Return of the Double Agent: Part One
Also by shadowcristal
The shady blue Zafara walked through the corridors of
Meridell Castle, drawing her hood over her eyes. Every time a guard would stop
her and ask what she was doing there, she would produce a written letter with
the seal of King Skarl on it. Then the sentries knew better than to mess with
Cylene was better known as the Double Agent.
She had helped both Meridell and Darigan by sneaking around both kingdoms during
the war. However, her loyalty seemed to lean more towards Darigan - especially
Lord Kass - but the Skeith king was either too dumb or too preoccupied to notice
Her cloak swept against the carpets designed
with the usual color scheme. Blue, red, gold... sometimes the Zafara got a tad
sick of it.
When she got to the throne room, Cylene had no
time to ponder on her color preferences. She found herself facing Skarl who
was perched on his ornate chair. A chef was standing beside him, holding up
a platter of the best roast beef and potatoes as the ruler munched greedily.
"I say! What do you want with the great king?"
demanded a nearby red Draik guard. He pointed at her with a long spear that
nearly poked her chest. "You ought to have a good reason before I let you pass."
"Here. Go crazy." The Double Agent pressed the
official notice into his snout. A slight burn mark appeared on the parchment
but she didn't mind. He and his comrade, a smaller blue Draik, stepped aside
and made way for Cylene.
The guards hovered together to look at the scrunched
parchment for a second before they made a quick glance that turned into a stare
at the Zafara.
Cylene stood tall and proud, as immovable as
the feared Terror Mountain. Her right foot, on the other hand, tapped slightly
in annoyance as that fat, greedy Skeith wouldn't even look up from her meal
to address her.
When the chef had finally taken the platter away,
with loud protests from the king and an "It's for your own good, my highness",
King Skarl turned to look at the visitor that had turned up.
"Err... Agent... " the King trailed off, not sure
of what to address the somewhat strange Zafara that had appeared in front of
him. He did not need to recall too much of what had happened during the war
to know that this little pet was a handful.
"I prefer not to disclose my name," Cylene said
King Skarl groaned mentally. There she was, with
all her mind games and such. But perhaps she'd be of use now. He looked around
and saw the curious guards staring at him.
"What?" Skarl mumbled, unsure of why the guards
were staring at him. He stared down at his own royal garments and found ugly
puddles of brown gravy inside the folds and creases. "Oh."
"If we may talk alone, and negotiate... ?" the
Zafara suggested, giving the curious guards a hard look. She gave a mental sigh,
trying not to look too much at the king that was blinding her eyes rather nicely.
Honestly, he really should've learned some manners... But for all that she was
here for, maybe it was better for him to remain as he was, that dull, docile
king... Cylene's lips curled into a smug, satisfied smirk as King Skarl roared
out orders to for the pets to clear out the throne room.
"Everyone, get out! This is a confidential meeting!"
he yelled out.
"Sire... " One of the Draik guards remained and
stared sceptically at their leader.
Skarl crossed his arms. "There are some things
I'd prefer that you didn't know about," he explained abruptly. "Go on, move
out! You and your brother can guard the outside of the room to make sure nobody
else disturbs us."
The agent watched with interest as everyone scrambled
away. The chef dropped his tray with an alarming clang. A hurrying servant grabbed
it as he followed the Ixi clad in an apron. In just a few seconds only two remained
inside the king's domain.
"I see you have gotten my letter," said King
"Yes, your majesty," replied the blue Zafara.
She sank into a little curtsy. "You needed my services again? I thought you
and Darigan Citadel are at peace."
The Skeith nodded. "Well, I haven't been declaring
any wars recently, have I?"
She rolled up the parchment paper. "So I have
noticed. Well then, let's move on. Why have you summoned me to your presence
on such a peaceful day?"
"I have another assignment for you, Agent," said
the king frankly. "This isn't quite as serious as the last one. But I better
not see you falling back on your duties, missy. I want you to go to Darigan
Citadel and spy on…"
"Hold on," said Cylene crossly. She used the
scroll to gesture towards her client. "I thought you were friends!"
"We are!" said King Skarl. "You haven't allowed
me to finish. I command you to let me finish!"
Gritting her teeth, the Zafara rolled her eyes.
"Okay, fine. Come on, come on, time is Neopoints."
"Well," King Skarl said, looking at the Zafara
indignantly. "I need to keep an eye on Darigan. I mean, friends watch out for
each other, right?"
Cylene blinked, for a second stunned by this
simple logic. She drew in a sharp breath and retaliated. "Fine, I get that.
But what do you really want?"
"As you'd like to call it, spying," the King
said, eyeing the Zafara.
