Duke Magnus and Lady Susanna’s passion lay at the university at Stockholm, where the duke, like Stiletto, had a special library. Unfortunately, their particular library, and home, had been destroyed in the parallel universe of the Earth that had been blown up by The Rabbit. In this universe, there would be another Magnus and Susanna in Stockholm.
Being a scholar of ancient Earth languages and sharing Duke Magnus’s passion for books and libraries, Stiletto was going to take Magnus and Susanna, along with Lady Bane, to visit the library in Alexandria. However, top hats and silk dresses would definitely cause a bit of a stir, so Stiletto, also an expert in ancient cultures, had made a pre-visit to Rome to purchase togas for the gentlemen, and stolas for the ladies. After all, he had a mentor who liked to buy his suits in Rome.
In future days everyone is fitted with inbuilt neural translators, so the myriad lifeforms of the universe can communicate with each other, so it had been a simple affair for Stiletto to fashion his friends with the ability to speak Latin and Egyptian, although with a Roman accent, as they would be posing as tourists, which of course, they were.
It was true that the Girl with the Red Hair had also had her planet blown up, but she had shifted effortlessly back into the Sweden of this universe by seemingly eliminating her parallel self. In fact, being essentially a good person, although she had chosen to serve The Rabbit, she had arranged for her parallel self to have a new life on an Earth colony in the future.
Duke Magnus was sat on a marble bench in the great library in Alexandria reading a scroll of Plato’s Republic, in what was possibly Plato’s own hand. A great scholar of Greek philosophy, he knew the text inside out and this version contained several arguments and explanations of the theory of forms that had never made it to posterity. Sat on the bench beside him, his wife, Lady Susanna, kept on breaking into howls of laughter as she absorbed one of the funnier plays of Aristophanes.
The Rabbit couldn’t give a fig for the achievements of Greek thought, or any other kind of human achievement for that matter. All The Rabbit wanted, was results.
The Girl with the Red Hair, now fully recovered from being shot by Stiletto at the Fitzwilliam, was struggling to keep up with the events of the last few months. Recruited by The Rabbit, she had witnessed the destruction of the Earth, only to return to a carbon copy of her previous existence. The Rabbit was an enigma, but serving him was fun, and it transpired she had a talent for mayhem on a cosmic scale.
Lady Bane, a woman of spontaneity and action, had got bored in the Library, and she and Stiletto were exploring the adjacent streets. They passed easily as Romans, for Egypt was part of the Empire and Alexandria was full of merchants and military, but for all his wisdom, Stiletto had forgotten about slaves. No noble Roman lady would be out and about without personal attendants easing the way.
Stiletto and Sarah had been marked, but marked as what? The beggar with the scarred face knew they were wrong but didn’t know why. Clearly, they were noble Romans, but unlike any he had ever seen.
Stiletto wasn’t worried. He had seen the beggar in the shadows, and the ragamuffin messenger who raced off, and had correctly assessed the situation. Trading his top hat for a toga had been fun, and its folds hid a treasury of concealed weaponry.
Turning to warn Sarah of the threat, he was astonished to see she was gone. Astonishment changed to incredulity as the arrow hit him from behind, and pierced his right shoulder. He staggered a few steps, and then fell to the cobbled street.
The Girl with the Red Hair watched from the shadows. She had seen Lady Bane taken, and Stiletto shot, and watched as men in rags fought with the badly wounded adventurer. Deciding to act, she looped her wire over the head of the first attacker, removing his head with a tug, and drove the point of her blade through the back of the neck of a second. It was all the relief Stiletto required, and he quickly dispatched the other two, blood seeping through his white toga where the arrow shaft stood proud. The adventurer had miscalculated, and where was Sarah?