Chapter 06: The Adventure of the Ignoble Bachelorettes

Shopping was as uneventful and expensive as I could make it. Since I was doing it on Moriarty's dime, I was up for even the petty victory of overspending. Kay could probably track my movements by checking her credit card statements online, but she wasn't coming after me until tonight. Let her wonder what I was buying at "The Pleasure Palace". Doyle had said that he’d let me go, and I’d given him a good speech about trust, but I wasn’t an idiot: whether or not he spilled the beans about my true nature to Arthur, Doyle would be under pressure to identify my whereabouts. I didn’t want to leave breadcrumbs for him to follow. If New Camelot showed up in riot gear tonight…

Unfortunately, there was only so much cash in Kay's purse. I wanted to ditch anything that Doyle had contact with as quickly as I could, most definitely including the dress he'd given me. At eight thousand dollars, who knew what kind of circuitry might be woven into the fabric? Hence, racking up her credit cards. I bounced around town on a whim, gave Kay's phone to a homeless guy a little east of Dupont Circle, and then hit up some boutiques in Adams Morgan. One of my trips took me past the entrance to the Diogenes Club, on the logic that if Doyle were indeed tracking me somehow, avoiding any particular area of town would draw his attention there. My trip confirmed that the establishment borrowed the name rather loosely from Mycroft Holmes' parlor of silence. It was in a still-gentrifying area of the District, and looked like it would be rocking hard by eleven.

"Grand Opening" read the sign, with a date a few days off. I wasn't worried. The club would be open tonight, and packed. A soft opening, or something hoity for the creme de la creme; it didn't matter. I had a duel to attend.

If I didn't, Cavill was dead. Despite all the other bodies thus far today, I didn’t think Moriarty would have killed him. If all Kay wanted was to kill me, there were better ways to go about it. No, she wanted something else, and for that, she'd need leverage.

I got to the Diogenes Club just before eleven. A line of people stretched down the block, laughing and passing the time in the hopes that they'd actually make it inside tonight. They probably wouldn't. Anybody who was anybody either was already inside, or had an invitation.

That hardly seemed fair. I had close to a dozen in my purse, after all, and only needed the one. Unfortunately, I had been betrayed, and was currently going nowhere.

Of all the ways this could have gone down, the freak out that I was having in an alleyway a block away from the club was the most demeaning. I'd caught a glimpse of myself in the window of a store as I'd walked past, and oh my that was a lot of leg showing! I had a vision of my dress popping and rolling up like a window shade. Was that my butt cheek hanging out? I had to get to the gym more.

Thigh-high black boots actually hid a lot of my leg, but the shortness of the white leather dress meant that I would not be bending over tonight. Then there were these... zippers. Way, way down, they went, front and back, and there were ones on the side so that the dress actually split along the leg and it wasn't like it had been covering up much leg anyway and oh my god. I'd be lucky if I didn't wind up showing off my underwear, and there wasn't a hell of a lot of that, either.

What had I been thinking? Damn those gay boys back at the last shop, damn them and their ridiculous flattery! "Oh you saucy mochachino", nothing! And damn me for believing them like a nitwit with a stolen credit card. The dress had been sitting properly on me back there, and my hair wasn't stabbing me in the back with whatever it was doing right now. I'd looked hot, instead of, what, desperate? Was that what this look was called?

A glamour would fix it, sure, but that would light up the radar of every single Persona on the block. Besides, Moriarty would never let me live it down. For however long she was going to let me live.

"Vivian!" I hissed as she suddenly strode across the mouth of the alley. "Help!"

She was alarmed at first, but when she saw me not being assassinated or gang raped, she broke out into a huge grin.

"Gwen? Oh my god!"

She was wrapped in a crimson dress styled like a kimono on the top and Japanese schoolgirl on the bottom. Stitched kanji in black and gold worked along the hems. She had similarly colored characters atop crimson nails... and painted onto crimson lips. The top of her dress had no sleeves, and instead revealed an intricately-tattooed dragon writhing across her shoulders and down her arms to just over her biceps. Stilettos skewered her black hair into a tight roll. Dark stockings clung to her legs, ending abruptly in pink skin just beneath the hemline of her dress, an effect that couldn't help but draw the mind up just a little bit higher.

She had a huge smile on her face. "You look ready to fuck somebody or fuck them up. I'm not sure which, but I love love love it."

