But a pictsie was always ready for a fight, and they bounced, rolled and came up drawing their swords and shaking sea water out of their hair.
'Oh, 'tis you, izzut?' said Rob Anybody, glaring up at the Queen. 'Face to face wi' ye at last, ye bloustie ol' callyack that ye are! Ye canna' come here, unnerstand? Be off wi' ye! Are ye goin' to go quietly?'
The Queen stamped heavily on him. When she took her foot away, only the top of his head was visible above the turf.
'Well, are ye?' he said, pulling himself out as if nothing had happened. 'I don't wantae havtae lose my temper wi' ye! An' it's no good sendin' your pets against us, 'cos you ken we can take 'em tae the cleaners!' He turned to Tiffany, who hadn't moved. 'You just leave this tae us, Kelda. Us an' the Quin, we go way back!'
The Queen snapped her fingers. 'Always leaping into things you don't understand,' she hissed. 'Well, can you face these?'
Every Nac Mac Feegle sword suddenly glowed blue.
Back in the crowd of eerily lit pictsies a voice that sounded very much like that of Daft Wullie said:
'Ach, we're in real trouble noo . . .'
Three figures had appeared in the air, a little way away. The middle one, Tiffany saw, had a long red gown, a strange long wig and black tights with buckles on his shoes. The others were just ordinary men, it seemed, in ordinary grey suits.
'Oh, ye are a harrrrrd wumman, Quin,' said William the gonnagle, 'to set the lawyers ontae us . . .'
'See the one on the left there,' whimpered a pictsie. 'See, he's got a briefcase! It's a briefcasel Oh, waily, waily, a briefcase, waily
Reluctantly, a step at a time, pressing together in terror, the Nac Mac Feegles began to back away.
'Oh, waily waily, he's snappin' the clasps,' groaned Daft Wullie. 'Oh, waily waily waily, 'tis the sound o' Doom when a lawyer does that!'
'Mister Rob Anybody Feegle and sundry others?' said one of the figures in a voice of dread.
'There's naebody here o' that name!' shouted Rob Anybody. 'We dinnae know anythin'!'
'We have heard a list of criminal and civil charges totalling nineteen thousand, seven hundred and sixty-three separate offences-'
'We wasnae there!' yelled Rob Anybody desperately. 'Isn't that right, lads?'
'- including more than two thousand cases of Making an Affray, Causing a Public Nuisance, Being Found Drunk, Being Found Very Drunk, Using Offensive Language (taking into account ninety-seven counts of Using Language That Was Probably Offensive If Anyone Else Could Understand It), Committing a Breach of the Peace, Malicious Lingering-'
'It's mistaken identity!' shouted Rob Anybody. 'It's no' oour fault! We wuz only standing there an' someone else did it and ran awa'!'
'- Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Burglary, Housebreaking, Loitering With Intent To Commit a Felony-'
'We wuz misunderstood when we was wee bairns!' yelled Rob Anybody. 'Ye're only pickin' on us cuz we're blue! We always get blamed for every thin'! The polis hate us! We wasnae even in the country!'
But, to groans from the cowering pictsies, one of the lawyers produced a big roll of paper from his briefcase. He cleared his throat and read out: 'Angus, Big; Angus, No'-As-Big-As-Big-Angus; Angus, Wee; Archie, Big; Archie, One-Eyed; Archie, Wee Mad-'
They've got oour names!' sobbed Daft Wullie. They've got oour names! It's the pris'n hoose for us!'