Baskergrand The Nautilus

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Recovery Operation

Thursday midday could not have come more quickly for Percival, as he waited impatiently for the coffin to be delivered. He was loitering around the entrance to the stables around the corner of Comerton Hall, and kept glancing at his pocket-watch every few seconds.

''Come on, come on!'' he mumbled to himself in earnest. He looked down at his pocket-watch once more, which read the time being two minutes past twelve. When he looked up again, he saw and heard the trotting of a horse, and then a large coach came into view down the pathway to the stables.

''Finally!'' Percival exclaimed as he walked briskly towards the carriage.

''Are you Percival Baskergrand?'' the coachman, clad in black, asked when he stopped in front of Percival.

''Yes, I am he. You have the coffin?'' Percival asked him back. The coachman climbed down onto the ground. Percival looked nervously about him, afraid he was going to be caught.

''Yes, I have the coffin. It is quite heavy, though,'' the coachman remarked, going to the back of the coach and opening it up to reveal the coffin.

''That's quite all right. Thank you very much,'' Percival said, joining the man at the back of the coach.

''Where would you like me to help you carry it to?'' the coachman asked while he began to take hold of the coffin. Percival looked around once more, then looked towards the stables.

''Just ahead to the stables. We can put it in there for now,'' Percival said before he helped the coachman with the coffin. They positioned themselves so that Percival was at the back holding the coffin on his right shoulder, and the coachman was at the front, holding it up with his left shoulder. The men walked down towards the stables, with Percival ever so often turning his head when he could to ensure he had not been found out. Once they were inside the stables, Percival sighed in relief.

''Thank you very much,'' Percival said to the man, shaking his hand.

''You're welcome, sir. Good day to you,'' the coachman said before he left.

''And to you,'' Percival returned. Percival opened the stable door to make sure the coachman left without anyone stopping him to ask him why he was there. Percival then closed the door, then decided to take the coffin to the hidden tunnel that he had used to get to the stable. He dragged the heavy box out through the hidden door in the stable and down the steps into the tunnel. Once he had finished, he keeled over slightly and rested his hands on his knees so he could catch his breath. He looked to the coffin, seeing the name 'Jonathan Kingsbury III' etched into the gold name plate at the top.

''Sorry about this, Jonathan,'' Percival mused to himself before he came back through to the stables.

* * *

Night descended on Comerton Hall swiftly, and Percival smiled as he looked outside of the window in the drawing room.

''Dinner was lovely once again,'' Victoria Baskergrand commented. Percival's brother and father were also present with him in the room. Algernon yawned loudly as he leaned his head on his mother's arm.

''Time for you to get to bed, Algie. And for us too, darling,'' Alfred said, getting up to take Algernon.

''Yes, I am quite worn out now. Getting things ready for the ball is a chore,'' Victoria remarked while standing up and following her husband and young son out of the room.

''Try not to stay up too late, Percy,'' Alfred turned his attention to Percival. Percival turned to his father.

''I won't. Good night, all,'' he returned with a smile.

''Night!'' Algernon called out. Alfred and Victoria nodded and smiled to their son before they left the room. Percival was now all alone, and he glimpsed one last time out of the window before retreating to the tunnel beneath the drawing room.

'I have a coach ready for the coffin in the stable. I need to get it in there and go to Tuckerby Bay as soon as possible. Charles should be there already, so I can't leave him waiting too long,' Percival thought to himself as he scurried down the tunnel with his lantern. When he got to the coffin, he opened the hidden door to the stable, put his lantern down on the floor beside the horses' pen, then dragged the coffin back into the stable. He then opened up the carriage which was already in the stable, and managed to hoist it inside with much exerted effort. He then took his horse Mozart, tied him to the carriage, and climbed on top of the carriage with his lantern in tow.

''Let's go to Tuckerby once more, old boy,'' Percival said to his horse before they slowly crept out of the stables and left Comerton Hall. When his home was out of sight, Percival urged his horse to gallop ever faster towards Tuckerby Bay. As he approached the bay, he saw another black carriage with a man standing beside it. Percival smiled, coming to a standstill when he saw the man.

''What was so urgent that I was to come at night to Tuckerby Bay? Has something happened? Are you in trouble, Percival?'' the shrill voiced man questioned Percival profusely. The man was wearing a black coat over a beige waistcoat and black cravat, with cream trousers and black shoes. The man was Charles Gordon Beller, a friend of Percival's.

''I hope not, Charles. Lend me a hand, please?'' Percival responded to him after getting off of his carriage and going to the back. Charles looked confused as he came over with a lantern.

''Lend a hand with what?'' Charles queried further.

''With this coffin,'' Percival replied. Charles' face turned white with shock. He then turned and shook his head vehemently.

''No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! I do not want to be a part of this! I said no trouble, Baskergrand! No trouble!'' he exclaimed, going back to his carriage. All the while, Percival was trying to calm him down and stop him from leaving.

''It's not what you think, Charles, please believe me. There's nobody in the coffin. I just need you to help me get something in to coffin,'' Percival said quickly. Charles turned around slowly, his interest piqued.

''What do you mean, you need to get something in the coffin?'' Charles asked him, coming back to him. Percival smiled.

''I can't tell you. I can only show you. But...I'm going to need your help. Can you please aid me, old friend?'' Percival pleaded with Charles. Charles looked at him, then sighed.

''…All right, I'll help. But this better be worth it, Percival,'' Charles warned him. Percival smiled at him.

''Oh, it will be. It definitely will be,'' he mumbled as he and Charles took hold of the coffin. They travelled down the bay with it, with Percival in the front and Charles at the back.

''Where are we going?'' Charles asked, not sure why they were walking down the bay with a coffin.

''It's not much further. It should be,'' Percival spoke to Charles then to himself. He stopped when he spotted the alcove.

''It's here, come on!'' Percival beckoned Charles, before they set down the coffin. Charles came over with one of the lanterns, which had been resting on the coffin, and shone it near Percival. Percival dug through the sand excitedly, eager to get to the suit. Once he had felt it, Percival began tugging at it and brought it to the surface.

''Oh my...'' Charles gasped as he leaned in closer to get a look at the object Percival had unearthed.

''What is it?'' Charles asked, turning to Percival. Percival smiled and looked back at the suit.

''That's what you are going to find out,'' Percival replied.

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