Rose let out a breath as she reached for the phone. Having that chat with Aurora really helped. Maybe she could patch things up with Nars, again. What was it with them? Nars knew that Rose enjoyed a good mystery, and that she was good at solving them. So why was this so hard for them? Maybe it was time for them to take a break from each other. Letting out another breath, she finally dialed the number. The phone rang a few times, and Rose was surprised at herself for hoping that he wouldn’t pick it up. But someone did pick up the phone and answer it.
“Jones residence, a friend of theirs is speaking,” came the voice over the line.
“Um, hello, this is Rose Brier, I need to speak to Nars.”
“Rose? This is Hyacinth!”
Rose let out a gasp. “Hyacinth? What, what are you doing at Nars’ house?”
“Crocus thought it would be a good idea to cheer him up, even though we’ve just about cracked our case,” Hyacinth replied with a grumble. “And, um, you know, give him some advice, some tips especially on what it means to court a detective.”
“You did? How, how is he taking it?”
“Surprisingly well,” replied Hyacinth. Rose blinked, there was such an odd tone in his voice. Was he really that upset over them having to pause their mystery to help out a friend? He had never been like that before, unless they had been really close and he was worried that the culprit was getting away. In which case, she completely understood, that could be pretty irritating. But then, why would Crocus even suggest talking to Nars? He tended to be more adamant about capturing the culprit more so than Hyacinth sometimes! But Rose put it out of her mind for that moment, there were other issues to take care of.
“May I speak with him?”
“Who? Nars or Crocus?”
Rose let out a laugh. “Nars, you silly. He’s my boyfriend, I’m not courting your brother.”
Hyacinth let loose a laugh through the phone. “It would be really weird if you were courting my brother. Man, really, really weird. Jas has a hard enough of a time with him when they’re on separate mysteries.”
“Doesn’t she ask you to keep him in line?”
“Being a detective and doing that are my full-time jobs,” quipped Hyacinth.
Rose let out another laugh. “I can tell, with him being your brother and all. Anyway, can you please put Nars on?”
“Uh, yeah, yeah, sure, uh, hang on a second.” Rose blinked again, there was that tone again. She was a detective, so, why couldn’t she figure him out?
“Nars! Hey, are you alright?”
“After that fight we had? No, not really. I’ve been doing some major thinking.”
“So have I. Nars, listen . . .”
“Real quick Rose, I want to tell you . . . well, I’ve been talking about this a lot with Crocus, and well . . . oh man, how do I put this?”
“What about Hyacinth?” Rose asked out of curiosity.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he was the one who answered your phone, so, I thought that both of them were talking to you about it, but you only mentioned Crocus,” mentioned Rose.
Nars sounded like he was laughing nervously. “Oh, uh, right, about that, um . . . he didn’t tell you, did he?”
“Tell me what?”
“Rose, Hyacinth broke up with Camellia . . . well, it was a mutual decision.”
“What? Oh, poor Hyacinth!” Well that explained Hyacinth’s tone of voice and why he hadn’t talked with Nars, he was having his own relationship problems! “If you could put him back on the phone once we’re finished, that would be great.”
“Thanks Nars. Now, as you were saying?”
“Ah, yes, um, maybe we should kind of follow suit.”
“Now, wait, hear me out here. We’re not going to be technically breaking up, whenever there’s a couple thing going on, like some of the dances here, we’ll go together. But, outside of that, well, we basically just live our lives.” Rose was quiet for a moment, completely surprised by this suggestion. “Rose, you there?”
“Oh, yes, sorry Nars, I was just so surprised . . . I had to think about it for a second.”
“You were expecting the same thing we do every time we get into an argument, huh? Make up over a dinner date and a dance?”
Rose chuckled nervously. “Yes I’m afraid so.”
“Well, I think it’s time to break that cycle if we expect to get anywhere.”
“I . . . actually agree. We’re not getting anywhere with what we’ve been doing before.”
