Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. But that’s not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It’s up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?
He, or very possibly she, was known as The Rose Thief. It was a nickname that stuck despite the best efforts of the thief-catchers to stem public approval for a thief who only stole roses. No-one had yet admitted to knowing who, or indeed what, the thief was. He could indeed be a woman, or a troll, or even a malevolent spirit. What was of great significance and importance was that only the Emperor’s – may he live for ever and ever – rose garden was being violated.
The thief was stealing exclusively from the Emperor – may he live for ever and ever – and no-one but the Emperor – may he, oh you get the idea – had access to the rose gardens. Not even any of his thousand and one wives. It made solving the theft extremely difficult.
It also made the Emperor look rather foolish and was the reason why Chief Thief-Catcher, Ned Spinks, was strung up by his ankles, in the third best reception room of the Emperor’s Palace.
Ned was waiting to see what would happen next, and to amuse himself in the meantime, was tracing rude shapes in his imagination with the dark stains on the floor beneath him.