In which an arrest is made and a mystery arises.

“Surrender?” Miss Wiggenbottom muttered to herself. She was a staunch believer in female independence, so ‘surrender’ existed in her vocabulary solely if she ordered someone else to do it. Instead of answering the door, which the policemen seemed to be willing to break down if she didn’t open – which she hadn’t intended to do even for a split second – she gathered her skirts with a speed and agility that would have surprised most people who thought they knew her, and then made for the basement.

She hoped to reach the secret passageway that was hidden behind a large pantry shelf in the cellar, but alas! those pesky policemen were quick and agile as well, and they managed to not only breach the lock on the front door, but also come after her and intercept her before she had time to even reach the bottom step!

That was surprising, as well as suspicious, come to think of it. Were these really ordinary policemen, she wondered to herself, squinting at them as if she were short-sighted, but really to focus on small, giveaway details that might tell her whether they were any other species than human.

Much to her dismay though, she could not detect any of the usual hints at either dryad blood or mist people. No patch of rough, bark-like skin, no greenish tint in eyebrows or beard, no translucent veins or smell of ozone to be detected. And yet.

Something was wrong with these policemen, she knew it. She sensed it, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Where was a detective when you needed one? She was sure that Himself could have solved this riddle for her, easily.

What she did not wonder about, not even for a second, was the fact that she was arrested at all. That, at least, came as no surprise to her.


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