Disclaimers: See Part 1.



"My methods tend to be very simple and to the point," Vetinari said coolly to me once we'd arrived back at Baker Street.

"But… you threw a knife at him!" I protested.

"If I'd wanted him dead, he would be dead now, rather than suffering a pierced forearm."

"This isn't Ankh-Morpork. I don't know how you do things there, but around here you simply don't throw knives at people."

"Would you have been happier if I'd shot him? That appears to be the weapon of choice amongst the gentry."

"That isn't my point, and you know it. We'll be lucky if he doesn't try to have you arrested for attacking him."

He smiled thinly. "Now, don't you think that would count as annoying me?"


"Excuse me," said Skazz from the front steps of 221. I looked over to see that he had a black eye, many of the spikes that adorned his scalp were askew, and his clothing was generally dishevelled. The orangutan crouched on the steps beside him and generally looked sulky.

"What happened?" I asked, naturally concerned.

"Nothing," Skazz said innocently, "Are we early?"

"Only by two hours," Vetinari said, "I trust you have some news, then?"

"Well, Mr Holmes just finished up with a case in Ankh-Morpork—"

"How does he have a case in Ankh-Morpork?" I asked.

"It's complicated," Skazz said, "Anyway, he's concerned about how his London case turned out."

I glanced at Vetinari, who said, "Let me speak to him."

Skazz opened the pocket-watch device. "Ponder?"

"Yeah?" came the tinny voice.

"His Lordship wants to talk to Mr. Holmes."

"Hang on." There was a muffled conversation, which culminated in Holmes' face appearing in the lens of the device.


Across the universes, two geniuses met for the first time.

There was a beat of speculative silence.

"I see you've met Miss Cartwright," Holmes said finally.

"And I see you've met Cpl Shoe," Vetinari replied, "Were you injured badly?"

"A bruised brow and a cracked rib, and you?"

"A bruised pride and, Watson tells me, a fading bruise. She has quite the left hook for such a dainty young woman."

Holmes smiled slightly. "I would call her many things before I called her dainty."

"Granted. I trust you encountered a minimum of difficulty in your investigation?"

"I managed to anger a troll and several dwarves, the fog makes me physically ill when I go outside, the Watch medic is a walking dead man, and the Commander was openly hostile to my methods."

Vetinari nodded. "So the answer to my question is yes?"

Holmes blinked, and then looked thoughtful. "All things considered, it might have been worse."

"Certainly. You might have antagonised the vampire community."

"That was the furthest thing from my mind," Holmes replied honestly, "but what puzzles me is what Cpl Shoe said regarding the usual Watch medic."

"What's that?"

"He said that Igor was in the shop at the moment, getting his bolts tightened. I can't begin to imagine what he meant by that."

"It means he's getting his annual check-up with the Guild of Cunning Artificers. Some of their members are Uberwaldian."

Holmes looked even less illuminated. Vetinari explained further. Holmes paled.

"I… see," Holmes squeaked, though he didn't look like he wanted to anymore, "I trust that you fared well in London?"

"I discovered the culprit in the birthday bombing. I doubt he'll be setting any more hydrogen bombs in the near future. Watson can fill you in when you've returned."

Holmes nodded. "Tell him I shall expect a full account when Mr Stibbons has returned me to London by… whatever means."

"Speaking of Mr Stibbons, may I have a word with him?"

Holmes handed over the omniscope to Ponder, who looked like he'd rather try to swallow a porcupine tailfirst than accept the device, but who took it anyway.


Vetinari said nothing, but the way he raised one dangerous eyebrow at the young wizard forced Holmes to have to dive for the omniscope, which had been tossed up in Ponder's haste to get out of the room.

"I expect he's gone to make arrangements to reverse his error," Vetinari said to Holmes' puzzled expression, "Do go with him so he doesn't have to come find you again."

"I have one last question for you, Mr Vetinari… who exactly *are* you in Ankh-Morpork?"

Vetinari smiled mysteriously. "I am merely a civic leader, Mr Holmes – a well-educated politician who recognises the merits of a few well-placed rumours." He closed the connection.