“Exactly, Crocus pointed that out to me. As a couple, we’re supposed to grow together, but since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, as Crocus informed me, well . . . let’s just say I don’t want either of us to be viewed as insane.”
“Neither do I.”
“Oh, good, so, we’re on the same page then. And, are we in agreement?”
“I, I think so. I mean, Crocus is right, if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, well, we’re not going to get anywhere anytime soon.”
“Exactly. So, um, this is doable for you, right?”
“Yes, I think it sounds reasonable.”
“Good. That being said, I am worried about you.”
“Nars . . .”
“I know, I know, you’re a big girl and can handle yourself, and have done so on many occasions. But, I don’t want to sort of break up with you only to find out you’re dead the next day, alright?”
“Oh, alright,” Rose replied with a sigh, though a soft smile was pulling at her lips.
“Great! Hyacinth and Crocus should be there the day after tomorrow . . .”
“You asked the Parkers to keep an eye on me?” Rose asked incredulously.
“Well, yeah, they’re the only ones available, once they’re finished with this case, of course. Should have it wrapped up by tonight. They’ll catch the first train out to Castille tomorrow, at least, I hope.”
“If we can solve this mystery by tonight!” Crocus’ voice echoed in the background.
“Point is, they’ll catch the first train out there after they’ve solved this mystery.”
“But Nars . . .”
“Please, for me? I’d feel much better knowing that at least two other people are watching your back. Besides, no monster, real or not, stands a chance when the three of you work together.”
Rose smiled. “Yes, that’s true. Oh, alright, for you Nars.”
“Thank you Rose.” Rose closed her eyes, she could practically see the relieved smile on his face, his grey eyes reflecting his smile with that soft twinkle of his.
“You’re welcome Nars.”
“Well, um, goodbye, for now. Here’s Hyacinth and Crocus, they’ll fill you in on everything else.”
“Thank you Nars, and, well, I guess I’ll see you soon.”
“Yeah, with the Parker brothers at your side, yeah, I will see you soon.” Rose let out a chuckle, she could hear the mischievous grin in his voice. But in the next second, Hyacinth’s voice came back on the line.
“H-hey Rose, so, um, Nars told you, huh?”
“Yes, I’m so sorry about Camellia. We all thought you two were doing so well!”
“Oh, um, that, yeah. Actually I was referring to Nars having talked us into heading out there to join you.”
“More like talked you into it, though there wasn’t much convincing to be done,” quipped Crocus, his voice coming over the line sounding rather annoyed. “If there’s anything we can count on you two agreeing on, that’s Rose’s safety.”
“Don’t you mean four of us? Mr. Brier and his sister are in agreement too, you know?”
“Well that’s always a given. Our parents are in on that too, worrying about us.”
“Whatever, point is . . .”
“Point is Dad actually agreed, and we have tickets for tomorrow morning’s first train. Guess we’ll be seeing Castille after all.”
“Is that really such a problem?” asked Rose, a huge grin spreading on her face.
“Are you making fun of me?” asked Crocus.
“No, just wondering, that’s all, considering that you and Hyacinth wanted this case just as much as I did.”
“Everybody wanted this case, Rose, it’s just you and Crocus talked the most about it,” remarked Hyacinth.
Rose nodded, even though they couldn’t see her. “Yes, that’s true. Sorry about that.”
“No, you’re fine. Like I said, we all wanted it, but the castle’s owner picked you,” replied Hyacinth.
“Lucky,” mumbled Crocus. “Seen any ghosts yet?”
Rose chuckled. “No, not yet, it’s barely after noon. I only got in this morning.”
“Done much detective work?” asked Hyacinth.
“Outside of getting acquainted with the locals? No, not much. It seems that once someone has my attention, they insist on playing a board game or telling a story! But the real action may actually come tonight. Most sightings are at night anyway.”
“Any idea what it could be?” asked Hyacinth.
