The sun rose and shed its light on what Roscuro and Miggery Sow had done…

Despereaux wakes up to quite a disturbance in the castle.

Despereaux sat up. He looked behind him. Oh, his tail! Gone! Given over to the knife and where the tail should be . . . nothing but a bloody stub.

“And more foul play. Gregory dead!” shouted Cook. “Poor old man, that rope of his broken by who knows what and him lost in the dark and frightened to death because of it. It’s too much.”

“Oh no,” whispered Despereaux. “Oh no, Gregory is dead.” The mouse got to his feet and began the long climb down from the shelf. Once he was on the floor, he stuck his head out and saw Cook standing in the center of the kitchen, wringing her fat hands. Beside her stood a tall woman jangling a ring of keys.

“That’s right,” said Louise. “All the king’s men was down there searching for her in the dungeon and when they come back up, who do they have with them? They have the old man. Dead! And you tell me that Mig is missing and I say who cares?”

Despereaux made a small noise of despair. He had slept too long. The rat had already acted. The princess was gone.

“What kind of world is it, Miss Louise, where princesses are taken from right under our noses and queens drop dead and we cannot even take comfort in soup?” And with this, Cook started to cry.

That’s really the only sensible thing for them to do at this point.

“It will be all right,” said Louise.

Cook brought the hem of her apron up to wipe her tears. “It won’t,” she said. “It won’t be all right ever again. They’ve taken our darling princess away. There ain’t nothing left to live for without the princess.”

Despereaux was amazed to have exactly what was in his heart spoken aloud by such a ferocious, mouse-hating woman as Cook.

Louise again reached out to touch Cook, and this time Cook allowed her to put an arm around her shoulder. “What will we do? What will we do?” wailed Cook.

And Louise said, “Shhh. There, there.”

Alas, there was no one to comfort Despereaux. And there was no time, anyway, for him to cry. He knew what he had to do. He had to find the king.

He still knows what Roscuro’s plans are, but he wants some help in stopping them. But first, he must face a different darkness.

Next time: Forgiveness…

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