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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Collecting, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 98 > Continuing Series > Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part Two

Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part Two

by child_dragon

MiracleStar regarded me calmly as I sat on the bed and plucked at the sheets. She sighed and ran her hand through her hair.

     "Well, we're in a desert, so I don't think we can just find the local mall and get it done," she finally said, "but we can always do it the old-fashioned way."

     "Um, what's that?"

     "It'll hurt."

     "That's okay."

     She nodded and walked over, picking up one of my floppy ears.

     "Hold still."

     "Huh? Whatcha YEOUCH!!!"

     "Warned you."

     I dissolved into incoherent death threats but remained still until she had both ears done.

     "Leave 'em in for the next two months," she directed.

     "Whadya use to pierce 'em?" I asked, gingerly touching my ears, which were now weighted down with the gold hoops Stan had given me.

     "Tip of my stiletto. It's the only dagger I have slender enough to make the hole."

     I nodded. MiracleStar's stiletto was seemingly needle thin and I rarely saw her use it.

     "Now, what's this about Taffin and Stan fighting?"

     "We weren't fighting," Taffin growled from a corner.

     "Sure looked like it to me," I sniffed, and bounced off to the mirror to examine my new look.

     The earrings did look very good, glinting brightly in contrast to my royal blue fur. I admired them for a bit while Taffin and MiracleStar argued for a while.

     "You're not doing this!"

     "I am too."

     "I forbid it."

     "They'll be lots of cash involved…"

     "I don't care."

     "Please?"

     "No."

     "Our reputation is at stake!"

     "Only in your mind."

     "Graaah…"

     He stomped over to the window and sulked. MiracleStar sighed in exasperation, starting for the door.

     "I'm getting dinner."

     I glanced at Taffin and slowly followed her. I was relieved to discover that everyone else, including the Kyrii, came along also.

     We ate dinner at a small outdoor restaurant. The food was quite spicy, surprising for a desert climate. Desert was bowls of various desert fruits. I quite enjoyed the Tchea and managed to snag a couple out of Skyil's bowl.

     "I never thought a human could thieve," a familiar voice said from behind me when we had finished.

     Taffin stood up very quickly, his hand on his glaive, which rested nearby.

     "Ah. You must be Stan," MiracleStar replied, not even looking up.

     "I am indeed. Best thief in the Lost Desert. But the lady Nianso here informs me that you are all thieves also. Dragon Thieves, I believe you are called?"

     "Yes, and we're the best thieves in Neopia."

     "Really? Well, your pet there is certainly intent of proving it."

     Taffin didn't reply, but I could read the warning signs etched into his impassive face. MiracleStar saw them also.

     "He is indeed. But we always thieve as a group. 'All for one, one for all,'" she quoted. "We'll be going into the palace together."

     Taffin developed a coughing fit to hide his surprise at MiracleStar's sudden change of mind. Stan failed to notice also for he merely glanced at him askance and turned his attention to me.

     "I must say, the earrings suite you better than I could have imagined."

     "Thank you," I replied gracefully.

     "Now, I'm afraid I must take my leave of you. I acquire my dinner through other means and this 'acquiring' will not take care of itself."

     He kissed my hand and sauntered away, the very picture of a prince in disguise. I felt a goofy grin come across my face and tried my best to hide it.

     "Well Nianso," MiracleStar said quietly, "he's quite the charmer."

     "Oh yes."

     "Women," Taffin growled in disgust.

     And thus our fates were sealed. We were to burglarize the royal palace. Skyil and Taffin headed over to scout it out the next day while the rest of us went sight-seeing. The next day we simply enjoyed ourselves. I occasionally caught sight of Stan, but only at a distance. Finally, on our third night of staying in the Lost Desert, we acted.

     We waited until two hours after midnight to start. It was child's play to get past the castle walls. We flew in, hidden in our Faerie-wrought cloak, and landed on the palace wall. From there, Jaix let down a rope and MiracleStar scaled the walls in no time. Skyil kept watch from above, and an occasional bird whistle showed us which path to take across the grounds. We then chose a second floor window and let down another rope, MiracleStar nearly invisible in the darkness under her cloak. By reading a couple guards' minds, Skyil was able to lead us directly to our target with absolutely no interference.

     Our target was none other than the esteemed Senator Barca. We waited patiently while Taffin picked the lock of the door. Skyil and MiracleStar had taken up positions down the hallway to warn us if anyone approached. We had about fifteen minutes before the patrolling guards came by again.

     The door slowly slung open and we slipped inside, silent as shadows. All was darkness but we were accustomed to working in such light. Taffin kept a lookout while I rummaged through the Senator's desk. There… I quickly grabbed her official seal and dropped it in my pouch. Then we heard a scream.

     "Wha…?"

