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Amelia Hardy In

A Novel By Mahlia Pope

LULU PUBLISHING First published in the UK in 2012 by Lulu publishing ID 13097332 Text Mahlia Pope 2012 The right of Mahlia Pope to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Parents act, 1988. Printed in Great Britain

For Dad, Mum, Jacob and all my other encouraging family, who have always been there to help me solve the mystery of who I am.

Amelia screwed up her face in disgust as she reached into the laundry basket and pulled out a pair of socks that produced a ghastly stench, seeming to choke her nose and mouth until she hurled them across the room. Her mother had been distraught after Amelia had wound up at the police station last week, (she had been framed to look like a thief by a mob of men trying to break into the local bank) and so had compelled her to temporarily avoid detective work and get a proper job. When Amelia had refused, her mother had found her a job in The Marylin Hotel as a cleaner. A cleaner she thought, outraged. Amelia Hardy, the worlds number one school-girl investigator working in a hotel. She hauled the bin bag out of the bin only to find that the black plastic had a huge gash running all the way down it. The rubbish came surging out of the gap, a tsunami of revolting, rotten food and old packaging spreading out all across the kitchen floor. A banana skin slid onto her navy blue all stars and she grimaced as she flung it into the air. She stamped her foot and yelled in frustration, kicking a broken comb and watching it skid across the cold marble floor and clatter against a nearby wall. Why is it always ME? she shouted angrily. She had no idea who she was talking to, or if anyone could hear her; but she continued to yell at thin air until she had

calmed down. She took several deep breaths before getting down on her knees and chucking the rubbish into another bag, handful at a time. Through gritted teeth, she spooned the litter back into the bin bag until there was hardly anything left. Just as she thought that the task was nearly done, and relief entered her body, she slit her thumb on something sharp and a trickle of blood oozed out and rolled down her finger. The feeling of slight happiness evaporated and she was, once again, irritated. She looked at the object that had wounded her, only to find it was your average tin can. Of sardines, if you were wondering. A strip of the red background and scarlet scaled creature was missing, and there was now a smidge of deep red liquid staining the aluminium. She lobbed it into the bag immediately, her thumb in her mouth, the metallic taste tingling unpleasantly on her tongue. At that moment, her mobile began to bleep in the wide pocket of her ugly blue apron. She fumbled about and then looked at who was calling her. It was Harvey. She sighed before lifting it to her ear. Hey Harvey she said, half-heartedly. Amelia! Hi! I think I found us a case, and this one looks like its- he began in a flurry, but Amelia instantly cut him off.

Whoa, Harvey, stop right there. You know that Im working full time now! she groaned. I know, I know but couldnt you just No. You know Ill only get another three months of working in this stupid hotel if my mum catches me she looked for the right word detecting. She mumbled. What if you dont get caught? he hinted hopefully. Amelia stared at the floor that was now blotted with grease and food from the rubbish. Her brain hummed as she thought, chewing her lip. She hesitated and then lifted the phone to her ear again. Fine. Ill be over in ten minutes. She grumbled, though it set off a spark that grew into a flame as she swiftly removed her rubber gloves and dumped them under the sink. She paused, wondering if she had time to quickly clean up a bit. Nah she thought, Im sure whoever is staying here can clean up themselves. She grinned and accidentally kicked over a vase before grabbing her rucksack and sweeping out, closing the door on the horrific mess. Harvey hung up on Amelia, an excited smile tugging at the corners of his lips. He too had been banned from

casework, and although he didnt have to scrub clean a hotel, he missed it just as much as Amelia did. He wondered if he should call Ben. He knew that Amelia hated getting her nine-year-old cousin into trouble, and he usually ended up kidnapped or almost killed. He grimaced. On the other hand, he was sometimes the one that got them out of the sticky situations, and it was easier to look for clues with three people than two He dialled Bens home number, and Mrs Adams answered instantly. Hello? she asked cautiously. Oh Hi, Mrs Adams, its Harvey, I was wondering if- I told you Harvey you are a bad influence and I want you to stay away from Benjamin she interrupted arrogantly, before hanging up and leaving a rather annoyed Harvey to listen to the long beep that followed. He sighed. Okay, so no Ben. He thought miserably. Does nobody understand that were trying to save the world here? There was a rap on the front door and Harvey leapt up before his mother could answer and politely turn Amelia away. He pelted down the stairs and then realised that his mother was out, so they would be fine for now. The door opened to reveal Amelia and to Harveys surprise Ben, too.

Ben? What are you doing here? he asked suspiciously. Well, Harvey, when your big cousin is the worlds most famous person for lying and sneaking around, you learn a lot. He smiled mischievously. Amelia was, for the first time in weeks, wearing a grin and she stepped inside without being asked, and raised her eyebrow as she turned to Harvey. Well? This had better be good, if my manager comes up to check up on me, then Im fired, and my mum will find out and shell she started. Harvey placed his forefinger on her lips, and she was instantly quiet. Theres been a murder was all he needed to say to vaporise any doubts Amelia had. Her deep brown eyes lit up, and her smile spread further across her face. Any leads? she pleaded. Harvey rolled his eyes. Youre not supposed to be pleased about it! I was the first one up there. I found some weird stuff on the body, and the police literally begged me to show it to you they miss you by the way. He grinned. Amelia scrambled up the stairs and whistled as she saw the state of Harveys room. There were folders and paper sprawled out all across the floor and the desk.

Hasnt your mum questioned all this? Amelia gestured around the room. Harvey shrugged. I told her it was for a massive English project. Yeah, a really massive English project replied Amelia. They pulled the body out of the sea. Harvey said, trying to read Amelias wistful expression. She pondered each folder that contained a different case that had been solved long after Amelia and the gang could have solved it. The blue one at the end added Harvey and Amelia hovered over the folder that contained the possible case. She opened it up and tried to memorise each item that Harvey had found on the body: A penknife, a soggy box of matches, five coins no, five fake coins, and a strip of some sort of label. Suddenly, Amelias heart skipped a beat. She slowly picked up the strip of paper and turned it over. It was the label from a tin of sardines. Sardines with scarlet tipped scales. She reeled over and gasped for breath. Harvey shot her a questioning look as he steadied her. What is it? he asked, bemused. The strip of paper. It came from the very same tin of sardines that I cut myself on back at the hotel! She exclaimed with breathless excitement. What? Are you sure? gasped Harvey.

Yeah, Im positive. It had the same shape of label missing. She replied. Then she sprang to her feet. I have to go back! she cried, and bolted out of the door; sprinting all the way back to the hotel; where she arrived, weary and panting, at the reception desk. Amelia? enquired the receptionist. Her glasses were perched on the end of her nose, and though she looked about thirty, she was keen to do her job with dignity and firmness. Please, Mrs Bainbridge, I need the keys to room room 234 she panted. Why is that? she questioned. No time to explain, its an emergency! she replied hurriedly. Very well began Mrs Bainbridge, handing the keys over. but I shall have to she sighed as Amelia grabbed the key and dashed up four flights of stairs. She practically fell through the door, her face now painted crimson. Still breathing as heavily as ever, she stumbled to the kitchen and bumped straight into the manager. She was emptying the bin, and Amelia rushed over and jerked her hand away. When she recognised Amelias face her eyes filled with rage. Excuse me, Miss Hardy, but can I just ask you what you think youre doing abandoning your duties and

I know, and I am so sorry, but have you noticed a tin of sardines in that bin bag? she cut in, staring frantically at the bag of litter. Pardon me? said the manager. A tin of sardines, sardines with scarlet scales? she repeated impatiently. The manager continued to stare at her. Amelia stamped her foot in frustration and snatched the bin bag clean out of her hands. Much to the managers disgust, she began to rummage around in the bag, looking for just a tiny hint of scarlet. She found none. Dented in hope and doing her best not to sink to her knees in disappointment, she slowly lifted her head up to face the fuming manager. I am truly repulsed at your behaviour towards your duties, and especially towards me. I have no choice but to withdraw your job here at the Marylin Hotel. We do not tolerate this kind of activity from staff. She sniffed. Amelia was truly delighted that she had repulsed her manager, but knew that her mother would be instantly informed, and she would be instantly in deep, deep trouble. Fine. Thank you for giving me a chance. She said politely, before stalking out and taking the lift back down.

The manager exited room 234 with a horrified expression on her face. The resident of room 234 noticed as he opened the door. What is the matter? he asked lightly. I just had to fire one of my staff, although I think she was crazy. She was rummaging around in the bins for goodness sake, looking for some sardines tin or something. She replied. The man was suddenly interested. A tin of sardines, is she indeed? He thought. Who was the cleaner? he asked casually. Why Amelia Hardy, of course. Once she was back at Harveys Amelia took the piece of paper and studied it. It was one hundred percent exactly the same chunk that had been torn off the paper. She turned it over, and willed herself not to get too excited. There was a scrawl of writing on the reverse side of the paper, but it was barely legible, and she struggled to make out even a few letters. Ben quietly handed over her old magnifying glass and she studied each letter carefully, occasionally making a breakthrough and writing down a single letter. Finally she had worked out each letter and they spelled out to

make the word Arabella. Harvey read her loopy handwriting and frowned. Arabella he said slowly. Ring any bells? Nope replied Amelia and Ben in chorus. A huge crash outside the window caused them all to freeze and look at one another. HELP! screamed someone. They jumped, two steps at a time down the stairs and yanked open the door, to reveal nothing but a woman screaming and pointing at nothing. Whats the matter, whats wrong? yelled Amelia. Harvey shot her a look. Excuse me, Madame, but would you mind explaining what happened? cooed Harvey, and Amelia rolled her eyes and scowled. There was a man, he stopped outside the door, and and he had a letter for you she gasped. But three men got out of a car and knocked him down and and they chucked him in the boot of the car and drove off! she broke down in hysterical sobs and as Harvey soothed her, Amelia became trapped in her own bemused bubble of thoughts. A tin of sardines plus a drowned man plus five counterfeit coins plus Arabella plus a letter for me plus a kidnapping equals

one huge, annoying puzzle where the pieces dont fit together! She was about to punch something when she realised that Ben was watching her and she shot her go-away-Im-thinking look at him. He smiled slightly but then turned to help Harvey comfort the old woman. Just then, her phone rang again, and she answered it curiously. Hello? Amelia, is that you? answered a voice. Amelia knew that shed heard this voice somewhere before but she couldnt quite put her finger on it. This is Paul Roberts, head of police added the voice when there was no reply. Oh right, yeah, hello she mumbled, embarrassed. Hi, I was just calling to give you an update on the case of the drowned man. Uh huh The body has been identified, his name was Herbert Dawes and he was a sailor from the merchant ship, the Arabella. He explained. Amelias heart raced and her throat suddenly went dry. Arabella? Did you say Arabella? she breathed.

