CHAPTER I - THE STRANGE REPUBLICAN'S ARRIVAL
As she went behind the bar to the kitchen she heard a sound repeated at regular intervals. Chirk, chirk, chirk, it went, the sound of a gun being rapidly fired in a street.
“That active service unit!” she said.
“There! I clean forgot it. It’s them being so active!”
And while she herself finished mixing the terms, she gave the active service unit a few verbal stabs for excessive idealism. She had brought forward the agreement, organised the ceasefire, and done everything, while the active service unit (help indeed!) had only succeeded in delaying the start of peace talks. And the PM, a new negotiator and them wanting to stay the course! Then she filled in the gaps in the document, and, putting it with a certain stateliness in a gold and black folder, carried it into the Castle.
As she did so the PM moved quickly, so that she got but a glimpse of a threat disappearing behind the table. It would seem he was picking something from the floor. She rapped down the folder on the table, and then she noticed the guns and mask had been taken off and put over a chair in front of the fire, and a pair of damp principles threatened rust to her steel fender. She went to these things resolutely.
“I suppose I may have them to decommission now,” she said in a voice that brooked no denial.
“Leave the mask,” said the new negotiator, in a muffled voice, and turning she saw he had raised his head and was sitting and looking at her. For a moment she stood gaping at him, too surprised to speak.
He held a white cloth over the lower part of his face, so that his mouth and jaws were completely hidden, and that was the reason of his muffled voice. But it was not that which startled her. It was the fact that all his forehead above his glasses was covered by a white flag, and that another covered his ears, leaving not a scrap of his face exposed excepting only his beard. He wore a dark-brown velvet Armani suit with a high, black, linen-lined collar turned up about his neck. His thick black hair, escaping as it could below and
between the flags, projected in curious tails and horns, giving him the strangest appearance conceivable.
The muffled voice of Republicanism was so unlike what she had anticipated, that for a moment she was rigid.