck of the Path.

Harvey : [Snaps out of his trace and wipes the drool from around his mouth] By the saints, dear niece, that's good thinking! [Turns to Posie] Excuse me your majesty, but do you know a Louise Merriweather?

Smock: Dennis said she was banished. Is that true?

Posie : No. She was sentenced to life in prison. Solitary confinement.

Smock: [Hopefully] Does that mean she's still here? Can we see her?

Ernie : No.

Austin : [With a smile] Certainly not unless you know a lawyer that you haven't tried to grieveouly offend in the last few hours.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmmm, perhaps we could see her if private Deadpan were to accompany us, eh?

Smock: But... [Looking quite distressed.] I really, really, really need to see her! [Appeals to Ernie and Austin] Please! I'll be good, I will, I promise!

Austin : [Nonchalantly flicks an imaginary piece of dust from his jacket] Then perhaps you would be good enough to sign this Contract of Good Behaviour? [Produces a large, legal looking form with a flourish] You may sign with an 'X' if you wish.

Smock: [Squints at the document, squirming anxiously. Looks a Austin, concerned] What does it say?

Monty : Ah... Mr. Sleaze, is a contract with a minor actually enforceable in that regard?

Harvey : By the saints, private Sleaze, for shame, attempting to take advantage of a young cadets plight! [To Smock] Do not sign anything, lad!

Smock: [Looks between Monty, Austin and Harvey, somewhat confused] But I need to see Louise.

Austin : Shame on you, Colonel, for encouraging the child to use abusive terms to a member of your party. [To Smock] Merely that you will address me properly, to wit, as either Austin or Mr. Sleaze, as I have already repeatedly asked you. [Glances at Monty] The legality or otherwise of the document are immaterial, Mr. Giles, as I am sure that the minor in question will feel morally obliged to treat me with common decency, which is all I ask.

Smock: [Frowns. Opens her hand in askance of a pen. To Austin] Do you promise I can see Louise?

Harvey : [Bows to Posie] My dear her majesty, could you find it in youself to grant an audience between Louise and this child? You can see how much it means to the young lad! [Looks to Peter for some help]

Austin : [To Smock] No. However, I will make proper representation to the queen on your behalf.

Posie : Oh no, I'm afraid not. Louise was a right old bitch, no one's ever going to see her again.

[PETER sits expressionless and says nothing.]

Smock: [Takes Austin's pen.] And I only have to call you Austin?

Clint : Really, what did you do?

Harvey : [Glares at Peter for a moment]

Chastity : [Takes hold of Smock's wrist] Just wait a second, dear, before you sign your life away. Mr. Sleaze does not have the power to grant you access to this woman, the Queen has. She has not shown any willingness to grant us access, special form or not.`

Smock: [Sighs despondently] Okay. [Hands the pen back to Austin.]

Austin : [To Chastity] I already told her that, Sister. Perhaps you might try paying more attention?

[PETER returns HARVEY's glare with a completely neutral look of his own.]

Posie : [To Clint] Don't you dare question me! No one questions the queen!

Alice : Not even Peter?

Posie : No! And that's why I love my Peter-Weter. [Gives Peter a hug, before turning and glaring at Alice] And that was another question, stop it!

Harvey : [Very quietly to the others] Listen troop, we can try to sneak down to the dungeons tonight when everyone is asleep and talk to Louise, what! So let's take find our where our rooms are and meet up in mine, say, oh-two hundred!

Alice : [Nods in agreement] Good idea, but two hundred what?

Harvey : Exactly, dear nice! Oh two hundred, what!

Alice : Huh? [Thinks for a moment] Oh.... two hundred? [Shakes her head] Nah, still makes no sense.

Posie : Ernie, be a doll and take the party to the good suite.

Ernie : Of course, your majesty. Is there anything else?

Posie : [Picks up a mug and throws it at him, hitting him square in the forehead] Hey! I told you not to question me!

Harvey : [To Ernie] Well then, if you could lead the way, sir!

Chastity : [Looking at Harvey unconsciously rubbing his stomach] Well, we could do with a rest and something to eat. We would be honoured, your Majesty.

Harvey : [More than a little embarrassed by Smock, bows to Posie] But of course, your highness, most obliged. We would be delighted to stay here at this fine palace for the night.

Smock: I've never slept in a palace before!

Harvey : Ha lad, they're fine places to lay your head, eh! Plumped up pillows, crisp starched sheets with an eiderdown so heavy it could squash you flat, the finest matresses so soft you could sink to the floor in a cloud of comfort and the best of all, a velvet rope that upon pulled, causes flunkeys to flood into your room and attend to your every gastromic desire! [Eyes light up] Mmm, nothing like a supersized plate of golden honeyed locusts and curried brussel sprouts at three in the morning. And again at four. And five. And five twenty five. [Eyes glaze over, lost in happy memories]

Monty : [Politely.] I concur, a night's good rest will work wonders. [Murmurs.] Though it would be the first one we've had in quite some time.

Smock: Oh, wow! [Licks her lips at Harvey’s culinary reminiscence] That sounds like heaven!

Clint : [To Monty] We'll sleep enough when we're dead! I vote we head to the nearest bar and in the interests of science, see exactly how many drinks I need before you start sounding interesting!

Monty : [To Clint, politely.] In that case, Mr. Scar, I shall endeavor to be as incomprehensible as possible whilst you do nothing but listen to me and drink as quickly as you may. After all, the sooner you render yourself unconscious, the sooner we can cease worrying that you'll say or do something to prejudice our stay here. [Nods.]

Clint : [Looks at Monty] Okay, I'm taking bets now that there's not enough alchohol in this whole town to do the job! Any takers?

Austin : Mr. Scar, you make the mistake of believing that any of us are interested.

Alice : [To the party] Maybe we should ask the queen if she knows about Louise Merriweather? She might be able to tell us about the Deck of the Path.

Harvey : [Snaps out of his trace and wipes the drool from around his mouth] By the saints, dear niece, that's good thinking! [Turns to Posie] Excuse me your majesty, but do you know a Louise Merriweather?

Smock: Dennis said she was banished. Is that true?

Posie : No. She was sentenced to life in prison. Solitary confinement.

Smock: [Hopefully] Does that mean she's still here? Can we see her?

Ernie : No.

Austin : [With a smile] Certainly not unless you know a lawyer that you haven't tried to grieveouly offend in the last few hours.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmmm, perhaps we could see her if private Deadpan were to accompany us, eh?

Smock: But... [Looking quite distressed.] I really, really, really need to see her! [Appeals to Ernie and Austin] Please! I'll be good, I will, I promise!

Austin : [Nonchalantly flicks an imaginary piece of dust from his jacket] Then perhaps you would be good enough to sign this Contract of Good Behaviour? [Produces a large, legal looking form with a flourish] You may sign with an 'X' if you wish.

Smock: [Squints at the document, squirming anxiously. Looks a Austin, concerned] What does it say?

Monty : Ah... Mr. Sleaze, is a contract with a minor actually enforceable in that regard?

Harvey : By the saints, private Sleaze, for shame, attempting to take advantage of a young cadets plight! [To Smock] Do not sign anything, lad!

Smock: [Looks between Monty, Austin and Harvey, somewhat confused] But I need to see Louise.

Austin : Shame on you, Colonel, for encouraging the child to use abusive terms to a member of your party. [To Smock] Merely that you will address me properly, to wit, as either Austin or Mr. Sleaze, as I have already repeatedly asked you. [Glances at Monty] The legality or otherwise of the document are immaterial, Mr. Giles, as I am sure that the minor in question will feel morally obliged to treat me with common decency, which is all I ask.

Smock: [Frowns. Opens her hand in askance of a pen. To Austin] Do you promise I can see Louise?

Harvey : [Bows to Posie] My dear her majesty, could you find it in youself to grant an audience between Louise and this child? You can see how much it means to the young lad! [Looks to Peter for some help]

Austin : [To Smock] No. However, I will make proper representation to the queen on your behalf.