At times, even an un-athletic wizard can put on an impressive turn of speed (a), which meant that by the time Holmes caught up with Ponder they were nearly back on University grounds. The detective grabbed Ponder's arm to bring him to a halt, and was forced to dodge a reflexively cast spell.

"Sorry, sir," Ponder gasped, trying to get his breath back, "You startled me."

"Is this the place where the incident happened?" Holmes asked, glancing up at UU.

Ponder nodded. "I sneezed."

"Well, have a care not to this time. You don't want to make any more people angry with you.. Speaking of which, would you be kind enough to inform Vetinari that the dog, Gaspode, is owed a steak?"

Ponder looked like he'd rather have his spleen extracted through his nose with a fireplace poker than tell Lord Vetinari that he needed to do anything right now. "I'll try to remember, sir. You'll be happy to know, by the way, that if everything goes well, you'll be able to keep the clothes you're wearing this time."

"Good," Holmes replied thoughtfully, "To judge by his pyjamas, I would say that Vetinari is right around six feet tall – and thus six inches shorter than me… so he would likely have acquired clothing of his own, as I did, rather than wear mine. Switching clothing once again after all that would be a horrible inconvenience."

"Yes, sir," Ponder replied dutifully.

"By the way, you dropped this in your fright," Holmes added, returning the omniscope, "I'm sure you wouldn't want me to keep it by mistake."

"Oh… thank you. If you would follow me, we'll get everything set up for the reverse transfer." He opened the omniscope. "Skazz?"


(a) For example, everyone at Unseen University knew how fast the Dean could move when he heard Mrs Whitlow had made one of her famous white chocolate raspberry cheesecakes for dessert and thus the Running of the Dean became a favoured activity for thrill-seeking students. The rest of the senior faculty did little to discourage it, since it quickly eliminated the ones who were too stupid to have any business practicing magic in the first place.



"Aye?" Skazz addressed his watch once again, as Vetinari, Skazz, and I mounted the steps to the apartment. To my uneasiness, the orangutan brought up the rear of our curious parade.

"You went back, didn't you?" scolded the voice I now knew to belong to Mr Stibbons, "after I told you not to."

"Look, Ponder, we had a couple of hours to kill while His Lordship finished up. How was I supposed to know they'd make the Librarian wait in the lobby?"

"He's an *orangutan*!" Ponder explained, and I glanced at the only such creature involved in this whole bizarre adventure. It grinned at me, and I felt my hopes plummet that anyone from Ankh-Morpork was sane. "They probably don't serve apes around London!"

"Well, that was no excuse for him to drag me out by my ankles," Skazz whinged, "Just as it was getting good, too."

Vetinari cleared his throat purposefully. "I'm certain this entire conversation can wait until later?" he said, "Or at least until everyone is back where they need to be. Watson, I'm sure you won't mind informing your friend of the billing arrangements, since I won't be here to make sure of them myself."

"I *am* going to have to warn him that you put a knife through the man's arm!" I replied, "just in case Cavitz sends the police to arrest you."

"Do as you please." He set the two borrowed knives on the table, and I wondered what would have been the outcome had the first knife missed its mark.

"Oh, that reminds me, Dr Watson," said Skazz, "It would really be helpful if you weren't to say anything to anyone in London about this whole episode. I mean, people from your world learning about magic when they're not ready for it could have some serious quantum effects."

"Quantum?" I echoed, puzzled by the strange word, "What on earth does that mean?"

"Judging by what I've seen around here, your scientists won't figure that out for fifty years or so. Just trust me that mucking about with quantum would be a bad thing. Are you ready to go, Your Lordship?"

"Of course I am," Vetinari returned, "The sooner this is fixed the better it shall be… for *all* parties concerned."

"All ready over here," Skazz said into the handheld device, "Everything set over there?"



"Everything's ready to go," Ponder said into his omniscope. He and Holmes had reached the Hex lab by then, and Holmes was studying the thinking engine with open curiosity. "Mr Holmes? Are you ready to go?"

Holmes looked over at Ponder, then back at Hex. "I expect that even if I stayed here for a lifetime, I would never unravel even half the mysteries in this place."

"That's why they have people like me, sir," Ponder said, "All the same it was a pleasure working with you, even if you can be a bit of a jerk."