     There was a pop as Taffin teleported towards the sound. I rushed to the door leading to Senator Barca's door in time to catch sight of two fire pets, locked in a struggle. The Senator herself was desperately backing away, a deep cut on her shoulder. There was a thud as the two pets slammed up against the wall and then the stranger grabbed Taffin and flipped him, straight out the open window. I suppressed a gasp as my brother managed to latch onto one of the other pet's arms and drag him through with him. The two vanished from sight but I heard the telltale pop that signified Taffin had managed to stop his fall through teleportation. The Senator staggered past me, not seeing my shadowy form in the darkness, and started ringing a gong that stood by the door. I hesitated for just a second, then dashed into the bedroom and slipped over the window edge, spreading my wings and flying out into the night. I had no idea what had happened to Jaix, Skyil, or MiracleStar. All I could do was hope they got away before the guards caught them.

     It was a frightening night. I returned to the hotel room and waited. Taffin showed up shortly after, solemn and scared.

     "There was another pet," he said softly, "an assassin, I think. It was a fire Gelert. He was trying to… to destroy Barca, but I managed to stop him."

     "And the rest?"

     "I don't know," he replied, "I got away as fast as I could. The whole castle was up in arms."

     It was not until morning that we finally discovered the fate of our companions. MiracleStar showed up, looking extremely tired, with Skyil in tow.

     "Where's Jaix?" I asked immediately.

     "Captured," she replied, "just outside the palace walls. Technically we weren't doing anything wrong, but apparently whatever pet attacked Senator Barca was fire with long ears. Jaix fit the description. So they arrested him and he's now in the palace dungeons."

     "No!" I shouted, "Didn't you do anything?"

     "I tried, Nianso, believe me. I tried. But the guards tried to arrest me also, and Jaix had to fight them off."

     She stood and shed her cloak, then started removing all the daggers and such she carried around on her. I was once again amazed by how much weaponry the girl actually carried.

     "What are we doing?"

     "We're going to go plead our case," she replied, picking up some fresh clothes from her shopping trip, "We're going to get our Jaix back."

     MiracleStar did her best to make us all look presentable, the absolute picture of innocence.

     "Your earrings are a bit bothersome," MiracleStar said softly, "because Stan said they came from the Palace. If they're recognized…"

     "I can keep them hidden," I replied, pulling my ears back and tying them with a bow, Usul-style.

     MiracleStar nodded her approval and made certain the tail of the bow hid the earrings.

     "Now then. Let's go."

     As we walked to the Palace, I was amazed at the transformation in MiracleStar. She had gone from a streetwise thief to the epitome of schoolgirl goodness. Her clothing was nondescript and tasteful, her hair in a plain style, straight and held back by clips. Most changed, however, was her attitude. She was no longer the confident and arrogant girl I knew, rather, a meek and demure girl with her pets. I tried my best to look innocent until MiracleStar instructed me to just look vague.

     "Innocence is a little beyond you, I think," she said with a smile.

     The guards at the palace gate weren't going to let us in at first, and MiracleStar put on a pretty little act of feigned hysteria. They quickly changed their minds as soon as she mentioned her fire Acara.

     We were ushered into the royal throne room, amazingly enough. Princess Vyssa herself sat upon the throne, looking rather bored. Senator Barca stood nearby, looking pale but resolute. I could see a bandage peeking out at the neckline of her clothing. A dark tan Kyrii approached us, his eyes narrowed underneath his white head-dress.

     "So you said this Acara is your pet?" he questioned.

     MiracleStar blinked, seemingly surprised at the Kyrii's directness.

     "Yes, he is. He's rather wild, I'm afraid, but I'm sorry, I try to keep him calm but he's just…"

     "Yes, that's fine," the Kyrii interrupted, "What were you doing out so late?"

     "Well, Jaix, that's his name, will sometimes sneak out at night when he's mad at me. He wanted to go see the Palace yesterday, but I wouldn't let him, so I guess he decided to spite me by going anyway. I followed him and tried to bring him home but he refused. So I sat there arguing with him until the guards came running out and I was scared… so he told me to go and I tried to make him come with me and…"

     "Alright, that's enough," he snapped.

     "Advisor Wessle," Princess Vyssa snapped, "What do you think of this story?"

     "Highly suspicious," he replied, casting a glance at MiracleStar, "Senator Barca?"

     "I already told you what I saw."

     Thing continued in this vein for a little while longer, the advisor snapping out questions and MiracleStar bluffing her way through the answers. Princess Vyssa merely looked bored.

     "Can we at least see him?" MiracleStar asked.

     We were granted that favor and Advisor Wessle led us in the direction of the dungeons. We were told to wait in the room preceding the cell hallway. Soon two guards appeared, Jaix in between them, his paws bound. I struggled to remain calm. The Acara was limping slightly and his fur was matted along the shoulders and back.

     "Jaix," MiracleStar whispered, and ran up, hugging him tightly.

     "I'm alright," he said stiffly, "You know I didn't hurt the Senator, right? I wasn't even in the palace."

     "I know," she replied.

     "Please Advisor Wessle," Skyil pleaded, "You must realize it's not him. He hasn't done anything."

     "Unless you can prove otherwise, I'm afraid your pet will not be freed; ever."

     "And if we can find the real assassin?"

     "Then he will be released, of course."

     "Then that's what we'll do," I vowed.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part One

Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part Three

Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part Four

Dragon Thieves: Assassin Integrity -- Part Five

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