Posie : Oh no, I'm afraid not. Louise was a right old bitch, no one's ever going to see her again.

[PETER sits expressionless and says nothing.]

Smock: [Takes Austin's pen.] And I only have to call you Austin?

Clint : Really, what did you do?

Harvey : [Glares at Peter for a moment]

Chastity : [Takes hold of Smock's wrist] Just wait a second, dear, before you sign your life away. Mr. Sleaze does not have the power to grant you access to this woman, the Queen has. She has not shown any willingness to grant us access, special form or not.`

Smock: [Sighs despondently] Okay. [Hands the pen back to Austin.]

Austin : [To Chastity] I already told her that, Sister. Perhaps you might try paying more attention?

[PETER returns HARVEY's glare with a completely neutral look of his own.]

Posie : [To Clint] Don't you dare question me! No one questions the queen!

Alice : Not even Peter?

Posie : No! And that's why I love my Peter-Weter. [Gives Peter a hug, before turning and glaring at Alice] And that was another question, stop it!

Harvey : [Very quietly to the others] Listen troop, we can try to sneak down to the dungeons tonight when everyone is asleep and talk to Louise, what! So let's take find our where our rooms are and meet up in mine, say, oh-two hundred!

Alice : [Nods in agreement] Good idea, but two hundred what?

Harvey : Exactly, dear nice! Oh two hundred, what!

Alice : Huh? [Thinks for a moment] Oh.... two hundred? [Shakes her head] Nah, still makes no sense.

Posie : Ernie, be a doll and take the party to the good suite.

Ernie : Of course, your majesty. Is there anything else?

Posie : [Picks up a mug and throws it at him, hitting him square in the forehead] Hey! I told you not to question me!

Harvey : [To Ernie] Well then, if you could lead the way, sir!

Monty : [Politely to Posie.] Good evening, ma'am. [Follows Ernie.]

Harvey : Indeed! [Turns to Posie and bows formally] Thank you for your hospitality, your highness!

Austin : Goodnight, your majesty. Your beauty is matched only by your dignity.

Posie : Thank you. [Turns and walks slowly out with Peter, but turns back for a moment] Oh, if you hear lots of banging upstairs, you'll know what it is!

[Exit ALL, PETER and POSIE in one direction and everyone else in another.]

On 28/07/05, Conor Ryan wrote: [Book V, Act II, Scene VIII. The Suite. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY and SMOCK are here, having just entered. The suite is huge and has a number of bedrooms leading off it, as well as plenty of food and drink laid out.]

Alice : Well - [ALICE is interrupted by a knock on the door, which she answers. DENNIS is standing outside.]

Dennis : [Speaking very slowly] Hello. I'd like to talk to you about grain.

Alice : Uh, okay.

Dennis : First of all, some definitions. Absorption is the amount of water, expressed as percent based on flour, that is required to produce a proper dough; absorption determined with farinograph is called farinograph absorption, and that used for baking is called baking absorption. [While DENNIS is talking, and while the party struggle to stay awake, ERNIE creeps into the room in a classical slow creeping move, slipping unnoticed past ALICE, but in full view of the party, before standing in a corner with a lampshade on his head.]

Dennis : Related to that, albumin is the class of proteins that can be dissolved in - [Bang. ALICE slams the door in his face.]

Alice : [To the party] What on earth was that all about?

All : Grain!

Clint : Hey, it's sort of dark in here! Alice, you're closest to the lamp, mind turning it on? I think the switch is about half ways down the lamp stand!

Smock: [Peering at Ernie curiously.] What'cha doing?

Alice : Sure, no problem. [Feels around for a moment, but no light comes] Hm. I'm pretty sure it's turned on.

Austin : Here's the switch. [Flicks a switch on the wall]

Ernie : Aaargh! [Steps out from beneath the lampshade, hair standing on end and smoke coming out of him]

Harvey : [Opens the door and looks at Ernie] Now sir, if you'd be so good as to leave us alone...

Monty : Ah, good evening, sir. By your bright expression, I see that you simply couldn't resist attending such an illuminating event.

Smock: [Screws up her nose at the smell of burning] I don't reckon he's so bright for plugging himself into a wall.

Ernie : [Walking out slowly, giving the occasional sizzle] You're all a bunch bastards, worthless bastards! You're all scum, I hate you all. I want to cut off your heads and feed your brains to the chickens, and then put the chickens into your skulls and reattach your heads and watch and laugh when I see that no one notices the difference, bastards! [Turns to Alice] Except you, you're really nice. And uh, my room is on the third floor, it's really cool. I've even got a fridge in there.

[Exit ERNIE.]

Alice : He seemed nice.

Chastity : By the sounds of it he may also be related to Mr. Snider! A bit strange though. [picks up a plate and starts to pile on some snakes feet]

Harvey : Well, he certainly seemed a tad too excitable for this town, troop!

Clint : [Begins searching the room for spy holes in the walls or ceiling]

Alice : [Joining Chastity at the table] It's a pity that idiot Peter wouldn't help us. [Takes a few deep fried dodo wings]

Austin : Peter is not an idiot, he is a genius. I'm quite sure that he is already helping us, even if we're not aware of how.

Harvey : I agree with you dear niece, I can't believe that he just sat there when young Smock was trying so desperately to see Louise! He has the queen in the palm of his hand and I'm quite sure that all he had to do was intervene in our behalf and there wouldn't have been a problem!

Smock : No! Peter is the greatest! If he could have asked her, he would have.

Chastity : I'm sure he had his reasons. He has had the opportunity observe the queen longer than just our brief meeting. [Scoops up some caviar with a tandooried Platypus beak and noisily crunches it]

Alice : [Nibbling on some chicken tails] So what do we do now?

Monty : [Studiously avoiding the repast for the moment.] Ahem. Hope that the food isn't toxic like the last time a similar situation occurred?

Harvey : [Munching happily on his sprouts] Well troop, I think we should get some sleep as soon as your feast is concluded and then go looking for the dungeons later on.

Clint : [Pours some whiskey and lights a cigar] I'll take a quick look and see if there are guards posted outside. [Opens the door a crack and looks out]

Alice : [Gulping down a mouthful of food] Me too!

[The door is locked.]

Clint : [Turns to the others] Hey, they've locked us in here! [To Austin] Do you think you could pick this lock?

Harvey : [Happily] Oh troop, locked in a room just jammed packed with every delicacy known to mankind, what joy! Let's do nothing about the lock for the time being, incase they're outside and might hear, best do it later tonight.

Austin : I shall take a look. [Studies the lock, making enough humming noises to show that he's working] Yes, I see. The lock in and of itself provides no problem, however, the guards outside present more of an issue.

Harvey : Well troop, from standing many a guard duty back in my various campaigns, I can tell you that the human body is at it's weakest and most tired between two and four thirty in the morning, as the sugar level is rock bottom. That is the time to attempt to sneak passed them, eh!

Smock: [With a mouthful of food] Why don' we jus' wack 'em?

Alice : That depends on whether that's a sexual thing or a violence thing.

Austin : Or possibly a combination of both.

Clint : [Smiles] Nice thinking, kid!

Harvey : No, if we're quiet enough there should be no need to whack them, as you say, cadet! However, [scratches at a sideburn] I wonder if we could, erm, help them sleep, perhaps by offering them a few bottles of whiskey to help them through their watch.

Smock: [Wipes her mouth on the back of a sleeve] Have we got any whiskey? And how are we gonna hand it out a locked door?

Harvey : Invite them in to join the feast first, of course, cadet! [Looks around] Surely there is some alchohol to go with this sumptuous banquet?

Chastity : Lets hope so, otherwise I shudder to think what Clint has got in his glass at the moment!

Alice : [Checking out the drinks trolley] Yep, looks like there's plenty. [Takes a taste of one] Brandy. [Takes another] Whiskey. [Takes another] Vodka. [Takes another] Schnapps. [Takes another] Oh. I don't feel so well.

Clint : As long as it's not milk, Chastity, I really don't care too much!

