Chapter 1 – Prologue
"Lilly, I'm bored."
"What do you want to do Miley, go to a movie or something?"
"I don't mean bored just right now, I mean a little bored with life."
"We can try and meet some guys at the movies."
"No Lilly, you don't get it. I want to do something more with my life, do something for the good of all people."
"Wow Miley, you already do a lot for the world. You donate all that money you make from being Hannah Montana to charity and environmental organizations."
"I know and that's all good and well, but I want to do something more exciting than that."
"You got something in my mind?"
"Oh Ya I do."
"Not Oh Oh Lilly; Oh ya. We're going to build a secret room and get super computers and all kinds of other gadgets and it's going to be just like the bat cave. We'll take tae kwon do classes and then we're going to go out and fight crime."
"Crazygirldrinkinggrannysmonnshine say what."
"C'Mon Lilly when we saw that movie you told me you always wanted to be in Charlie's Angels"
"Well ya but I was thinking bout the cool clothes and cute guys."
"We'll dress cute Lilly, we always do."
"But Miley, what you're talking about is so dangerous, you know I don't do well with danger."
"Lilly it will be just like eating potato chips. Once you bring a few criminals to justice, you'll want to keep doing it more and more."
"You said we'd dress cute, right?"
So Miley Stewart and Lilly Truscott set out to be the world's newest teen crime fighters.
One month later....
Miley and Lilly were at the Weinstein Art Museum, attending a preview of a new art exhibit by sculptor Henry Roberts. Roberts was creating quite the buzz in the art world with his incredibly life like statues. Like others, they were intrigued by the article and photo in the paper and wanted a close-up view of the amazing statues for themselves. In the main presentation hall, they saw several figures draped with cloth. After a few minutes, Roberts appeared.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. I do want to thank all of you for attending this preview of my upcoming show." Roberts motioned to his associates Fulton and Edwards, who swiftly unveiled the many statues. The crowd gasped in amazement and moved closer for a better view.
Miley and Lilly, also, were surprised at how life-like the statues appeared.
"This is incredible. He's a genius... the man's a genius,” Miley exclaimed.
They moved slowly through the hall, examining each statue closely for several minutes from various angles before moving onto the next. They had just turned her attention to the statue of a female equestrian when someone coughed behind them. They turned to find the artist Roberts himself standing behind them.
"Enjoying the exhibit, ladies?"
"Well yes we are, Mr. Roberts, this is just incredible," Lilly said practically screaming.
"I guess you know who I am but I can't say I've had the pleasure of meeting you two."
"I'm Miley Stewart and this is Lilly Truscott."
"Miley and Lilly?"
"Yep. That's right."
"I guess I can double check but I don't remember you two being on the guest list."
"Oh no, we weren't. See we are a a ..., “Miley stammered.
Lilly interrupted "We're the Co-Presidents of the Hannah Montana Fan Club and we got her tickets since she couldn't attend."
"Oh I see. How disappointing."
Miley and Lilly looked at Roberts confused.
"Oh pardon me. I'm not disappointed in seeing you two; it's just that, I had really planned on Miss Montana being here. A lot of us had planned on it in fact. Well I must go, but you two enjoy the rest of the show."
With that Roberts turned and walked away and out of the exhibit hall.
Lilly and Miley shrugged their shoulders and moved on to the next statue.
Unbeknownst to them, Roberts was on his phone in the back of the building.
"Hannah Montana didn't attend. No, two girls came in her place. I don't know who they are. We'll just have to move on to Plan B."
What's Plan B? And how does it involve Hannah Montana? Is there more to this than meets the eye?
When Miley got home, there was an oversized envelope on the kitchen counter addressed to Hannah Montana and labeled "Needs Immediate Attention!”
"Jackson how'd this letter to Hannah get here?" She shouted to her brother.
"Angela brought it over from the record company."
Angela was one of the few people that knew Hannah's (Miley) true identity. She worked for Hannah's record company and part of her job was protecting that secret.
Miley grabbed a carrot stick and started munching on it as she opened the envelope. Inside was a folded piece of paper. There were letters individual cut out of a newspaper spelling out a message
"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT HANNAH?"
Below that, taped to the paper was a newspaper article that Hannah started reading.
It was about the apparent theft of a neon sign depicting "Crab Legs' from above the front entrance to a seafood restaurant.