Yes Amelia? Is something wrong? No, um thanks for the news. She managed to choke. As she hung up, she let a little squeal of triumph escape her lips, and she grinned as she turned back to Harvey and Ben. She fastened the straps on her rucksack. To the docks! she grinned. In that moment, Harvey smiled, knowing that the old Amelia was back in business, and she was not going to give up what she loved doing best without a fight. They strolled along the docks until they came to the huge ship that was painted with the scruffy name Arabella. They were scheduled to question the captains mate at 2 Oclock sharp, and it was quarter to, so they had time to relax a little while. Amelia stuck her freezing hands in her pockets and looked up at the pale blue sky, watching each seagull that soared above their MOVE! She yelled suddenly and shoved Harvey and Ben just as a crate full of metal plummeted to the ground and shattered into hundreds of wooden splinters by their feet. Ben stared at the mess, trembling, with a terrified look on his face. Amelia squeezed his shoulder, breathing heavily, her eyes also wide in

shock. Harvey willed his heart to stop hammering so hard, but it was pretty much impossible after almost being crushed to death. We must be on to something. Panted Amelia, Why else would someone try to kill us? A crowd had begun to form around them, asking if they were okay, but Amelia impatiently reassured them it was an accident and that they were extremely lucky to be intact. Though they had been lucky to have happened to be watching the seagulls, Amelia knew that this was no accident, and that this case was already beginning to get interesting At 2 Oclock precisely, they boarded the Arabella, loaded with notepads and pens. They were just about to enter the designated cabin when Amelia hesitated, sure that this was her chance to see what was really going on. I think Im gonna go and take a look around the boat she said, and Harvey got the message instantly. Okay, meet you back here in half an hour he replied. Amelia nodded and then sauntered off in the opposite direction. What they should have been paying attention to was the conversation that the mate, who was named Eric, and another sailor were having.

You take care of her, while I talk to the other two hissed Eric. The sailor nodded and smiled nastily. Amelia passed a door that read STAFF ONLY. She noticed that it was slightly ajar, and it took every effort to take a few paces the other way, but she gave in to temptation and turned back, pushing the door open to reveal a storage room full of crates. She cautiously tiptoed down the stairs, keeping an eye out for anyone watching as she came close to the crates. She made a snap decision and lifted the lid of the one closest to her. She gasped as rows and rows of canned sardines met her eyes. Then she composed herself. Dont be ridiculous she thought. Its just cans of sardines, what could possibly be suspicious about that? She faltered, and then slowly picked up a can, beginning to examine it but she never finished. Because that was when a shadow blocked out the light; she turned just in time for someone to thump her on the head, and she was deep in unconsciousness before she could even register the tin of sardines skittering out of her hand and coming to rest at the sailors feet. Harvey glanced at the clock behind the mates head. Ben threw him a bored look and Harvey repressed a grin at his lack of interest, though he too had found the

interrogation rather dull and uneventful, but more than anything, extremely disappointing. He had let Amelia down and she was sure to be disappointed that this was nothing more than an accident. He knew it was time to wrap up. So its as simple as that. The man was drunk and fell into the water on his way back to the ship. He sighed. Yes, plain as pikestaff agreed Eric. Well thank you for your time, sir. Added Harvey politely, before tucking his chair in and exiting the cabin, followed by Ben. That was the worst interview ever he retorted, but Harvey wasnt listening. He was frowning at his watch, trying to decide whether it was twenty minutes fast or something was holding Amelia back He shuddered, just as the sailor approached him. Oh, your friend told me to tell you that she had to make a hasty exit, she couldnt wait for you. He informed, and Ben shrugged and went to leave the Arabella. But Harvey was not so sure. Did she say what it was? he probed. No Thats odd. She always says where shes going, and she never leaves us behind. He said, ignoring the little part of his brain that screamed STOP! He knew that what he was saying wasnt entirely true Amelia had a

habit of getting excited and rushing off without them, but Harvey never minded. Well, apart from the times where she would run right into the heart of danger, and Harvey wouldnt be there to save her. Well shes gone without you he snapped. She must have told you where she was going to meet us continued Harvey, and the sailors irritation was clearly visible. No. She didnt. Youre going to leave now he breathed, his tongue laced with threat. Not before Ive phoned her just to check he dared, sliding his mobile out of his pocket. That wont be necessary said the sailor quickly, making an attempt to snatch Harveys phone clean out of his hands, and failing. Harvey dialled Amelias number, and raised the phone to his ear. Ring, ring. The sailor began to panic. What would the mate do? Ring, ring. He slowly reached his hand into his pocket and it closed over a bottle of chloroform. Ring, ring. He reached into his other pocket and found a pack of tissues. He repressed a smirk, looking up to return Harveys challenging stare. If he only knew what hes getting himself into. Thought the sailor. Ring, ring.

Quick as a flash, he whipped the bottle out and almost poured the whole contents onto a tissue. Harvey worked out his plan a split second too late, and his phone clattered to the deck as the sailor covered his nose and mouth with the tissue. Ring, ring. Ben gasped, unsure of what to do, how to react. Harvey struggled as he gagged on the sickly sweet and oh-sofamiliar odour that was dragging him into blackness. Ring, ring. Harvey knew that there was no way out, so resulted to throwing hand gestures at Ben. Go! Run! screamed Harvey, but the sound was muffled and there were ants rapidly eating away at his vision. Ring, ring. He threw his arms out, like a go away gesture, and Ben nodded and bravely turned around. Harvey stopped struggling and went limp, his eyes rolling back into his head and then closing, his head lolling down as the sailor hoisted him up onto his shoulder, unsure of what to do with him. He never noticed Ben slip into another cabin and bolt the door shut, leaning against the door, panting, desperately trying to decide whether to hide here and save Amelia and Harvey, or run back home. He was about to unbolt the door ready to sprint off the Arabella and call the police, when he stopped. He chewed his lip, thinking.

What would Amelia do? He thought. What if you were the bravest, cleverest and best detective around, what would you do? He smiled, instantly knowing the answer. You make a plan is what you do. A very brave and clever plan. Amelia regained consciousness slowly, her eyes fluttering open and staring around the windowless, claustrophobic room and groaning when she noticed Harvey slumped next to her. She was going to tap him on the shoulder when she noticed that her hands were bound tightly behind her, growling when she noticed that her whole body was bound to the metal pipes that lined the metal room. Gangsters! She thought, scowling. Were in the hold of the Arabella! She tried to remember what she had done to deserve being held captive this time, but could only recall almost opening a tin of sardines, and getting a thump on the head. She rubbed the lump that was beginning to form underneath her chocolate brown curls, and her scowl deepened. At that moment, Harvey woke with a start, his head snapping upwards as he was dragged back into reality. He squinted at Amelia, as if remembering who she was and then groaned also. You okay? Did they hit you too? she asked worriedly. Nope, they chloroformed me. He replied grimly.

Well this sure is fine mess she sighed. Wheres Ben? she suddenly remembered. Hes fine, he escaped when they got me. Said Harvey quickly. Amelia breathed a quiet sigh of relief. The door swung open and smashed against the wall behind, startling them. The mate entered, staring nastily at them, unsure of whether to explain to them the trouble they were in. Well, sir, are you intending to keep this little joke up for long? Asked Amelia, with intentional and amusing ignorance. That all depends on you. He replied, shrugging. Whats that supposed to mean? At least tell us why you tied us up here in the hold! Demanded Amelia. Its no use pretending he shrugged again you know why better than we do. With that he walked out and slammed the door, shaking the room slightly. Hey! Get back here! she yelled, though they both knew that it was no use shouting at a metal door. Harvey smiled wistfully. It was like the old Amelia never left. He listened to her try to find some way out of the ropes, and she struggled but soon gave up. There was silence a little while.