The Agent furrowed her brows, thinking hard.
Evaluating the options, she figured that there would be quite some danger in
leaving now, seeing as Skarl might send some soldiers to follow her and see
the headquarters of her operations. Now that would not be a good thing, but
to accept? Her mind quickly jumped to the other agreement she had just sealed
for less than a day ago.
Well, that was why she was known as the best
agent in Neopia. Sighing at having to work for this idle, food-loving Skeith,
Cylene gracefully bent her head in submission.
"So you will do it?" Skarl asked. He was a bit
"Let us talk about the price first," the Zafara
said, her eyes twinkling joyfully and her voice as whispery as dry leaves and
The king cringed. He should have known that this
assignment didn't come cheap. But he regained his composure and drew himself
"Price, eh?" he repeated. "I think we should
talk about it AFTER you spy on Darigan."
"I think not," said Cylene. "I want to be paid
now. If you don't pay me before I go on to do what you want... "
"I will only give you the reward when I see what
work you have accomplished!" King Skarl's voice rose with every syllable he
enunciated. "I give the orders here; I am the ruler of this land!"
There was a ringing pause. The Agent's eyes were
wide with fear and anticipation.
"Well... I'm sticking to my suggestion," he said
firmly. "But there is one thing I can give you right now."
"Name it," she blurted out. Her eyes seemed to
harbor a hungry gleam.
"A... " Skarl smiled ruefully as he produced something
from his pocket, "A very special... potato!"
The Zafara stared at the tiny item in his hand
with disbelief. "You've got to be kidding," she said, staring at the potato
that was even smaller than a pea.
"No!" the king insisted. "This is our royal treasure,
the smallest potato in Meridell!" He looked at her, and his eyes shone with
an uncharacteristic confidence. "It's a hush-hush thing, though."
Cylene felt like rolling her eyes, but if she
wouldn't accept that, she probably wouldn't be paid. Slowly the Zafara reached
out her paw and took the small potato away from the king.
"Now, if you prove that you can keep it, I'll
pay you fair and square. And if you don't... " His eyes hardened, and the Zafara
backed a bit.
"I shall try my best, King Skarl," Cylene said,
though she could not suppress a giggle that was starting to bubble in her throat.
How hard would it be to lose a small potato like that? And the king was giving
Such an interesting idea! The Zafara curtsied
as she pondered about the idea... Spying was a second skin for her, but this
was something much more beyond just reporting information... It was withholding
information... at a price.
"Good. You are dismissed." Skarl waved her away,
but the stubborn pet stopped halfway through the throne room and looked at the
"I do get my own private suite, don't I?" she
asked impertinently, impulsively getting the last word.
"Whatever, just leave. I command you to leave!"
the king spluttered, and Cylene turned around once again to walk over to the
doors and open them in triumph.
Ah, so many possibilities... but where to start?
There were guaranteed to be things about King Skarl, but she couldn't just satisfy
herself with one person, even if it was the king. No... With her mind brimming
and thinking for all it was worth, the Zafara entered the main hallways to explore
The Double Agent couldn't help but grin widely
while nobody could see her. Not only was she back in business, not only was
she going to be paid handsomely just for guarding Meridell's itsy-bitsy pebble
they called a potato, she also got the opportunity to go around the castle... for
She walked through the corridors, gazing at the
blue, red and gold tapestries and decor. It wouldn't hurt to have a little revamp
of the place, thought Cylene as she continued on her way. The colors were starting
to blind her by the time she ducked behind a suit of armor, watching a pair
of Ixi sentries march past.
Knowing from experience that the slightest suspicious
movement could rouse a fit of chaos, she tiptoed away as quietly as possible.
An Usul-in-waiting was chattering away with a Kyrii duchess nearby. Both of
them were too preoccupied to see a sneaking Zafara stalk past them.
"Did you just hear about the latest on Jeran?"
the Usul was whispering. Cylene sharpened her ears to make sure she didn't miss
"No... Was that the old rumor that when Halloween
is near, he tries on some stupid costume?" Her compatriot snickered. "I mean,
come ON! Last year he was an asparagus, so I've heard from a friend who is a
friend who is a cousin who is the sister of a friend of a sister of a friend
of Lisha! I don't even know if he'll do the same thing again... "
"NO WAY!" gasped the other lady, "But why such
a crazy antic from the greatest knight of Meridell?"
"Who cares?" interjected the Kyrii. "Maybe someday
we could find out why. Perhaps it's for some kind of general entertainment."
"Perhaps, perhaps, Matilda," answered the Usul.
They walked away, their long skirts sweeping the floors. Cylene could finally
breathe again after lurking by a corner.
To be continued...