Fetherstone House was a gigantic estate not far from where Natasha and Buffy had arrived. Al and Ganesh led the duo to a smaller house off to one side.
"It's not much but I call it home as does that ingrate..." Al said pointing at Ganesh who was already slumped on a sofa. The furnishings were beautiful except for the massive safe in the living room.
"Is that Ganesh's room...or yours?" Buffy asked the Lion Officer while nodding at the heavy iron box.
"Neither. It's just that His Majesty's Government requires all weapons to be properly secured when not on a military facility," Ganesh said, "His nibs got a little snippy about it and got that monstrosity as an act of passive-aggression. Open it up and see."
Natasha reached out and swung open the heavy but unlocked door. Inside were silverware and kitchen knives.
"It's just not right to not be allowed to display the family arsenal," Al said, harrumphing behind his mustache. It's just not at all right."
"So where real weapons?" Natasha asked drily.
"Gerry's got the old family heirlooms secured in a vault at the main house. He won't let me see them. I have a warding kast on the door however so he needs me to get inside. I know he can't pawn them when I'm not looking."
"Would he?" Natasha asked.
Al smiled fiercely, "He tried sneaking something out...once. They technically belong to both of us though which gives me a legal leg to stand on. I've tried buying him out, but he won't budge. Rather see me fume I bloody well gather."
"Why is your brother so mad at you?" Buffy asked.
"Because after he spent all this time talking about how I was a bloody disgrace to the family and that he would never be remembered in the same way as his shameful sibling. I return with a bunch of medals and a special commendation from His Majesty. He's a peer, but I'm a knight. People don't bloody remember him the same way they remember me alright."
"So all of this because you made him look foolish? You Lions odd."
"Agreed," Ganesh replied, "Us members of the Royal Coalition are so much more sensible..."
Al gave Ganesh a gimlet eyed stare that the smaller man obviously ignored, "Anyway, we need to find rooms and food for you two. I'll cook. Sergeant, you are now the chambermaid. Make some beds!"
"Sir yes sir! This way, you want to stay out of his path when he's on a culinary tear. You may end up in the oven instead of the roast," Ganesh escorted the two women upstairs. There were many unoccupied bedrooms and Buffy realized just how big the main house must be if the guest house was so large.
"So what have you two been doing after Tasha and I left? What happened?"
"Well, you two vanished from in front of us and Diane, Al, and I were in a top-secret complex in Temnyvod. Getting out was a little tricky, but we managed. Once outside we made our way to the WTA Embassy. Since no one knew we were even in the country to start with it was fairly easy to sneak out. Once back in Stone City we were debriefed and got a bunch of medals hung on us. Mister Hanover was very interested as to what happened when we got to Nokgorka, but we played dumb to everything after the mine," as Ganesh was talking he was pulling bedlinens from a closet. Making the bed was a simple as Natasha lifting the mattress with her telekinesis and the other two tucking in the sheets and blankets.
"The medals were just for the Black Kommisar stuff?" Buffy asked.
"Oh no, we had been undercover for years. Found out a lot of dirty laundry. It's just that the higher-ups decided we deserved a reprieve especially after that last bit which involved basically shutting down Third Department. The King found out and decided to set it up so we couldn't be made to go undercover again. He is a very nice gentleman by the way. Not at all like the Captain."
"So by praising you in public, it impossible to say you disgraced."
"So what have two of you been doing since?"
"Well he came back here and you see how well that has turned out. I tagged along otherwise I may have to see my family and my ex-wives. Aside from getting into fights and complaining that he's bored Al has been doing basically nothing except practice his kasts and his shooting."
"Shooting? I thought you said arsenal secured?"
"Oh come on now Natasha. I thought you would appreciate the fact that somebody lied to the government?" Ganesh led them down a flight of stairs and through a swinging bookcase into a cellar.
"They used this during the Insurrectionist Period to hide Priests. It's truly amazing what modern military protocols can do with a good start."
They were in a long room with heavy concrete walls. Along the back line were racks of weapons from the ancient to the modern including a pair of hooks and a hailer's harness.
"I guess there is an entrance into the main house's vault that Gerry doesn't know about?" Buffy asked innocently.
"I really wouldn't know what you're talking about," Al said having just entered the range and armory, "Anyway, if you're finished spilling state secrets Sergeant, dinner is served. And we have another guest..."
"Hey evil-me! We never did get to go shopping." Agent Diane Bowie Emergency Tactical Team of the Western Transnational Alliance's Central Bureau of Investigation and a dead ringer in appearance for Buffy Summers had arrived.