Slowly but surely the billowing fog of smoke started to clear, and as it cleared a figure emerged. The watchers held their breath (except the dodo, who slurped his tea).
The dark figure was wearing a great big overcoat with the collar turned up to his ears, and a great big military cap pulled down low over his nose. He had an enormous handlebar moustache. He coughed an evil cough.
He was, in fact (yes, you have guessed it) Colonel Crackpot.
Peregrine, Griselda and the Megamice (Arnold, Dorothy, Marigold) gasped, the dodo choked on his biscuit and the runner beans ran away (they do that).
‘Oh Colonel!’ cried she. ‘You poor soul! Did you crash your plane? Oh do come in, we can try to patch you up. Do you need patching? Maybe the plane needs patching?’ She gazed out at the wreckage that was beginning to appear through the smoke.
‘No I do not need patching!’ roared the Colonel. ‘I’m far too evil to need patching! I am here to… to…. Oh bother. Do you know, the crash has made me completely forget why I’m here. Not patching though!’
‘No, no, of course not,’ said Hildegard comfortingly. ‘You shall have a lovely cup of tea for the shock, and then when you’ve had a chance to calm yourself, I’m sure you’ll remember!’
Peregrine and Griselda looked at each other in bafflement.
‘She’s totally lost it!’ said Griselda. ‘First she kidnaps old Glooper’s mice, and now she’s inviting Colonel Crackpot in to tea!’
‘Things are about to get very messy!’ agreed Peregrine darkly.
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