Holmes turned to Ponder. "And I am relieved that this city has at least one level head in it, even if it does belong to a…" His lip curled slightly and the word almost didn't make it out: "Wizard."

The wizard and the detective shook hands.

"We going or what?" chirped the omniscope.

"This is where it might get a bit complicated," Ponder said to Holmes, "You might want to close your eyes if you don't want to get a nice view of what's in between here and there at about seventeen billion miles per second."

Holmes took his word for it and shut his eyes as Ponder started the incantation. This time nobody sneezed, and Holmes accordingly had an impression of extreme acceleration as he left the Discworld.



The exact event in which Vetinari left the drawing room and Holmes returned is still hazy in my mind, and I tend to get a frightful headache whenever I try to figure out any details, so I will leave it to the reader to judge what really happened, or if perhaps this retired army surgeon might be going a bit daft in his old age. Some how during the space of a few seconds the strange purple-haired young man and his pet orangutan had also gone.

What I do know for certain was that my friend had returned, wearing a curious combination of clothing – it was largely English save for the very ill-fitting overcoat of oiled canvas (which was too broad at the shoulders by half again), and the fact that his braces appeared fused to his trousers, and his waistcoat to the back of his shirt. His face had a slight pallor and the roughness that comes from a night's growth of whiskers, and a sticking plaster at his right temple and a certain stiffness to his movements bespoke a difficult time in the mythical city of Ankh-Morpork. Mostly, however, he looked tired, so I helped him to the couch so that he could lie down and rest while I examined him for any untreated injuries. His ribs were bound as well, I found, and I wondered what might have happened to him while he was away.

I was about to return Mrs Hudson's cutlery to her when I heard Holmes say my name. I turned back to find him sitting up and examining something he held cupped in his palms.

"Watson, do you have any idea what exactly transpired over the past forty-eight hours?"

I confessed that I did not.

"I have only two possible answers," said he, "The first is that what I remember happening is absolutely accurate, which does little to explain many things I witnessed in Ankh-Morpork."

"And the second?" I asked.

"The second possibility is that my memories are the result of a bizarre dream or fevered delirium, but while it explains away many of the events its fatal flaw is that it fails to explain what I have just found in my pocket."

I went over to see what he was talking about, and I was shocked at my discovery, for he was holding a perfectly rendered and intricately detailed figurine in the likeness of a startled mouse, down to the filaments of fur and wiry whiskers.

It was made out of pure gold.



"I'm very sorry, sir," Ponder grovelled, "I ought to have warned you about the results in the difference in mass between you and Mr Holmes."

"Results such as excessive momentum remaining?" Vetinari said, his voice slightly muffled, "I figured that out early on, when I skidded sideways out of Mr Holmes' bed upon arriving in Ankh-Morpork."

"I'm really really sorry, sir."

"Stibbons, stop being sorry and help me out of this access panel."

Ponder and Tezz hurried over to where Vetinari was stuck headfirst in one of Hex's panels, buried up to mid-chest in the thinking engine. They each grabbed a wrist and tugged, managing to pull his Patrician free on the third attempt. As Vetinari's feet once again made contact with the floor, there was a frozen silence behind him, like the sound of nobody telling the emperor that he was naked. He turned slowly to regard the two young wizards. Ponder, at least, had gone very pale. You could never tell with Tezz. As he looked from one to the other, Vetinari heard a dry rustling from just outside his field of vision. He turned his head to one side, then the other, trying to see, but the source always stayed just out of sight.

"Stibbons," he said coolly, "fetch me a mirror."

"Sir, are you sure?" Ponder's voice was an octave higher than normal, "we seem to have experienced a bit of a variable during your return trip…"

"Sure?" Vetinari pinched the bridge of his nose. "Let me put it this way. If I do not receive a hand-mirror within the next forty-five seconds, I can name three people who are going to be extremely unhappy, of which I am only one. Understood?"

Like magic, a hand mirror was found and thrust into the Patricians hand. Both wizards took off for the door immediately, with the result that they were both safely out of reach by the time he saw the giant puffball of fuchsia dandelion fluff reflected in the mirror where his hair used to be.

To borrow a handy turn of phrase, Lord Vetinari's face was quickly a study in scarlet.


The End