"Really?" I whined. I was not at my best. "I mean, look at this zipper on the side. It goes all the way up to my armpit. I'm going to split open and come popping out all over somebody."

"Then I will definitely be rubbing up on you all night long. Oh, come on," she purred. "I'll be gentle. Also, there's a stitch across the zipper right there, on your hip. That thing's just for show."

"And you like the show?"

"Hotter than Qabaret," she affirmed. Rumor had it that the queer version of “Cabaret” was quite the scandalous little number. All the wags couldn’t stop huffing about it. “I will personally stab to death anyone who doesn't take you home tonight and ravish you in a manly fashion."

I grinned. I couldn't help it. "I may take you up on the stabbing, so hold onto that thought."

She posed, one hand on her hip and the other tossed back over her head. "And now you may shower me with adoration."

"You'd love it if I showered with you," I quipped, getting into it, "but I can't stand when people slather kanji all over their bodies without knowing what they mean."

She sprang back at me with something that I didn't understand a word of. And then some more, at my obvious befuddlement. Coyly: “I spent two years in Tokyo, my first PCS. Remember where I got my lipstick? Ask me about my lips."

I was curious. "I did a lot of theater and thought I was pretty good with makeup. But I've got no idea how you did that."

"Very carefully," she grinned, teeth glistening. "Ask me what they mean."

"If it's 'speak no evil,' I think we're going to incur somebody's wrath."

"Maneater," the devil smile spread from ear to ear. "Now weren't we going to see a bitch about a dog?"

She grabbed my arm, leading me out of the alley. "Doyle did pay me a visit,” she snorted. "Don't worry, I didn't tell him anything. I think he tracked me down by following your phone, so thanks very much for forcing me to entertain without even having the chance to leave a couple of sex toys out in a conspicuous place. If he’d caught me ten minutes later, I’d have been in the shower and there are all sorts of fun ways you can answer the door. It took a few minutes to get him suitably flustered. Just in case you need it: throwing a pair of panties at his face did the trick.” “You pack spares? You don't seem old enough to have to worry about changing your undergarments,” I jabbed.

“Oh, young one,” she snickered. “It always pays to keep a thong in your pocket. Makes boys so uncomfortable when they think you just pulled it off in front of them. Palm them from the pocket, stick your hand down your pants, moan a little, throw... I have literally never had it fail me."

I laughed out loud at the image of Doyle with something lacy hanging from his nose, and it felt good. It was the first honest moment of relief I'd had since that morning.

"What's in the bag, anyway?" she asked, jerking her head at the massive designer label bag on my shoulder. It didn't quite go with the outfit, but I wanted to be prepared.

"A few odds and ends," I told her. "When we get into an argument - and we will - there's a piece of paper in the lining that has instructions on it. I'm afraid I'm going to keep you busy."

"Ooh, a catfight! Me-ow," she agreed. "I can't help but notice we're walking right past the massive line outside?"

I slipped a hand into the bag and produced a handful of poker chips. Pulling one for myself, I gave the rest to her. "Pick some people you like the look of," I said. "These are their cut-the-line passes."

She clapped her hands giddily and took the chips. "I'm your Judgment-Impaired Buddy’s Sexy Sister!" she announced to the line. "Anybody who's my special friend gets inside the club right now. So... who wants to let me ride them in public?”

Hoo, boy. Moriarty was never going to let me live this down.

In about ten seconds, we had a quartet of strapping lads bearing us aloft. I was pretty sure that the two carrying me were gay, for which my dignity was quietly thankful. This hadn't been how I'd envisioned this going down, but apparently with Vivian plans were lists of things that happened to other people. Ah, well.

A handful of tossed chips later, our growing entourage met the Great Wall of Club Security. Our noble steeds gently lowered us to the ground. While I was still busy adjusting my zippers, Vivian was bending sweetly over at the bouncer who'd come to shoo us off. "Club's full," he started. "Invitation only-"

She sighed theatrically, and cupped her hands together under her breasts. Of its own accord, the poker chip slid out from between them. I wasn’t sure if it was a glamour or just the special powers of a level 20 sex fiend, but… oh, my.

"Got your invitation right here, baby," she breathed, and all of us watching thought that this was going to take a turn toward late-night cable right then and there. The bouncer actually started to reach forward for a second, then thought better of it - the guys who'd carried us were probably close to his size and at least one of them might have had steel grills on his teeth. And Vivian...