"That's weird," Hannah thought, "why would I care about this. I'm not doing anything about it."
With that she tossed the letter in the garbage and went on with her day. She didn't think about it again until the next day when she received another envelope that looked exactly the same. Inside the letter was the same challenge, but this time, the story was about a break in at a local mansion. The story listed the items taken as a porcelain lion, a painting of Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, a civil war era scale and an exotic pet Scorpion.
This time Miley called Lilly to come over.
"Lilly, I think we have our first case."
"Oooh", Lilly replied. "What are we going to wear; you said we could dress cute."
"Lilly, just come over here in whatever you're wearing."
When Lilly got there, Miley explained what had happened and had Lilly read the letter. She even retrieved the previous day's letter from the kitchen garbage.
After Lilly had looked them over, Miley asked
"Well, what do you think?"
"I think you had beef stroganoff for dinner last night. I can still smell it on this letter."
"That's NOT what I mean, what do you think of those letters?"
"Well I think it's weird ..."
"Yea it's weird, I told you that already."
"No, not that you're getting the letters. It says here one of the items in the mansion that wasn't taken was one of those Henry Roberts statues. I think it's weird they didn't take that. That's what I would have grabbed."
"Lilly we don't have time for that, we have to figure out why Hannah Montana is getting these letters!"
"Ya, I guess you're right."
Meanwhile, in another part of town, thefts were taking place at the local university. These thefts symbolized a Centaur, a Goat, Aquarius and a Fish. Strangely enough, again a Henry Roberts statue was passed over.
Is there possibly another letter coming to Hannah?
The next day…
When Miley woke up, there were 3 different letters waiting for Hannah Montana. Miley called Lilly to come over right away. One of the envelopes was quite different than the other two (and the other mysterious letters) so Miley decided to open that one while she waited for Lilly:
Dear Ms. Montana.
I am so sorry you couldn't attend the preview of my latest works. I imagine it is hard for you to go out in public when you are such a popular artist, but I so want you to see my art that I have made arrangements to give you a private tour of my studio today at 2 PM.
There will be a limousine that will pick you up at the private entrance of the Hotel Easton at 1:45. I hope and pray you can make it,
Graciously; Henry Roberts
Just as she finished Lilly arrived.
"What's that letter say?” Lilly asked.
"Oh. That's an invitation to a private Henry Roberts showing; these two are the weird letters."
Miley and Lilly each opened one.
Miley read aloud about the thefts at the University. Lilly gasped and looked at Miley as she read hers.
"This is your last chance Hannah Montana. With the Golden Ram and Bull taken from the Weinstein Museum, there is only one item left, and it will happen before the clock strikes midnight!"
"Why does this thief want Hannah to know about these crimes?", Hannah said. "And how and why does he think she, I mean me, is going to stop it."
"Hannah, do you think it's weird that almost everything stolen is like some kind of animal," Lilly pondered.
"That is strange; we should make a list of what was stolen."
Lilly grabbed a pen and paper and started writing down the stolen goods.
Hannah handed her all of the letters.
"Let's see, there was a Crab, a Lion, a picture of Mary and a Scale, those two don't fit. Then a Scorpion, a Centaur, a Goat, Aquarius and a Fish. Then a Ram and a Bull. I guess there not all animals."
"But there has to be something that ties them all together, maybe there's a pattern."
The girls didn't speak for about 20 minutes, each studying the list.
Finally, Miley shouted, "There are 11 things and one item more to go. That means there's a total of 12. You know what comes in 12?"
Lilly shouted "Hours on a Clock?"
"No, I mean yes but that's not what it is." Hannah continued. "There are 12 signs on the zodiac and each one of these thefts represents a sign. Crab Legs for Cancer, Leo for Lion. All the way through to a Ram for Aries and Bull for Taurus."
"Gemini comes after Taurus," Lilly stated.
"And what's the symbol for Gemini?” asked Hannah.
They both shouted "Twins".
"So what could symbolize Twins," Hannah asked.
"Romulus and Remus," Lilly said.
"Romulus and Remus, the Roman Gods. Remember seeing the Romulus and Remus statues at the Henry Roberts exhibit?"
"Oh my God, your right Lilly. Those are the thief's next targets. We have to stop this."
"Are we calling the police?"
"No," Hannah said, waving the invitation she received from Henry Roberts.
