Suddenly, three figures crossed the square; in the pale moonlight,
Ouimet recognized them at once. "Sir," said Capt. LeJeune, "isn't that
the former Capt. Phoebus, and...?"
Ouimet rejoined, "Claude Frollo!"
It was Frollo indeed, accompanied by Phoebus, former Captain of the
Guard, and Jacques, Frollo's personal attendant. As the men neared, Phillipe
Ouimet silently prayed that Claude would be so exhausted from his journey
that joining on this manhunt would be out of the question. Unfortunately
Phillipe Ouimet, in his zeal to capture two wanted men, and keep both his
friend and brother at bay, had momentarily forgotten that Claude Frollo
was a very determined man.
After exchanging a few courtesies, Judge Ouimet had no choice but to inform Frollo that Elmore and Clopin's whereabouts were finally confirmed. Phillipe was wise not to tell Claude anything else, especially about Dottie, or of Fern's findings.
Claude Frollo, still astride Snowball, said nothing for a few fleeting moments. He then turned to his companions and said, "Jacques, continue to my townhouse. Phoebus, I want you to go to the cathedral; make sure Quasimodo does that favor. Find out what you can -- You do remember what we discussed earlier today?"
Both Jacques and Phoebus silently nodded then briskly rode off into the Parisian night. Then Claude Frollo addressed the Minister of Justice, "Phillipe, I want to accompany you. This may not be the Court of Miracles, but never mind. It's Elmore I want -- alive!"
This she learned from Clopin who explained his sudden interest in Danisha.
"She is a kinswoman to the African Guillaume Sarrisin and his daughter
Isabelle LaCroix," explained the Gypsy King. "When I met Isabelle, I instantly
detected the resemblance. Now while Danisha is not as dark complexioned,
the features are similar -- the shape of the lips and high cheekbones;
the same proud bearing. These are things that can only be passed through
When Esmeralda inquired about Johnny Elmore, and the possibility that Claude Frollo will once and for all find the Court of Miracles, Clopin reassured her that, "No, Esme. Elmore is to planted on the Palais steps this very evening. Afterwards, we must be on our way or else Judge Ouimet's men will have this place surrounded."
Clopin paused to glance at a locked door which lead to a secret room, then he continued, "As for Claude Frollo, I'm betting that he'll soon cross paths with Mlle Ducharme. My sources tell me that Jehan has already met this woman, and he has figured that Dorothy has to be Danisha. Jehan Frollo, I suspect, is playing detective, and no doubt has tipped Phillipe Ouimet. The only obstacle is the fact that Dorothy is engaged to marry Evrard. Perhaps Phillipe is stalling for time, that is, lest he break his brother's heart..."
Esmeralda, upon hearing this, suddenly said, "But how did Elmore pull
it off? From what I've overheard in town, Danisha was buried...The potion!
Clopin, when you told me how Elmore duped you into giving him that stuff...Oh
no! But how did he...?"
The Gypsy King smiled and responded, "Esme, when Johnny Elmore finds himself in both Phillipe's and Frollo's clutches...That's another thing my sources revealed. It seemed Elmore had planned to frame me for Nisha's murder. But she's alive, and here in Paris..."
Clopin stroked his scraggly black beard, then snapped his fingers and exclaimed, "Julian! He had nixed 'Plan B' right after Frollo cornered and killed Marcel Rougelot...But Elmore came to me later claiming Nisha's life was still in danger, and I let him have 'The Formula'...Yes, Julian was duped as well..."
At that moment, two of Clopin's spies came rushing forward, both obviously
out of breath. The first at once addressed his monarch, "Clopin, our spy
network has learned that Ouimet is coming. He has soldiers and..."
The second butted in, "And Frollo's with them!"
A rightfully alarmed Esmeralda threw her hand to her throat in shock. Frollo! How she shuddered as her mind raced back to that fateful day -- the day of the Feast of Fools. Claude Frollo lashed out at her when she dared come to Quasimodo's aid; then he made the most blatant advances...
..And he twisted the truth, just like that! Ooh, Jean-Michel duChamps was right about one thing: Claude Frollo is one determined man...
Clopin, however, remained surprisingly calm in the approaching storm.
Why? The Gypsy King knew Judge Ouimet would soon be onto the Roma's whereabouts.
Especially with the sudden reappearance of Johnny Elmore, Clopin took no
chances lest his people fall into Ouimet's clutches. Rather, he had everyone
scattered. Some remained at the old monastery; others headed for secret
places on the outskirts of town. Here at the old mill, only a few Roma,
including Clopin, Esmeralda, and Katerina were present.
He grinned a bit, stroked his chin, and inquired, "And when do you estimate Ouimet and Frollo's arrival?"
"From the reports along the way, about an hour, maybe less," replied the young Gypsy spy.
Esmeralda, now glancing at that locked door, asked Clopin, "That gives
us time to escape, but what do we do with Elmore?"
With a silent, almost sinister chuckle, Clopin replied, "We leave him here for Ouimet. Do you think I'll risk being caught by Frollo? Why, the man has hounded me for decades, and every time I've eluded the intrepid Claude Frollo. However..."
