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One more loose end

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"Where's Benton?" Buck Frobisher asked, once everyone except Fraser and Muldoon had been accounted for.

"That way," Ray said when everyone else shrugged and looked blank. "Muldoon took a snowmobile, Fraser took a horse." Diefenbaker yapped his agreement.

"He might need help," Buck said, "Stevens, Porter, two sleds and my horse please." The constables trotted off across the ice to obey Buck's instructions. "Inspector, Detective, would you care to accompany us?" he asked. Thatcher nodded, concern for Fraser and awareness of her duties and responsibilities as ranking officer winning over her reluctance to experience yet another sled ride.

"Pitter, patter, let's get at her," Ray said a few moments later from his place in one of the sleds.

"Off we go then," Buck said once he'd mounted his horse. "Diefenbaker, lead the way."

Following Diefenbaker, they soon found the abandoned snowmobile and Fraser's horse. A sharp bark from Diefenbaker drew attention to the recently uncovered mineshaft.

"Fraser?" Inspector Thatcher called down into the darkness, "are you all right?"

"Yes, sir," came the welcome reply a few seconds later.

"And Muldoon?" Buck asked.

"Here too, sir," Fraser answered.

"Is he alive?" Buck asked next, hoping that Fraser had not made the same mistake as his father.

"Yes, sir." Buck allowed himself a sigh of relief before he started organising for a rope to be lowered so Fraser could climb up with his prisoner.

The return journey was quiet: the two constables took the sled with Muldoon while Fraser took Ray's sled. The Inspector rode - a brief word with Fraser and he'd handed her his horse's reins without question.