Smock: [Knocks on the door and calls out to the guards] Excuse me, excuse me mister guards. Are you hungry? Because we've got an awful lot of food here, and Skinny can't eat no fat and we thought you might like his share.

Harvey : Now cadet, no more of that "skinny" business, eh! It's disrespectful and unbecoming in a cadet of this troop! Desist I say, desist!

Smock: [To Harvey] Oh, yes sir! [To guards] I mean [emphasis] Austin can't eat no fat.

Austin : [Clicks his heels together and gives Harvey a nod] Thank you, Colonel. Those papers I have been preparing suggesting the removal of the child from our group will be put on hold.

[There is no answer from the guards.]

Smock: [Frowns at the door.] Doesn't look like they're hungry. [To Alice] Maybe you should try because Ernie liked you. Or we could climb out the windows! [Runs over to the windows, but looks out to see that the room is five storeys up] Or maybe not. Last from Ellen #29

Chastity : I just think some rest is in order. [Looks round] I suppose we could look for hidden passageways first - old palaces always seem to have them.

Alice : Good idea, Chas! All we need to do is lean around nonchalantly, one of us is bound to move a candlestick or book or something that'll open up the fireplace. [Puts on her nonchalant look and leans back against the mantelpiece, knocking over an expensive looking vase, which falls to the ground and smashes to pieces] Uh, well, we mightn't neccessarily get it on the first go, of course.

[A thorough search of the room doesn't reveal any secret passages.]

Harvey : By the saints, troop! It looks as though the place is secured - I think we need to follow the good Sister's suggestion.

Smock: [Bounds off to a bedroom and begins exploring. Opens every dresser drawer, opens and shuts the curtains several times, feels all the quality linen.] This is grand! [Grins, climbs up on to the bed and begins bouncing on it.]

Alice : [Tests out another bed by lying on it] Well, this one is really uncomfortable. I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep at [snore]

Chastity : Well, good night everyone. [To Clint] And no overindulgence. We need to be sharp on rising. [Goes into a room and closes the door]

[Everyone drifts off to their rooms and are soon asleep. They are woken early the next morning by someone knocking very slowly on the door, at a rate of about one knock every five seconds.]

Clint : [Asleep under a pile of empty beer cans and whiskey bottles] What the hell is that?

Smock: [Bounds out of her room, clothed, but wrapped in a bedsheet, to answer the door. To door] Hello, hello, good morning! Who is it?

Dennis : [Who's unmistakable drone comes from the other side] Dennis.

Alice : [Staggers out of her bedroom, cheeseratte hanging from her mouth and with a severe case of bed hair] What's going on?

Monty : [Dresses properly before emerging.] [Calls out to the others through his closed door whilst doing so.] Ahem. Is it a routine wake-up call or are we under imminent threat as usual?

Smock: [To Monty and Alice] Dennis is here! [Goes to open the door. To Dennis, cheerily] What's going on, Dennis?

Dennis : The queen is very, very sad.

Alice : What happened? Peter sleep with her?

[Enter AUSTIN, looking immaculately groomed in a Smelvin Jyne suit.]

Austin : Behave yourself, Alice. [To Dennis] Did something happen to Peter?

Dennis : [Taking an age to speak] Yes.

Chastity : [Emerging from her room fully clothed in her habit] What's happened?

Dennis : Peter has disappeared. Almost certainly abducted against his will.

Smock: Oh no, oh no, oh no! [To party] We have to go save him!

Monty : [Emerges, now fully dressed.] I see. And on what do you base that conclusion?

Dennis : After becoming, well, intimate with the Queen, telling her that he loved her and that they'd spend all of today together, he disappeared, leaving her bedroom before she woke. What else could it mean?

Smock: How come the guards didn't see anything? How come you weren't protecting Peter?!

Monty : Ahem. Either because they were too busy ensuring that we stayed put, or they were the ones doing the kidnapping. At least, that's the standard proceedure in these sorts of things. Then again, matters are rarely standard where this group is involved.

Smock: [Gasps at Monty's accusation. To Dennis] Is that true? Did you kidnap Peter? I bet you did. Because you were jealous, because he is the best and the Queen payed all her attention to him, and were you spying on them, or how come you knew all about what they did last night?

Clint : [Pulling himself up off the floor] Heh, I bet Peter had his own protection.

Dennis : [To Monty] If you believe that's true then you are a fool. [To Smock] No, I did not. Everyone who was on the floor beneath them know what they did last night.

[Time passes and no one says anything for a moment.]

Dennis : They had sex! Wild, crazy, headboard against the wall, spring crushing, bed breaking, moan inducing sex! [Calms himself] I believe.

Smock: [Blushes a light shade of pink] Oh. Um. [Glances about before trying to change the subject] Did you want us to help find Peter then?

Monty : Ahem. Quite a great deal of excitement going on here for what's supposed to be the hub of quietude in these parts.

Dennis : [Back to the old monotone] Yes.

Austin : [Chuckles to himself] I think, Mr. Giles, that you'll find that Peter spreads a great deal of excitement where ever he goes. [Smiles] What a guy!

Harvey : Hmm, so Peter has flown the coop, eh! Perhaps he was indeed kidnapped! [To Dennis] So, do you think the queen would like our help in tracking those rogues who kidnapped Peter?

Dennis : She needs help, she is acting very strangely. [Long pause] Very, very strangely.

Harvey : [To the party] Perhaps this is our chance to see Louise, you know, to question her to find out if she knows anything about Peters disappearance! [To Dennis] Very, very strangely in what way, fellow?

Dennis : I think it would be better if I show you.

[Everyone stands around for a few moments.]

Alice : So, uh, she's just standing there sullenly, and has a big beer gut?

Dennis : [Annoyed] No, I meant I'll bring you to her.

Clint : Okay, well go on then!

Harvey : It's going to be tough finding out what happened when we can't even ask the queen a question, troop! Boy, a really

Dennis :Okay, but prepare yourself for the worst, none of us have ever seen her like this.

Alice : Wow! How bad can it be?

Dennis : [Dramatically] She's about to sing a song.

[The party enter the ballroom from the previous night, and see that there is now a band and dancers here.]

Austin : [Gives a polite bow] We came as soon as we heard, your majesty.

[POSIE doesn't answer, and the band start playing very loudly, while the dancers start a really lame set of steps that mainly involves rolling their hands over each other and then alternately pointing each one as they step from side to side.]

Alice : [Loudly to be heard over the music] Is there anything we can do?

[Still the music carries on, with POSIE doing a similarly bad dance in front of her back up, staring at the party all the while in a rather unnerving fashion. Eventually, she starts singing.]

Posie : Peter said he loved me, never would go Alice, Chastity and Smock : Oh oh, oh oh.

Posie : Now I find I'm sitting here on my own Alice, Chastity and Smock : Oh oh, oh oh.

Posie : Was it something I said or done That made him pack the fun up and run? Could it be his mother he's found? It's making an unhappy throne.

[Steps up very, very close to AUSTIN, her arms around his neck and slowly moving against him.]

Posie : Austin can you tell me where the fun has gone? He's a non-diseased boy. I woke up one morning and the fun was gone. Oh my non-diseased boy, Ooh I miss my fun loving boy.

[POSIE joins the dancers for a few moments, doing the same kind of lame moves.]

Posie : Peter made me laugh loud every day. Alice, Chastity and Smock : Oh oh, oh oh.

Posie : Don't know what to tell you what can I say? Alice, Chastity and Smock : Oh oh, oh oh.

Posie : If only he would write me or call, A word of explanation that's all. It would stop me killing them all, It's making an unhappy throne.

[The audience all give a shiver at this line, as POSIE goes up to CLINT, taking his two hands in hers.]

Posie : Stinky can you tell me where the fun has gone? He's a non-diseased boy. I woke up one morning and the fun was gone. Oh my non-diseased boy, Ooh I miss my fun loving boy.

[POSIE dances in front of the other dancers while humming.]

Posie : Was it something I said or done? That made him pack the fun up and run. Could it be his mother he's found? He's making an unhappy throne.