Did you get fired? At the hotel? asked Harvey suddenly. Uh huh. Not only did I- she put on an accent abandon my duties, I was caught rummaging around in the bins. They both chuckled at the idea of the famous school-girl-investigator going through the bins. Suddenly there was a TOOT and Amelias throat closed up, knowing that that whistle meant they were in deeper trouble than they had ever imagined. Were sailing! she spluttered. To an unknown destination added Harvey, his face white and painted with an anxious frown as they felt the whole boat lurch forward an inch, leaving behind the home and family that they loved. Weve got to find out whats going on around here. Said Amelia determinedly. Ive got a feeling theres something more than sardines on this ship. Like what? wondered Harvey aloud. I dont know. But were sure as heck gonna find out. Ben took a deep breath and slowly, silently unbolted the lock on the cabin door. He opened it a crack and peered out, chewing his lip as he noticed the sailor strolling the

decks. Ben had had to make do with what he had found in his cabin. Just a cupboard of gone off food, a sailor cap and a small knife. He pocketed the knife nervously, and, trembling, grabbed a stale loaf of bread. Taking a deep breath, he unbolted the door. The sailor shot him a questioning look. Ben held up the loaf of bread. He cleared his throat, making it go as gruff as it could. The boss told me to take some food to the prisoners. The ones theyre keeping in the The hold nodded the sailor, and Ben nodded back before half running, half walking the other way. Thank goodness Im rather tall for my age! He thought breathlessly. Clutching the loaf of bread tightly; he scurried down several flights of stairs, keeping his story short and simple, and gradually making his way down to the hold. Yes! He thought with a shiver of exhilaration. Im finally proving Im a worthy sidekick! He grinned to himself. Hang in there, Amelia and Harvey, Im almost there. Amelia flicked her fringe out of her face, now highly irritated. Those rotten thugs had stolen her rucksack, and now she sat helpless in the hold of their miserable ship, and nothing had happened in over an hour. She twiddled the fine ends of the rope that was frayed at

the ends. Then she tilted her head to one side. Frayed ends? She grasped a thin layer and with both hands, pulled at it. She could feel it untwisting each strand that made up the rope for about a centimetre. She gritted her teeth and repressed a roar of frustration. Just then the door creaked open, and she kept her head down, just in case seeing the face of her kidnappers would allow that roar to slip out of her throat. Ben?! cried Harvey beside her, and her head instantly snapped up. She blinked several times, but sure enough, somehow, her younger cousin had made it to the bottom of the ship. Part of her glowed with a mixture of pride and relief, but the other part screamed What is he doing here? He could have got himself killed! She chose to settle halfway between the two. Ben! What are you doing here? she exclaimed. Duh, saving you he replied, and drew out the knife in his pocket. Amelia gasped. Ben marched over to Harvey and easily slit the ropes that bound him. Harvey grinned, but he winced as he rubbed the red marks where they had squeezed his hands together, and soon they both were free. Then Amelia froze. Quiet she hissed. There were footsteps coming from outside, and growing louder by the second. Amelia

shoved Ben behind a crate and yanked Harvey down to where they both had been tied up. She silently tapped her middle finger against her thumb and Harvey nodded. It was their secret signal for just-copy-meand-let-me-do-the-talking. Amelia placed her hands behind her back, and Harvey copied. They both positioned themselves to make it look like they were still attached to the pole. A narrow, stern looking sailor entered, looking down upon them through cold eyes. I brought you some food. He grunted. Amelia smiled sweetly. How very nice of you, sir, but how are we to eat with our hands tied behind our back? she asked, and Harvey copied her pitiful expression, instantly understanding what she was doing. The man cocked his head to one side. Fine, Ill loosen them a touch. But dont try anything funny. He barked. He leaned down to loosen Amelias ropes and soon noticed that there were none. He realised that he was being fooled one second too late, because that was when Amelias completely ropeless arm swung up and struck him in the face. He was out before he touched the ground. Amelia sprang up cheerfully and gave Ben the nod. He slunk out and Harvey and him helped Amelia drag the man and tie him to the pole with the ropes that they had shed.

Amelia slid his gun out of his pocket and took a handkerchief out of the other. She fastened it around his mouth. A work of art she sighed happily, and then all three of them slipped out of one room and into the one opposite, silently closing the door just as Eric entered the one they were supposed to be being held captive in. He roared in fury and then paused and laughed. He strode over to the room that they were now in and put his head as close to the door as he could. Now then, little children, I know youre in there. He said menacingly quiet. Amelia quietly bolted the door and held her breath, holding Ben close to her. By all means stay in there. But just a hint there isnt any food or water, so you wont last long anyway. He smiled, and then his footsteps died away as he left them in the room. Amelia exhaled, and Harvey squeezed her shoulder. I bet hes bluffing. He said. Youre right. Its worth checking every single one of these crates. She agreed, and they split off. Amelia lifted the lid of a near crate and gasped in surprise. Another crate packed with sardines! Hey you guys, I think were okay for food! she laughed. Her twinkly laugh bounced off the walls and Harvey opened up his crate. He grinned.

Yup, better get used to sardines, guys! Same here added Ben, though with much less enthusiasm; he wrinkled up his nose as the thought of slippery sardines sliding down his throat lingered in his mind. They made their way to the back of the room, opening crate after crate of sardines. Amelia chewed her lip apprehensively once they had finished the only liquid they had found was a crate of champagne right at the back, but she and Harvey didnt spoil Bens moment of triumph. They sat on top of a crate and Amelia grabbed a can of sardines. She peeled off the top and then stopped dead. Her heart thudded as she stared at the contents of the tin. And it certainly wasnt sardines. Opium! she choked. Harvey and Ben gasped in chorus. So weve managed to get ourselves mixed up with drug-runners. She said, sitting back and staring into space in shock. Not only that, but they were right. We havent got anything to eat added Ben quietly. As if on queue, the mate returned, and obviously had gone to fetch some help. Amelia listened grimly to the sounds of their mocking laughter. She turned to Harvey and Ben. We gotta get out of here, and fast. She concluded. They nodded, yet neither of them dared to speak the question burning on their minds how?

Night soon fell, and the ocean reflected the star studded cloak that engulfed the sky. Amelia and the gang had spent all day revising and preparing for the escape that would kick off at precisely midnight. Hunger clawed at their stomachs, and thirst lingered in their throats. Amelia suggested that they try and get some sleep until then, but it was only Ben who was able to even close his eyes, let alone drift into a peaceful sleep. Soon, the time came for Amelia to glance at her watch for the one hundredth time and take a deep breath. She prodded Ben, and he rolled over, mumbling. Amelia gritted her teeth and shook him. He did not stir. She leaned in close to his ear and talked at a normal volume. Ben, wake up she lowered her voice its time. He instantly opened hid eyes and gave her a fearful nod. Ready? she asked, and Harvey and Ben nodded. She quietly pulled out the contraption they had created earlier, and gave them a grin that was so obviously hinted with excitement. She took one last look at the two planks from the crates, tied together with a piece of rope they had found and cut with Bens knife. The rope criss-crossed across the boards, and then after several knots, looped down leaving several meters

more dangling. Amelia tiptoed over to a cabin window and pushed it open. The roar of the ocean and blast of the salty odour woke her up, and she was determined and ready to get out of her prison. She leaned out of the window and, holding the end of the rope, swung it round and round and then hurled it upwards. It flew straight through the air and then sliced through the open window above them. She pumped her fists into the air as she pulled on the rope so that it was definitely secure. Then she climbed back down from the window and helped Ben clamber out of the window until he gripped the rope, his eyes squeezed shut, refusing to move. Shift! she hissed. Ben remained suspended over the mass of swirling black water. Move, Ben! Just dont look down, youll be fine! When have I ever let you fall? she urged, knowing that she was wasting precious time, and every second counted. Finally, inch by inch, Ben hauled himself up the rope until he scrambled noisily through the open window. Amelia waited impatiently an then exhaled when she saw the rope drop and then dangle down from above. She tugged at it once more, then saluted Harvey and dragged herself all the way up, sliding in

with grace and then landing on her feet but not taking in her surroundings until she could see Harvey also making his way up. Then she looked up and instantly found herself peering around the Captains cabin. Only there was no captain. She frowned, and that was when Harvey popped out of the window. So far so good, she thought, though they were far from finished. Ben backed away from the sound of the mighty waves and Amelias eyes widened in horror as he knocked over an empty glass bottle. As if in slow motion, it fell to the floor and shattered deafeningly into thousands of tiny little pieces. She shot him a furious look and then her faced creased in fear as running footsteps approached. She yanked Harvey and Ben into the locker underneath the bunk bed, leaving it open just a crack and held her breath. One sailor and the mate burst through the door. I could have sworn I heard something he barked. Then he clearly noticed the open window. Lucky the planks of wood had fallen into the sea. She tried to climb up the window. He shouted. But she couldnt have, its too high. She might try again, sir. Hinted the sailor. Eric paused. Lets blow the door down before she can try. He yelled.

You stay here he ordered the sailor. if anyone comes, you know what to do. With that he stormed out of the room. In the darkness, Amelia looked pleadingly at Harvey and he rolled his eyes. She grinned. One, two THREE! She leapt out of the bunk and punched the sailor right in the face. He staggered back, and landed neatly in a chair, where Amelia bound and gagged him. She whistled for Harvey and Ben to get out. Be careful she snapped. Ben sheepishly looked down. So much for worthy companion he thought miserably. Eric stomped down the corridors, his arms loaded with explosives. He dumped them right outside the door to Amelias room and lit the fuse, sprinting away and blocking his ears. Take that, Miss Hardy. Amelia felt the boom rattle the boat, and as it came from underneath them, she knew they had minutes before the mate realised that she was a whole floor above him. He would alert the whole boat and theyd all be after her. She kicked the door open and they dashed through the corridors, not meeting one sailor. She assumed that they were all down one level, ready

to pounce on Amelia. She had laid a trap to buy them a little extra time. Eric literally pulled the bent door off of its hinges and reeled back when someone shot at him from the darkness. He sneaked his hand around the frame and began shooting back, furious that Amelia dared to try and shoot at him. Then he noticed that what was being shot was not bullets but Champagne corks! he roared, and turned back the other direction. He flung open the door of the captains cabin, and his rage turned from red to purple when he saw the sailor bound and gagged, struggling violently in the chair. Another young sailor entered, panting. Mister Mate sir, one of the lifeboats has vanished! he cried. If it was humanly possible for one to explode, that is indeed exactly what Eric did in that precise moment. Amelia pulled on the oars and watched as they disturbed the waters and pulled them into swirling patterns. She had refused to let either of the boys row before her, and it was difficult to say no to Amelia when she was coated in a layer of victory. Ben sighed

blissfully beside her in his sleep, and Harveys light snoring faltered and then returned to normal. None of them had any clue where they were, so they just rowed the opposite way the Arabella was headed for. It had been twenty five minutes since their escape and her arms were already beginning to tire. Ten more minutes. She told herself, and then you can wake Harvey and swap. But each heave of the oars brought her closer to drifting off to sleep. The gentle lap of the ocean against the sides of the boat, the swish of the waters as the oar sliced through them, Harveys continuous heavy breathing Amelia jumped awake with a start, frowning at the blanket that had been placed over the top of her. She stretched and gave Harvey a sleepy smile as she watched him row the boat. Ben remained in a deep sleep, and she sat up and tucked a piece of hair out of his face. Any sign of land yet? she sighed. Not a peep. We must be hundreds of miles away from the coast. Replied Harvey anxiously. Amelia we might not make it. Dont say that! Of course we will. You know that all we have is the bread, and one bottle of water we found in the cupboard. He pleaded.

