Asparagus was intrigued. He could think of nothing else. He wanted to get to Small Water Tarn as soon as possible. He had to get to the bottom of this. However, Cornelius did not want to return there: he was both tired by his recent travels and scared by the tales he had heard. So Asparagus asked Garibaldi and Beanstalk if they were willing to travel up with him. They both wanted time to mull this over. It was more than either of them had ever taken on previously but they were willing to consider it. They would let him know by the evening.
“There’s one other of our relatives you might consider,” said Aunt Marshmallow. She lives just over the hill. She’s about the same age as you. Some say she is psychic. Would that help?”
Asparagus did not know. However, he determined to go search her out.
“Excuse me,” he called to the first group of sheep he came across over the next hill. “I’m looking for a sheep that’s a relative of the Grassholme flock, by the name of Carrot Cake.”
“Straight ahead,” they said, not bothering to lift their heads from the grass.
Asparagus continued on. Gazing ahead, he could see a large sheep with ginger streaks in her wool, suggestive of the strands of carrot in carrot cake itself. It had to be her. She spoke little but, when she did, her voice was penetrating and clear.
“I’ll come along and see if I can help but I can’t make any promises,” she stated, squaring her rectangular shoulders.
Beanstalk approached them as they returned. Garibaldi would not be going because he was too worried by it all. So, it was to be Asparagus, Carrot Cake and Beanstalk that would set off towards Haweswater the following morning.
They got strained looks from some of the youngsters. Button Mushroom knew by the lack of information forthcoming that something was being kept secret. Juniper and Rowan wondered why their Aunty Carrot Cake was going along. Ashley and Herbert wondered why they had not been asked to join them. However, little Hickory sat with a tear in his eye because he did not want to see Asparagus go.
“You’re a brave, young soul,” said Asparagus. “When you’re a little older I would like you to come up to Hadrian’s Wall with me: I think you would make a fine soldier.”
Hickory was taken aback. He did not think he was brave at all. When he had been kidnapped, he had been scared most of the time and terrified the rest of it.
Asparagus gave a smile of understanding.“You kept your head,” he said.