It was clear to anybody that she was dangerous.

"Go on inside,” he whispered.

I stepped up, token more traditionally in hand. "I have to check your bag," he said, composing himself a little. Qabaret-hotness or no, I apparently lacked a certain mind-bending aura.

I'd settle for shock value. I pulled the bag open, giving him a view of a dozen sex toys of various material compositions and anatomical accuracies. "Be careful," I said, doing my best pouty face, "I'm not sure if the lube came open down there. It's strawberry flavored."

He pulled his hand back even faster than he had with Vivian. "I, uh..." he said. He looked in the bag again, concern written all over his features. He wasn't quiiiite convinced yet.

I pulled something long and steel out of the bag and ran my hand up and down it. I kept up my aura of innocence. “I don't know if this is going to be a problem for the metal detector?"

"Go on inside," he repeated, a spark dying in his eyes.

The metal detector did go crazy, and I received zero hassle. Vivian gave me an appraising stare.

"I have nothing to teach you," she shook her head. "Now I don't know about you, but I'm all shades of wound up. Let's go make somebody's night."

She took my arm again, and we sauntered into the Diogenes Club.

As we approached, the ornate oak doors opened silently before us, releasing little puffs of mist into the night. We entered a long hallway of rich mahogany, the thickly carpeted floor causing me to have to focus on walking for a few steps while I got used to the feel of three-inch heels sinking into carpet. Vivian's were even bigger - five, maybe? - but she slid along with nary a concern. A light fog swirled around the floor. Oil paintings of old men lined the walls, but each one had been defaced with spray graffiti, silly hats, or obscene captions. Their eyes followed us as we moved.

A few steps in, and the noise of the street faded... in fact, it faded absolutely. The silence was uncanny. Vivian noticed it, too, and I saw her lips move, but all that came out was a short, low moan... and then nothing. I tried to speak, myself, with similar results. I could hear my own voice ever so slightly inside my own head, but even there it felt muffled.

I marveled for a moment, and then looked more closely. The ceiling, which I had mistaken for black tile on entering, was composed of thousands upon thousands of miniature speakers. Somehow, they were broadcasting anti-frequencies of sound to cancel out all noise, even as we opened our mouths to speak.

Vivian looked impressed, and I was, too. Then she remembered how cool she was. She shrugged, gave a, "well isn't that special" sort of look, and we drifted to the end of the hallway. A pair of heavy wooden doors stood closed in front of us. They had no handles.

"I've missed you, my dear, dear nemesis," whispered a voice to my left. I whipped my head around, but there was no one there. I looked back, but Vivian was giving me a quizzical look: she hadn't heard it.

"Oh, don't worry," spoke Kay in my ear, "she can't hear me. My lips are for you alone, my dear. I've always been the only one for you."

The wood doors swung inward, flooding our ears with the din of a nightclub in full swing. People gyrated on the floors and along the catwalks. We were looking down into a room decorated like an enormous library, but there was a twist: the books on the shelves each lit up, forming great neon patterns, rippling waves or geometric shapes across the walls in time with the music. We came out on a small landing, with marble staircases descending in both directions. Tables and booths ringed the perimeter, and across the dance floor, the bar looked like the stacks of a research library filled with alcohol. I wondered if it was alphabetized.

“I want to talk to you alone. Send your slut-whore to get some drinks," said the voice in my ear, perfectly articulate through the pumping rhythm. I saw her suddenly, back to us, body draped over the railing at the opposite edge of the landing. Red hair spiraled in an intricate weave down over a black leather dress covered in zippers, with thigh-high white boots...

Oh, that catty bitch. She stole my outfit, in reverse! And she looks better than I do in it.

Vivian caught my gaze, but I shook my head minutely. “Not now,” I said. "Can you take my purse and grab us a table?" With some relief, I handed the thing to Vivian, who raised an eyebrow at its weight.

I shrugged apologetically. There was a lot of stuff in there that ran on batteries.

She gave me a long look. Then she made a decision, nodded, and slipped into the club as if she were diving into the ocean. I took a deep breath, and went to meet my nemesis.

"Moriarty," I hailed.

Her voice in my ear agreed, "Caught me red-handed." 

