"The Children's Crusade: Part 2": Late at night, Avril Mitchell's reading is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Dead Boy Detectives, Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland. Though she hired them to find her younger b
- That's Oak Leaf, for bravery. I've got Veronica and Honeysuckle, for fidelity and affection. And that's peony, for shame. She lives under this rock.
- -- Suzy Linden
Appearing in "The Children's Crusade: Part 2"
- Children of Free Country
- Avril Mitchell
- Mrs. Mitchell
Synopsis for "The Children's Crusade: Part 2"
Late at night, Avril Mitchell's reading is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Dead Boy Detectives, Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland. Though she hired them to find her younger brother Oliver, she seems disinterested with their progress report. The boys admit that they failed to stop the children of Free Country from abducting the powerful children that were on the list they found, however Tim Hunter has not yet disappeared, and they hope to find him first.
In Free Country, the children hold a meeting of their high-council to take stock of their efforts to collect the powered children. The meeting is plagued by arguments, however. Both Tefé Holland and Dorothy Spinner were brought to Free Country, but Tefé had to return because she was dying away from The Green, and Dorothy had to return because she was too old. Junkin Buckley arrives late, and brags of his success in bringing Suzy Linden to Free Country - the only successful attempt other than Jack Rabbit's achievement in bringing Maxine Baker earlier. However, Junkin's behaviour draws the ire of the other council members, and they ban him from the meetings.
In London, Tim Hunter uses a magic hopscotch game to travel to Free Country, but finds that his guide has stayed behind. As he wanders the countryside, he encounters the high-council, who are preoccupied with determining how they are going to greet him. Eventually he becomes frustrated at being unable to catch their attention, and leaves them. Later, he finds his way to a garden, where Suzy, the Black Orchid is upset to be stuck there. Suzy quickly grows attached to Tim, and begins referring to him as her boyfriend. Despite his complaints, she follows him, and he eventually resigns himself to the fact that they will have to find a way home together.
Elsewhere, Edgar and Charles make a clumsy attempt to travel to Free Country, despite the fact that the dead are not welcome there. While they manage to get into Free Country, they find themselves to be quite intangible. Even so, they encounter Tim and Suzy, explaining that they will help the two of them to get home if they will help them find Oliver Mitchell. Tim finds and grabs Oliver, and despite the boy's abrasiveness, they take him along.
Meanwhile, Jumping Joan and Wat confer with Aiken Drum, who reveals that Free Country has a consciousness, and it has decided to close all of the gates in and out. The recent attempts to bring more children to Free Country have been taxing for her, and it is likely that she will be destroyed if they continue. They plan to use Tim Hunter to give Free Country more power.
In a shadowy forest, Junkin Buckley meets with a tall hooded man. The man reveals that he was behind the original Children's Crusade, and that he has manipulated Free Country's leaders into bringing more children from Earth there so that he can gather them up and sell them into slavery, just as he did before.
After a failed attempt to leave Free Country, Tim, Suzy, Oliver, and the Dead Boy Detectives are accosted by Maxine Baker, along with her animals. Using her animals, Maxine forces Tim, Suzy and Oliver to follow her to a meeting with the high council. Despite the fact that her animals sense Charles and Edwin's presence, Maxine does not. After dropping them off, Maxine goes to sleep in the arms of a bear, recalling how she had been forced to create a twin of herself using her connection to The Red. She left the twin behind for her family's sake after hearing her father calling her when she was about to leave for Free Country.
Wat explains to Tim that they came from his world originally, but they were hurt, starved, raped, and killed, before finally getting to Free Country. Eventually, they resolved that they had to save all the children in the world from such a fate. The children explain how they have captured parts of each of Maxine, Dorothy, and Tefé's power using magical mirrors, hoping to sustain Free Country enough to hold all the children. Before she realizes it, they have taken part of Suzy's power as well.
Even as they children have placed all of their hopes on capturing Tim's power, the mirror shows no reflection. In the confusion, Jack Rabbit reveals his hand in the secret plan to destroy Free Country by complaining that Tim has failed him. Suddenly, a blinding light grows within the mirror, and Free Country is devastated by storms and shadows. The rabbit screams for someone to kill Tim, as his power is bringing destruction. Tim reaches out and touches the mirror, and the destruction ceases.
A seemingly possessed Charles Rowland materializes above them, explaining the folly of their plan: Tim Hunter's magic is too powerful, and would destroy Free Country in the attempt to power it. He states that Free Country has effectively been reshaped, and that it will only house a handful of refugees at a time. Charles has been possessed by an envoy of the Dark Tower, and he identifies Jack Rabbit as the slaver in disguise. The slaver then flees out the window to join Junkin Buckley on a flying ship. Charles tells the children to let them go, and that the danger to Free Country has ended.
Slowly, the children who don't belong begin returning to their homes in the grown-up world, first Suzy, then Oliver, then Tim, and then, at last, the Dead Boy Detectives. Tim, Edwin, and Charles find themselves back in London in front of the Hunter residence, and they part ways tersely.
Meanwhile, Maxine wakes to a new day in Free Country. The animals expected her to disappear, but she has decided to stay there with her friends indefinitely, having left behind her twin as a replacement.
Edwin and Charles return to Flaxdown to collect their payment of £10 from Avril Mitchell for retrieving Oliver. She refuses to pay up, claiming that the whole ordeal was caused by mass hallucinations, and that the boys did nothing. Despite not getting paid, the boys feel that their first case was a success. They vow to demand payment before solving the case next time.
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