Ms. Madison looked incredulously at the figure in front of her. She could not have been more surprised if she had been confronted with a unicorn grazing under a goose-tree. The girl in front of her was unmistakably the same as the girl in the photograph that the Green Man had shown them, and yet she was certainly no nursing home patient. There was a vital spark in her blue eyes, as she looked curiously at her.
"You're obviously not with the bad guys," the girl spoke with a slight American accent, dispelling any idea that this could be Sian Rule, the young lady that the Green Man had once dressed up as Sparrowhawk. "And in that state, you don't look like you're with the cavalry, either."
"S...Sparrowhawk?" Ms. Madison's voice was a cautious whisper, "but how...?"
"I'd love to tell you I flew," the girl shook her head, "but I can't. There's a motor launch on the far side of the island. I crept in under whatever radar they had. When you've been in this business as long as I have..."
"Wait..." Ms. Madison took a step back. "You were almost killed a decade ago. You've been a patient in a private nursing home since..."
"That long?" The masked blonde's jaw dropped "-no wonder she..."
"Who?" Ms. Madison sank down in a nearby chair. "Sparrowhawk, I was sent to try and rescue you from men who had kidnapped you, but now I find you alive, well and free. Not to mention in costume. What happened?"
"I remember being asleep," Sparrowhawk sighed, leaning against the wall. "It was like some half-remembered dream. The Green Man was there, and so was I. Then I woke up in this poky little cottage. There were these two men asking me a load of really dumb questions, like who the Green Man was. Well, they didn't have me tied up, so I escaped after breaking a few of their limbs. I was able to contact my support. They were a bit surprised to hear from me, and after what you've told me, I don't wonder. That's where I got the costume from, and this place was marked on a map in the cottage."
Ms. Madison listened to the tale. It was earnestly told, but somehow she didn't believe a word of it. Still, she felt, there was nothing that she could do except play along. That being the case, she allowed the girl in the leather costume to lead her out of the dilapidated fortress, skipping lightly over the rocks. NBarefoot, Ms. Madison followed at a distance, every moment expecting a trap to be sprung. When they made the boat in safety, no-one was more surprised than the Green Man's secretary.