"I got your invitation," I said, coming up behind her. As I approached, the din of the club faded away into nothing, just like it had in the hallway.

For a moment, the silence was complete.

"You're impressed," she said, not turning. Her voice was huskier now than it had been this afternoon. She was slim where I was curvy, shoulder blades sticking knifelike from her back. Her hair was braided into a long ponytail, tied in three places with silver circlets. At the end of the braid hung a scintillating piece of razor-thin glass, twisting dangerously as she shifted.

"It's all smoke and mirrors, really. And lasers and speakers. The club's computer system is practically sentient. It tracks every person here and scans them sixty times per second with a low-powered ultraviolet laser. The smoke isn't just a regular fog machine; it's got particles that reflect UV nicely. We can measure the oscillations coming out of your mouth before they even reach your teeth."

"Then you recalibrate the speakers to put out anti-sound," I said. "Slick."

“I knew you would appreciate it.” She rolled over, now resting on her elbows, as if she were a lounging cat. Her ponytail flicked to and fro. The ice blue eyes scanned me up and down.

"You've changed a bit in this incarnation. It suits you. I could practically eat you up." She arched her back, drawing her hips forward and sliding her body upright like a belly dancer. The move brought her face very close to mine, and her blue eyes sparkled.

“Do you think you would like that?“ she murmured, biting her lip. “I think you would.”

She was breathing quickly, and she smelled of cinnamon. I could see the trace of a smile in her eyes, and the trace of a question as well. I hesitated. I was suddenly unsure of what was happening here.

She dipped her gaze and drew back slightly. “I…” She crossed her arms, straightened, and then leaned back on the railing again. “Never mind.”

“You’re Moriarty,” I said, as if it said everything. As if it said anything.

“So?” she asked. “Look at what I’ve created for you. Look around. Look.”

I looked. I blinked, relaxed myself. I looked.

Icarus. Cleopatra. Hamlet. Porthos. Emma Bovary. Siddhartha. George Washington. The Wicked Witch of the West, Captain Hook, Billy the Kid, Princess Buttercup, Theseus, Ali Baba, Mercutio-Peter Parker-Geronimo-Enkidu-Snake Plissken-Gretel-Hodor-MasterChiefJohntheBaptistAliceJonahFriarTuck…

I shook my head, slowing my breath. The names kept pounding in, unbidden: the turn of a head, the angle of a glass, the color of lipstick… the details said everything!

Everyone… everyone here was a Persona.

“H- how?” I stammered. “There are two hundred and thirty-seven people here!”

“I invited them,” she snapped. “You’re asking the wrong question.

Why?

She nodded, answering my thought directly. “That is the question.”

I followed her gaze to the ceiling. To the lights sliding across the walls all around us. To the drinks being served from the bar. To the strange fog that blanketed the place.

There was… something… it was just out of reach. I felt a growing sense of dread.

“I know you won’t tell me why you’ve gathered everyone here. You won’t tell me the endgame, and you won’t tell me your motive. That’s for me to guess.”

She raised a finger. “Deduce, my dear.”

I slid through the space between us, placing my arms around her and gripping the railing as she leaned back on her elbows. I straddled her outstretched legs with my own, and brought my lips next to hers. I felt her breathing stop.

My voice came out throaty, almost a moan. “But you’ll tell me why, I think.” The words were loud in the unnatural silence. I could practically feel my breath slide into her as she gasped, drawing me in.

My dark eyes locked up her pale ones. “Why. Me. And do better than my name.”

Creamy lids slipped down, covering up the ice beneath them. She inhaled deeply, pulling the scent of me deep inside her once more. “Oh, my dear, dear Gwen. Don’t you know?” She opened her eyes, and they were the color of a tropical sea. They glistened.

“You just met me,” I insisted. I didn’t move - toward her or away from her. I could feel her body vibrating with energy under mine. She did not let herself touch me.

Her eyes denied me. “I remember… a waterfall. You were there. I remember a lifetime in Calcutta: you were my twin brother. I remember coming for you again, when you were old, and I was still young. You were full of tricks as ever, but I made sure we finished our conversation. I had so much to say. You were the only one who could understand me.”