“Hannah Montana has an invitation to a private showing at Henry Roberts' workshop. She, I mean I, will warn him about the letters and threats. You get down to the Weinstein when it opens and nose around. I have a feeling this is an inside job and we have to get a little more information before we tell the cops. Otherwise they're going to think we're just a couple of kids doing a prank."
"But Miley. Why is the thief sending these letters to Hannah? Don't you think it's a weird coincidence you get an invitation to a private showing on the same day you get a letter saying this your last chance to stop the crime spree? It sounds dangerous, we better tell your dad."
"No Lilly, he'll never let me go then. I think the statues are the target; I just want to find out if Roberts has an assistant who is in on the thefts. Remember, one of his statues was at the scene of one of the thefts."
Lilly looked up from the computer screen.
"Actually, there was a Roberts' statue at the scene of each theft, except the crab leg sign."
"Even more reason to go. And besides, I have my taser and the smoke-bomb earrings we bought. You better bring yours too."
"Be careful Miley. Obviously the thief wanted Hannah to figure out these clues. He may not be surprised to see you."
"If so, I'll have a surprise for him."
What awaits the young detectives in Chapter 5? Will Lilly be able to stop the theft of the statues? Are the statues even the targets? Is it mere coincidence that Hannah received the invitation?
Lilly pulled her car up to the Hotel Easton.
"Are you sure you have everything you need, Miley?'
"Yep, got my Hannah wig, my smoke bomb earrings, my taser, my phone."
Miley decided to not wear her Hannah wig until she had walked to the hotel's private entrance.
"Ok the plan is that I pick you up back here at 5 unless something goes wrong and I need to get you sooner. Be careful Miley."
"You be careful too Lilly. But don't worry, we're busting them thieves."
Miley got out of Lilly's jeep. Her long brown hair was pulled back in to a ponytail. She had on a long sleeved charcoal colored v-neck shirt over blue jeans. The jeans were tucked into flat-heeled brown leather boots that came all the way up over her knees.
Miley made her way over by the door to the private entrance. Making sure no one noticed, she ducked behind a plant and whipped the Hannah wig out of her bag and put it on. The Hannah wig was long and blonde with bangs in the front. Once that was secured, Miley slowly knocked four times on the unmarked door that led to the private entrance. Miley had used this entrance many times before (as Hannah) as had a lot of Hollywood stars. The door slowly opened and a Latino man wearing dark sunglasses recognized Hannah and let her through before closing the door again quickly.
Hannah walked quickly down the red-carpeted corridor and down the stairs at the end. At the bottom of the stairs, a door was being held open by another Hotel employee wearing dark glasses. She whisked by him out to the limousine, where the driver was holding the back door open for her. He bowed and smiled and Hannah gave him a quick smile before ducking in to the back seat before the door was closed. The driver got in to the front seat.
Miley went over her plan in her mind. At the first hint of trouble, she could either take off one of her smoke bomb earrings, which, upon hitting the ground, would produce a large cloud of distracting smoke. Or, if she had time, she had a taser strapped to her leg, inside her over the knee boots. She got the chills and then realized how cold the limo was. Hannah pushed the button to roll down the privacy window and asked the driver:
"Do you mind turning the heat up a little?"
The driver replied "As YOU wish, Ms. Montana."
The privacy window rolled up again and the driver pushed some buttons on the dashboard. Miley went back to thinking about her plan and also noticed her seat starting to warm up. "That feels good" she thought, closing her eyes. But with her eyes closed she didn't see the purple smoke that started to fill the back of the limousine. But she did notice its sweet lavender smell. "Ahh that smells nice", she thought, "I feel sleepy."
And sleepy she was. With one long inhale, 18-year-old Miley Stewart, dressed as her alter ego, pop singing sensation Hannah Montana, passed out from the effects of a knock out gas in the back of limousine whose destination was unknown.
Lilly tried not to be nervous but she was as she paced around the museum. She tried to talk to the director but he was constantly on his cell phone.
She did talk to a guard asking if he had seen any suspicious activity, telling him about the letters and how she thought the Henry Roberts' statues were the next target. The guard seemed to be listening intently but as Lilly finished her breathless spiel, all he said was "Don't you have some homework to do?”
She checked her phone and saw that it was 4:30 so she decided to head out for the hotel. But before she left she paused and realized "What if Miley isn't at the hotel when I get there?" She'd have to go to Robert’s studio and look for her. And then panic set in as she realized she didn't know where his studio was. She turned quickly and saw a man she recognized as one of Roberts' assistants. She rushed up to him, interrupting his conversation.