[POSIE sits on HARVEY's lap, her chest jutting into him as she sings, and her lips inches away from his.]

Posie : Harvey can you tell me where my love has gone? He's a non-diseased boy. I woke up one morning and the fun was gone, Oh my fun loving boy.

[POSIE gets up, before taking MONTY's hand and spinning back into him, looking back at him as she sings.]

Posie : Monty can you tell me where my love has gone? He's a fun loving boy. I woke up one morning and my love was gone, Ooh my fun loving boy.

[Everyone in the audience breaks into thunderous applause, but POSIE just sits down, with a sour look on her face.]

Chastity : [To Dennis] This isn't normal for the queen, then.

Dennis : [Shakes his head slowly] No. She's less of the perky tunestress and more of the sulky moaner type.

Smock: [Applauding loudly] Wow! You're great, your majesty.

Posie : [With a dismissive wave of her hand] Yes, I know. [To the party in general] I fear that Peter has ventured after the monster.

Chastity : [Looking very concerned] What monster, your Majesty? Will he be in peril?

Posie : [Glares at Chastity] I told you! Do not question me!

Dennis : There is a huge monster beneath the palace. Lots of teeth and tentacles. And yes, he will be in danger.

Chastity : [Makes to ask the Queen, but stops and asks Dennis] Has anyone been sent down after Peter?

Dennis : Not yet, but it would take someone very brave, because it is so dangerous.

Chastity : Why would he go down there?

Dennis : [Shrugs and mumbles] Idunno.

Ernie : [Who was part of the audience] Well, when someone yesterday asked him if he would consider slaying the monster, he said he would, using a q-tip. Last from Conor #66

Chastity : Well I hope he hasn't seen fit to carryout this dare. [To the group] I looks like we may have to go and rescue Peter [pauses, and with mock irritation] again!

Harvey : Certainly we will, dear sister, that is, [coughs] as long as we may talk to Louise upon our return. [POSIE gives HARVEY a look, but either didn't hear him or chooses not to react.]

Austin : [Put on sigh to Chastity] I know! He's such awful trouble.

Smock: [Smiles at Harvey] It was worth a try. [Suddenly] How did youse know Peter? Didn't you say something about a base? Does that mean he's a hero like you?

Austin : [With genuine admiration] There are no heroes like Peter.

Smock: Yeah. [Smiles wistfully] But since he's just the greatest, do you really think he needs saving? I reckon he's probably slaying that beast down there right now with his razor sharp wit!

Monty : [Murmurs.] Some would undoubtedly say the same about this group. [Clearly.] Ahem. It is quite apparent that our responsibility is to go and retrieve Peter from this predicament, though it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he's charmed the beast quite thoroughly by now. And if not... Ahem. Well, his record does include a championship in Q-Tip fencing, so he may not fare so badly after all.

Dennis : Not this monster. It cannot be reasoned with, even by someone as apparently charismatic as Peter. Last from Conor #73

Chastity : [To Dennis] There's no apparently there with regards to Peter. [to the party] We should away. Peter is in peril. [To Smock] The Queen isn't going to allow us to see this Louise girl, and it doesn't seem like she's going anywhere soon.

Smock: Yes, let's go help Peter! [Nudges Dennis insistently] Show us where he went!

Dennis : I think the queen's bedroom is an inappropriate place for you to go to.

Harvey : Hah, lad, I like your enthusiasm! Let us be away and rescue Peter from his cotton budded antics!

Chastity : I think you'll maybe find he did the opposite of [emphasis] "went" there! Take to the same dungeons as Peter, please.

Smock: [To Dennis] Do you mean the monster lives in the Queen's bedroom. [Glances at the queen]

Austin : [Apparently genuinely impressed at Chastity's smuttiness] Only last night, I'm sure. [Smirks] [Exit ALL, heading downstairs.]

[Book V, Act II, Scene IX. The Entrance to the Dungeons. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, MONTY, SMOCK, POSIE, DENNIS, ERNIE and a medium sized crowd are here, outside a huge, imposing door.]

Alice : So, uh, how scary is this monster?

Ernie : No one who has ever entered the dungeon has ever returned alive.

Austin : Then how do you know it's a monster?

Ernie : [Momentarily lost for words] Uh, it's a [emphasis] very scary monster.

Smock: Well, quick - let's go! [Tries to open the huge door, but looks to be having some trouble]

Posie : Behold! The brave adventurers are on their way! [SMOCK fails to get the door open.]

Ernie : [Sigh] Let me unlock it first.

[ERNIE turns key in the door, but SMOCK still can't open it.]

Dennis : You've got to give the key a jiggle. [ERNIE gives the key a jiggle and steps back, but SMOCK still can't open it.]

Dennis : Kind of lean into it when you turn it. [ERNIE tries that, and there's an audible click.]

Posie : About time! [SMOCK opens the door, revealing a pitch black corridor.]

Chastity : Has anyone a torch we can borrow?

Monty : [To Dennis.] There are not, I take it, any maps of this place? [Indicates the dungeon corridor ahead.]

Monty : Two would be preferable. One torch has a bad habit of blowing out or otherwise being extinguished at the worst possible moment.

[A number of torches are handed out.]

Dennis : [Gravely] Good luck. If you hear a strange noise after you enter, that will be us welding the door shut. No need to worry.

Smock: [Eyes glittering] Oh, wow! A real adventure! [Holds her torch high] We're gonna smash that monster into little bits! [Skips off into the dark] .

Alice : [Also taking a torch, and drawing her sword] Uh, sure we will.

[The party enter the tunnel, and the door slams shut behind them. This is a passageway that leads off into the darkness, and there are faint sounds of someone singing a beautiful opera type song from further up.]

Alice : [To the party] The monster?

Smock: Maybe it will sing us to death. Or maybe Peter has spread his infinite charm even in this dank dungeon!

Monty : [Sighs.] We should have known. The great monster of the labyrinth is a prima donna. I think that I would have preferred a raging minotaur.

Smock: [To Monty, cheerily] Maybe you can counter its mighty song of pain and suffering with your monotonous drone of tedium and misery.

Chastity : [To Smock] Please, dear, don't speak to your elders in such a manner. Have a bit more respect.

Smock: [To Chastity] But isn't respect something you have to earn?

Chastity : Not when I comes to ones elders. It can only be lost.

Smock: So just cuz he's old, I have to coddle his feelings? That's not very fair. [Pouts] And it's not like I'm saying slander or anything. I'm only poking fun. But if you can't handle that, then I reckon you do lose my respect anyhow, even if you're 600. [Changes mood abruptly, now cheery again] But since you're saving the world, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. [To Monty] Sorry if I offended you, mister, but it ain't like you're the most exciting person.

Chastity : [Shakes her head sadly and sighs. To Harvey] The youth of today.

Monty : Ahem. Yes, well, given the level of it that goes on around me, I hardly need to add further excitement to the world.

Smock: [To Monty] I reckon you just need to smile more! Come on, you can do it! [Beams enthusiastically at Monty] Just curl your lips up at the sides, it's easy!

Monty : [Indulgently.] Oh, very well, since you asked so politely. [Smiles, and amazingly enough, actually looks debonair and approachable whilst doing so.]

Smock: Oh, wow! See! You look so handsome when you smile! [Hugs Monty] Now let's go find out who's singing!

Alice : [Takes a step back from Monty] Yikes!

Harvey : [Shakes his head at Chastity's words] I just don't know, Sister. [Wags a finger at Smock] Careful, there, Cadet, for if you go out of your way to annoy troop members, you'd better be prepared to deal with an annoyed troop, and I'm sure none of us want that, what!

[The party advance, and the singing gets louder, until the singer is clearly just around the corner.]

Alice : What kind of a monster would sing so nicely?

Monty : As I said, a prima donna. That, or some other kind of horrible beast that uses music to lure the unwary. Last from Alfred #21.

