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Kitty Rain 8: Crisis at the Castle of Belkavia

Kitty Rain 8: Crisis at the Castle of Belkavia

~ Contents ~

{Front cover picture: The palace and paintings}
{Map: The castle of Belkavia}
Chapter 1: George Coffan Owed Kitty
Chapter 2: Settling in at the Castle
Chapter 3: Goodnights for the First Night
Chapter 4: Penny's Talk About Caution
Chapter 5: Into the Dungeons
Chapter 6: Getting to Know the Princess
{Picture 1: The dining table in Madeline's room}
Chapter 7: Madeline's Sneaky Plan
Chapter 8: Touring the Halls and the Royal Gardens
Chapter 9: Another Crisis
{Picture 2: Charlemagne the French lop rabbit}
Chapter 10: More Than Just Rabbits
Chapter 11: Charlemagne, Edelweiss, and the Battle of Belkavia
Chapter 12: A Silver Bugatti
{Back cover picture: Kitty and the rain}

~ Chapter 1 ~
~ George Coffan Owed Kitty ~

“Why are we meeting Mad Professor Cough?” Jane asked her mum and folded her arms deliberately
“I imagine he's going to pay Kitty the bonus he owes her,” Penny responded.
“I don't want to meet some mad professor,” Jane complained. “His butler was bad enough.”
Jane jumped on top of the arm of a sofa so that she would seem very tall, then she looked down at Kitty and Penny with a haughty air trying to impersonate the austere Mr Reginald Cleever, butler to Mr George Coffan.
Kitty Rain shook her head at her sister. Why was Jane always so melodramatic?
“It doesn't really make sense though,” Kitty told them both, as she pulled Jane's arm to get her down off the sofa arm. “He could give me the two hundred dollars. He doesn't need you two.”
“Oh oh oh!” Jane said excitedly. “Maybe he's going to give me some money too!”
“Jane!” their mother said sternly. “You didn't do any work for Mr Coffan. Kitty did. She is most deserving of the bonus.”
“I'm glad I was able to help,” Kitty reflected. “It was scary at the time, but I've been thinking a lot about that Bible verse that says that I have a sound mind and not a spirit of fear.”
“You're not still scared are you?” Jane asked. “I think I would be.”
“Sometimes...when I remember what happened—being chased and running in the dark—sometimes I still start to get scared. But then I remember the ending—”
“Getting rescued by Cade!” Jane exclaimed. “Oh how romantic! How just so lovey-dovey! I just got rescued from the evil mower, not from a real-life bad-guy. You're so lucky!”
“Jane!” Kitty and Penny both shot back at once.
“Ha! I don't mean you were lucky to have a bad-guy chasing you. I mean you were lucky to get rescued from that. It's like Cade Eastly was a real hero.”
Kitty smirked. “As against Jimmy Arton who was a pretend hero since all he saved you from was a mowing job?”
“Exactly,” Jane determined, folding her arms once again. “A hero's not really a hero until they save you from the dragon now are they.”
“Indeed!” Penny said, thinking. “But possibly dragons can take many forms. In any case, shall we get ready and attend this meeting Kitty? What should I wear? Is he very formal?”
“Ah, he seems to me to be a mixture of formal and down-to-earth with a healthy dose of eccentricity.”
“Hence the mysterious meeting,” Penny said.
“Hence the creepy butler,” Jane added.
“Hence...I think I'll change into slacks and a skivvy, but Mum, you'll want a winter hat instead of a beanie.”
“Yes it's cold. Okay Kitty,” Penny replied.
“I want to stay in jeans,” Jane complained. “You wore jeans to work Kitty.”
“I was trudging through bushland. Now we're not. We're going to his three-storey house.”
“Three storeys! Oh, I can't wait.”
“What about the creepy coffins?” Kitty asked her sister.
“He doesn't have coffins in his house does he? Nooooo!”
They got ready, despite further protests from Jane, and drove a minute down the road turning right into Egret Street in Ms West's car. She buzzed the intercom and Mr Cleever's voice sounded and the gate opened automatically. They drove slowly down the straight driveway past the bushland trees and Kitty told her mum to park next to the circular raised garden bed.
Kitty pointed out the big shed on the right. “See. That's where all the coffins are kept.”
Jane had big, wide eyes. “It's not so creepy,” she told them. “It's kind of old and pretty-looking. The buildings I mean, not the coffins.”
They laughed and walked to the left, going to the front of the house. Penny pushed the bell button and waited.
“He's not going to say 'Youuuuu raaaaang' is he? Like in a really creepy voice?” Jane asked.
Kitty rolled her eyes.
They waited.
A latch clicked.
The door slowly, slowly, slowly creaked open...
There, in all his butler presence and standing one hundred and eighty-eight centimetres tall, was Mr Reginald Cleever. He stared down at them and glared at Jane.
“Youuuuu raaaaang,” he said.
“Ah!” Jane squealed and ducked behind Kitty who laughed and laughed.
“Good morning Reginald,” Kitty Rain said, easing the tension of both her sister and her mother.
“Good morning Kitty and family. Mr Coffan is expecting you. Follow me.”
