I needed to think alone for a bit so I sent Calanthe and the cats down to the guest cottage to get a meal started for us. Into the library I went and…what’s this? “We need to do some talking Steve, things are getting dangerous now, there are too many people involved.” “Yes, that’s true, I just can’t imagine what is so important that they all want this place,” I said, “but Baldwin is clean so selling to him isn’t a problem, I think.” “Yes, he seems to be honest enough, but there is still something odd about him and the way he talks, like he’s hiding something.” “I agree, but there is nothing that can be found anyway,” I said. “You can walk away anytime Steve, I really don’t want you getting hurt.” “No, I’m not going anywhere,” I said, “the cats and I can take care of ourselves, otherwise I would never have agreed to do this.” “What about Calanthe? Can you trust her totally?” “Yes, I think she’s okay,” I said, “she’s just scared that’s all. I just hope I can keep her alive, losing once is bad enough, if I lose twice I’m quitting.”
“I better not hear you say ‘quit’ again!” “Oh, sorry about that,” I said, “I was just joking anyway…look, my alarm, someone has come over the fence, hide.” I call the cats quickly. They and Calanthe come running up to the chateau right away. “Someone has come over the fence so we need to be ready to greet them,” I said. “I’m scared,” said Calanthe quietly. “Don’t worry, this time we do the surprising,” I said with a smile. I left the chateau door unlocked, figured I should be nice to our visitors. The door opens slowly and in comes two men that I recognized from the funeral. Then comes in the woman investor with two more men behind her. Hmm, she must feel a bit nervous, that’s good. Now that Linnea is buried it’s time to get things moving faster. I come out into the entry.
“Are you looking for me?” I ask calmly. “Yes, I guess I am,” said the woman, “my name is Adalee Denhart, I have opened an investment business in town and I’m looking to buy a nice place to live.” “Am I really supposed to believe that?”, I asked, “why would such a successful business person come to this small town to open up a branch of their business? Wouldn’t a larger town be a better choice?” “Okay, maybe I have other reasons for wanting this chateau,” she said, “but does it really make a difference? I will pay your price for it, just let me know.” “I have already been offered 1.5 million euros for it,” I said, “can you top that?” “Yes,” she said confidently, “I will pay 1.7 million euros.” “Of course there are two others that are also interested,” I said, “so I should wait and see what they will offer.” “I want this chateau,” she said rather firmly and pointed towards me.
That’s when two of her bodyguards came at me. Thwock! Thwock! Down they went. Another bodyguard pulled his gun and shot, I returned fire, got his arm and he dropped his gun. Adalee stopped the other man from doing anything. “I apologize for that,” she said, “I should never have tried force. May we start over?” “Perhaps, but not now,” I said, “I will not be pushed around by anyone. Your 2 friends are not dead by the way, just enjoying a nap, but next time will be different. So I would suggest that there is no next time.” “There will be no next time,” she said with a smile, and they left dragging the two napping bodyguards with them. We all watched until they were gone. “Do you trust her?,” asked Calanthe. “No, not at all,” I said, “I think there is a good chance she will try again.”
“Great, that makes me feel so much better,” said Calanthe sarcastically. I chuckled. “We’ll be okay,” I said, “we just need to stay calm.” “Stay calm, he says,” said Calanthe, “we have 4 different groups of people that want to kill us and we need to stay calm.” But she did smile when she said it as we walked down to the cottage. Muffin stayed with me while Mr. Cat helped Calanthe with our meal. I kind of fell asleep in that comfortable old chair, until Muffin woke me up by slapping my face. Meow,meow.=Look, visitor. Sure enough, by the fireplace stood Linnea. “Steve, I’m worried,” she said, “Adalee and the banker are the most dangerous, watch carefully,” she said.
To Be Continued.
Pictures of Mr. Cat are kindly supplied by his human, Nina.
Previous chapters of this and other stories can be found on my home page under “The Investigators, Inc.” and “20/20 Investigations, Inc.”
©2021 Steve McLeod.