Chastity : I could be Peter, After all music is said to calm the savage beast. It wouldn't surprise me if we had to add a beautiful singing voice to his other list of talents. [takes a cautious peep round the corner]

Smock: Maybe it just likes background music to kill by.

Alice : Well, it's good, but it's no "Do The Crucifixion".

[CHASTITY pops her head around the corner, followed by each party member in turn, until all seven heads are peering around. The singing, of course, is coming from PETER, who suddenly becomes aware of the party, and looks at them distastefully.]

Peter : Ah, the rescuers.

Chastity : [To Peter] Why are you singing, Peter? [Glances round for a monster]

Peter : Because I couldn't bring my piano with me.

[Everyone looks around uneasily, but there is no sign of any monster.]

Alice : And, uh, the monster?

Peter : I don't suppose it has a piano either.

Harvey : Good grief, private Deadpan, did you despatch that creature with a cotton bud?

Peter : No.

Clint : Then where's the creature?

Harvey : Indeed private Scar, where is this demonic beastie you vowed to fight and kill?

[PETER shrugs and says nothing.]

Monty : [Seeing this, looks behind and then above the party.]

[Everyone does the same, and there appears to be no sign of the monster.]

Alice : So, uh, does the monster live nearby?

Peter : Yes, you're standing in his kitchen at the moment.

Alice : Hm. [To the party] Does that mean that there is no monster? At least, not near here?

Clint : [Looks around, sword drawn] I'm guessing that there is no monster! I mean, what type of creature has it's own kitchen?

Harvey : Hmm, indeed so, private! [To Peter] Are you the monster, private Deadpan?

Alice : [To Clint] A chef?

Peter : [Sighs and rolls his eyes] No.

Monty : Ahem. Sir, we have been led to understand that you and the queen got along rather well last night, and as of this morning you had disappeared in pursuit of a promise to slay the local monster with nothing more than a Q-Tip. Despite your recognized prowess with such implements, I must inquire as to whether the story which we've been told is, in fact, accurate, or whether this is an elaborate plot to trap us all down here. I wouldn't be surprised, of course, but it's best to confirm such theories before acting upon them.

Peter : It is not.

[A brief spell of time passes.]

Alice : [To the party] Let's kill him and say that the monster did it.

Monty : [To Alice.] That would be something of an overreaction. [To Peter.] Ahem. When you say it's not, do you mean that the story is not true or that the idea of the story being a diversion is not true?

Peter : [Rolls his eyes and gives an exasperated sigh] Both. [Steps up] While I'd simply love to stay here with you, I need to return so I can enjoy the company of that delightful lady again. [Starts walking back the way the party came]

Alice : [Looks back after Peter for a moment, and then at the party, before looking at him once more and finally back at the party again] Huh?

Clint: [To Alice] Oh, come on, Bimbo! You know--[helpfully demonstrates a violent pelvic thrust a few times].

Alice : [Gives Clint a look of faint disgust] He's going to rub his beer belly against her?

Chastity : [Calling after Peter] But why did you come down here, Peter?

Monty : [Follows after Peter.] Come along then, let's escort him back to the outside.

[PETER doesn't answer, and just looks at the party with a mixture of sympathy and disgust, before knocking on the door to the dungeons.]

Alice : What the hell? What on earth is going on here?

Austin : [Smiles to himself] Ah. I see. Well played, Peter. Very well played.

Smock: Well that was easy! [Trots after Peter] Peter solved it all before it even began! You're the best, Peter!

Chastity : [To Alice] I think that Peter has just given us the opportunity to see Louise.

[A voice calls from the other side of the door.]

Voice : Who's there?

Peter : It's the monster.

Voice : Uh, well, I, uh, don't think we should let you in.

Peter : [Exasperated sigh] It's Peter. I've just been saved by the heroic party.

Voice : Wow! The queen will be delighted!

Austin : [Beaming in admiration at Peter] Not to mention grateful!

Austin : [Leaning across Alice to speak to Chastity] The man is a genius.

[The door is quickly opened, and POSIE leaps onto PETER, holding him tight.]

Posie : Oh Peter! I missed you so much!

Peter : [Deadpan] My life was a harrowing void without you.

Alice : Really? I thought he was more like that computer, Deep Throat, except with less of a personality.

Chastity : [Smiling and nodding to Austin] The man thinks so far ahead that he's like Gary Karpalot, the chess player, but better.

Smock: [Excitedly] Sing another song!

Peter : [Still with Posie literally hanging onto him] I am too overwhelmed by the beauty of the queen.

Posie : [Looks over Peter's shoulder] Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!

Smock: [Struggling to phrase her words as a non-question] Um, your highness, it would be grand if, maybe, your supreme royalty might grant us a humble request for the return of your beloved, cuz we would like to see Louise, and it would be mighty good of you if you could let us just have a chat.

Posie : That sounds fair. What do you think, Peter?

Peter : That they're a bunch of fakes who've tricked you into believing that they saved me.

Posie : [Roars with laughter] What a joker! [To Ernie and Dennis] Take to see Louise.

Smock: Really? Oops - I mean, that's so awesomely nice of you, your majesty!

Chastity : [Grins at Austin] What a guy!

Posie : That sounded like a question!

[Everyone goes silent for a moment.]

Posie : Well, go on then!

[ERNIE opens a nearby door for the party.]

Ernie : After [pause] you.

Austin : [Shakes his head smiling as he walks through] What a guy.

[DENNIS goes through with the party, followed by ERNIE.]

Ernie : Be careful, this is where we hold our most dangerous criminals. Make sure you walk on the left.

[Someone reaches out of one of the cells and grabs DENNIS, who gives a cry of surprise.]

Ernie : I mean the right!

[The party continue down about five doors, and come to a cell which ERNIE unlocks.]

Ernie : Louise is in there.

Chastity : [To Smock] This had better be worth all this trouble. [Looks in the door]

[Inside the cell is LOUISE MERRIWEATHER, a hunched up old woman. She peers at CHASTITY for a moment.]

Louise : Oh, I'm worth it, Chastity.

Harvey : [To Alice, quietly] By the saints, dear niece, that Peter certainly is a strange one, and no question about it! I'm not sure if I'd rather throtle him or thank him! [To Louise] Good day, my dear woman! So, you know the dear sister Chastity, eh!

Harvey : [Raises an eyebrow] You know all of us, madam, and how, pray tell? Have you been listening to private Deadpans stories, perhaps?

Louise : I know all of you, Harvey, except the little one.

Alice : I'm Alice.

Louise : Yes, thank you.

Chastity : Good question, Colonel. [Looks at Smock] I presumed you knew this woman.

Louise : No, Harvey, I just keep my ear to the ground. I don't think myself and Smock have ever met.

Harvey : I see, I see, madam! Tell me this, why have they locked you away in this place?

Harvey : Well that would certainly fit the bill, dear niece! [To Louise] Just because you foretold something, the queen had you locked in here? Seems a bit of an over reaction, eh?

Clint : I suppose that depends if she [points to Louise] is the dark and dangerous thing!

Louise : Because I see all, and I saw something dark and dangerous in the queen's future.

Alice : [To the party] Wow, she foretold that Peter would be here?

Austin : Nonsense. That couldn't possibly apply to Peter.

Louise : [Shrugs at Harvey] What can I say? She's a bit of a crazy bitch.

[Everyone is momentarily distracted by some screaming from DENNIS, who's still being held onto by the prisoner a few cells back.]

Dennis : Aargh! Help me, please!

Alice : [Gives a tut of annoyance in Dennis' direction, before glancing back at Smock] So, uh, what happens now?

Smock : I don't know, I was told by Alban to contact her if anything happened to him.

[Time passes.]

Alice : And did it?

Smock : [Nods] Yes.

Harvey : By the saints, it's like drawing teeth, trying to get information here! [To Smock] And did Alban say why you should contact this woman? And what happened to Alban?

Smock : Hey! I've told you all I know! He taught a bunch of us in the forest, including Surly Cue, and then he was killed. Why don't you ask the old lady? She's the one who knows everything!