Well be fine. Though the reality of the situation filled her mind with doubt. She was just opening her mouth to add further encouragement, when her ears pricked up. Harvey paused too, hearing the sound that was growing louder. It sounded like an engine. That was when the yellow seaplane shot out of the clouds. Amelia laughed in astonishment and immediately threw her hands up into the air, waving frantically. Were saved! cried Harvey, waking Ben up. He slowly sat up and his eyes widened in excitement when he came to realise what was going on. All three of them stood upright in the boat and shouted. Then Amelia stopped. Something was not right, the plane seemed to be circling them as if getting a better aim That was when the shower of bullets pummelled the little boat, and it began to fill up with freezing cold sea water. Amelias first instant reaction was to get out her stolen gun. She aimed at the propellers on the front of the craft and shot three times. The first two missed, but the final bullet struck and paralysed the engine quicker than lightning. The plane swerved and landed on the surface of the waves, its built in rafts resting on top of the sea. The two pilots climbed out, shaking their fists and cursing. Amelia swore as the water gushed up to

her knees. She would deal with the plane in a minute, but right now, they had bigger problems. Jump! was all she said. One two THREE! They dived all at once and planted three large splashes into the blood-chilling water. Amelia made a desperate last effort to turn the boat upside down, but it was too late and it sank slowly to the bottom of the ocean. She turned back to the others. Theres only one thing left to do. Harvey instantly knew what she was thinking. No way. He replied. Yes way. Theyre both on the same side, it will be easy! she begged. Dont even think about Amelia swiftly and unexpectedly dived down and dodged Harveys attempt to grab hold of her ankle. He punched his fist on the water, flicking Ben in the face. That crazy girl is going to get herself hurt! He thought angrily. Amelia closed her eyes and let the salty water gush past her face, kicking as hard as she could, and trying to ignore the burning sensation in her throat. She opened her eyes once more, and saw the blurry surface of the greenish water rippling above her. She

silently surfaced and sipped in gulps of air, keeping her head down as she spied the two pilots meters away. She gripped the rubbery raft of the opposite side of the craft as she pulled out her gun, determined and ready. Then she plunged back into the water once more and swam gently around the side of the seaplane. Then, she burst out of the water, taking the pilots by complete surprise as she fixed her gun on their bemused faces. Hands up. She ordered, and they obeyed. Harvey rolled his eyes and began to swim towards the seaplane. Ben followed, relieved and proud of his cousin. He was still beaming as they reached the craft, but he hid his smile as they watched Amelia climb evenly aboard; her gun still poised in the air, and ordered the pilots inside. There were four leather seats, two at the front and two behind, leaving a space at the other end of the plane. It was here that Amelia tied the pilots up with a broken seatbelt and sat down at the front of the plane. Youre not going to fly it are you? asked Harvey. No, Im going to dance on it. She retorted back. What do you suppose I do? Duh, make one of the pilots fly it. Pointed out Harvey. Amelia rolled her eyes.

I really dont fancy being flown back to the Arabella, do you? she snorted. Harvey racked his brains desperately. You could just ride it along the waves? he suggested. Yeah and get back to England at half past never! she snapped impatiently. Ben went white. Have you ever flown a plane before? he whispered. Nope, but how hard can it be? she shrugged. Harvey groaned, and fastened his seatbelt. Amelia flicked a few buttons on the panel and the propellers whirred into action. See? Easy as pie. She said smugly. Just because you know how to turn it on, doesnt mean you can fly it growled Harvey. Amelia flicked another switch, scowling. Your lack of confidence in me is insulting she mumbled. Then she grinned. Ready? No replied Ben and Harvey at the same time. Good. With that she clicked her knuckles and grabbed hold of the joy stick, and pulled upwards. Then they were tilted upwards and the plane slowly climbed into the air. Woo! she yelled, turning the plane around in the direction that was supposedly England. Once the plane

had swivelled around, the excited atmosphere vanished. Because there, rolling rapidly from the horizon was a huge mass of swirling black clouds. A clap of thunder rumbled in the distance and Amelias face grew grave. Please say that thats not the only way to England breathed Ben. Amelia looked at him grimly and nodded. We cant go over it, we cant go under it she began. Harvey knew that it was the only way to get back home. Well have to go through it he finished with her. Then he squeezed her hand and fixed his eyes straight ahead. Right through it. She added. She took a deep breath, and upped the speed of the craft. Ben felt sick already, and huddled in the chair behind them, squeezing his eyes shut. Then they shot, full speed towards the nightmare storm. Rain hammered every window in the craft, and Amelia was motionless, her fingers gripping the rubber controls, her eyes fixed straight ahead. Not even a hint of dangerous excitement which she usually had when

she was performing an unsafe task like this. On the other hand, this was not an unsafe task. It was a terrifying voyage into the heart of hell, where every second of their lives depended on Amelias judgement and skill. She calculated where the next fork of lightning would strike, and the only time she ever moved was to glance at the compass to check that they were headed in the right direction. There was silence among the crew. Ben rocked himself back and forth, holding his knees and willing himself not to be sick. Harvey sat rigid in his chair, watching Amelia with fearful eyes. A sudden fork of lightning missed them by inches and in the second that Amelia took to compose herself, another unexpected bolt cracked down and struck the craft. The force and electricity rippled through the controls, sending sparks flying everywhere and volts of electricity shooting up the joystick and right into Amelias hand. She shrieked and shook violently, letting go of the controls and sending the plane spinning through the air. Amelia! yelled Harvey, as she slumped against the controls, completely motionless. The plane hurtled through the air, three different warning lights screaming and flashing at them. Harvey grabbed hold of her shoulders and shook her vigorously. She remained limp, her eyes closed and unmoving, her

head lolling to the side and her mane of chocolate hair falling into her face. AMELIA! he shouted again. We need you! Were going to crash! he cried desperately. The plane rotated upside-down and everyone aboard fell to one side, knowing that this would surely be the end of all of them. Amelias mind was practically separate from her body, and she was trapped in unconsciousness, screaming but helpless as the craft looped and tumbled down. She banged on the walls of her own mind, willing herself to snap out of it. When she finally found the exit back to consciousness, the plane was plummeting down and Harvey was still yelling at her. Her eyes rolled open and her head was reeling, everything was spinning. She tried to focus on Harvey, but it was just too much effort. Thats it! Come on! Youre the only one who can do this! he pushed. Maybe I should just close my eyes she thought groggily. And then, from out of no-where, Harvey resorted to last minute measures. He slapped her across the face. Woosh! Everything snapped back into perspective and Amelia jumped up and grabbed hold of the gearstick. Harvey! Pull the lever next you! she ordered, her voice calm but edged with panic. Harvey instantly reached over and pulled the lever. Amelia gripped the

controls and pulled as hard as she could manage without breaking them. The plane was plummeting towards the ground, Ben was hunched up in a ball waiting for them to crash. But then, just as the plane was going to hit the ground at a vertical angle, Amelias efforts paid off, and it sloped slightly upwards, twisting and skimming the ground. She knew that they would crash, but there was still chance that they might just be able to survive. Brace yourselves! yelled Amelia, then the plane coiled around, buried itself in the sand and burst into flames. Bens small lungs were quickly smothered by the thick, black smoke, and Amelia hauled him over her shoulder as the flames began to lick at her feet. She gasped for air, only to gulp in another mouthful of dirty fumes. Harvey had barely been conscious as he crawled out of the crackling craft, and now he lay sprawled across the dazzling orange sand, closed eyes and completely unaware that his best friend was being engulfed by the roaring blaze. She staggered to the exit, exhausted and her head clouded with the dense smoke. She stepped back, braced herself and then leaped unsteadily through the flames, stumbling out into a place that most definitely was not England. As she fell

to the ground, a spray of sand spurted up and landed on Harveys face. He sat up, his head jerking about, making sure that they were all okay well, okay meaning not dead, as Ben lay unconscious and Amelia was on her knees, spluttering and gulping in the air. Everyone got out then? he said, though was surprised at how raspy his voice sounded. Amelia nodded, and then her head snapped up. She looked him right in the eye. The two pilots are still in there she whispered. Harvey grimaced. Sorry, theres nothing you can do for them now. He replied regretfully. Then, in a heartbeat, Amelia had stumbled up and was scuttling back towards the plane. Amelia! Dont! yelled Harvey, but his heart sunk as she disappeared into the roaring craze of fire he knew there was no way of stopping her, so he hobbled after her and his eyes instantly filled with tears, the billowing smoke clawing at them. He closed his eyes and followed the sound of Amelia choking desperately. He reached her, and grabbed hold of an unconscious (or dead, he wasnt sure) pilot, copying Amelia as she towed him towards the exit. Her constant spluttering became more and more violent, and at one point, she sank to her knees, scrabbling at the edge of reality. But she was determined, and resorted to lugging the

pilot on her knees. At last, they scrambled out and collapsed onto the sand, gasping for breath. Within seconds Amelia had finally slipped away, being dragged into a world where everything was quiet and peaceful how very imaginary this world was. The sweat that poured down Amelias forehead awoke her, the sun blazed overhead, its burning rays stifling her. She looked to her left, Ben and Harvey seemed to be still sleeping. She wobbled unsteadily to her feet, and carefully scanned every direction, spotting nothing but sand, sand, and more orange sand. Her throat burned and ached for water, but she knew that there would be nothing for miles. Her eyes briefly skimmed across something that wasnt sand a little to her right. Might as well investigate. She thought, and walked towards the object. Each step left a hole in the sand, and she was glad, as she could easily find her way back if she wandered too far. She skidded down the sand dunes, and the closer she got to the object, the narrower her possibilities of what it was became and the closer she came to coming to a conclusion, the more she wished she was wrong. But, of course, she wasnt, and when she was stood inches away from it, her whole body turned to stone. It was a skeleton. Not

just a skeleton a camel. A camel must have died of thirst here. She thought gravely. This was not just not England, this was slap bang in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Amelia returned to where her companions were still out of the picture and frowned. Something was not right Then she noticed the trail of singed rope and footsteps leading in the opposite direction and she felt like kicking herself. The pilots! The ropes must have been easy to break through when they were burnt! She slumped down to the sand and let the sun smother her with its blistering rays of light. After several more agonising minutes of running the scorching sand through her fingers, Amelia decided that they would have to start moving. She would not tell the others that she had no idea which way the closest town would be, and about the camel skeleton she had found. Trying to swallow her fear, she roused them up and put on a brave face. They had no possessions so they were soon on their way to wherever Amelia said they were going. They stumbled across the sand in silence. Bens feet already were aching, and his throat was parched.