"Sir, you work with Mr. Roberts, right. Tell me please, where is his studio?"
Fulton laughed and took a drink from his cocktail glass.
"My dear, Mr. Roberts keeps the location of his studio a secret. He can't be bothered by curiosity seekers. And why do you want to know anyways? You can just enjoy his work at the museum like everyone else."
"Well see, my friend went...”
Lilly realized she would blow Miley's secret identity by saying anymore so she just said "Never mind", smiled and walked away. She decided there must be another way to find out. She'd go back to the hotel and try to see if any one there knew where the limo was headed.
Meanwhile, in the basement of a seemingly abandoned warehouse in an almost deserted industrial section of the city, Miley slowly fluttered her eyes as she awoke from the effects of the knockout gas. She was standing in some kind of stone archway, her arms raised up above her head and spread away from her body. Chains encased her wrists, attached on the other end to the stone.
Approaching her was Henry Roberts, flanked by a man in a police uniform and a painter. Those two looked very familiar and it didn't take Miley long to realize she had seen them before. They were two of Roberts' statues she had seen in the exhibit just a few days before.
"What the hell," she thought.
Miley swallowed hard in her dry throat as the men finally came before her.
"What's this all about? Those two were statues in your exhibit the other day. Now they're alive?"
"What this is all about, Miss Montana, is your future residence. Far, far away from here I'm afraid."
"So you lured me here purposely? It was all a set up, the art thefts, the notes ..."
"Yes, it was all part of an intricate choreography. We knew that a teenage girl, such as you, would be far too curious to ignore the challenge in our letters. We knew you'd show up eventually. How boringly predictable."
"Speaking of boring, why am I here?"
"You are about to become my latest, and greatest, work of art. See I have a very wealthy patron in England who I have entrusted with the secret of how I create my art. After he found out, he wanted nothing less than a living statue of Hannah Montana. And he gave me a blank check to deliver her."
Miley was dumbfounded.
"But how ...."
Roberts pulled a necklace out of his pocket and held it in front of Miley.
"This will produce an electrical signal, which will place you in a state of suspended animation. Forever."
"Never you mind Miss Montana. This won't hurt a bit."
The necklace was put over Miley's head and then Roberts took what looked to be some kind of remote control device from the man in the police uniform.
"And by the way, your Blackberry, which I am sure sends out some kind of security signal of your whereabouts, has been thrown in the ocean. So too has that taser gun we found tucked in your boots."
A million thoughts went through Miley's mind as the men all flashed creepy smiles at her. "Oh God Lilly you have to save me" she thought. She tugged hard at the chains but of course it did no good. She thought of pleading with them but knew it would be fruitless.
Roberts held up his device.
"Ready Miss Montana?” he said to Miley. "Well now smile. Smile the smile you wish to wear for eternity because wear it for eternity you shall."
Miley's lips started to part as fear gripped her whole body. She heard a whining electrical noise and then nothing. A strange calmness gripped her body as she realized she could not move a muscle, not even flutter her eyelids. She was becoming a statue!
Miley's wrists were removed from the chains and her hands were placed on her hips. Her legs were repositioned so that her feet were shoulder-width apart. The expression on her face was molded from her wide-eyed surprise into a bright smile. Roberts then twisted the knob on the control box fully to ‘0-Anima’ and Miley’s body stiffened into a posed figure identical to the Henry Roberts sculptures she had seen before.
"There my friends, is our ticket to wealth beyond our wildest dreams.
As soon as she is delivered, of course."
"When do we ship her out, boss?" the painter asked.
"Soon, Very soon." he replied.
Will Miley truly spend eternity as a living Hannah Montana statue in some dude's private collection? Or will Lilly be able to find Roberts’s studio before Miley is shipped to England? Even if Lilly does find the studio, will she be able to do anything to stop it? And what would happen to her if she can't?
These questions and more MAY be answered in the next chapter.
As Lilly was about to leave, Fulton walked by her, talking very loudly on his cell phone.
"Yes Mr. Roberts, I'm leaving for the studio right now."
He paused, and then shook his head up and down.
"Of course, I'll make sure NO ONE follows me."
Lilly, of course, heard this and thought "Duh, someone is going to follow you."
