Grubbs knelt down next to the child’s bed dropping low as to sniff the floor boards and bed sheets. Nippy paused contemplatively before pulling out a paddle with a piece of rubber running from it’s center to a similarly rubber projectile. He then immediately commenced using it to create a racket, much to Marcus' chagrin.
“Must he always do that? This isn’t a game Grubbs.” Marcus gritted looking disdainfully at the diminutive Creep.
Grubbs rose slowly inhaling sharply.
“It helps him think Marcus. I told you. He’s got a knack for figuring things out. You don’t like his methods, head to the Senate and ask for a certificate of Marshal Law.” Grubbs sneered in retort.
Marcus quieted knowing the old Creep was right. Grubbs did his time as a Sheepdog before the Tenebrion warped his body and spirit forever, and knows how the council looks at situations like the one he was in the middle of. If he found the demeanor of his current allies cold, it would be nothing like telling the Senate he had no leads on a suspect.
“Where do we go from here?” Marcus grumbled.
Grubbs looked down at Nippy, a look of stark fascination crossing over the tiny Creep’s grubby features. Nippy’s jowls suddenly drooped in time with his toy dropping to his side, clattering to the floor. The short statured Creep then bounced over to a chair next to the window and whimpered, pointed frantically at the burn marks on it, and the window sill. Grubbs lowered himself to see better and squinted.
“Whatever this thing is... it went out through the window, so what?” Grubbs spat, his long and sinister countenance twisting with disgust.
“It’s how he grabbed the girl.” Marcus said slowly looking at the window sill and chair more closely.
Nippy sighed loudly gesturing to the dolls on the bed. Marcus turned looking at the bed and the acid burned leavings of the creature that had quickly rendered it a stinking heap. The hand-sewn dolls were however utterly untouched, and the marks beneath them seemed to show a distinct pattern.
“Oh no.” Marcus said suddenly seeing what Nippy was pointing to.
“It went out through the window, but that’s not how it entered. Marcus, where are this girl’s Parents?” Grubbs said rubbing his left temple with one hand while dropping a scrap of food to Nippy with the other.
“M’yah!” Nippy said turning his large black eyes toward Marcus, his mouth full of food.
“He’s a tunnel worker and she’s a seamstress. She’s the one who approached me. By the Light, how could I have been so blind.” Marcus stammered bringing his hands up to cover his face.
“We have little time. Help me turn this place upside down.” Grubbs said stalking purposefully out of the little girl’s room.
A few moments later Marcus emerged from the back stall stumbling into the kitchen. Grubbs turned, having had just finished opening the last cupboard, dashing the contents onto the floor with his broad hands so Nippy could sift through it. Marcus was visibly pale clutching his codex of law in a vain attempt to derive some measure of comfort.
“What?” Grubbs turned menacingly his gaze wandering out past Marcus, his massive clawed hands stretching outward.
“I found the tunnel worker’s wife.” Marcus stammered.
“Oh.” Grubbs said shrinking a little.
“What’s left of her is in a two gallon bronze canister in the stall out back.” Marcus said his hands shaking.
“It stuffed her into a milking pail? Thats. Well. Impressive, wouldn’t you say Nippy.” Grubbs said vacantly turning to Nippy who could only nod somewhat awestruck.
Marcus turned putting both hands down on the counter in the now disheveled kitchen and closed his eyes. This was bad. Everything was pointing to some Tenebrial horror somehow making it inside the city. How could things have gone so wrong? Marcus shook his head, his mind quickly returning to his training, all that he’d learned as a Sheepdog. Then, he took a deep breath and turned to his two motley allies.
“Tell me you found something helpful in here.”
Grubbs and Nippy turned and looked at each other again exchanging knowing glances.
“Yeah, but you really aren’t going to like it, and probably won’t want to report it.” Grubbs said placing a sack of what sounded like gold coins on the table.
Nippy bounced up onto the counter holding his small arms out as if to put the sack on display. Marcus reached out to open the sack but Nippy swatted his hand away sharply, then moved in the way, arms folded.
“You better let us handle it. These are chitterling sovereigns, about fifty of them.” Grubbs began slowly.
“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed, one of his small feet drawing a circle in spilt flour on the counter.
Marcus took a step back, his face growing dark. Angry.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Marcus said looking down at Nippy then back up at Grubbs.
Grubbs sighed loudly.
“That’s because you aren’t supposed to. This currency is traded only by creatures out in the Tenebrion where it is minted.” Grubbs explained his face stony and impassive.
“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed waving a handful of kitchen herbs over the sack and its dire contents.
“How could you know all this unless... no. I don’t want to know. All this means is that the tunnel worker and his wife, like me, had no clue what they were getting into when they accepted this money.” Marcus said his shoulders slumping slightly.
Grubbs looked expectantly at Marcus, his black eyes darting down suggestively at the sack sitting on the counter in front of him, then back up at Marcus.
“Yeah. I want nothing to do with those coins, nor do I want to see them circulating in the city.” Marcus said as deadpan as possible.
“You’re the boss. Boss. I’m sure that Nippy and I can help you out.”
“Fine. Can we please head to the tunnels now, maybe the tunnel worker isn’t dead?”
Marcus stalked out of the kitchen trying to ignore a large clawed hand meeting up with a small stubby one in a high-five somewhere in his wake.