Gaven approaches the young couple and says, "If I may interrupt, do you know Elsie Miggins and Bill Barley?"
The couple, who appear to be around eighteen years old, look at each other before the young man answers.
"I don't know any Elsie Miggins, but I know Bill Barley. We're not really friends, but I know he's a real ladies' man." The young man smiles devilishly, then his face goes dark. "Of course, I sure hope he didn't take this Elsie to the Lovers' Grove. He takes girls up there a lot. But there's been some strange happenings up there. Unusual noises, odd shadows, creepy things like that. A lot of our friends are too scared to go up there any more. Us too, honestly. We've kept our courting in town lately."
The young lady nods, confirming her boyfriend's statement.
"If Bill was brave enough, or dumb enough, to take a girl up to the grove, who knows what might have happened? You might look up there if you're trying to find them. It's about a half mile north of town, on a small hill east of the road. You can't miss it. There's an old farmhouse near the top where a lot of young folks go to watch the sunset."
As Gaven and the young man close their conversation, Sadie comes out with a cloak wrapped around her shoulders. "Let's go then!"
Sadie leads you to Mrs. Miggins' home not too far away. Once inside, Mrs. Miggins recapitulates much of what you've already heard, adding:
"I know my Elsie. She's not always been a perfect girl. There've been nights when she's come back later than she ought. But she's never been out more than one night at a time before. That's how I know something's wrong! I'm offering a reward of 500 gold coins to any group who brings her back to me. I've got my nephew out posting the placards as we speak."
Other than that, you can't get anything more out of Mrs. Miggins. She knows nothing about Lovers' Grove, when you mention it, but she agrees it's as likely a place as any. When you bring up Bill Barley, she becomes positively apoplectic, going into a rant about how she told Elsie time and again how bad he'd be for her. Realizing that's all you'll learn from her, you gracefully say goodbye and depart.
After seeing Sadie back to the inn, you make your way to the stable master's.
The stable master, Bob Barley, is disheveled, and his long, unkempt hair drapes crazily over his shoulders. As he opens the door, you can smell the reek of drink.
"My boy, Bill? Why yes, just last night he says to me, 'Dad,' he says, 'can I borrow the horse? I want to take Elsie up to the grove.' All the girls are sweet on my Bill, you see."
When you ask him if he's sure it was last night, and not three nights ago, he stops to think. "Why, you may be right..." Bob rummages around the empty bottles on his table, seeming to count them. "Hmm... All these were full when Bill left with the horse. It was a brand new case." He nods at the now empty crate on the floor. "It has been three days. Something must be wrong. Not like my Bill to stay out this long. I sure hope he's alright."
Like Mrs. Miggins, he doesn't seem to know anything else you've not already learned, despite the additional questions you ask him. As you leave, he seems genuinely unsettled, pacing back and forth.
The night is getting on as you head back to the Red Tankard. On your way, you see a few of the reward notices Mrs. Miggins' nephew posted. Sadie waits for you to return before locking up for the night. The next morning you wake before dawn and Sal serves you hot coffee and a hearty breakfast. When you finish, the sky is starting to brighten, and it promises to be a clear warm day.