Monty : I'm sorry to interrupt, but we'd really better do something about this situation. [Indicates Dennis.] Otherwise the screaming will cut in at an inconvenient moment and obscure whatever vital information was being conveyed, likely causing a disastrous misunderstanding later. [Goes to assist Dennis.]

[Just as MONTY approaches, DENNIS is thrown free, looking bruised and scratched, but badly hurt.]

Dennis : [Gets up and dusts himself down, before looking gravely at Monty] Thank you. I am fine. [Pause] Your concern touches me. [Reaches out and gives Monty a big hug, holding him tight, with a blissful look on his face that the others can see, speaking in an uncharacteristically enthusiastic manner] You're the best friend I've ever had! Best friends forever!

Clint: [To Monty and Dennis] You two want some time alone? [Nudges Alice with a smirk, explaining] So they can do it, you know? 'Cause they're gay.

Chastity : Trust you, Mr. Scar, to ruin an otherwise special moment.

Alice : [Nods] Ah, I see. I guess you people can all spot each other, eh, Stinky?

[DENNIS lets go of MONTY and turns to CLINT.]

Dennis : [Back to his calm and boring tone] You have clearly never experienced the depth of connection that can exist platonically between two sraight men. I pity you.

Monty : [To Dennis.] You're welcome, sir. Ahem. Perhaps we should move away from that cell before anything else untoward happens?

Clint: [To Dennis] Don't waste your breath, bub. My door don't swing that way.

Chastity : [To Louise] Are you able to tell what this dark and dangerous thing is that is going threaten the Queen. We have had dealings with a particularly dangerous individual, and wonder if it may be him. A certain Jerome Trindle, to be exact.

Louise : [Looks at Chastity] It is not a person, it is a scandal.

Monty : Are you referring to her recent bout of ebullient behavior, her affair with Mr. Deadpan, both together, or some other matter? Ahem. And if the answer is yes, please specify which.

Clint: [To Louise, confused] What the hell are you talking about?

Louise : Don't get cheeky with me, you're not too old to put across my knee!

Monty : [Blanches.] Ma'am, might I advise against such statements. In the case of Mr. Scar, they may give him uncouth ideas.

Smock: [To Louise] Alban died and he told me to come see you if something bad happened to him, but he didn't say what I was s'posed to do once I found you... Do you know?

Clint: [Looks at Louise appraisingly and says] Maybe if you were fifty years younger. [To Alice with a shrug] Guess if I wore a blindfold, it wouldn't matter, though, eh? Got any kinky crap in your knapsack, Bimbo?

Harvey : By the saints, Private Scar! Behave yourself! What a ridiculous question to ask my niece!

Alice : [Who's already got her backpack off, but looks up] Uh, yeah! What are you talking about, Stinky?

Louise : [To Smock] He probably hoped that I would continue your training, but alas, I am old and weak now. However, I have The Sight, and I can tell something of the future that awaits you, so that you may be better prepared.

Clint: [To Louise] Better do it quick. You don't need The Sight to see you're future's gonna be up pretty quick, crone. [Gives Louise a sympathetic arm punch]

Smock: [To Clint] Hey! Don't you gotta respect your elders! [Smirks at Chastity. To Louise] Um. Okay, that sounds great! Do you have a crystal ball or something? Or do you have to cast a spell with a lock of my hair? Is it flashy and exciting?

Louise : [Nods at Clint] Yes, you're right, and when I cast a curse against someone, it takes even more time off my life. It's usually worth it, though. [To Smock] Sure, I'll take a lock of your hair. I also need the Deck of the Path, though.

Smock: [To party, hopefully] Don't you have one of those from the poo game?

Austin : Indeed we do. [Takes out the deck and addresses Louise] Is this what you require?

Louise : Yes. [Looks around the party] Who's up first?

Smock: Me! Me!

Clint: [Glares at Ellen. To Louise] I'll go after the pipsqueak.

Louise : The Pipsqueak it is, then. [Takes the deck and does some extravagent shuffling, before laying them out on a table in front of her.]

Louise : Now, let me see. 1. Current situation: King of Wands You creative, charismatic and bold, absolutely full of confidence. 2. Immediate future influence: Two of Cups You will make a connection with someone or a group of people, and will feel part of a group. 3. Recent past influence: King of Cups(R) You have had dealings with a violent and unscrupulous man, who quite possibly lied to you. 4. Distant past influence: The Emperor There was an authority figure in your life who was a father figure and who provided structure and order for you. 5. Goal: The Moon You are very much open to fantasy and the realm of the imagination, and wish to harness this. 6. Future: 8 of swords You will go through a period of confusion and powerlessness which will frustrate you. 7. Querent: 5 of pentacles Despite how you behave, you are unhappy deep down and have feelings of rejection. 8. Party: 9 of wands The party feel that you are somewhat defensive, possibly even aggressively so, and haven't shown them your true self. However, they believe that you are very persistent, and that you are a strong person. 9. Internal situation: Judgement You will soon have a day of reckoning, and will see your true calling. 10. Outcome: King of Pentacles You will grow up very fast, and will become a lot more reliable and steady in the process.

Louise : [Gives a smile at Smock] Looks like you have a tough time ahead of you, pipsqueak, but that you'll come out the better for it.

Smock: [Frowns at the card layout] These funny cards tell you all that? How come that one's upsidedown? [Points at King of Cups] And you didn't really tell me much about my future. All you said is that I'm going to be confused and frustrated and I'll grow up one day, and that's not exactly helpful.

Clint: [Impatiently, to Louise] Come on, crone! It's my turn!

Louise : Here's another piece of advice. [Leans forward and gives Smock a hard clip around the ear] Don't get pissy with people who are trying to help you.

Smock : Ow!

Harvey : [Nods sagely at the advice] Sounds like she knows what she's talking about, cadet!

Alice : [Leans over and gives Clint a clip on around the ear] Don't get pissy with people who are trying to help you!

Harvey : A scandal, you mentioned earlier, dear woman. I say, can you tell us more about it?

Louise : I fear not, Harvey. All I know is that it will bring infamy to the Queen, and be the start of an even darker time for Anaesthesia.

Smock: Aw, geeze. Isn't it bad enough already?

Louise : Yes it is. That's why it [slowly] would be a bad thing.

Smock: Humph. [Folds her arms sulkily]

Monty : Yes. Well, as Mr. Scar has volunteered for the second reading, let us proceed with it.

Louise : No, I think Mr. Scar could do with learning some patience. Who will I do next?

Dennis : I think you should do Monty, as he's ever so nice. Look, I made a picture. [Holds up some paper with bits of macaroni glued onto it, in shape of two men] See? It's me and Monty!

Louise : Monty it is, then.

Louise : 1 Current situation: Queen of Swords You are honest, astute, forthright and witty.

2 Immediate future influence : Sun (R) You are part of a group that will struggle together, possibly caused by arrogance or hypersensitivity on your part.

3 Recent past influence: World (R) Frustration, possibly caused by your own intransigence.

4 Distant past influence: Devil (R) This is a very evil card, particularly reversed, and suggests that you part of some abuse of authority, that you were very greedy or possibly in bondage to person, possibly through emotional blackmail.

5 Goal: 6 of Cups Ultimate goal is probably to have a family with several children, live a life where there is more good will.

6 Future: Page of Wands (R) You will be part of a betrayal, either the victim or the one who causes it, and the other person will be someone who you trust very much.

7 Querent: Page of Cups (R) You have much knowledge, but it is not yet wisdom, because you have not yet learned to share it. This card can also represent a deception being uncovered.

8 Party: King of Pentacles All your party members trust you, and look upon you as being completely reliable and steady, but also enterprising.

9 Internal situation: Page of Swords You are an unhappy person, filled either with self doubt or guilt.

10 Outcome: Two of Cups When you have worked through the trials described above, you will meet someone that you have a wonderful connection with, someone who will completely understand you.

Louise : [Gives Monty a smile] You really are your own worst enemy, aren't you Monty? [Points at the Two of Cups] This is what waits for you if you can overcome your problems, though.

