true, then was Cecilia in more or less danger? An employer would be less likely to hurt her, but then, if things were that simple, why kidnap her? It might be that the Order had decided she was no longer useful to them, in which case, Cecilia might conceivably be dead already. There was no way of knowing.
“This all keeps coming back to the same thing,” Scarlett said at last. “We need to find the Order. Do you know how to do that, Tavian?”
Tavian shook his head. “People do not find the Order,” he said. “It finds them.”
S carlett was not sure exactly how they should go about bringing the Order to them, but the simplest way seemed to be to ask further questions until the Order could not ignore her any longer. Neither Tavian nor Gordon seemed particularly happy with that idea when she suggested it, but they did not speak out against it openly, and that was enough for the time being.
Scarlett set off with them in tow, ostensibly browsing the shops and emporia of Central London with the two men to escort her, but actually endeavoring to remember all that she could of Holmes’ network of informants. She stopped at a small bookshop to talk with the owner about what he had heard, paying sixpence more for a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy than it was worth, then paused in an alley to hand a penny to a street urchin, with the promise of half a crown if there was useful information from him later. She talked to newspaper vendors and cab drivers, wandering traders and a few more specialized individuals, including one purveyor of ‘artifacts’ whose wares were nowhere near genuine, but who could still be relied upon to hear news in that field from those who dabbled in it.
It was not easy. Holmes would no doubt have had the information from his network over the course of an hour or so, but he had a reputation to play on, as well as access to far more individuals who might have heard something than Scarlett did. Scarlett only knew of a few of the more important informants, and they were generally less willing to deal with a young woman than they were the city’s most famous detective. Money eased the way a little, but still, Scarlett got the feeling that people were not being as forthcoming as they might be.
The presence of Gordon and Tavian helped at first. Scarlett would have liked to believe that she would have gotten through all the informants without giving up even had she been alone, but the presence of two handsome young men to escort her certainly made things a little easier.
They even helped to get information from some of those the three met. Those who could not believe that a mere girl might be playing at the serious business of detection were prepared to address such answers as they had to the other two. To their credit, both young men consistently reminded people that it was Scarlett they should be talking to, but she had no doubt that they got more answers than she did.
Not that there seemed to be many answers to be had. Almost no one would admit to having heard of the Order. The few that did admit they did so in hushed tones, and were able to tell Scarlett no more than Tavian had before. Scarlett tried to console herself with the thought that gaining information was not the point of the exercise so much as catching the Order’s attention, but even so, it was disheartening.
Perhaps that was partly to blame for the increasing fractiousness between the two young men, although Scarlett had to admit that they hardly started the day as the greatest of friends. They were not openly hostile, but neither went out of his way to be friendly to the other, and both seemed a little too willing to pass pointed comments. When they met a couple of urchins who were clearly looking for pockets to pick, Gordon actually remarked that Tavian should deal with them, since they were as unkempt as most gypsies, while Tavian shot back that at least, unlike most well to do young men, he knew that