“No, the locals have been pretty vague about it. No one has actually seen it, but they can all agree that they hear this odd howl before the monster strikes.”
“Odd? How odd?” asked Crocus.
“Well, I can’t exactly say for sure, I haven’t heard it. Everyone else compares it to the howl of a wolf blended with an owl hoot, or a cat’s howl, or even a bat screech!”
“Uh, OK, they can’t quite pinpoint what it sounds like, can they?” quipped Crocus.
“Maybe its one of those sounds that you just have to hear for yourself,” remarked Hyacinth.
“Quite possibly,” agreed Rose.
“Hmm, man, now I really can’t wait to wrap pup this mystery and head on over there! It just sounds so awesome!” exclaimed Crocus.
“Are you sure it’s not really because you’re hoping that some lovely damsel needs saving,” quipped Hyacinth. Rose snorted.
“Oh come on you two! You know that I’m hopelessly in love with Jasmine Winters!”
“Uh-huh, yeah, sure you are. Mind telling her that when you’re flirting with a lovely damsel in your arms, like, I don’t know, what you just did with Smilax?”
“Hey, she was my first crush! And she finally noticed me after, what, ten years? Dude, I was not going to pass up the opportunity. But have no fear, I got to know her a little better, and well, Jas still has my heart, man. No other girl can take it away from her, or convince me to take it from her to give to them.”
“Aw, Crocus, that was so sweet,” cooed Rose.
“Don’t let him fool you, Rose, he’s got a lot of that hidden up his sleeve.”
“What are you talking about, Jace? You’re still trying to get your crush to notice you!”
“Crocus!” hissed Hyacinth.
“Hyacinth! Was that the real reason why you broke up with Camellia?”
“No! I, I broke up with her because it just wasn’t going to work out, and we both came to that realization, finally. I really do like her, Rose, but, it’s . . . it just wasn’t going to work between the two of us.”
“Yeah man, even slowpoke Stephanotis Wolters could have told you that. We could all tell a mile away that it wasn’t going to work. But you kept working at it, and I’m proud of you for that, bro.”
“Hey, um, listen, I should probably let you go finish your case. I just remembered a couple of questions that I need to ask the Mayor.”
“Rose Brier, are you slacking in your game?”
“Crocus Parker, you mean to tell me that you haven’t solved your case yet because you like to talk to me?” Rose quipped. She could hear Hyacinth snickering as Crocus humphed.
“But in all seriousness, you are right, Rose. We really should go solve this case before we get too wrapped up in yours,” replied Hyacinth.
“Well, thank you for admitting that it is still my case.”
“And, as such . . .” began Crocus.
“As such, we shall be but your loyal deputies upon our arrival.”
“This is her case, Cro, she has jurisdiction. One of the rules of being a detective, remember? We’re only going to make sure that she does solve the case, in one piece. Another detective rule, never work by yourself.”
“Ugh, fine, alright. Just don’t have it solved by the time we get there, alright? I would like to meet this monster.”
Rose let out a laugh. “I’ll try not to. But if I do, I promise you a great reenactment upon your arrival.”
“Oh ha ha, very funny,” mumbled Crocus as Hyacinth chuckled.
“Alright now. You take care Rose, we’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Hyacinth. You two be careful as well, alright?”
“We will!” the brothers chorused.
“Good. See you tomorrow!”
“See ya!” Rose chuckled as she returned the receiver to its cradle. Well, she had better get a move on and do some more digging before those two got there. Sure, the three of them were great friends, but they often thought of themselves as friendly rivals, especially when there were mysteries to solve, though it seemed to be mainly between Rose and Crocus. Hyacinth just wanted to solve mysteries, he didn’t care how many each of them had managed to solve. She let out a huff as she rose from her desk and walked towards the door. Speaking of mystery, she hadn’t told them what her gut was telling her or how glad she was that they were coming, this mystery seemed to get more dangerous the more she dug, and she had a feeling that she had barely scratched the surface.