We put the ponies away and started on stable chores rather than immediately going out. The hard work made me feel better, giving me something to put all this angry energy into. We had just finished when Judy poked her head into the row of stalls we were at today, saying the baroness wanted to see us. Aaron had already gotten back in touch with her (my goodness, mail on the island seemed fast), and it was good news. Well, good news for us, bad news for Mr. Kemball. The machinery he was using was indeed stolen.
I just might faint from shock, honestly.
And then the baroness showed exactly why I had been so careful about getting on her good side. There are fewer things more terrifying than a noble inciting a blood feud, and Baroness Silverglade was at the brink of it. I hope Mr. Kemball knew what sleeping dragon he had been prodding with this latest enterprise of his. She sent us to tell him to stop drilling immediately, and we quickly left to do so. Although, I think Savvy had to leave so quickly so she could laugh. Evening looked up at me, and if a horse had eyebrows, he would be raising one. I just shrugged. I didn’t get it either.
Mr. Kemball was still at his oil field. And when Savvy told him what the baroness had said, he blew a gasket. He accused us of threatening him! Putting on my snobby mask again, I sniffed and said it wasn’t a threat, it was a promise. He proceeded to call us evil, which I rather took offense to. But Savvy thanked him, so I knew she took him considerably less serious. At least until the other insults started, and then her back came up too.
But we didn’t back down (or rather, Savvy didn’t, I just stood there and tried not to hide). So he proceeded to turn red and throw a rather ridiculous fit for a man his age (and I don’t care how unwrinkled that face is, he’s older than he appears. I know cosmetic surgery markers). That seemed to be enough for Savvy, so we turned and left with our heads up this time. I was rather giddy that we had managed it. While some of the damage was done, we had definitely stopped it from getting worse, so perhaps the grape fields could recover in time for next year.
Savvy, of course, had to tell the Baroness about Mr. Kemball’s display of temper. It made the old dear laugh, and did a world of good as far as her disposition was concerned. I like her better now, but then, she was under such dreadful pressure that I suppose she couldn’t be too concerned with what her first impression to a pair of teenagers was. We said our goodbyes before the next crisis occurred, and went to seek out Alex.
She had decided that our best bet was to find clues about what specifically happened to Linda. The most obvious of all, footprints, would be long gone with all the horses and travel that took place around the winery, not to mention the race track. But she thought we might be able to find something else.
We stuck our noses into all sorts of places. However, it was when we went around back, where the least amount of foot traffic was, that we found a cellphone, a pair of glasses, and a page ripped out of a book. My stomach twisted in a knot. If someone needed glasses, usually they needed them to see their surroundings. No one would leave those just lying around. Savvy said the same about teenage girls and their phones, which I suppose is right…suppose. Mine tends to live in my dorm room during the school year unless I leave the school grounds for some reason, but it has been established that I am odd. At least the glasses weren’t broken, which could have been a real disaster for the owner.
We took what we found to Alex, who instantly recognized them all as belonging to Alex. Even the book, which was a part of Peter Pan, Linda’s favorite. I took that back and started reading it, trying to place where in the text it was while Savvy and Alex tinkered with the phone. I realized where it was while they followed up on a text message. They called the number that had contacted her, and it was from Godfrey. I’m starting to believe that Savvy might be right about him and the baroness knowing what happened to Linda. They weren’t sure what to do with this information, and I realized I was going to have to speak up.
I managed to untangle my tongue in my mouth (with a helpful, impatient foot stomp from Evening) and mention my idea that the book page was actually the start of a trail. The page we’d found was from where Wendy and the other Darling children had been captured by Captain Hook, which seemed like far too much to be a coincidence to me. Maybe if we went to see if there were more pages, we could follow them to Linda. Savvy thought it was a good idea (thank goodness!) but hoped that the wind hadn’t ruined it if it was true.
We started with where we had found the first page, and started hunting. They went down the short-cut from the winery to the road to Moorland, but they weren’t stationary. We had to split up to find them all from where the wind had knocked them between rocks and against shrubby bushes. At last though, we reached the end…right in front of the baroness’s castle. I bit my lip as Savvy whispered. On one hand, I was glad it wasn’t actually a ghost. On the other, poor Linda!
We raced back to the winery to tell Alex. She agreed that Savvy was making a good argument, but we needed more proof. I could understand why, but that didn’t make me feel better for poor Linda, who had already been in the castle for who knew how long. She gave us a machine to record the sound of the girl crying to confirm that it was her, to have evidence, while she went to run some sort of errands. I assumed it had to be something important if she wasn’t coming with us…
Evening was grumpy as we crossed the bridge for some reason. Frowning, I knelt down and started looking over his tack while we waited for the sound again. I really needed to get him some better tack, and whispered as much to him. We’d have to go poking around and see if there was anything he would like. He nodded his head in agreement, and gave a shudder to shift his blanket around. I think it was rubbing his withers wrong. It also gave us something resembling an excuse for why we were lingering around, I suppose.
While I was on the ground, the crying started again. Savvy got the machine working and recorded it. We took it to Alex, and you could tell by the look on her face that it was indeed Linda. Well, with Godfrey gone, we had to go directly to the baroness. And I took the coward’s way and hid behind Savvy and Alex.
I was glad I did. The baroness was Not. Happy. So much for our good karma with her. I winced and flinched my way through the whole confrontation. This was not how I usually operated, and I didn’t like all the upset feelings.
We retreated, and Alex was obviously fretful, and I could see how upset Savvy was. This wouldn’t do, and so I started to reason out loud. The baroness wouldn’t take Linda for no reason, and Godfrey had mentioned something about needing to tell Linda the truth on his message (I had been paying half attention, but it was enough to remember that). If we found out what Linda knew that got her in trouble with to begin with, we could use it to put pressure on them to let her out.
That snapped Alex out of her mood. She had to think on what to do and we would continue tomorrow. I almost protested, since poor Linda had been left up in those towers for long enough, surely. But Alex seemed pretty certain that she would be alright, so I just looked down at Evening’s mane rather than spit out what I wanted to say. Savvy seemed okay with it, so maybe I was being too sensitive.