The courtyard, as he entered it, was empty, with a number of picnic tables and benches near the Tearoom, which had a sign on the door, advising that due to Covid-19 it was closed until further notice, and apologising for any disappointment, then Bernie heard a cry of "mihi!" behind him, and as he turned, he saw everyone from The Old School House, plus a few others, emerging from where they had been hiding—he had been tricked, just as he had cheated, and he burst out laughing, and it was Teri who spoke first: "are you pleased to see us? or is that a map sticking out of your pocket?" and he blushed furiously, "how did you know?" and it was one of the newcomers who spoke next: "we've had you under constant surveillance from that drone," pointing into the sky where Bernie could see nothing, but she continued, "oh, it's there all right, first you've heard of them I suppose, by the way I'm Detective Sergeant Isa Urquhart and this is my DC Milly Millican, she's the one with the know-how, I understand it's our room you've got at the moment, well, it better be spick and span by the time we come home," then everyone was talking at once, and Bernie felt like a bit of a tinhorn, oh, a solicitor from Glasgow, forget the time-difference, still a city-slicker among country bumpkins for all their degrees and experience, but they'd soon sorted him out, he reached out and caught Teri by the elbow: "so what was it all about?" he asked? and she grinned back at him: "don't worry, we wanted to see how you'd do it and Auntie Cristo was right, first you took a map, if you hadn't we could have been in for a long wait, and you worked out the clues faster than I thought them up, ah, here's Susie with the grub," as a young woman carrying a huge tray came out of the Tearoom, followed by two girls with teapots and coffee jugs, "they're still shut, like it says, but for a Special Occasion, Susie and the girls pulled out all the stops—they've doing home deliveries to vulnerable people who're shielding, so had all the necessaries here anyway, and this doesn't interfere with their timing, we brought all our own crockery and cutlery, so there won't be much washing-up needing done here," and as a stocky man turned into the courtyard, she said: "Peter, thanks for coming, this is Bernie," and Bernie automatically put out his hand, then realised why the other had his in his trouser pockets, and let it drop, "this is taking a bit of time for us to get used to," he said and the other man nodded: "we've had three months or more to change our behaviour, don't worry," and Teri said: "Peter is a solicitor, too, from Edinburgh, and he's had some run-ins with Sir Parlane MacFarlane and his Ring of Gold, and we thought that if you two could put your heads together you might be able to help work out who, what, where, when, why and most importantly how?" and Peter chipped in: "at the risk of it sounding like adynaton, MacFarlane is way off the scale when it comes to crime, all sorts, theft, rape, murder, here, there, everywhere, we catch sight of him, but he slips away, he seems to have some kind of a map of the wormholes he uses to go from one point in Space/Time to another, backwards, forwards, sideways, and whenever he and Doubleday and others in his gang have been killed, their bodies disappear and they pop up somewhere else, but there's a theory that it happens because it's already too late, that they aren't being caught in their actual present, if you get me, but in their past, and the only way to stop them is to go to the point which is their own Now! if you like, when they are as old as they have ever been, just as we are, here, today, right now, you follow?" and Bernie nodded, "yes, I see what you're getting that, you can't kill them in their Past, because they have already moved beyond that, whether they've gone forward or backward in Time doesn't matter, you are only eliminating the memory of their existence which is why the bodies disappear, but what help can I be with that?" and Daphne handed him a coffee and a plate of sandwiches, and said: "it was Rabbi Burns' idea, well, no, it was Zelda's, but Shmuel came over last night, late, and told us about your enquiries into family members who disappeared, were murdered, during the Holocaust, and we had that musing about going back in time and killing Hitler, but if Time isn't strictly Linear, that wouldn't make any difference, because a later version of him is still alive doing what he did, but the difference between Hitler and MacFarlane is that MacFarlane has broken out of the limitations of the Space/Time Continuum and he is doing that consecutively, going to 1866, then to 1974, then 25 AD and then 25,000 BC and at some point in all that slipping and sliding about, is the man as we are now, and that is the point at which he can be stopped, permanently, and we, well, Zelda, thought that you and Peter here might be just the pairing needed, the right partnership, like Marx and Engels, Lennon and McCartney, och, ye ken whit ah mean, divn't ye" and Bernie, popping a delicious cake into his mouth, nodded, swallowed, said: "maybe I'm not a gourmand, but I could live like this forever, yes, I do see, and I'll be happy to work with Peter and maybe before we're finished we might be permitted to shake on it! and I take it the Loch Brothers will be involved? they are private detectives after all," and he lowered his voice, "or do your local bobbies get jealous?"