Mandar then told me and my team to wait at the cabin for 20 minutes before leaving, just so we did not meet again so soon. So we walked slowly back to the cabin and waited inside for the 20 minutes to pass. In the meantime Sigurbjorn sat at the old table scribbling on a piece of paper. When she was done she handed it to me smiling. I looked at it. “Is it complete?”, I asked foolishly.
“Yes, it is complete,” she said, “I had plenty of time to memorize the clue.” I should have known that she would not have given it to me so readily if it was not complete. Lesson learned, I apologized. She just laughed and said, “accepted.” Finally Jenny said it was time to leave and we got in our vans to go. On the way I heard some grumbling in the back of the van. “What is wrong Conrad?”, I asked.
“We should have fought instead of giving up like cowards,” he said gruffly. “Well, we were outnumbered just with Brenda’s men, then with Mandar’s men too, we would likely all have died,” I said, “would that be better?” “Better to die a fighter,” he said, “then to live a coward.” “So, you are saying that I am a coward for giving up?”, I asked. “You are the leader,” he said.
“Stop the van Galyna,” I said, and she did. We all got out. “Okay Conrad,” I said, “I expect loyalty in my team, if you have a problem, you come to me first. Now, you want to fight, then we will fight, you and I.” “Oh no,” said Jennifer, “Kat would tear me apart if I let you fight him. I will fight him in your place.” Conrad just laughed. “Me? Big Conrad fight a puny little gal like you?”, he jeered, “I would crush you to pieces.”
“So, you are the coward now,” I said to him. “Conrad is no coward, I will fight anyone!”, he growled. “Then fight,” said Jenny, and she stood waiting for him to react. “Okay little girlie, if that is what you want, then we fight,” he said laughing. I was amazed, he actually managed to last for 3 minutes, 5 seconds. “You must have had a Japanese instructor,” said Stanley to Jennifer.
“Yes, I did,” she said smiling. Stanley is our new Japanese team member. I must remember to ask him how he got the name Stanley. I told him and Baudry to help Conrad back into the van and off we went. There was no more talking until we got back to our hotel. I called Baldwin to tell him about Conrad and he said to send him back home, which I did. We also had to wait for another plane to take us back, seems someone wrecked our other plane somehow.
So we stayed another night, then 3 helicopters were waiting to take us back to the main airport and our jet took us to another city where we booked into another hotel so we could work on this clue undisturbed. No one would likely look for us here. After two days we were getting nowhere with this latest clue. We were at a restaurant having dinner on the second day and Sigurbjorn was still working on that clue.
The waitress brought us coffee while we waited for our food and she noticed the piece of paper that Sigurbjorn was looking at. She spoke to Sigurbjorn and then pointed to the clue and said something more. Sigurbjorn smiled. “Well, what is it?”, I asked. “Something that might help,” she said, “but not while we eat.” Our food arrived right then.
We were sitting in the corner so the cats could be with us, but they still had to hide a bit. A few minutes after getting back to our room, the cats were acting silly, I think they ate too much. There was a knock at the door. It was our waitress, she had only stayed a little longer than her normal shift because another waitress was late.
So, her and Sigurbjorn worked on the clue together while Jennifer and I played with the cats. “There it is,” said Sigurbjorn, handing the clue to me, “it is a place in Sweden, the remains of an old fortress. It is close to where Ilda lived with her family, she knows the spot very well. This is also her last day of work, she has lost her job because the restaurant is cutting back hours and she has not worked here long, so she loses first.”
“Would she be willing to come with us to help?”, I asked. “I already asked her, and she said yes, she would love to help,” said Sigurbjorn. “And Sigurbjorn told me there could be danger, “said Ilda, “but that does not matter, I still would like to be your guide.” I just hope we managed to get this figured out before Mandar, I would like to get there, and out, before he shows up. But, will it be possible…
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.