I hate sand. He growled, he could feel it moving inside his shoes every time he took a step. Well thank god were not in the middle of a Desert! snapped Amelia. Ben scowled. Harvey sighed. He glanced sideways at Amelia. She quickly looked away, avoiding his eye. Shes hiding something. Thought Harvey, instantly suspicious. So, Amelia, where did you say we were going? he dared. I didnt she replied, shooting him a look that said leave it! She said no more, and neither did Harvey as he knew that he would talk to her when Ben was sleeping. Amelia read his mind, and began to prepare for how she would tell him that there was very little chance they would return home. What seemed like hours was only minutes in the world of sand. Ben was not just falling behind but had a face like thunder as he dragged his feet at every step. Im so thirsty he moaned, his throat dry and his voice hoarse. Amelia gritted her teeth impatiently. Another minute or so went past. My throat is sore he groaned. Amelia clenched her fists. Another few minutes. Amelia, my head is killing me he whined. Amelia stamped her foot and turned on him. What do you suppose I do about it, huh? she retorted. She would never have guessed that her

cousin really could go on no further his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed just in time for Amelia catch him uncertainly. Harvey knelt down beside them and felt Bens pulse as Amelia rocked him back and forth slightly. Its really faint he whispered. Harvey stood up and looked around. There was nothing in sight, nothing but the trail of their footprints and the wreck of the seaplane, a tiny speck in the distance. He turned back to Amelia, perhaps a little too fast as his head reeled and he wobbled unsteadily. He knelt back down beside them. Then he unexpectedly lifted Ben and placed him carefully over his shoulder. He offered a hand to Amelia, and she took it gratefully. They began to walk on again. Another hour passed, this one dragged on even longer and they made little progress. Their walk turned to a hobble, which soon turned to an agonising stagger across the blistering desert. You dont know where were going do you? he asked, with surprising gentleness. Amelia at him, an apologetic, scared look flickering in her eye. She neednt have shook her head. Harvey carefully laid Ben down and sat down. Amelia sat weakly next to him.

I didnt think it would end like this. She said thoughtfully. Harvey pondered it. No, me neither. I thought wed get blown up or something. Amelia smiled weakly, licking her cracked and bloody lips. She was at the point where every heartbeat ached and pounded in her head. She would have cried, but she had no fluid left at all in her body. Harvey put his arm kindly around her. She hugged closer to him. Harveys faint musky scent filled her mind with safeness. Maybe the last smell I ever smell. She looked into his eyes, the flame in hers still fighting not to go out. The last pair of eyes I will ever see. A sudden burst of something came from out of the blue and took over her. If this really is the end She leaned in and closed her eyes. Harveys heart ached to copy her. What the hell, if this really was the last moment they were together, then He brushed her fringe out of her face, and then leaned in. His lips were centimetres away from hers, and then Amelias whole body went limp. Her hand fell into his lap, and as Harvey too felt exhaustion and dehydration closing up on him, he entwined his fingers around hers and lay down in the sand; sighing blissfully as unconsciousness washed over him like a cold wave of heavenly water.

Youre dead. Amelia told herself firmly. You died of thirst in the Sahara Desert. Yet she felt normal, and apart from the burning sensation in her throat, she felt good and refreshed. She curiously opened her eyes, and really didnt know what to think. She appeared to be in some sort of canvas tent. It was simple, all that was inside was a simple but perfect bed and a table by the side of her. This is probably all a stupid dream. Lying underneath the lamp was a small slip of paper. Good morning, Miss Hardy. Please come to my office as soon as youre ready, Lieutenant. Amelia shook her head, still unsure as to whether this was all a hallucination. She sat up, wincing as her head throbbed slightly and spun the room around. Gripping the side posts of the bed for stability, she climbed out and lifted the entrance to the tent. Heat blasted her in the face but she exited her tent, taking in every detail the rows of tents, a few guards dotted about. One of the tanned men who clearly didnt speak much English approached her. I take you to Lieutenant he mumbled, and Amelia nodded and smiled at him. He lead through the tangle of tents to one, slightly larger one. The entrance was raised, and Amelia gasped.

Harvey Ben! she cried and her two companions jumped up, they were all soon pulled into a tight embrace. Once they were seated, Amelia was aware of the tear that glistened in the mans eye, seated facing them on the other side of the desk. He held out his hand and Amelia shook it warmly, smiling dazzlingly. We waited for you before we began the explanations. He said, reflecting her friendly smile. My name is Lieutenant Delecourt.. Amelia Hardy. she replied, and Lieutenant nodded, already recognising her face. If you dont mind me asking how on earth did we get here? When my men and I spotted a wisp of smoke on the horizon, we immediately went to investigate. We followed your tracks and found you unconscious, so we carried you here. He explained. Amelia nodded and allowed the information to sink in. Lieutenant cocked his head to one side, curiosity written all over his face. He leaned in. And if you dont mind me asking, but how on Earth did you get here? he asked. Amelia grinned. Well, sir it is a rather long story. She replied, but Lieutenants shift to get comfy in his chair told her that he was

eager to hear it. She took a breath, and between her, Harvey and Ben, they told of their amazing journey. They spoke of kidnappings, escapes, plane crashes and near-death experiences. Lieutenant sat back in his seat, laughing, holding his breath, his eyes always wide open and his mouth slightly hanging. She finished quietly, casually skipping the part where they all gave up and waited to be eaten away by thirst. Lieutenant smiled. He didnt notice Amelia and Harvey catch each others eye. Amelia looked away, her face blushing a brilliant crimson. He continued. I recognised you three as soon as I saw you, and I couldnt believe my eyes. Amelia Hardy, Harvey Jones and Benjamin Adams from London, all the way in the middle of the Sahara Desert! he exclaimed. I immediately he began again, but Amelia held up a finger, her ears listening intently to the suddenly interesting radio broadcast. The latest news today Yesterdays severe gales caused a number of losses to shipping. Ships that sank with everybody out in time included Jupiter and the steam ship Tanganyika. An SOS was also picked up from the merchant-ship the Arabella. The Benares went at once to the aid of the Arabella and searched all night, however no wreckage or survivors were found. It must therefore be presumed that the Arabella went down with all hands. Harvey gasped.

Thats odd, dont you think? frowned Amelia. She turned to Lieutenant. Is there any chance we could leave today? Im anxious to get to the coast as soon as possible. Lieutenants smile faltered, disappointed at the proposal of Amelia and her friends leaving. So soon? He sighed. Yes, it can be done. I will send two guards with you, so you are safe. Amelia jumped up. Thank you so much. We wont forget the way you have treated us. She said gratefully. Lieutenant smiled weakly. And I will never forget the time I met Amelia Hardy, the worlds most brilliant young investigator. Amelia turned around on her camel, grinning and giving Lieutenant a final wave. Then she rotated back to keeping her eyes fixed on the tiny speck in the distance that was Agadir, the Moroccan town that would be the final clue she needed to solve the case she hoped. The way the camels wobbled so made her feel slightly sick, but she knew it would certainly be quicker than walking. The five of them (Amelia, Harvey, Ben their two guards) on their camels left the untouched sand sprawled in piles with large dents in. I

hope that this journey goes quick thought Ben grimly, or I think I might just be sick. How wrong he was indeed, as their journey was about to take a long and more importantly dangerous twist. A guard burst through the entrance to Lieutenants office, his hand clutching a crumpled piece of paper. Sir, we received an urgent radio message for you! he said, panting. Lieutenant frantically snatched the paper out of his hands. The note read Twenty Arab raiders proceeding to Kefhier, stop dispatch patrol. Lieutenant gasped. Kefhier?! Thats on the route that I sent Amelia and her friends on! He sprang up and turned to his foreign body guard. Ahmed, send for my section leaders at once. The tall and well-built man nodded and scurried off. Lieutenant fidgeted nervously until Ahmed came back. He had brought along two other men. Sir, you requested us. One said. Yes, you and I are going to go and rescue Amelia Hardy and her friends. We have sent them straight towards a huge group of raiders. He said quickly. The other man eyed him nervously. Sir, youre not supposed to come with us on such occasions. He said.

