The Candlesteam adventures

Charles and Scarlett sped over the ground on the horse. But Scarlett knew these woods and these tracks – and knew that Charles was heading back to his house.
“Why are we going this way?” she asked.
“Where better to hide than right under their noses!” Charles replied “They’re not after me – and they’re only after you because they saw what they did to your father!”
Scarlet thought this made sense – so resigned herself to being the pillion as Charles guided his horse back. They walked in through the rear of Charles’ estate and once in the stable block dismounted and put the horse in its stable. Charles invited Scarlett into the house with the offer of tea and cake – and Scarlett suddenly realised how pleasant that sounded. She followed Charles into the house as he led her through to the drawing room. Once seated, Charles excused himself – leaving Scarlett alone. As he left the room, he pulled the door to close it, but it didn’t quite close on the latch, so within a few moments, the door opened by the air pressures enough that Scarlett could hear everything going on outside the room.
There was a noise of people entering through the back door – hushed, earnest voices.
“Yes, she’s in there. No, I don’t think she knows much more than she saw. I don’t know if she knows that. I’m sure that she trusts me.”
Charles re-entered the room, smiling and carrying the tea tray. Unusual, thought Scarlett, I thought they had a butler called Groves who would have done that.
“Scarlett, there are some gentlemen here who would like to speak to you urgently.”
Before Scarlett could react, three large men entered the room. Scarlett recognised the lead man as the one she had met at her father’s house earlier that day. She looked at Charles, whose face had become drawn and serious.
“Charles, what is going on?”
“Well my dear, your father was privy to a number of secrets and unfortunately it was not safe for one person to know all this information – especially if they should not have known it. So, my colleague here had to assist him in becoming forgetful.”
“So you were responsible for all this?”
“Not exactly, my dear. If your father had decided to not pursue the leads of the information, he would still be alive today. He just refused to let go – leaving us with little space to do anything.”
“So what was it that was so secret that you were prepared to kill him – and by the looks of things, kill me too?”
Charles laughed. “My dear, I am sure that some people would happily divulge such information; however, I am not one of those people – so if you don’t know, then you won’t know.”
The large man stepped forward, hands outstretched to grab Scarlett. Scarlett subtly reached into her bag and felt for the metal of the Protector. She flicked a small switch and felt the hum. She knew that as it got warmer – there! – That it was ready. The goon was almost on top, so without further hesitation she pulled the weapon from her purse. There was a blue flash of light and the man fell to the ground where he stood. The other two men just stood their ground, trying to comprehend what had just happened. But Charles knew. He cried
“You stupid girl!” and rushed forward – but just enough time had passed that the Protector had partly recharged. Without waiting for a full load, Scarlett pulled the trigger again. This time, a visible blue light crackled from the weapon to Charles stomach. Charles collapsed holding his stomach, the electrical charge causing his abdomen to contract quite severely that it immediately disabled him. Scarlett leapt up and grabbed the fire poker. Charles attempted to grab her boot, but the pain in his stomach meant that any moment was painful. Additionally, Scarlett drove the spike of the poker onto his hand. Having not long come from the fire, it was still red hot and the flesh of his palm melted. She raised the poker and pointed it at the two other thugs. One made a move towards her, but she swung at him and he quickly decided to retreat – the other just ran out of the room. Scarlett followed, but ran through the back door and to the stables. She grabbed the nearest horse and leapt onto its back and prepared to ride out again – but now she wasn’t sure if she could trust anyone.

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