Chastity : Well I can hardly believe that Mr. Giles would betray someone. [Puts a re-assuring hand on his shoulder] Not that I 'm saying that you're a victim, of course.

Monty : [Raises eyebrows.] Curious. Would the Pages of Wands and Cups together suggest that I am being betrayed but have yet to take note of who, how, and why?

Clint: [Looking over the spread and points at The Devil] Some kinda bondage to another person?! Maybe I shoulda asked you for a blindfold and not the bimbo!

Monty : [Sighs.] [Annoyedly to Clint.] Mr. Scar, please lift your mind out of the gutter for a few brief moments as we contemplate these matters. [To Chastity.] Thank you, Sister, for your vote of confidence. [Thoughtfully.] An imminent betrayal that I don't see coming, by someone important to me... I really can't imagine who or what, but then that's the nub of the problem, isn't it? Perhaps one of the other readings will shed more light on the subject.

Louise : There are many kinds of bondage, Clint. For example, you are a slave to your own brutish ways. [Gives him a smile] Ready for your reading?

Clint: [Reaches down the front of his pants and scratches around for a while before replying] Hell yeah, crone! Let's hear it!

Louise : Wise words, Monty. The cards don't tell you exactly what will happen, but can help you be vigilant. [Smiles at Clint] I hope yours tell something good, Clint.

1 Current situation: 10 of Cups(R) This suggests you are involved in anti-social actions, but can also be a sign of a new adolescent.

2 Immediate future influence: The Sun This card represents a very positive influence in your life, either your attitude or someone who is about to come into it.

3 Recent past influence: Strength You showed inner strength or were very reliable.

4 Distant past influence: 9 of Pentacles There was a time when you were more self reliant than you are now.

5 Goal: 6 of wands You wish to receive acclaim for your achievements, and to be the triumph over the enemies of good.

6 Future: Temperance You will attain a balance the like of which you haven't had in your life before.

7 Querent: Ace of cups You are very intuitive, reacting to your heart rather than your head.

8 Party: Six of pentacles The others look upon you as someone who looks out for others, and who always repays a debts or a kindness.

9 Internal situation: Four of wands(R) You are happy, even though it is a happiness that is unorthodox in nature, and not a situation you would have expected to find happiness in.

10 Outcome: 9 of swords You a have a tough time ahead of you, and something will happen that will fill you with anguish and guilt.

Louise : [Looks Clint in the eye] Anti-social behaviour? Hm.

Clint: [Suspiciously] Happiness that is unorthodox in nature?! What does that mean? [Brightens] Like I'll meet a kinky broad or something?? All right! [Ponders the 9 of Swords] Anguish and guilt?! Ha! I think you got the wrong guy. [Looks in disgust at the Ace of Cups and adds] Definitely got the wrong guy.

Alice : Or maybe you'll marry someone who's taken a vow of chastity? You know, listening to your heart rather than your head!

Clint: [Snorts] No way! I always listen to my head [does a little pelvic thrust for emphasis]. So, who's up next? I vote for the Fool, I mean, the Bimbo. [Does mystical hand waving motion and a thousand-yard stare] I see failed marriages, widening hips, drug abuse. [Shakes his upper] head sadly

Smock: [To Clint] I bet you have a big heart locked away in there somewhere just bursting with warm fuzzy feelings and some day it's going to overflow and you'll surprise everyone when mushy and lovey like Dennis! [Grins]

Clint: [Smirks] Sure, kid. In fact, I've met dozens--uh, HUNDREDS of women who've made me burst and overflow. [Crosses arms and leans against a nearby wall, attempting to look cool and studly for emphasis]

Smock: [Hides a snigger] Sure... hundreds. And I bet every single one of them was gorgeous, loaded and devoted. I bet women just swoon to look at you, right? Do you think maybe you read that wrong?

Alice : It's not so much swoon at looking, Smock, as it is swoon at smelling!

Louise : Now you, Chastity.

1 Current situation: 3 of Pentacles (R) You have missed opportunities through an inability to listen to others as a result of obstinacy or prejudice.

2 Immediate future influence: 8 of Swords You are heading to (or are in) a situation where you feel you lack freedom and influence, and will feel powerless.

3 Recent past influence: Hanged Man You recently let go of some control, probably letting someone else make the decisions for you, and possibly to do things you wouldn't otherwise do.

4 Distant past influence: 10 of Cups (R) There were family quarrels or the break up of a friendship

5 Goal: Temperance Attain balance in your life, possibly between your holy vows and your adventuring activities.

6 Future: 5 of Pentacles This card represents hard times, either for health or rejection, being made stand alone, or possibly ostracized from a group that you are part of.

7 Querent: Empress Fertile, life-giving earth-mother type with her feet firmly planted on the ground.

8 Party: Queen of Swords (R) An intolerant and narrowminded woman who's a formidable enemy due to her sharp intellect and subtlety.

9 Internal situation: The World You feel a sense of accomplishment, feeling that it is you who holds the party together.

10 Outcome: Wheel of Fortune You will experience massive and unexpected change, possibly in the form of a vision or realisation. When this happens your life will speed up beyond recognition until you end up somewhere very different.

Louise : Ah, looks like there's something afoot for Chastity. [Taps the Queen of Swords and gives a smile] Now that's an interesting card.

Clint: [Glares at Smock. To the rest of the party, annoyed] When did we vote to let this bitchy little pipsqueak join up with us, anyway?

Austin : [Briefly checks his nails] We didn't.

Alice : Aw, is the mean little girl giving poor Stinky a hard time? [Looks at Chastity] Wow, Chas! What's going to happen to you?

Smock: [Beams at Clint. To Chastity, pointing to 8 of swords] That's the same in my future!

Chastity : [To Alice] No doubt dragged to my doom trying to guide the misguided onto the right path. [Looks down at the cards] I never did believe these could personalise to ones personality. [Muttering] Mumbo, jumbo. [To Smock] Yes, dear, but it seems I'll apparently be disappointed a lot quicker than you.

Alice : [Taps the inverted Queen of Swords] Yeah, I mean, what on earth is that all about?

Chastity : [Giving a glare to Alice] It all about interpretation. I believe it could be time for your reading, although I doubt if the pack contains enough "lovers" cards.

Smock: [To Chastity] But that one sounded good! [Points to Empress]

Alice : Now, now, Chas, the cards never lie.

Louise : It's good that you think that, Alice.

1 Current situation: Empress (R) You are experiencing problems, most likely financial, but also lack of affection. Can also represent promiscuity.

2 Immediate future influence: 10 of Pentacles (R) This card represents the negative effects of vast wealth, and possible family arguments about the division of money.

3 Recent past influence: Temperance You are in exceptional health, and possibly brought together opposing forces recently.

4 Distant past influence: The Lovers You were in a relationship that you thought would last forever, but ended. However, you are over it.

5 Goal: 2 of Cups More than anything, you want to find someone to have a relationship with, with whom you can completely be yourself.

6 Future: 3 of Pentacles (R) Much frustration is coming your way, much of which will be caused by you refusing to listen to other people's advice.

7 Querent: Page of Pentacles (R) You are a daydreamer, and have tendency to miss what's going on around you because you live in your own little world. 8 Friends/Family: Ace of Pentacles (R) The rest of the party feel that you are overdependent on materialism and physical pleasures.

9 Internal situation: 6 of Cups (R) You are holding yourself back by clinging to the past with an exaggerated sense of nostalgia.

10 Outcome: Strength You will overcome the weaknesses mention above and show great strength, and, when the party most need you to, you will take control, but not in an aggressive way, and that will put them back on track.

Louise : Another mixed reading. It looks like you're in for some financial hardships, young Alice.

Alice : [A bit put out by the reading] Nonsense! Daddy has pots and pots of money, I'll never be poor!

Alice : Not in my reading, it didn't!

Clint: [To Louise] Do the lawyer next! That oughta be a hoot!

Smock: Yeah, do Austin!

Monty : Oh, dear. At least if the Devil shows up in his past, we're well aware of what that was about.