Well, this time I am, and I want to hear no more of it. He retorted back. We have to get to Kefhier immediately! Amelia was just getting used to the rise and fall of her camel when the sound of many bullets hammered all around her. Her heart attempted a summersault, and she swiftly climbed off of her camel, grabbing Ben by his shirt and diving behind the nearest sand dune. Harvey had done this so many times, he didnt need help pulling out the gun that Lieutenant had issued him and positioning it so that it poked on top of the pile of sand they had taken cover in. Amelia took out hers and began shooting, purposely missing the raiders by centimetres just to tell them that she was an excellent aim, and could easily pummel them unless they surrendered. But they did not. One of the raiders, the smartest one, crept around behind the sand dunes until he was directly behind Amelia and the others. The girl is the best shot he thought. I will shoot her first. He aimed his gun carefully, and then pulled the trigger. The bullet soared over every one elses head and sank deep into Amelias flesh. Amelia! screamed Ben, and Harvey snapped his head around to see Amelia trembling, her hand

pressed over her shoulder, her own blood smeared all over it. She allowed the shriek of agony escape her lips and then turned to Harvey. He had desperately crawled over to her, and now he was watching her, horrified at the look on her face her lips were pressed together and her face was almost white. Im okay. Just need to stop bleeding. She stuttered, her eyes squeezed shut to stop another scream jumping off of her tongue. Her breathing scared Harvey the most, each breath coming out more harsh and more ragged. Shh he soothed. What do you need? he asked calmly, though he was panicking on the inside. A bandage she whispered. Harvey knew that the first aid kit had been attached to the camels that were now nowhere to be seen. Without even needing to think about it, he whipped off his t-shirt and tore a strip off of the bottom. Amelia put her finger up when he was just about to put the home-made bandage on her. The bullet its still in there. She gasped. Harvey felt a shiver run down his spine despite the glaring sun, because he knew that he would have to be the one that pulled it out. The blood-curdling screech that Amelia let out as he did so was horrific, and a single tear spilled down her

cheek as he wrapped the bandage around her arm, trembling slightly at the sight of his best friend. As Harvey aided her into lying down, and Amelia willed her shaken mind to drift, he became aware that the shooting had stopped. He reluctantly left Amelias side but turned curiously around to see a figure riding towards them, the sun forbidding him to see his face. He shielded his eyes, and a faint smile played at his lips when he was able to see the features of this man. Lieutenant! Harvey grinned. Lieutenant clambered off of his camel and ran towards them. When he saw Amelias bloody and bandaged shoulder he was distraught. Im so sorry! This is all my fault! he said, his face painted with sorrow and regret. No its not how were you to know that those raiders were on our tail? replied Harvey. Lieutenant shrugged. I could have sent more guards with you. He mumbled.

Harvey stayed by Amelias side as he and Lieutenant talked, and he stroked her hair as he laughed, having fun. Amelia on

the other hand was being stabbed with a knife in her shoulder over and over, and over again. Several hours passed, and Harvey knew that Amelia would be annoyed if he didnt wake her up soon. He gently shook her awake, and she bolted up, her hand snapping to her shoulder as she let out a heavy sigh. It feels better, now. She lied, reading the question that was on Harveys mind. She refused to let anyone help her with anything, repeating the fact that she had to get used to using her arm normally. But Harvey was not stupid, and he winced every time Amelia gritted her teeth and pretended she was absolutely fine, denying that she was in any pain at all. Her fists clenched, she kept her eyes fixed straight ahead, towards Agadir. She kept running the picture of home through her head to stop herself from bursting into tears of agony, and giving up the impossible fight to get back there. Ben seemed to be amazed at how far the camels could carry them without needing water, especially as he needed to take a gulp every five minutes. They could now clearly make out the outline of Agadir in the distance, the intricate details of each building that lined the horizon. Closer and closer they trekked, and

the more of the breathtaking awe that filled them with wonder at the diverse and beautiful city before them. At last, they reached the arch in the ancient wall that surrounded Agadir. After they clambered off of their camels, they entered. They were struck by the wall of the new and exciting atmosphere. Several different songs filled the air, emitted by strange and foreign instruments, the mysterious music drifting in between the many other noises. Dark skinned men wearing everything from robes to rags eyed them curiously, some offering them exotic foods and others gesturing to other unmoveable goods. They passed stalls lined with dazzlingly coloured spices, the sweet and zesty smells wafting around them. Women peered nervously at them, their eyes the only visible thing underneath their reserved black and white headdresses. A pitiful frown crossed Amelias face as they passed many children wearing dirt smothered clothes and trying to sell them empty water bottles. I give you good price for necklace? asked a clearly timid man. Amelia eyed the beautiful necklaces, deciding to buy one as a souvenir and plunged her hands into her pockets, only to find they were empty. She looked at him apologetically. Sorry, I dont have any money she shrugged guiltily. The

man smiled warmly. No matter, I give pretty necklace to pretty girl for no price. He said kindly, and plucked one off of the sheet spread across the floor. Amelia beamed as he held out a handsome green jade stone fixed into a silvery oval, a matching chain looping perfectly around it. She took it carefully. Thank you. She added, before scampering off to catch up with Harvey, Ben and the others. She rejoined them, and Harvey tutted as she fastened the necklace around her neck. Stay focused. He whispered. Amelia shot him a look. Yes, you should be. She hissed back, though she knew that they really should be getting to the harbour as soon as possible. They continued to wander down the streets of Agadir, occasionally stopping to rest and redress Amelias shoulder, though it was fast healing. A white man who seemed to be in a hurry walked straight into her, apologised and walked on. Amelia scowled, rubbing her shoulder gently. Harvey was pondering the strange creatures in cages when he heard Amelia gasp, and he reeled around just to see her dart off down an alleyway at top speed.

Amelia! he yelled, grabbing hold of Bens wrist and yanking him the way she went. They hurtled after her, but quickly fell behind, several people blocking their way, offering them strange fruits and odd pets. They skidded around a corner only to find that it was a dead end: and there was no sign of Amelia anywhere. Keeping her distance, Amelia soundlessly trailed the figure in front of her. It must be him. She thought, and at that moment she caught a glimpse of his face. It was definitely him It was definitely Eric, the mate of the Arabella. He rounded a corner and Amelia backed up against the wall. She counted five and then poked her head around the side of the wall. The narrow little street was empty. Amelia punched the air in frustration. She had lost him, and she realised that she had also lost Harvey and Ben. The arched street was lined with little doors that were obviously houses, and Amelia knew that she could not just guess which one Eric had entered. She turned around began to retrace her steps, hoping that Harvey had gone to the harbour to wait for her. If not, then they were all well and truly sunk. Harvey sipped his coke wearily, his eyes skimming the harbour for any flitter of chocolate curls or patter of

blue all star converse. Ben sat opposite him, giving him sideways glances every so often; taking swigs of his fresh, enormous glass of Moroccan orange juice. He sighed, dramatically loud. Harvey sat motionless, watching every person that passed by. Fed up and sick of sitting still, Ben jumped out of his chair and tapped Harvey on the shoulder. Im going for a wander, look at the boats and that. He declared, and Harvey nodded. Ben ambled alongside the boats, all different shapes and sizes, but most of them large and bulky looking. He passed the biggest boat of them all and stopped to look up and admire it. His eyes skimmed over the colossal ship, but something was not quite right, he could sense it. He frowned at the man stood looking back at him from the front of the boat. He looked familiar that was when it hit him. His eyes trailed back to the name painted on the side. Sabrina, he read. But Ben knew that this was most definitely not the Sabrina. The man glowering at him was the sailor who had chloroformed Harvey. And this was the Arabella. A sailor on the Arabella, Frank was his name, studied Bens expression from in the shadows behind carefully. He had instantly recognised his face, as being Amelia Hardys cousin, one of the three faces his boss had

described (that was until he discovered they had dehydrated in the Sahara), and he now assumed that they were all alive and onto them. He watched as Ben squinted at the name and then staggered back ever so slightly. Frank grimaced. The boy knew, and he would probably run and tell Amelia. The boss is not going to like this. He thought, as he entered phone booth next to him. He speedily dialled the mates number and he answered gruffly. Its Frank. He began. I got some bad news for you. Amelia sprinted out of the alleyway that lead to the harbour. Not noticing Harvey, she spotted Ben in the distance, gesturing madly for her to come to him. She hurried towards him, exhausted yet eager for some action. The speck that was her cousin grew larger, but with a lurch of her stomach, she realised that she was not the only one approaching him. Two figures were closing in on him, and one of them was raising a what looked like a club As the thump shook her stomach she gasped and sprinted at the two men who were holding the limp little shadow. They hoisted him onto their shoulders and threw him into the back of a car. Her rage conquering her weariness, she sped up, but though she could run faster than anyone she knew, the sleek black car took off as a taxi passed her.

Determined, she leapt into the taxi, surprising the driver. Follow that car! she yelled. The driver stared frantically around. Which car madam? he urged. Amelia clenched her fists. Why that one she stopped as she realised that there was indeed, no black car to be seen. Ben was gone. When Harvey had spotted her and reached Amelia, she was stood motionless, staring into space. Amelia? he asked uncertainly. Amelia slowly turned to look at him, her face shocked and frightened. They took Ben she whispered, in fear of her voice cracking. What do you mean? Who? asked Harvey. Amelia pointed to the large ship next to them. Harvey shrugged, not understanding her gesture. Thats the Arabella. She stated. Harvey spun back to the ship, and instantly knew she was right. And the crew took Ben? he assumed. Amelia nodded, her bottom lip trembling slightly.