She quickly watched Fulton head to the parking ramp. She watched as he got in a black Lexus, then quickly walked to where her Jeep was parked and started it up. Luckily Fulton had taken his time and she was able to maneuver behind him on the way out of the ramp.
Unfortunately she couldn't make it out on to the street right behind him though as a light had turned green and a long line of cars passed between the Lexus and the Jeep. "Oh No" she thought, "I have to catch up to him." She was going to run a red light but she would have hit a pedestrian. "It's pointless now" she thought. But as she looked up the street she saw that the Lexus had pulled over. "Is the studio right there?" she thought as the light finally turned green and she was able to proceed. Suddenly the Lexus pulled out back in to the street again, about 100 feet in front of her.
Lilly followed but not too closely as the Lexus continued down the avenue towards the old industrial part of town. Once again she missed a light and thought she would lose him, but the Lexus stopped a ways ahead of her and Fulton got out. He checked one of his tires and then got back in, just in time for Lilly to make it through the intersection and get in to close following distance again. "This is really my lucky day", she thought.
Finally the Lexus pulled in to a driveway between two rows of warehouse buildings. Lilly waited a few moments before proceeding thru to make sure Fulton didn't see her. She turned in and slowly drove the length of the building. She saw the Lexus parked next to an unmarked door. "That must be where the studio is" Lilly backed up the Jeep and decided to park it a ways away so no one would see it. On her walk back to where the Lexus was, she spotted another door to the same building. She decided to try that entrance. The intrepid detective with dark blonde hair, was wearing a black sweater dress with a wide leather belt, black nylons and black sling back mules.
Lilly tried the door and to her amazement, it opened easily. Before fully entering the building she listened intently for any noises. Hearing nothing she entered, slipping off her shoes and stashing them in her bag. She didn't want her heels to make any noise so she decided to snoop around in her stocking feet. She slowly looked around and listened for any noise. Spotting a stairwell in the back, she crept over to them and slowly descended, looking left and right, trying her best to keep quiet. She got to the bottom where she came across a hallway and a choice. Lilly decided to go left because she saw a big open room with the lights on. Sneaking over to the opening, she listened for voices, heard none and then walked inside. What she saw next made her lose her quietness.
She gasped at seeing what she thought at first to be a Henry Roberts statue. It was Hannah Montana, posed perfectly with her hands on her hips and flashing a slight smile, while looking slightly upward. Lilly moved closer, thinking how life like it was when she realized something that freaked her out: This statue was wearing the same clothes as Miley was wearing when she dropped her off!!
"How could that be?"
She was trying to figure that out when she was startled by a voice from behind her.
"Amazing likeness, wouldn't you say?"
It was the voice of Henry Roberts. She turned to see Roberts, flanked by the man in a police officer's uniform, a man dressed as a painter, and Fulton, grinning from ear to ear.
Lilly had been holding her taser gun in her hand and quickly pointed it at the four men.
"Don't come any closer, or I'll shoot."
The men all stopped, but Roberts laughed slyly.
Lilly was confused. "What's going on here, those two, they were statues the other day, I remember seeing them in the showing," she stammered.
"My dear, I remember you. You're one of the Co-Presidents of the Hannah Montana Fan Club. We met the other day. You're Millie or Lilly or something. When Mr. Fulton encountered you at the museum, he called me to ask what he should do since you were asking so very many questions. We decided to see if you would follow him here and of course, you did."
She looked at Fulton. "I should have known this was a set up. It was way too easy to follow you here." She turned to glare at Roberts. "My name is Lilly. Now answer me: what's going on here? Where's the real Hannah Montana? I knew she came here today for a private tour."
"My dear, Hannah Montana is right in front of you."
"That's right. The secret of my art is hidden in the necklace she is wearing."
Lilly noticed now that the necklace was not Miley's.
Roberts continued, "Inside is a Neural Impulse Modulator or NIM Unit. When activated by this remote control device, it emits an electrical signal that places the wearer in a state of complete suspended animation."
Lilly's voice got louder and deeper. "So is she dead?"
"No, she's not dead. I could reverse the "freeze" at any time, simply by turning this dial."
Lilly pointed the taser gun more directly at Roberts. "You're going to turn that dial now and let her go."
"No, I don't think so. My plan is too close to fruition. You see, a very, very wealthy patron is going to give me a lot of money when he receives his Hannah Montana statue."
