Baskergrand The Nautilus

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The Betrayal

''Just stop here please, Merrysmith,'' Valerie ordered her driver. The carriage came to a standstill a few metres away from Charles' carriage, which was ahead of her. Valerie disembarked her carriage, and walked up to her coach driver Merrysmith.

''I shan't be too long. I just want...some time to myself for a little while,'' she told him.

''Of course, Miss. Take as much time as you need,'' Merrysmith replied with a warm smile. He was a stout man with round face, light brown hair and light green eyes.

''Thank you, Merrysmith,'' Valerie said as she returned a smile.

''Seems like you won't be alone though. Someone else is here,'' Merrysmith remarked, motioning to the carriage ahead.

''Yes...well, I won't be bothering them, so I hope they won't bother me,'' Valerie said. She then left Merrysmith by himself and walked down the path towards Tuckerby Bay until she came across the carriage belonging to Charles Beller.

''It's...empty,'' she said to herself, once she observed upon closer inspection that the carriage had been abandoned. She looked towards Tuckerby Bay, but was unable to spot Charles anywhere.

'I wonder where he could be,' she thought as she walked further towards the bay. As she approached the mouth of the bay, Valerie abruptly stopped at the sound of a hissing noise. She looked wildly around her, trying to identify the source of the strange sound.

''Valerie!'' she then heard her name being whispered. She surveyed a patch of bushes amongst the wooded area on the left side of her.

''Valerie!'' she heard her name sounding more nearer and louder. She glanced back at her carriage, and saw her coach driver Merrysmith distracted by the horses.

''Valerie!'' the person called once more, now sounding very close. As soon as Valerie turned her face forward, she was caught off guard as two hands lunged forward at her, grabbed hold of her shoulders and dragged her into the bushes. It was a man, and before Valerie could let out a scream, the man clamped his hand over her mouth.

''Garth! What do you think you are doing?!'' Valerie said angrily to the man, who turned out to be Garth Mason. They were both crouching low beneath the bushes that were providing cover for them.

''I apologise greatly for this, Valerie, but I couldn't have you being caught,'' Garth said to her.

''Caught by whom?'' she asked.

''Charles Beller, of course. I have been secretly observing him and Percival to see what they were up to on their frequent visits together, and I have seen some truly remarkable things. Now I know what Percival was always hiding from me,'' Garth said in a quiet tone. He looked out of a gap in the bushes, keeping a close eye on Charles, who was on the bay with both of the Nautilus suits. Valerie gazed at Charles through the gap, astonished at the sight of the suits.

''What...are those?'' Valerie asked, her eyes plastered on the suits.

''It was a revolutionary suit Percival and I had witnessed at the Great Exhibition in London, and Charles Beller had claimed that he had created it, but I am not so sure. I had not known that Percival had actually acquired it somehow, nor did I know he was working along with Charles. However, this is the first time I have come across the appearance of a second suit,'' Garth explained. Valerie looked at him, her eyes opened wide.

''So...Percival has been spending his time with Charles? Not with...that woman?'' Valerie asked aloud, more to herself than to Garth. Garth exchanged a puzzled look.

''Woman? What woman?'' Garth questioned. It was Valerie's turn to put on a baffled look.

''The woman I had seen Percival with at his home. She's from...America,'' Valerie answered. Garth's brow furrowed deeply as he wondered what Valerie meant.

''I have not seen a woman from America with Percival before. Is she there presently with him?'' Garth queried further.

''Yes...I had caught him with her, and I assumed...that was who you meant that Percival had been with when you said you had witnessed him in secret,'' Valerie responded. Garth and Valerie gave each other bemused looks.

'', I had meant that I had seen on the bay, and I had observed him inside one of those suits. I saw him...recover a dead body from under the water,'' Garth revealed. Valerie's face turned to horror.

''A dead...body?'' Valerie gasped. ''Are you saying...that Percival...murdered someone?'' Valerie asked him. She didn't want to believe her cousin and the love of her life was capable of taking someone's life.

''...I'm not sure. I hope it is not Percival who ended that poor man's life. But that is why I came down today to the bay to see if I could gain some answers. I do not want to believe that my best friend is a murderer,'' Garth said with growing conviction. Valerie stared intently at him, tears in her eyes.

''I want to know the truth as well,'' she responded firmly. They both nodded in silence and in agreement before continuing to spy on Charles.

''That's odd...where's Charles gone?'' Garth asked. They looked out of the gap in the bushes but were unable to spot where Charles had disappeared to.

''And one of the suits is missing as well. Has he gone do-'' Valerie began to say before she and Garth were surprised by one of the Nautilus suits. It had come from behind them and ripped away a bush that had been covering them.

''Aggh!'' Garth let out as the suit attacked him, knocking him unconscious.

''Garth!'' Valerie screamed as she tended to him. The Nautilus turned its attention to her, and raised one of its hands to her face. Valerie quickly sprung to her feet and ran out of the woods before it could attack her.

''Ugh!'' she moaned after the suit produced some sort of concussive blast from one of its hands that hit her from behind. She collapsed to the floor unconscious. Merrysmith had fallen asleep on top of the carriage, but awoke when he heard the commotion.

''Miss!'' he called out to Valerie, witnessing her motionless body on the floor. He jumped off of the carriage and ran towards her, but was surprised by the Nautilus suit, which came up in front of Valerie.

''What the-'' Merrysmith let out before he was attacked by a concussive blast. It knocked him to the ground, leaving him unconscious as well. The Nautilus suit then powered down, surrounded by the motionless bodies of Garth, Valerie and Merrysmith.

''Didn't anyone tell you people that curiosity killed the cat?'' Charles Beller said with a sinister smirk. He stood at the mouth of the bay, happily gazing at the work the Nautilus had accomplished under his control.

''Now, let's pay a visit to Percival, shall we?'' he spoke to the lifeless suit.

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