Its okay, well find him. He soothed, hugging her close. After a while, Amelia wriggled free, the regret gone and replaced with a furious determination. I followed the mate Eric down an alleyway, and he disappeared into one of the houses in a street. I think I can find my way back there, and I have a hunch that well find Ben wherever he was going. Amelia and Harvey wound through the intriguing streets of Agadir, Amelia leading them expertly back the way she had come from. They stopped for a quick drink in a caf to discuss their plan of action. As Amelia waited for the two coffees she had ordered, she gazed upon rows of interesting jars with bizarre contents strange tins of everything imaginable: including a tin with a red background and a scarlet scaled sardine staring back at her. Amelia gasped and waved frantically at the man behind the counter. Like most Moroccans, a dark beard sprung from his face and concealed everything but his mouth, and he hunched down nervously, unable to look Amelia in the eye. Please sir, would you mind opening that tin of sardines just up there? she hurried. The man frowned

anxiously at her and then reached up and took down the tin. Amelia held her breath as he swiftly opened it but her shoulders slumped in disappointment when her eyes met the slimy fish returning her gaze. Harvey noticed the change in atmosphere and joined her at the counter. Whats up? he asked. Amelia showed him the tin of sardines and his eyebrows knitted together. He looked at the Moroccan man. Excuse me sir, but where did you buy this tin? he questioned, using hand gestures to ensure that the man understood. Mohamed Ali, sidi; the shop on corner he replied apprehensively. Harvey nodded at Amelia, and she deposited a generous amount of money on the counter before hurrying back down the street, Harvey on her tail. They reached the little shop standing on the corner and entered. Rows of wine, spices and tea filled each square of the shelves, and Amelias eyes skimmed across them until they met with a whole box crammed with cans of sardines. She strode to the counter and sounded the bell loudly. Almost instantly a man stepped out from behind the curtains, smiling warmly at her. Please sir, I would like the name and address of the supplier who sold you those tins of sardines up there. She asked politely. The man nodded.

Yes, they came from Oualid Ben Saaladir, the biggest trader in all of Agadir. He is very, very rich and he lives in a magnificent palace with many luxuries. He babbled, and Amelia smiled gratefully at him. Thank you. She turned to leave, but something caught her eye and she grinned before turning to face the man again. She added: And how much for some disguises? Amelia crouched down against the wall beside a quaint little house, the baggy robes rough and slightly irritating against her skin, a grey curly beard strapped expertly to her face; the false hairs easy to hide behind as she studied each person that walked by. A crooked stick was clutched tightly in her hand, a pair of black circular glasses hid her eyes, and a matching grey wig concealed her dark hair. Harvey sat in a caf a little way down the street, a maroon turban sitting on his head and a fake moustache stuck tightly between his nose and mouth. He casually read an Arabic newspaper, good at pretending to understand it, turning the page every so often for effect but really he too was glimpsing everyone that passed, his and Amelias eyes both peeled for the same person Eric. Harvey had insisted that he made sure he knew where

Amelia would begin phase two of the rescue mission before going to inquire about this Oualid Ben Saladir. He would wait and see which house Amelia would follow Eric into, and once she was inside, make a casual exit and look for Saladir. His thoughts were shattered as he registered the face that had walked by him, the face that they were looking out for. Amelias heart fluttered as Harvey gave the simple signal they had agreed on he tapped a spoon on the side of his coffee mug three times and rustled his newspaper. Sure enough, Eric walked by, a purposeful look on his face, not even glancing at Amelia who was meters away from him. He stumbled on her stick and turned to look right at her. She avoided his eye even though he could not see hers through the glasses. There was a pause, but then he turned and entered the house two doors down from where she was hunched. She gave a slight nod to Harvey before counting to 10 and slinking into the house two doors down. It seemed that everyone knew the address of Mr Saladir, and when Harvey reached it, he could certainly understand why. The large and beautiful house which was four stories high and decorated in vibrant oranges and blues was situated in the centre of town and everyone who passed it gazed dreamily up to

the top of it before walking on. He almost felt intimidated by the enormous doors that loomed before him as he rung the doorbell. He had kept his turban and moustache on, and now he twiddled the ends of the dark hairs. A servant answered the door slowly, peering at him curiously. Can I help? he asked. Yes, Id like to speak to Mr Saladir. He replied. The servant shook his head. My master has just left, sir. See, there he goes on his donkey. He pointed to where the crowd seemed to part to make way for Oualid Ben Saladir. Harvey nodded. Okay, I will return later. He said, with false disappointment in his voice. But as soon as the door swung shut he pulled out a pair of dark glasses and trailed after the man on the donkey. He stalked after him until he stopped outside another stunning house. Keeping his distance, Harvey watched as he entered the big double doors, but heard the definite sound of the door locking from the inside. He thought for a second, before pulling out his Arabic newspaper and sitting down at yet another caf; watching and waiting for the suspect to appear again.

Meanwhile Amelia was completely bemused at how Eric had walked in the house and now he had disappeared. There must be a secret entrance. She thought. So she ran her fingers along the rough surface of the walls, tapping gently, and when nothing was found, quietly stamped her foot. The patter of footprints startled her and she quickly dashed down some steps to hide behind a line of barrels as someone walked past. She inhaled the damp scent lingering in the air and assumed she was hiding in the cellar. She held her breath until the footsteps passed, and was just about to resume finding a way in when it struck her at the end of the cellar there was a wall so where did the last man go? She remained in the cellar, tapping on every surface in the cold room, until she noticed that one of the barrels was different. She frowned at it, and then almost kicked herself: it had hinges. She dug her fingers behind the circular door and sure enough, it swung open revealing a stony tunnel that faded to black. She grinned. Then she slowly felt her way through the dark tunnel, until it came to a dead end. She felt around before her slender fingers reached a little door. Pushing through it silently, she opened it just a crack, checking nobody was around. Amelia pulled out her gun from underneath her robes, just in case, but there appeared

to be nobody about. She slipped out of the passageway; grateful for the warm light, and noticed the many crates of sardines. Joy burst into her body, for she knew she could now expose the drug-runners to the police with evidence. She pulled off her disguise happily. A familiar cry caused her to almost drop the can in her hand and she listened in horror as Bens pained voice filled the room. A furious rage took over the pride and without even thinking about it she marched towards where the sound was coming from. She poked her head around a corner to see Ben tied to a chair, tears streaming down his face as Eric and some other familiar sailors questioned him impatiently. Cry as loud as you like, nobody can hear you. Now why dont you be a good boy and tell me: Where is Amelia? Barked Eric. Amelia quickly yelled HERE! before sending the can of sardines hurtling towards Eric and it smacked him in the face with a chilling crack! Bens innocent face lit up when he saw Amelia and she immediately ordered one of the other men to untie him, her automatic poised and ready. Ben hopped off the chair, glad to be free and ran to Amelia. He gave her a quick hug (he knew that was all she could manage) before standing at her side and copying her I-mean-business look. Then one of the men smiled nastily.

You dont have any bullets left. He said, but Amelias face remained cool. Why would you think that? she dared. Because I took them all out in the street. He said. Amelia felt the blood rush out of her face. Uh oh. That was where the face was from. Amelia realised with dread. She recalled him walking into her when she first arrived, he must have somehow slipped them out when he was apologising to her. Her heart raced. There was only one option. RUN! she yelled at Ben, and she flung her empty gun at the mans face before joining Ben in a sprint down the tangle of doors, jerking him into one of them and locking the door. She put her fingers to her lips, a gesture of silence. Ben nodded anxiously. Amelia looked around the room, knowing she had minutes to formulate a plan with the little resources in the room. There was literally only a couple of crumbled bricks and some empty crates. Amelia ran her fingers through her hair, panicked as the sound of running footsteps approached. Unexpectedly, the door burst open, and all Amelia could do was lob chunks of brick at the unfortunate sailor who entered. She yanked a plank of wood from the crates and gave it to Ben. He knew what to do, and they opened the door. The three men who were outside were surprised at Amelia and

Ben bursting through the door, armed with planks of wood and brick. Chunks of the stone flew through the air, and Ben was able to fend off any attackers with his sturdy board. Eric soon joined them and when Amelia saw him she dropped her weapons and used her fists until he was out cold on the floor. She turned back around, excepting to have to continue the fight, only to see that Ben had managed fine on his own, and the other three men were lying still on the concrete. She laughed, and returned his high five. Then her face grew serious again. It wont be long until they wake up, we should get out of here right away. She looked around, and spotted another way out rather than returning through the cold and dark tunnel she had entered through. She slowly crept up the steps, her piece of wood still poised above her head as she gestured Ben to stay close to her. He obeyed, knowing the battle was far from over. Harvey had successfully managed to enter Oualid Saladirs living room and now his heart thudded as the man himself joined him on the opposite sofa. How can I help you? he asked warmly. Harvey looked up and down this plump, seemingly friendly man and took a deep breath. This was not going to be easy.

Um, Mr Saladir, I am carrying out an investigation he began, and Oualid nodded seriously. And what is the object of your investigation? he asked understandingly. Harvey gulped nervously. You see myself and a friend of mine, Amelia, suspects that you are concerned in in drug-running. He practically squeaked. Saladirs expression changed instantly, and he leapt up in rage. You dare to suspect Oualid Ben Saladir?! Get out of my house, you filthy boy! he bellowed, and Harvey trembled slightly. He slowly got up. Quicker, boy! Salaidir barked. Harvey was about to leave the room when Amelia suddenly burst through a curtain he hadnt noticed. Amelia! he cried in surprise, and quickly embraced her. Hearing Amelias name, Saladir snatched his gun from his pocket and pointed it at her. So you are Amelia! he yelled in triumph, and Amelias brain scrambled as his finger began to pull on the trigger. Her eyes widened in horror as she heard the click, and her body turned to stone, she was helpless. Suddenly Ben leapt out from behind the curtain and gave Oualid a hard shove, and just in the nick of time too. His gun jerked upwards, and the

soaring bullet shot towards the ceiling, smashing the chandelier hanging from it. Saladirs expression appeared to be amusingly disappointed as the enormous diamond chandelier clattered down and fell on top of him. Saladir landed on his back, hitting his head on the marble floor as he sank even deeper into unconsciousness. "Well he seems nice" Amelia said, breaking the stunned silence that followed. "He just assured me that he was completely innocent!" exclaimed Harvey. Amelia's eyebrows shot up. "Him? Innocent? I've just found crates of opium in his cellar!" she scoffed. She pointed to his neck. Harvey followed her finger to where a ruby encrusted fish hung around his neck. No doubt about it, it was a sardine. "He's the ringleader. I'm sure of it." she said firmly. "Yes, we should call the police" agreed Harvey, nodding. Ben handed Amelia the telephone, and she lifted it to her ear. "Hello, Police? This is Amelia Hardy. Yes, I think you should come right away, sir!" The police arrived in a flash, baffled on finding the most respected man in Agadir guilty of smuggling