Lilly raised the taser again and took a step towards the men. "Right now," she bellowed.
"Right now I could put an end to all of Miss Montana's vital functions; would you like that Lilly?" He touched the control knob with his fingers.
Lilly realized she couldn't win. Not as long as Roberts had the remote control device and could kill Miley with one quick twist of his wrist. Lowering the taser gun to her side, she said simply, "You win."
"I won the day I planned this; the rest was simply a matter of time. Now give that silly gun to Mr. Fulton."
Fulton took the gun from her as the rest of the men approached. Fulton stopped behind Lilly and violently grabbed her arms and pinned them behind her back.
"Owwwww," she yelled, "not so rough."
"What should we do with her boss," Fulton asked.
Roberts raised his eyebrows at Lilly, winked at her and then took her chin in to his hand. "I like her; she's very spunky as well as beautiful, and she’ll make an excellent addition my private collection. Now to decide on what kind of outfit she'll be wearing."
Lilly gasped. The thought had never crossed her mind. They were going to turn her in to a statue too!!
Is this it for our two spunky detectives? Will the Author decide to end this story with them "captured" forever? Are they doomed to spend eternity as young beautiful statues? Is their detective career over after their first case? If so, what outfit will Lilly be wearing for the rest of eternity?
"What's wrong with my outfit," Lilly screamed as she struggled to free herself from Fulton's strong grip.
"There's nothing wrong with your outfit Miss Truscott," Roberts replied. "In fact you look quite lovely. It's just that I like more of a, a theme when clothing my statues. Now we have to decide what you should be. Let's see, you'd make a perfect schoolgirl. Or a cheerleading uniform would be rather fetching. Or you could be an equestrian, though we have one of those, or a gymnast, maybe a candy striper." Roberts paused and then wagged his finger. "I've got it. I think you'll be a little ballerina. But we've got time for you to try on every one of those outfits. Yes, lots of time."
"You're sick," Lilly screamed, still struggling.
Roberts snickered and then spoke to Fulton. "Mr. Fulton, do you think you can go out and procure a ballerina outfit that will fit our guest? But before you go, I suppose we should restrain her a little better." Roberts turned to the cop. "Will you bring that chair over here?"
Lilly turned and saw a wooden chair in the corner. It didn't look too comfortable. It was brought over and Lilly was pushed in to a sitting position on it. Her arms were forced behind the chair back where her wrists were bound together with rope. Then more rope attached her wrists to the chair back. Next rope was secured around her biceps and also attached to the chair. The next rope went around her waist and was attached in the back. Then ropes were crisscrossed over her chest and these too were attached to the chair in back.
Lilly complained, "Aren't you overdoing it a bit, I'll never get out of these."
The painter, who must have been a boy scout as a youngster, replied. "We ain't done yet sweetie. I still got those pretty little legs to tie. And you're right, you ain't getting away."
Lilly's black nylon clad ankles were tightly attached to each chair leg.
The man then stood up and looked at Lilly as tears were welling up in her eyes. He then slowly produced a white cloth, which he placed between Lilly's lips and then tied in back.
"That's right, no more noise out of you." He then took another cloth out of his pocket. This one was wider and was tied over Lilly's mouth, completely covering her lips. "There, that should keep you secure," the painter said sneering at her. "I can hardly wait till you’re frozen stiff like the others. That will be very, very, enjoyable"
Lilly was very frightened. Tears were running nonstop now.
This must be it. There's no escaping now, is there?
Two hours passed by with Lilly alternately struggling and crying. Her mouth was getting dry but then suddenly she relaxed as the men came back. Fulton was carrying a pink ballerina outfit, looking smug.
Roberts spoke. "Well my dear, as soon as you are dressed and posed, you will become my latest work of art. You will spend the rest of eternity as a young and beautiful ballerina as part of my private collection. Ok, untie her."
Both the cop and painter went to work on untying Lilly. She eyed them suspiciously but did not struggle. She eyed the motionless figure of Miley, only a few feet away, frozen in time, knowing that would soon be her fate as well. When the men were done, Fulton handed her the outfit.
The cop and the painter brought over a folding partition. Fulton told her she could change behind the dressing screen.
"Well at least they’re not creepy enough to watch me change," she thought, hiding from view.
