“Must you keep singing that?” Sherlock grumbled.
“I quite like it. And wasn’t it the carol that was in that anonymous card you received?” John replied.
We three kings of orient are
“You know that seems sort of appropriate: you, me and Greg.”
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
John waved a bottle of wine with a festive bow round its neck at Sherlock.
“I hardly think that walking downstairs with a bottle of wine to Mrs Hudson’s party is quite what the writer had in mind. And anyway it’s a New Year’s Eve party, not Twelfth Night.”
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
“You do realise that the only reason he used fountain was to rhyme with mountain.” Sherlock paused. “Wait a minute. Of course. Phone Lestrade and tell him it’s tonight and to meet us at Trafalgar Square.”
“But the party. Mrs Hudson will kill us if we don’t turn up. Sherlock, what’s going on?”
“If this all goes to plan we shall be back in time for the party to be just warming up nicely. I’ve had an epiphany.”
They took a taxi as close to Trafalgar Square as they could get before the crowds made progress too difficult. Sherlock jumped out and set off in a determined fashion, John following behind him, doing his best to keep him in view. When Sherlock stopped suddenly, John almost walked straight into him. He jumped as Sherlock grabbed his hand and held it firmly.
“Sherlock, what are you doing?”
“Mummy always used to hold my hand when we came to see the lights on Oxford Street so that I wouldn’t get lost. Mycroft didn’t have to because he was taller and I hated him for it – he’s never let me forget it.”
“So you’re holding my hand so I don’t get lost?”
“Yes, now come along.”
There were days when John made a point of explaining to Sherlock why a particular action was not acceptable. He would have liked to do so this time, but being towed through a London crowd didn’t give him much opportunity.
They had reached Trafalgar Square.
“How are we supposed to find Greg amongst all these people?”
“That’s the easy part,” Sherlock said, heading unerringly up the steps of the National Gallery.
He found Lestrade without effort; he was casually leaning on the second column from the left.
“He was taunting me,” Sherlock began without pre-amble. “We knew there were two stages to his plan. Prevent part one and we delay part two.”
“Agreed. The problem was knowing where and when they were taking place, since we didn’t have the manpower to cover the whole of London.”
“And now we do.”
“Between field and fountain. Somewhere, in the small bit of road between the fountains in Trafalgar Square and St Martin’s in the Fields, someone is going to let off some fireworks. Everyone will turn to watch and this man, or his associate, acts whilst people are distracted.”
“Why not an incendiary device?”
“That would lead to panic, which could make it harder to get away. Having everyone looking upwards ‘following yonder star’ as John’s been singing, would be the perfect solution.”
Lestrade took out his phone, spoke rapidly to the person on the other end and a few minutes later, a number of uniformed police moved through the area Sherlock had described. When his phone rang, he answered briefly and then turned to Sherlock and John.
“They found it, and the operator has been taken into custody. We’ve bought some more time.”
“Can we go back now?” John asked.
“Oh yes. He won’t act again tonight. Whatever he’s planning has to be perfect. He’ll try again; he may even already have a second plan. But it won’t be tonight.”
“Good. Have you got to go back to the Yard, Greg, or can you come with us?”
“No, I’m not needed, so I’ll come with you.”
“Excellent.” John linked his arms with the other two.
“We three kings of Orient are…”