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Next, I went out in search of the Queen. She was playing a game of cribbage with herself, obviously waiting for someone to come and tell her what was going on. The instant she saw me she motioned for me to sit down and dealt me in.

"Cribbage is never quite as fun when you play by yourself," she commented pleasantly. Perhaps life would be alright after all.

"So I hear that you discovered the little mishap that happened earlier this morning?" I asked.

"Yes, and I assume it will be fixed by this afternoon," she said with a smile as she lifted up a particularly large book and hefted it a bit upwards. "But no, I forget myself," she smiled a bit wider as she lowered the volume to the table again. Nevermind life being alright, I could tell that she was thinking of what she might do to Alex if the library wasn't back soon.

"We hope it'll be fixed," I said but, knowing there was probably no way that it would be possible. "I hate to leave you in the middle of a cribbage hand, but I really must be off."

"Well, I expected as much," she said, "This game wasn't going well anyway, I was losing. Hmmm, what can I do now? I know, maybe I can go for a walk around the kingdom. It's a nice day isn't it?"

"Umm, yes it's a very nice day!" I exclaimed as I got up from the table. It would be nice to get her out of the castle.

"Oh, do you know where Hannah is, that dragon?" she asked, "Maybe she would like to come with me."

"She's hibernating right now. She should be awake in a few days though," I told her.

"Oh, that's right, I remember now. Drat," she muttered thoughtfully, "Well, I'm off."

"Well, can we expect you for lunch?" I asked.

"What time is it now?" she asked.

"About 11:15."

"Then no, I think I'll visit the Barbarian's Lair and see Jaana the Barbarian around noon or so," Maura said.

"Have a good time," I said. I decided not to remind her that Jaana was visiting her relatives. At least Maura would get out of the castle for a little bit. I hurried out the door before she had time to say anything else.

Alex told me later that Maura stopped by his laboratorium on her way outside. He was slaving over one of the larger volumes of the Encyclopedia on How to Fix Mistakes when Maura came in. She snuck up behind him without him noticing. Just as he started to turn the page, she cleared her throat. Alex jumped backwards, causing the stool he was perched on to topple over which in turn caused Alex to topple over.

"I didn't see you there," Alex groaned from where he lay on the floor.

"Sorry if i disturbed you. I just came by to see how the rescue effort is going."

"Fine, fine. I'm just getting started though," he said loudly as if he was trying to convince himself that it really was going well.

"Do you have any information to report?" Maura queried.

"Nothing much at the moment, however I did run across a neat little fix for getting mustard off of sweaters."

"I am off for a walk outside. Do you want to come?"

"Maura, if you want me to fix this problem, I have to stay here and work on it."

"Ah, yes, of course. Yes... you shall stay here until my library is back and you are only allowed to leave if you have to pace."

"What about food?!" he cried.

"Oh... just talk to Claire."

"But I can't talk to Claire if she's downstairs."

"Oh right... hmmm... I guess we could eat in here until you fix your mistake."

There was silence for a bit as neither one knew quite what to say next. Alex got up off the floor and brushed off his robe. He picked up the stool, sat upon it, and looked at Maura.

"My library is gone!" Maura wailed. (I guess she momentarily lost it.)

Alex gave her a reassuring hug, she sobbed on his shoulder for a minute or two, and then she was fine (at least until the next time).

"Well, I shall let you get back to work. I will stop by later on to see if the library is back," Maura said and she left for the great outdoors.

With Maura out of the castle and Alex shut up in his laboratorium, I realized that i had nothing to do. In the general feeling of adventure and boredom, I decided I would wander off to the dungeons and have a chat with Chris. Chris had mentioned that he would be there today. Other than his brief appearance at the SEM, I had not talked to him in almost a week. Perhaps it was his fault. He had been skipping too many meals.

Go Back to Chapter 1

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