The Case of the Missing Mummy Chapter the Fifth

Chapter the Fifth or Mr. Taurus Being Sent To London’s Underbelly

Edward the Younger took after his grandfather, Adeline’s father, in his strong mechanically minded mind. His magical skill was avuncular[1], Dravan to be exact. Fortunately, he was the spitting image of his father or unfortunate and erroneous accusations might have sprung up. These thoughts sprang painfully to mind when Adeline picked up the first invention he had ever given her.

It was a silver bell. Symbols Adeline had never been able to discern, were elegantly etched around the rim of the bell. The handle, a rich mahogany, had a name engraved into it. “Mr. Taurus”

Adeline rang the bell with a flick of her wrist. Then set it down. It was painful to hold it, as full of memories as it was. However it was terribly convenient and she could never part with a gift her son had given her.

Not long after, she heard Mr. Taurus clomping down the hall. He was whistling an bawdy, old sailing song. It was a part of his past he never spoke about.

Adeline had heard that her Majesties Navy had a lamentable habit of enlisting men against their will. Since Mr. Taurus took his work very seriously, she assumed this was most likely the case. Were such an accusation ever proven, he would be executed for deserting. She couldn’t protect him from such a charge, but she could dissuade it from ever coming to fruition.

Mr. Taurus entered the parlor. He was five feet tall, with short, stumpy legs and horns that had been clearly trimmed down to fit inside her ladyship’s home. He was tall for a Highland minotaur, which were commonly between four and four and a half feet tall. Silky red fur covered him from the rim of his horns to the tops of his hoofs. It spilled from his collar and cuffs. Adeline had once mistakenly introduced the subject of trimming his hair. It had never been broached again.

“My lady.” He bowed slightly, standing at attention.

Adeline smiled, “Mr. Taurus.” She held out the dinner invitation, “I shall be dinning out tonight. Miss Anya will be accompanying me.”

“Very good, my lady.” He bowed, turning away.

“Mr. Taurus.”

He turned back, “Yes?”

“Thieves are expected.”

He smiled, “Excellent, my lady!”

She lifted her hand cutting off his argument before it had started, “I’ll have no argument with you.” She paused, his words and tone registering. “What was that Mr. Taurus?”

He spoke softly, his voice straining against the paroxysm [2]that was bubbling inside, “I enjoy my work, my lady.” His hands, by his sides as he stood at attention, flexed with excitement.

She nodded, not certain what could be said to that, “The good doctor already knows we are attending. Now, if you have time, I would like you to take a few pounds down to some of the places I cannot go and see if you can hear anything.”

“I will have to drink, so as to not arouse suspicion.”

“You are a Scotsman, Mr. Taurus. I dare say you could drink a barrel of ale and be fit to work. Just make sure you are.” Many of Adeline’s peers considered it to be the height of foolishness to hire one of the procellous[3] Scotsmen. Some believed she hired him because she was charitable, others because she was rodomontade[4] regarding either her compassion or her security. Adeline believed that people were people and good people could come from anywhere the Divine had placed his hand.

“Yes, my lady.” Mr. Taurus accepted the coins she held out to him. He was grateful she gave him a mixture of small coins. It meant this was a premeditated action on her part. It also meant it was more likely to work. He couldn’t bring a pound note down where he would be going. His people never saw that much at once.

With the coins in his pocket he headed out. He would have to work carefully to not get himself mugged. He changed into the clothes he wore to visit old friends. Closer to rags really, but there was a reason he wouldn’t let the maids toss them.

[1] In the manner of an uncle. In this case in the manner of a specific uncle, Adeline’s uncle Dravan.

[2] an explosive outburst

[3] stormy, tempestuous

[4] arrogate boasting