“I’ve known you my whole life,” she whispered. “You’ve been all that I’ve ever seen when I closed my eyes. You were the one who was missing when I rolled over in bed at night. You were the one whose absence I felt while sitting lonely on the bleachers while they squabbled and played their stupid games and couldn’t understand me. You were the one whose voice didn’t whisper me to sleep at night. I’ve lived so many lifetimes, but all I ever wanted in any of them was you, you…” she drew a ragged breath. “Always you.”

She tilted her head up, lips nearly brushing my own. Her cinnamon scent rushed forward like a lover, filling my mouth, my belly…

“This is my gift to you,” she said. “A mystery. With the greatest prize of all at stake. Everything on the line. Your perfect mind against the only other in this pathetic world that could contend with it. You solve my puzzle.”

She pulled back and away from me, sliding to stand upright and forcing me to do likewise or catch a mouthful of zippers. She jerked her head harshly over her shoulder, to the gyrating throng below.

“You solve it, or they die.”

It was my turn to catch my breath. I tingled. I felt my body buzzing, throbbing. I felt something building inside me, like an orgasm but stronger, something that would sweep aside not everything that I was, but everything that I wasn’t.

She saw it. She bit her lip. She smiled.

She felt it too.

“Oh, my Gwen,” she sighed. She reached slowly out and slid her fingertips along my cheek. With a sudden motion, she whipped her hand around the back of my head and locked her fingers around the base of my skull. I jerked back, but her grip was as inexorable as the thing that was happening between us.

“When you are alone at night, remember this moment. Remember the moment that you thrilled at the death of the innocent. Remember when a murderer gave you what no man ever will.”

She released me, and we both staggered back. I started to speak, but she looked away and waved me off.

“Go,” she rasped. “Let it happen. You’re not you, not yet. You’ve been hiding for too long. Come back to me when you’re ready to decide who lives, and who dies.”

I stood dumbstruck for a moment, trembling. She would not meet my eyes, and she said nothing more. She just stood there, head cast to the floor, leaning on the railing for support. Something sparkled from her eye, rolling down her cheek to glisten its way to the floor.

“You… you know how this ends,” I said, straightening. “You know how things are between us. One lives, and one dies. No matter what either of us wants… this ends tonight. We don’t walk out of here together. Why… why even hope for… for something else?”

Her mouth twisted. Then her body did likewise, and she was facing away from me, surveying her killing floor as she had when I walked in here.

Her voice whispered in my ear. “What if it didn’t have to be that way?”

I shook my head. She was mad. This wasn’t how it worked. And this wasn’t how we played the game. This was… this was something… new.

I turned to the stairs. The noise of the club built up around me as I left her, until the pulsing of the beat threatened to push out the thing that was swelling inside me.

The name. It was a name. Rising up. Bubbling forth. Ready to spill from my lips…

“Ten minutes,” came Kay’s voice in my ear, harshly. “You have ten minutes to give me a name. Not yours. I have a list. Tell me who my first victim is, or else find out. Tell me the name, and I’ll know you’re you. Only one person could do it.”

The world slowed around me. Facts and observations clicked together in my mind.

"Puck," I spat, a feral grin spreading across my face. "That merry wanderer of the night ... call'd Robin Goodfellow. Shall we play again?"

“Oh!” I heard her gasp, a raw noise from deep in her throat. “Oh, my dear. You've got to tell me how. The paintings?"

I nodded, feeling the name stretching under my skin like a babe in the womb. "Portraits by Pablo Picasso, Jacob van Utrecht, Caravaggio, and Thomas de Keyser: P-U-C-K. They weren't next to one another, but were all defaced by a person of small stature, convinced of her own cleverness - you give yourself away in the upstroke of the letter 'K'. It matches the slant of the smiley face on the 'Member of the Alardes Family'. Only an idiot could miss it."

"Those paintings aren't labeled," countered her disembodied voice, "and I used different colors and types of paint."

"Please," I laughed. "Don't insult me."

“Very good,” she purred. “You’ve made a believer out of me. Now… shall we play again? Ten minutes. Another name.”

Yes… I felt the wings of my soul unfurl. This… this was what I was meant for!

Everyone watched as I descended the staircase. It was like it had been back at the Capitol, but now I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I felt like I was ten feet tall. Men’s eyes gobbled me up, and women did likewise. None would dare meet my gaze. This was my place, my time. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, Ghengis Khan and Sun Tzu nearly tripped over Tom Sawyer as they scrabbled back and out of my way. Even the Elders among us tried hard not to be caught looking. Achilles’ eyes lingered just too long on mine to have landed randomly there.

