Oscar began by telling Lady Amelia how he had met Delta at the airport when their flight was rerouted. He told her that they had lunch together in Munich Airport and that they had come home on Delta’s Uncle Frog’s plane. He wasn’t sure that he should tell her about Delta using her martial art on the policemen at the border, or the conversations they’d had about Friarr, or about being rescued from the interrogation room via the air duct.
“You tell it very well,” Lady Amelia complimented him when he paused for breath. “Well, very succinctly, at least.” He suspected she knew those things he had neglected to mention, that Delta had already told her.
“What happened after you landed? When you arrived home?” Lady Amelia asked.
“We got in a taxi which took us to my house. But we didn’t stop there.”
“Because… it was surrounded by police.” Oscar struggled to say it aloud because he could still hardly believe it was true.
“So Delta brought you here?” Lady Amelia prompted him.
“Yes, she told the driver to keep going and not stop. It was like being in a film. Although at the time it didn’t feel very glamorous. I was so shaken from parachuting out of a rickety biplane and seeing my house surrounded. It was very surreal.” As he said this, he looked up to see Lady Amelia’s reaction. Had he already said they had parachuted down? Maybe he shouldn’t have called Uncle Frog’s plane rickety. Lady Amelia didn’t seem concerned though. She simply smiled amusedly and motioned for him to go on.
“The next thing I knew, the taxi had stopped and Delta helped me out of the car. She led me up a hill and across a cobbled square, and up a lift to her room, where I fell asleep on the sofa.”
“I see. Have you told anyone that you’re here? Have you taken any phone calls?” Lady Amelia asked.
“I phoned a colleague this morning to excuse myself for being late for work,” Oscar recalled. “But he told me the office had burnt down during the night, that there was just a pile of rubble where it used to be.” After a pause, Oscar continued. “So I have nowhere to go. I can’t go home because my house is surrounded. I can’t go to work because it’s not there any more. I can’t go to my parents because…”
“Yes, that was very tragic,” Lady Amelia said sensitively.
“Tragic? Has something happened to them on holiday? Are they going to be alright?” Oscar could feel himself panicking. He felt sick. It was one thing to lose his house and his office, but if the Cotwg were also hurting people he knew…
“Nothing has happened to your parents,” Lady Amelia said softly. “I didn’t mean to alarm you.” Oscar stared at her, taking deep breaths to calm himself. “You are right that you can’t return home at the moment. It’s not safe for you to go out at all because the Cotwg are clearly targeting you. We will train you to defend yourself against them. Your classes will start tomorrow morning but I’d like you to meet your trainer this afternoon.”
“Um, OK, thanks,” was what Oscar heard himself say.
Lady Amelia turned in her chair and called someone over. “Daphne, could you take Mr Thornton to meet Doctor Phoebus?”