After stripping to her underwear, first Lilly put on the white tights and then over that the pink leotard and puffy skirt. There were pink satin Pointe slippers that laced part way up her legs. A pink hair ribbon was there as well and Lilly tied her hair up with that ribbon.
Finally she came out from behind the partition and walked over beside Miley. Looking cautiously at the men, she said, "I guess I'm ready."
"You're more than ready, you're more beautiful than I could have imagined," Roberts replied.
The painter walked over and put a necklace over her head, winking privately to her as he did. Lilly glared back.
Roberts spoke to the painter and cop. "Go find a shipping crate for Miss Montana. I believe she is ready for shipment."
The painter replied, "Mr. Roberts, can we just stay and watch for a minute? I really want to see this one freeze." He winked again at Lilly.
Lilly watched carefully as Roberts pulled out the remote control device, fiddling with its buttons.
"Oh fine, stay and watch. Very well, my dear, do you know any ballet positions? First Arabesque, perhaps?"
"I think I know that one," she said, starting to lift her left leg behind her, then lowering her leg back down. "Wait," she said, "Do you mind if I take off these earrings? They really don't match this outfit."
Lilly quickly removed her two earrings, then took action. The men were startled as she wound up and threw them at their feet. They were even more shocked and panicked when the earrings exploded in to a large cloud of smoke.
She quickly grabbed a cloth off of the floor which minutes before had gagged her and covered her mouth with it. Ripping the necklace off herself before Roberts could twist the dial and arrest her animation, she turned and quickly ripped the necklace from Miley’s neck as well. The men were still coughing and struggling as Roberts dropped the remote control device on the ground.
Miley, after hours of being trapped frozen in animated suspension, started to get feeling back in her body. She started to relax from her rigid pose as Lilly rushed over to her.
"Mil ... I mean Hannah, come on, come on, we gotta get out of here. Hannah was confused and just followed as Lilly grabbed her by the arm and started dragging her away. Then Lilly stopped when she saw the remote control on the floor. She picked it up and continued leading Miley out, reaching the stairs just as the smoke started to dissipate. By now Miley had her full senses back and she and Lilly rushed up two steps at a time.
They reached the top floor and started for a door and the way out. They were almost to the outside door when the painter and the cop appeared blocking their way. The two were still rubbing their eyes from the smoke but managed to reach out in an attempt to stop the girls.
The girls stopped about five feet away. "Hannah, throw your earrings," Lilly screamed.
"What?" Hannah screamed back. Lilly didn't reply, she just tugged Miley's clip-on earrings off and threw them at the two thugs. Smoke once again overcame the men and the girls had a semi-clear path out. They made their way out of the door and into the lot. They started to run towards where Lilly had parked the jeep.
All of sudden Miley stopped. "Lilly you left behind your bag; you don't have your car keys!"
Lilly smiled back at her; reaching into her ballet flat she produced the key.
"Oh Thank God!" Miley screamed. "Lilly you saved our lives!"
"Yep, right before they came back I suddenly remembered the smoke-bomb earrings. Then I figured out the rest from there. I knew they'd untie me to change clothes and I knew they'd be off guard and I wanted to make sure I could get the remote control device so I waited to the last possible minute."
"Oh Lilly, you make a great detective, and just think, you didn't want to do this. See how exciting it was?"
"Miley are you crazy, we were almost turned totally into statues, well you actually were, but we could have been standing in some creep's art collection forever."
"But we're not, now, are we?" Miley said smiling. "I can hardly wait for our next case."
Lilly just shook her head as she sped off in the Jeep, leaving Roberts hidden studio in the dust.
Since they had left their phones behind, they had to find a place to call the police. The police hung up on them once but finally agreed to send a squad car. Lilly followed the squad back to the warehouse.
They followed the two officers in, intending to show them Roberts' operations and prove their crazy story. But when they returned the place had been completely cleaned out. Not quite completely. Their bags had been left behind which the girls gathered up after getting a stern lecture from the cops about getting spooked in an abandoned warehouse, making up stories, and calling 911.
The girls laughed heartily as they read the paper the next day, which talked about the sudden departure of Henry Roberts on the eve of his art opening.
Miley giggled, "Ya, he left town and he ain't never coming back." She slapped Lilly in the arm, while smiling victoriously.
Lilly's grin suddenly went away. "Miley, what if he does come back?"
The End, for this adventure, but more Hannah fanfic awaits in... A Tangled Web