"Do you have a gun?" she hissed to the American girl.
"Never carry one," she replied brutally. "Too noisy. And I don't kill. I've done that far too much in the past."
Ms. Madison let the matter drop, afraid that otherwise this strange girl might hit her. For her part, Sparrowhawk continued to scan the woods for a trace of their attacker. The Green Man's gun roared, and a man fell out of a bush, clutching his heart.
"He will not bother us any more." The Green Man led the way out of the cover, heading back up towards the great column that topped the ancient hillfort. "Where did you say the entrance was, Sir Richard?
"I didn't." The country squire smiled languidly. "But follow me, watch and learn."
"Did you have to kill him?" Sparrowhawk looked sternly at the Green Man. He did not answer her. She pouted and looked away as well. Ms. Madison shook her head, wondering what was going on between the one-time couple.
Sir Richard led them to the summit of the hill, to the great column which dominates the scene. It was designed as a monument to the Duke of Wellington. Originally, it was to have been topped off with an equestrian statue of the Duke, but that was never placed. A decade ago, it had been struck by lightning, and traces of new cememnt still indicate where that was.
"Here," Sir Richard smiled, reaching up and pressing a stone with his cane. A door swung open, revealing a spiral staircase that led down into the bowels of the earth. "I found out about this little hidey-hole a long time ago. It was supposed to have been deactivated and sealed off, but, as you can see..."
"My dear Sir Richard..." the malign tones of the Grey Tabby caused the four adventurers to turn. There, surrounded by armed men, was the elegant figure of the Grey Tabby.
"You have shown admirable insight," the Grey Tabby chuckled. "All of you. And I see that you have even brought back my straying hostage. Well, now you will have a ringside seat for my triumph. Bring them." The armed men fanned out, their guns levelled at the little party.