Austin : Or, if the irritating and clueless watcher card appears in my present.

[LOUISE deals the cards.]

Louise : Current situation: The Devil You are immersed in materialism and over indulging in physical pleasures, to the detriment of your spiritual side.

2 Immediate future influence: Judgement (R) You will suffer an unfair and unjust decision, and will suffer from confusion over legal affairs.

3 Recent past influence: 5 of Wands There has been disagreement and competition, possibly more so than was necessary.

4 Distant past influence: Death At some time you experienced a life changing event, possibly something very sad,

5 Goal: King of Cups You wish to become wise, diplomatic, caring and tolerant.

6 Future: Page of Wands (R) You will be part of a betrayal, either the victim or the one who causes it, and the other person will be someone who you trust very much. REPEAT

7 Querent: Page of Swords You are analytical and think everything through, and always try to be truthful and just in your action.

8 Party : 4 of Cups (R) The party are concerned about you, and feel that you have a very low boredom threshold, which you're compensating for with all kinds of excess, and even causing trouble with others for no good reason.

9 Internal situation: The Tower You are still grappling with a huge change, almost certainly the one indicated in position four, and this is probably why your party members are concerned.

10 Outcome: The Sun One of the most positive cards possible, this suggests that you will attain enlightenment, greatness and self-assurance, without arrogance.

Louise : Now that's an interesting reading, Austin. Notice how many of the major arcana there are. Five is a lot, and indicates that something huge is about to happen, as is reinforced by the Tower.

Austin : [Unbearably smugly, as he straightens The Sun] Truly, the cards never lie.

Smock: Devil! [Puts her index fingers up on each side of her head, immitating horns, and sneers.]

Monty : [Sagely.] As I thought. [Frowns.] Though the fact that he too seems to be marked as up for a betrayal is worrying. Then again, since he seems to exhibit little in the way of trusting behavior towards myself, perhaps that is an indication that the treachery will affect us in common rather than being perpetrated by Mr. Sleaze against myself?

Chastity : [Taking an step back out of Austin's uncomfortable aura of smugness] Hmmmm, there may be a bit of time until the [quotes] "without arrogance" part comes to the fore.

Clint: [Looking at Austin's cards] What a load of crap! [To Chastity] How much you wanna bet the lawyer tipped the old crone to get a better reading? [To Ellen] Feeling [smirks and points to her finger horns] horny, kid? [Snorts and nudges Monty to make sure he heard the joke]

Monty : [Rolls his eyes.] [Disinterestedly.] Very witty, Mr. Scar.

Smock: [Points at the Sun card, to Clint] Austin's just too darn hot. [Fans herself, pulling at her collar] And all those images of death and destruction are just so appealing. That haughty charm and bewitching contempt - what girl could resist?

Clint: [To Smock] You're a real freak, kid. Kinda works for ya, though. But you gotta improve your taste in broads! [Looks at Austin appraisingly] Sure, she's loaded, dresses fancy and whatever, but she's so damn prissy!! [Sagely] You need one of them big old butch dames who can take care of you, open jars for ya, fix the can when you clog it up with your girlie crap, that kinda thing. [Gives Smock an arm-punch of encouragement]

Smock: [Returns Clint's punch] Would you be my broad then?

Austin : [Watching the exchange with some amusement, before looking at Smock] You might also consider that a man might want to spend time with you. Finding such a person will, I suspect, be a difficult task.

Alice : That's not fair! How come Austin gets all the cool cards? He gets immersed in materialism and physical pleasures, and all I get is broke!

Smock: [Pokes her tongue at Austin. To Louise] Now do Harvey! I bet his will be the best one!

Monty : [To Alice.] Ahem. So you'd prefer Mr. Sleaze's betrayal?

Chastity : [To Monty] You, yourself, had betrayal in your reading, Mr. Giles. Whether it is connected with Mr. Sleaze's might depend on if you trust him. [Raises her eyebrows in question]

Austin : Or, Sister, on whether we can trust Mr. Giles. Or even if Mr. Giles and I can trust you.

Louise : [Dealing the cards one more times] The Deck often frustrates with it's lack of precision.

1 Current situation: Chariot (R) There is an imbalance in your life, possibly caused by sticking to outdated ideas and traditions.

2 Immediate future influence: Death This card indicates major change in the near future.

3 Recent past influence: Judgment Your life changed in the recent past, when you realised what your true calling is.

4 Distant past influence: The Hermit There was a time when you were a leader of men, probably teaching them something.

5 Goal: Emperor You see yourself as a leader who represents structure and order, as a balance against those who, although on your side, prefer more lavish and carnal pleasures.

6 Future: The Devil You will face a situation where you could become obsessed with something, either a person or a mission - possibly a personal vendetta of some sort. This will be caused by ignorance or a lack of faith.

7 Querent: 3 of Pentacles You are a real team player, and always plan any important activity meticulously, so are always prepared.

8 Party : King of Pentacles (R) The party often feel that you are very resistant to change, and that you have a tendency to tread a well worn path.

9 Internal situation: The Star (R) You are facing an internal battle. You know you need to loosen up, but are still unwilling to do so due to your own stubborness.

10 Outcome: 2 of Swords You will come through the battle, and be instrumental in contributing to balance.

Louise : Another difficult reading, Harvey. However, this is a lot more precise than the others.

Alice : [Very annoyed] Yes, Monty, that's [emphasis] exactly what I said. [Sulkily folds her arms] It could be worse, I suppose, I could have got your abject lack of personality served up as my future.

Clint: [To Alice] Now, Bimbo, that's not fair. The egghead's got a personality. It's just real irritating.

Alice : But is it, though? Is it the personality that's irritating? Or the lack of it?

Clint: [Snorts] Are you kidding?! It's definitely his personality. [Assumes a Monty-like pose and pretends to write notes. Mimicking Monty] Ahem. I'm so smart. Ahem. Stop having so much fun! Ahem. I really should see a doctor about getting this big stick out of my ass. Ahem. [To Alice] See what I mean? He's gotta personality. It just sucks.

Alice : [Applauds happily] Yay! That was great! Do Chastity next!

Monty : [Distantly.] Strange that the cards didn't predict his future as a stand-up impersonator. Then again, that's something that no one would have foreseen. Ahem. [To Louise.] Can you undertake readings for those who aren't present at the moment, or perhaps perform readings of situations rather than of people?

Louise : I can't do readings for those not here, but might be able to help you out with a situation reading. What do you have in mind?

Monty : Well, I was rather hoping that you could tell us something about Dr. Jerome Trindle and what he's up to... but failing that, there is this whole group's involvement with the Path... [Waves at the others to indicate them generally.] And all of the assorted plots and schemes that weave their way into it, most of which seem to cross us at some point or another. [Looks at the rest.] Ahem. What do you all think? Is there any particular situation about which we're collectively curious?

Alice : I'm kind of curious about how we defeat Jerome.

Smock: Who's Jerome?

Smock: Are you saying that you were all dead once? Eww... That's just - Wait a minute! Austin had a fiancee!?

Monty : Ahem. Dr. Jerome Trindle, insert miscellaneous titles here, is a former member of this party who has turned to a dark path, both figuratively and literally speaking. He is responsible for many heinous crimes, including the murder of Mr. Sleaze's fiancee, which partially explains Mr. Sleaze's consistently snarky mood. As for Dr. Trindle, his whereabouts are unknown. He was last seen causing the death of this group via poison. Ahem.

Austin : [Calmly] He's a fucking bastard who will be tortured to death.

[An awkward silence descends for a few moments.]

Alice : Uh, yes, we were. We got better, though.

Smock: [Looking everyone in the party, obviously perturbed, and a little disgusted] How did you come back to life?

Alice : Well, actually, I suppose Jerome was kind of responsible. [Looks around the others] Well he was, kind of, wasn't he?

Monty : In your case, perhaps. Not so much for the rest. In any case, it wouldn't have been necessary if he hadn't arranged the fatalities in the first place.