drugs. Amelia frowned as each glaring criminal passed her. Something was wrong Then it hit her there was someone missing. She took a sharp breath before leaping behind the curtain and pelting down the steps back to the cellar. Sure enough, all that was left of Eric was his hat, where he had woken up and slipped out in a hurry. Amelia ran back to the police, who were shooting her a confused look. "The mate has escaped, and he's the most dangerous of the lot!" she panted. "I'm going after him" she added hurriedly, and darted out of the door before anyone could object. Well, not including Harvey and Ben who, of course, sprinted after her; though they knew they would never catch her when she was determined to get to a place. Fast. Amelia put herself in Eric's head as she ran. If I were a sailor on the run where would I go? she thought. She instantly knew the answer: Straight back to the harbour. Harvey ran through the winding streets of the town, Ben on his tail and Amelia far in the distance. Though he could barely spot her, Harvey knew where he was going, he knew how Amelia thought. He knew that she would calculate which way Eric would have gone, so he

plotted a course and sprinted right towards the harbour also. Amelia skidded to a halt beside a group of people who were muttering in French and Arabic. In the centre of the circle was a man who appeared to be distraught and Amelia approached him instantly. He was yelling in French and kept pointing out to sea. Amelia guessed the situation as soon as she saw Eric's gleeful face far in the distance, speeding away on what was obviously the man's boat. Without even needing to think about it, Amelia shoved past the crowd and jumped onto the pier, hopping onto a little speedboat and starting the engine; just as Harvey and Ben arrived. "Amelia!" yelled Harvey. The crowd murmured in astonishment at the scene unfolding before them. "Call the police!" was all Amelia shouted back, before the confused and curious shouts of the crowd were engulfed by the roar of Amelia's boat lurching forward and then riding over the waves. Let the chase begin, she thought grimly. Eric frowned at the noise of another engine, whirling around and squinting at the face of the driver who was headed straight for him. Swearing loudly as he realised

it was Amelia, he looked desperately about the boat, spotting only the remains of a fine fishing net. He thrust it over the back of the boat, unable to use it in any other way. Yet it appeared to be effective; Amelia's boat, as it caught up with Eric's, became instantly entangled with the net, the propellers grinded to a halt and she stamped her foot in frustration as Eric put even more distance between them, chuckling nastily. She immediately dived to the back of the boat and began to pick out little bits of the knotted net with her slender nails, her green necklace dangling in front of her face as she gradually made her way through the net. What seemed like 10 minutes later Amelia freed the propeller of the last knot briskly and hurled the net on to her boat, turning to the controls and pushing the lever until the boat rocketed over the waves at full speed heading further and further away from Agadir. On she drove the boat, and closer the dot that was Eric formed his angry face. She pulled up beside him triumphantly, flicking the power switch on his boat as she smiled sweetly at him. "Give up" she said calmly. Eric glared at her. "I don't like hurting little girls" he replied "but for you I can make an exception!" The element of surprise on his side, he lunged at Amelia, diving into her boat as

he swiped at her, barely missing. Amelia kicked him in the stomach as he pushed her to the floor. He groaned and then recovered, looming centimetres away from her face. Amelia's heart hammered in fear as she caught the musty stench of salt water and whisky. She tried to lash at his face, but he pinned her arms down easily. He drew a gun out of his pocked and Amelia repressed a whimper as he pressed it into her head. She allowed her eyes to flicker around the boat in a final attempt to come up with something, but her mind refused to think about anything except the pistol ready to be fired. "See Miss Hardy? You need to learn like everybody else that I always win." he said mockingly. Amelia smiled slightly, and looked right back into his bleak green eyes. "I'm not everybody else" she breathed, and with that, she flung the net by her legs in the air with her free feet, and it flew up and landed right on Eric's head. Taking advantage of the distraction, Amelia shoved him off of her, and Eric's gun went flying into the sky. "Don't mess with Amelia Hardy" she said triumphantly. Then the gun tumbled out of the sky and she effortlessly caught it.

Harvey's heart returned back to normal speed as he watched Amelia cruise back to shore through his binoculars. They had all watched in horror as the boat lurched wildly, unable to see what was happening inside. But now that Amelia had got up (and somehow acquired a gun) they all sighed in relief and chortled at Eric's fuming face as he eyed the gun that Amelia was pointing at him. Once they were back in the harbour, the police immediately grabbed Eric and tossed him into a police car. He glared at Amelia through the darkened windows, roaring in fury as she wiggled her fingers sweetly at him. Harvey and Ben pulled her into a tight, victorious embrace. "Amelia!" cried a voice behind her, and her grin spread even wider as Paul Roberts approached her excitedly. "Congratulations, Miss Hardy!" he chuckled. "A fine job as always!" he added. Amelia beamed. "If you don't mind coming down to the station" he said, returning her smile. "It would be my absolute pleasure" she replied. The police station in Agadir was surprisingly big compared to what it looked like from the outside. The head of Police greeted them warmly in perfect English, and gestured for Amelia, Harvey and Ben to take a seat. There was a pause. Then he cleared his throat.

"I cannot express my gratitude towards what you have done for us." He began, and Amelia blushed proudly. "Which is why I am offering you a reward." he continued slowly. Amelia opened her mouth to protest, but he continued loudly "Of fifty thousand pounds" he said. Ben's mouth dropped open, and Harvey whistled. Amelia instantly began to object. "Look sir, it's very nice of you to offer but -" "Before you consider the offer, just remember you need to pay for flights back to England" added the head of police. Amelia laughed. "If we were to fly back on a private supersonic jet it would not cost fifty thousand pounds!" she exclaimed. The head of Police chuckled with her. "Okay then, how about ten thousand?" he asked hopefully. Amelia chewed her lip. "We would love you to take it" he urged, grinning. Amelia eyed him and then gave in. "Okay" she sighed "I suppose it could pay for future travel expenses for future cases" If my mum ever lets me outside again she added to herself, the thought of facing her mother sending a shiver running down her spine. How long have we been gone? She wondered, a pang of guilt for all of their parents slapping her in the face. We really should have called them she thought sheepishly; they must be worried sick! The door

whining open shattered her thoughts and a tall, Japanese man entered. "Miss Amelia?" he asked uncertainly. Amelia nodded. "That's me" she added when he did not reply. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ganji Kuraki of the Japanese police force. The police have just freed me from the hold of the Arabella, where I was imprisoned. I was kidnapped as I was bringing a letter to you." he said slowly, his English strongly accented. "Oh! It was you!" she gasped. She had forgotten about the mysterious kidnapping outside Harvey's house. "Yes, I wanted to warn you of the risk you were running when I discovered you were searching room 234 for the sardine tin. I instantly knew you would try to investigate further." he explained. Amelia nodded, and gestured for him to continue. One night, a few days ago when I was working undercover, I met a sailor called Herbert Dawes." He watched their looks of sorrowful recognition. "He was drunk, and boasted he could get me some opium. He even proved it by showing me an empty sardine tin, which, he said, had contained the drug. I knew from then that I must be on to the gang that had been smuggling under our noses for a few years now, and I immediately asked him to bring me a full can the next day." He explained "But of course, the next day he never came and I was

later kidnapped." he said sadly. Harvey nodded. "Yes, they must have got rid of Dawes that very night." Amelia frowned. "That doesn't explain why the word Arabella was pencilled onto part of a label from a tin, found on Dawes' body." She said thoughtfully. Ganji nodded quickly. "Oh that's simple. I asked him the name of his ship. He was so drunk that I could not understand what he mumbled. So he wrote it on the scrap of label but accidently put it in his own pocket." smiled Ganji weakly. Amelia grinned, finally slotting the last piece of the jigsaw into place, silently rejoicing that everything made sense now. "Well, that's that." finished the head of police, satisfied. Ben sighed, finally allowing himself to ask the question burning on his mind "Can we go home now?" Amelia Hardy and the gang all relaxed in the luxurious seats of the plane. After everything they had been through in the past week or so, the squashy leather chairs were like heaven on Earth. Harvey looked at the menu. "You want anything?" he asked Amelia. She glanced briefly over his shoulder.

"Yes, I'll have the sardines on toast." she said, the corners of her mouth twitching as she turned away, unable to keep a straight face. Harvey and Ben both spun around and stared at her. She looked back at them, and there was a pause before they all burst out laughing. It took awhile for them to compose themselves, but once they had, Amelia became half serious again, and she chewed her lip worriedly and frowned as she began to write a list of excuses that needed making up:

Amelia rolled her eyes and screwed up the lined sheet of paper, tossing it over her shoulder and watching as it landed in the centre of the aisle. It's no use, she thought. She knew that when she returned home, she would just have to tell her mother the truth: No matter how hard anyone tries, nobody will ever be able to

keep me away from doing what I love, what I do best and what makes me who I am. And I am Amelia Hardy.
50 p

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Exclusive: English detective busts smugglers at age 14!

By Helen Skeeter
ENGLISH school-girlinvestigator Amelia Hardy has worked her magic once again after arresting one of the most wanted gangs of smugglers throughout the world. Lead by the dangerous Eric Rogers and with over 19 members, Miss Hardy, Mr Harvey Jones and Mr Benjamin Adams have truly outdone themselves this time. It wasnt much says Harvey. Yeah, it was kinda fun anyway! adds Amelia, laughing. The city of Agadir has rewarded them with a sum of 25,000 and as they arrive back in London were sure that they can hold their heads high knowing that the world will be safe from one less ruthless gang of thugs. Congratulations, Amelia! We hope that you will continue your detective work throughout the rest of the world!

Eric Rogers and his gang now safely behind bars

Eric Rogers and his gang now safely behind bars

Eric Rogers and his gang are now safely behind bars.

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