Clopin went on, "My dear Esme, when Lazlo agreed to go to the gallows in my place, I vowed from then on to watch over his daughter. Instinctively he knew, Esme, that you were carrying his child. Now, there is another child to consider -- not that I'm in any way feeling sorry for Frollo. Why should I? No, the woman, the one called Danisha, has a child, and both are Guillaume Sarrisin's kin. How can I allow any harm befall them? Guillaume and his daughter were exceedingly kind to me during my sojourn in Nantes, so naturally...Even though the child is part Frollo, the blood of her mother's family also flows through her veins."
Another interruption as yet more spies rushed into the old mill. "Clopin! Soldiers coming! Look!"
They all peered through the chinks in the stone and sure enough, torch lights could be seen on the horizon, the faint sound of hoof beats gradually growing stronger. "We waste no time," Clopin finally said, as he ushered his people out a rear exit. "Take care no one sees us, and draw no undue attention."
"But, Clopin," asked Esmeralda, "where will we go?"
The Gypsy King smiled and said, "Why, we're off to Paris. I want to see this woman Elmore wanted so desperately to find. I particularly look forward to Frollo's reaction when he learns 'Dorothy Ducharme' is on the verge of becoming Evrard Ouimet's bride."
Hell, he thought as he peeked through the chinks in the stone, they
didn't even stop to say good-bye. Clopin and his roadies just left me here
to face Ouimet and Frollo alone. Oh man, if either of those guys met Dottie,
I'm dead meat.
Working furiously, Johnny finally got the ropes cut, then he untied his feet. Free! Now, how to get to Paris without being detected...A diversion...I need some distraction....Yeah!
Fumbling in his jacket pocket, Elmore found it -- a small hand grenade his brought along "Just in case." Knowing these 15th Century people had never seen such things, Johnny thought it would be fun to set one off. However, with too many things happening too fast, Johnny thought the small explosive would serve as the perfect distraction.
Yeah, just stall 'em long enough to get out of here, and back to town to look up Dottie.
Making sure everyone was out, Johnny picked the door's lock then cautiously made his way outside. Yep, they're gone, Clopin and company...
Where's Frollo and Ouimet?
At last he said, "Phillipe, all I want is to see Elmore pay for what
he did. But I must caution you -- Don't kill him! It is vital that he is
returned to his own country to stand trial..."
Before Ouimet could respond to this, a loud explosion could be heard in the distance. The bright orange glow of a fire became clearly visible. Soldiers jolted to attention while valiantly calming suddenly spooked horses.
"Whatever was that?," asked Phillipe alarmingly. Claude Frollo, now himself alarmed, looked in the direction of the explosion, thought the worse, and replied, "I believe it came from the mill. Perhaps Elmore has -- Oh no -- perhaps he has killed again..."
Without another word, the two men, accompanied by many soldiers, sped towards that mill. When they arrived, what and who they had hoped to capture was gone.
As Nadine broke free to explore her temporary lodgings, Jacki's eyes surveyed the living area. Tears came quickly and just before Jacki completely broke down, she thought she heard noises coming from the cellar. Fighting back tears and motioning to Nadine, Jacki said quietly, "Nadine, come here. Don't say a thing."
Little Nadine Frollo, oblivious to Jacki's caution, asked, "What's the
matter, Aunt Jacki?"
"Shh!," hissed Jacki, "Someone's in this house. Come on, we'll go to your father's house instead..."
Suddenly the trapdoor swung open; Jacki yelped in fear and Nadine screamed
as well. Jacki espied the baseball bat in the corner near the door. Holding
on to Nadine, she inched towards the door, then grabbed the bat. "Nadine,"
she whispered, "get behind me. When I say "Run!", I want you to dash out
that door and scream for help, OK?"
"OK," replied the little girl, hiding within the billowing folds of Jacki's 15th Century garb.
Soon they could hear footsteps rapidly approaching; Nadine opened the front door as Jacki raised the bat. Her heart thumping madly, the palms sweating, Jacki Terrell whispered, "Get ready, Nadine."
A male figure, tall and slender, emerged from the cellar. Despite the dim candle light, Jacki recognized this man at once. She lowered the bat and let out a sigh of relief. Little Nadine peered out from behind, looked the man up and down then flew to him with outstretched arms. "Uncle Jehan!"
Jehan Frollo immediately embraced and kissed his niece then addressed
Jacki. "My dear Jacqueline, your presence is so welcome. You don't
know how much I missed this little one."
Jacki Terrell, returning the bat to its hiding place, swept over to Jehan. She wasn't surprised to find him here as Nisha's home was always open to him. "Jehan," she said upon kissing his cheek, "you gave us such a jolt. But where's Claude?"
Still holding Nadine, Jehan planted numerous kisses upon the child and said to Jacki, "Dear friend, Claude and I are...Well, I really shouldn't discuss this in front of the child..."
Jacki took the hint and said to Nadine, "Honey, it's late. Why don't
we get ready for bed. Maybe your uncle will tell you a story."
As the three of them ascended the stairs towards Nadine's bedroom, Jehan said to Jacki, "Afterwards, Jacqueline, we need to talk. I've discovered the most amazing things this past week."
TO CHAPTER 14!
Copyright©1999 by FrolloFreak®