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The Carona Stable Company runs a kind o’ shuttle wagon between Foothold and Yar and the trip’ll cost ya ten gold either way. If you’re goin’ on to Stonemark you gotta change to an express wagon in Yar, what don’t make no stops in between and the driver’ll charge ya fifty gold for the trip.

Now, when you’re payin’ your fare to the driver, if you look close at him, you’ll notice his eyes is crossed, and they always has a glint in ‘em too. And he’s got a silly smile on his face with a bit o’ his tongue hangin’ out o’ the corner o’ his mouth. There’s dribble drippin’ off o’ it, runnin’ down his chin and onto his neck, gettin’ the collar of his shirt all soggy.

I think he’s a little dippy, you know? Yup! Dippy! I suppose the lady what owns the place hired him ‘cause he ain’t afraid o’ drivin’ that wagon as fast as he possibly can and that’s just what he does! Well, it’s an express wagon, remember? It seems like he can make the trip between Yar and Stonemark before you blinks your eyes two times!

Oh geez! He works those poor oxen what he’s got yoked up to the wagon into a lather, cursin’ and swearin’, flailing’ away at ‘em with his whip, pushin’ ‘em faster and faster till you’re shootin’ along the road at an incredible speed!

The passengers in the back is bangin’ and bouncin’ all around inside, laughin’ and cryin’ at the same time, holdin’ tight onto each other, cause there ain’t no hand rails for hangin’ onto!

And they’s all prayin’ they don’t fall out the back and hopin’ an axle don’t snap or a wheel come off and send ‘em smashin’ into one o’ the buildings they’s flyin’ by, what’s been built up alongside the road!

And God help anyone who happens to be out for a walk, cause the driver ain’t gonna slow down or veer outta the way tryin’ to avoid ‘em! Nope! He’ll run right over ‘em squishing ‘em flat for sure if they happen to be in his path! Yup! I seen him do that a couple o’ times!

By the time he gets to Stonemark, the oxen is half dead and all the passengers got sore bottoms ‘and queasy tummies cause o’ the jostlin’ they’ve had to suffer durin’ the trip. But, like everyone always says, it sure beats walkin’!

When me and Sunny got to the Corona Stables in Stonemark we met Belfron. He told us he’d been doin’ some shoppin’ in Market Square and asked us what we was up to and we told him about the plan we had, to catch the Stonemark Strangler. He said he’d be glad to help!

Well oh geez! All I could think about was now we’d be havin’ to split Lord Mark’s reward three ways, but I ain’t said nothin’, you know? Well, mayhap I grumbled a little to myself, but I don’t think nobody noticed.

Just then, a guard ambles out o’ Corona Sar’s office, walks up to us and starts askin’ questions ‘bout who we is and what we’s doin’ there. He starts goin’ on about the murders and how Stonemark’s streets is dangerous now! As of that night, he tells us they’ll be imposin’ a ten o’clock curfew, same as the little boy we met in the pass said!

Then he stops his babblin’ for a moment, eyes Sun-Ok’s boots and informs us they matches the description o’ the ones what the Strangler’s supposed to be wearin’ and demands she take ‘em off and hand ‘em over so he can get a closer look!

Well I’ll tell ya! Ain’t nothin’ what upsets me more, than a pushy guard, doin’ his best to harass and aggravate a poor civilian, never mind one o’ me best friends!

He must o’ seen somethin’ in me eyes what alarmed him a bit. He gave me a long look, glanced quick at my falchion, noticed my hand wrapped tight ‘round the hilt, with my knuckles white from squeezin’ it so hard, then let out a nervous laugh, stepped back from us a few paces, and told us he’d decided it wouldn’t be necessary to be checkin’ Sun-Ok’s boots after all! T’was a wise decision he made, if you know what I’m gettin’ at.

With that settled, me, Sunny and Bel turned, pushed open the stable door and made our way outside. The strangler had been busy that night. We ain’t had to look far for clues. There was bodies strewn about all over the place. Some of ‘em was still warm so we knew this monster couldn’t be far off.

The trail o’ corpses led us to a courtyard what had a metal grating in the middle coverin’ up a hole that led down into the sewers under the city. We thought the killer might be on to us, and could be hiding down there somewhere, hoping to avoid being captured. We ain’t wanted to leave no sewer unturned, if you get my meanin’! So we moved the grating aside, and down we went.

We searched in every nook and cranny but we ain’t found no trace o’ her. No bodies, no blood, nothin’. All we seen was a bunch o’ rats, some sewer people who was really mad at us for invadin’ their abode and o’ course their king who fought gallantly but was no match fer the lot o’ us. So, back up we went and, oh geez! While we was down below the Stonemark Strangler had been hard at work right above us! More bodies! Some still twitchin’ with a bit o’ life left in ‘em!

Sunny and Bel began to search the corpses, lookin’ for somethin’, anything, a piece o’ thread from her garments what she might have left, what could lead us closer to findin’ out who she was and eventually catchin’ her. I heard someone sneeze and knowin’ it wasn’t one o’ us, I glanced up to see who’d done it, and glory be, there she was!

The sinister Stonemark Strangler! All decked out in her funny lookin’ helm what had the workin’ end o’ a broom stickin’ out o’ the top of it! She was standin’ there on a walkway just above us leanin’ on an iron fence, gazin’ down on us as if she ain’t had a care in the world!

Well I’ll tell ya, the sight o’ her really got my blood boilin’ and I took off, runnin’ as fast as I could towards a stone ramp what led up to where she was standin’. She seen me comin’, made off in the opposite direction and the chase was on!