I: Mystery in the Garden

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Today, the weather is in one of its rare, perfectly glorious moods. I can’t bear to waste it so I’ve taken a break from my work to sit in the garden. The sun is hot, but the air is cool enough to counterbalance its effects.

A few young trees hide me from the view of the others enjoying the garden, but I can see the open-air council chamber a few paces away – empty now, for we have no crisis to avert.

A lone caretaker is working among the plants. I’ve never seen him before. Something about him seems…a bit odd. He appears to be placing new specimens in an empty corner of an old flowerbed. A perfectly ordinary task, I suppose.

Then again, I don’t remember that corner being empty before. And the caretaker seems awfully intent on his digging.

Curious, I stand from my bench and casually stroll by him, glancing into the bucket holding the new plants. He takes one out just as I look, and I can see that there seems to be a small bundle at the bottom of the bucket, wrapped in dark cloth.

He catches me looking and scowls. “Extra fertilizer,” he grumbles, snatching the bundle out and shoving it in one of the holes he dug in the flowerbed.

I nod politely and walk away.

Fertilizer. Yeah, right.