by Trevor Hopkins

Rosie o'Chill looked confused again. It was getting to be a habit.

"You're telling me I've actually been to the kingdom of the Goblins, and I can't remember it?" she exclaimed.

"It's not a kingdom, but basically yes, that's right," I replied calmly.

She shook her head.

"It's all such a blur," she said glumly, "I still ache all over, but the doctors said there isn't anything seriously wrong with me."

"Don't worry," Nether said with a surprising degree of tenderness which made me wonder about the real nature of the relationship between the two of them, "I'll look after you."

I had to get things moving in what I hoped was the right direction. Things were drifting and nobody was showing any sign of urgency. Rosie was obviously feeling sorry for herself, probably just wanting to curl up under the bedclothes and put everything behind her, and my brother showed every sign of wanting to become her willing handmaiden, or some close approximation thereto.

"Look, I need to take a look at the alley," I said firmly, turning to face Rosie squarely, "I want you to come with me, see what you can remember of the place you were found. It might be very important."

Nether looked at me askance.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yes," I said solemnly, "I am. Entirely."

Rosie's eyes widened as she took in the seriousness of what I was suggesting.

"So, get dressed. We'll go take a look-see," I told them both firmly, adding, "I'll arrange us some transport."

"Okay," Rosie said uncertainly, "If you think that's really necessary."

"I do," I emphasised, "So get dressed already."

She looked to Nether for affirmation.

"He's right," my brother confirmed, nodding vigorously, "And I'll come too."

Nether and I backed out of the room, leaving Rosie to her ablutions in private. Once the bedroom door closed behind us, I reverted to the Goblin tongue.

"Are you telling me everything you know?" I demanded, rounding on my brother so quickly that he backed into the wall.

"Of course," Nether replied, his face an expression of wide-eyed innocence. I wasn't sure whether to believe him or not.

"Okay," I let it ride, "Is there a phone in this joint?

Part 28 Part 30