“Good morning,” their mother said and grabbed Jane's hand, urging her in.
“See the camera there Jane,” Kitty explained. “I think Reginald was playing a little joke on you. He heard what you said. They have security cameras at the front of the house and at the gate.”
“Oh,” Jane said and sighed with a mix of apprehension and relief. She still didn't like Mr Cleever. He was definitely too tall.
They followed Mr Cleever to an old-fashioned sitting room with many sofas and thick curtains pulled to the side letting in streaming sunlight. There were several vases that looked old and ornate, and Jane was instructed to sit and not bump anything. Kitty and Penny also sat and Mr Cleever disappeared to bring Mr Coffan to them.
“Good morning Miss Detective,” the older man beamed when he entered. He came straight in and shook Kitty's hand. “Are you well after your ordeal? I do hope so. I thought it best to give you some time to recover and calm down from all that excitement before contacting you.”
“Yes Mr Coffan. I am well thank you,” Kitty told him.
“And who have we here? Your sister?” he said to Penny.
Jane began to giggle. “That's Mama—our mum!”
“Good morning Mr Coffan,” Penny smiled.
“Yes it is. A good and pleasant morning to you Mrs West.”
“Ah it's Ms West,” Penny said.
“Ms. Okay and then you must be the famous sister of this Miss Wildcat here.”
“Ha-ha yessireeeee. I'm Jane.” And Jane stepped forward suddenly liking this eccentric man. He had a good smile.
“Jane hey. I'll remember that. I'm Mr Coffan of Coffan Funerals. I'm most pleased to meet you Miss Lane. I'm pleased to meet all of you he-he. Oh except for you Miss Catcher. I already met you. And you did do such a fine job catching Renny and Gilly, those rascals. I'm so very pleased to have those trespassers behind lock and key. My sincerest thanks and really, it was a most successful surveillance operation.”
“Thank you Mr Coffan,” Kitty replied.
“Do you like your new camera, Miss Surveillance?” he asked pleasantly.
“Yes Mr Coffan. It's fine. Thanks for paying for a replacement.”
“Yes well since you broke your—”
“Smashed it!” Jane interrupted.
“Hmm? Yes over the head of that no-good scoundrel, then I felt it fell under the category of work expenses and right for me to pay the cost. It is good that the film was recovered so the police could have the photographic evidence.”
“It certainly helped to have further proof,” Kitty agreed.
“And now down to business hey Miss Bonus. He-he. And speaking of bonuses it is my plan, now with your family present, to let you know that I really do not wish to pay Miss Kitty her bonus.”
There was silence.
Considering it was possibly the first time the old guy had said her name correctly, she wondered briefly if his whole forgetful name-calling routine was all a ruse or if he had just received a sudden moment of clarity. But then she focussed on the more important matter: the money he owed.
“Mr Coffan, with all due respect—” Penny began, and Kitty could feel her mother's rising anger.
“Ah Mr Coffan,” Kitty interrupted, “we had an agreement. Correct? I delivered and well, to put it simply, you owe me.”
The old man laughed and then he began to cough.
“Yes—” Cough, cough, cough!
Then he started patting his pockets and fussing about. “Now darn it! Where did I put it?”
“You're not going to smoke again?” asked Kitty. “Perhaps we could go outside in the fresh air.”
Kitty knew her mum would not like to be inside if Mr Coffan started smoking. And Kitty wouldn't like it either.
He pulled out a large handkerchief from a pocket and shook it about.
“I know it's here somewhere,” he mumbled
Kitty looked at Jane and her mum, and shrugged.
Kitty's mum began to speak again. “Mr Coffan I'm not really happy that—”
“Ah-ha!” Coffan yelled. “I found it.”
He showed them all his little steel tin.
“No, no, no,” he explained. “I don't smoke anymore. Miss Lioness was most ferocious and adamant that an old man like me should be looking after his health better. So I,” he paused for effect, scouring into them with his stubborn gaze, “so I quit!”
He opened the tin and pulled out a eucalyptus lolly.
“Really?” Kitty asked.
“Yes Miss Challenge and I accepted your challenge and I thought about this Jesus—well what I could remember from the old days. And I asked Jesus to help me. And—what do you know!—I had a sudden urge for eucalyptus lollies instead of cigarettes! And now I don't even seem to want a cigarette at all. Just like that! It's amazing. Quite amazing.”
“Oh I'm so happy for you Mr Coffan,” Kitty said, truly thrilled for the man.
“That sounds like good news,” Penny spoke up again. “But about Kitty's payment? She really should receive it. And why are we here?”
“Oh yes, Ms West. I'm so honoured that you could make this little trip down the road. But actually I have more in mind. How does a little trip to the palace of Belkavia sound?”
Jane jumped up from her chair in shock.

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