They saw me. They all saw me. Not Gwen. They saw me for who I truly was.

"What. The individual. Fuck.” Vivian. I'd been looking everywhere but her, and she had come at me on a mission. She looked pissed. "You know what this is all about. You always have. You played me."

I felt things grind to a screeching halt. People near us were conspicuously looking elsewhere.

“Vivian,” I started, “I didn’t play you. There are lives at stake right now, more than I’d expected. Yours. I don’t have time-”

She drew herself in close, eyes glittering as the club's lights pulsed around us. "Make time."

"I can't. The clock is ticking. People are going to die unless I work this out."

"Then let me help, dammit! That's why I came!" The mask was down, and I could see her spinning in a void.

I took her hand. "You will. I promise that you will. You're going to bring me back. I'm going to be lost, and you're going to bring me back.”

I squared my shoulders. “But I'm not lost now. I'm doing what I do best. And I have to do this alone. You came because I asked, without hesitation, and I love you for that. You trusted me. Trust me just a little bit more.“

“Why?” she asked. She hadn’t pulled her hand away, not quite, but she was tensing against my gentle grip. “Maybe you didn’t lie to me about being Guinevere, but you sure as hell didn’t tell me who you really were, or what this was really about.”

“Vivian is your middle name.” Power was pouring off of me. My hair was starting to float slightly. I felt swollen with energy, ready to burst.

“Isn’t that right, Irene?” I whispered. She shuddered. “You felt it when we met. I felt it, too. Shall I tell you what your last name is?”

She cast her eyes down. “Adler,” she admitted, head hanging. “Irene Adler.”

“The woman, herself.” I squeezed her hand, and let it drop.

She looked up at me, and her eyes flickered to the landing where Kay leaned down over us. “I saw you two up there. I wasn’t… I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next.”

“What do you want to happen?”

“I want to throat punch that bitch and then drink until you make bad decisions. You, me, a bottle of wine, and a hundred feet of bungee cord. Roosevelt Bridge. Whaddaya say?”

I matched her grin. “Sounds fun. I’ll call you after,” I promised.

“Do,” she said. “Was this our catfight?”

I nodded.

“It really is you,” she laughed. “Go save these people. I’m going to go figure out who I’m taking home tonight. I want to fuck until I’m sore.”

“I think I see Bigfoot over there.” I pointed at a hirsute fellow brooding in a corner.

“Rrrrawr,” she answered. “I’ll send you pictures. Go.”

I smiled.

I turned away, away from Vivian, away from everything. The universe held fixed for a heartbeat as I pivoted from the inside out. I turned into myself. I became.

The whole game until now had depended on me being Guinevere, enough so that people who knew her instinctively would believe. I'd set up half my life for today, for the moment I would meet King Arthur, and win his heart. I'd played at Guinevere as hard as I could, channeled her in my bearing, in my lifestyle... At age nine, I'd made sure my widowed mother met Leonard DeGrace, because it was too perfect. I'd changed my name when we moved to America, all to set up the moment that had come and gone earlier today. I had lived for that moment and nothing else.

I had molded my life so that if Camelot needed a Guinevere, they would find one.

But I wasn’t Guinevere.

"Puck!" I shouted, and at the bar, a small man in a dark leather trenchcoat turned. I stalked over to him.

"You saw what went on up there," I told him. "You don't miss much."

"Nae," he said, Irish accent thicker than the beer he'd been drinking. "I surely don't. Seems like I missed a wee somethin' about oor hostess, though, dinnit?"

"You won't be missing your life, so you're welcome. Do you know who she is now?“

"Aye," he nodded. “The devil herself. Me life, you say?"

"I did. What's it worth to you?"

He grinned. Without a word, he slid off of his bar stool, and out of his coat, which he offered to me. "Ye'll be needing a coat, I imagine. Can’t be detectering in a scanty costume like that."

I slid into the jacket. It had heft, but at the same time it was an extension of my body. I ran my fingertips across a sleeve, and it was as if I could feel them on my arm beneath. This was my skin. The hell with the silly hat and the pipe: this was who I was.

I cinched it tight at the waist, and nodded at Puck. He nodded back in approval.

"Sherlock Holmes, at your service. But you can call me Gwen."

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