We decided to call a temporary halt to our tour of Homeward until the danger from Beaver, and the Wizard's Dressing Gown of Invisibility, was over.
It had been strange being home again, there was a peculiar atmosphere that everyone had felt. An odd feeling of being watched all the time.
This morning the phone in the great hall rang very early. "It's the King of the Badgers, Sir." said the Old Monkey giving me a meaningful look. "Right, well I better speak to him straight away." I replied.
I made sure everyone could hear my side of the conversation."What's that you say, King, you desperately need five million pounds? for an orphan's home?" I bellowed "You shall have it right away!" I then turned to my followers "Quick, Cowgill, get a lorry, we need to take some funds from the Treasury to the King of the Badgers." I shouted urgently.
The Treasury is reached from the room adjoining the hall. The whole of the floor rises to reveal a long smooth passage of brilliantly lighted steel that slopes gently downwards. The lorry glided down and after a long journey we drew up at a huge barrier of massive steel. My Treasury is guarded by a very good sentry called Oldeboy.
He is only about sixteen, but he is always pretending to be old. He admires Noddy Ninety so much he copies him in every possible way, even wearing an artificial beard and large spectacles. As we stopped he came out of his sentry-box which had a flamethrower fixed on the top of it. "Stand, every one of you, and then come up to the light. Lets' have a look at you, one by one, or I'll turn the flame-thrower on you!" shouted Oldeboy.
As we were being checked through Oldeboy's security inspection I praised him on his thoroughness "Good Show, Oldeboy - Everything Ready?"
"Yes, Sir, All is in order, the gold is ready for collection in Bay Four!" he shouted back to me and gave the signal for the lorry to move on.
My treasury resembles a vast cave lined with steel. Valuables are piled everywhere in majestic confusion. We drove the lorry up to Bay Four and my followers had soon filled it with gold. I began to shout new instructions "Right, off to the King of the Badgers, then..." but, before I got any further the Old Monkey found himself being thrown from the drivers seat as if by some unseen force.
Of course, I was prepared for this event - it was exactly what I was expecting.
"Fire !" I cried and at that Cowgill appeared holding a long rubber pipe. A gush of treacle spewed forth. This soon hit some invisible obstacle and, as it covered the object, a figure gradually began to be revealed beneath the layer of solidifying treacle. It was, of course, Beaver Hateman wearing a treacle covered dressing gown.
A further spray of treacle enveloped another object. The spectral Hootman was now corporeal.
My suspicions were confirmed - Beaver and Hootman had been hiding in Homeward Hall all the time - waiting for an opportunity to get into my Treasury and escape with my money. Hence, the faked phone call from the King of the Badgers. But, an invisible dressing gown, only makes it's wearer invisible whilst it remains clean. The ingenious idea of the Treacle Gun had been Cowgill's.
Beaver threw the dressing gown to the floor "Useless rubbish! - Try to drown me in treacle would you - you stinking dictator?" he cried "You will live to rue this day!."
My followers made a grab for them - but they had prepared an exit strategy. They had opened up a tunnel that they had made on a previous attempt to infiltrate my Treasury and scuttled off down it before they could be captured.
"Shall we give chase, Sir?" asked Cloutman. I felt it wiser not to attempt to follow them - they had almost certainly booby-trapped the tunnel entrance.
Hopefully the Badfort Crowd will be chastened by this experience and we can continue our tour in peace.
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