Return of the Double Agent: Part Nine
Also by shadowcristal
"The king calls you to the Dining Hall," said the guard
on her right. Those words were enough to make Cylene freeze completely on the
"Well, are you coming?" the other Ixi asked,
with a hint of steel in his voice.
The Zafara stuttered, trying to erase any traces
of shock on her face. Her brain was trying to find a proper reply when the guard
who had first spoken grabbed her arms like some kind of grotesque escort.
"The King's orders," he reminded her. "Besides,
you could be planning something in private in that dangerous mind of yours."
"Of course," the Agent replied, trying to keep
calm. Impulsively she put some honey into her voice and said, "But won't you
allow a lady some time to dress properly?"
"You are no lady," the sentry that held her said
plainly. The other Ixi grabbed her wrist, and together the guards dragged her
off to the Dining Hall.
"Why am I treated like this?" Cylene wailed,
panic bubbling inside her. The possibility that someone had found her notebook
was very high, and most likely he or she had reported to the king. The Zafara
realized that she had to let go of the notebook issue and save her skin as best
as she could.
How? If she ran away now, it would not be long
before she was caught. The guards' feelings of hostility were too strong to
be eased by any golden coins. The best thing she could do was to follow them
and agree with whatever that fat old Skeith required her to do, and then run.
Undoubtedly that time had come.
Well, it had been fun, Cylene told herself. She
protested and whined some more, but it was useless, one less way to get out
Suddenly the guards stopped, and the Zafara realized
that they had brought her right in front of the large oak door of the Dining
Hall. As the old doors squeaked and swung open, an unmistakably familiar yellow
face appeared in Cylene's view, followed by many more.
The Agent gasped. All of those whom she had spied
on were sitting around the oval table, their eyes burning into her. Once again
she looked at Lisha, who smiled a little smile of her own.
"Welcome to our little gathering," the Aisha
Cylene could see that there was much more than
the Meridellian crowd sitting at the table. She could spot several faces from
Darigan Citadel, including Lord Darigan himself. Her mind whirled with several
theories as to why so many of those who had been victims to her spying sessions
were present there and now.
But before Lisha could say anything else, King
Skarl interrupted. "Ah, the agent, pleased to meet you. How nice it is that
you made it to our banquet!"
Actually, I was just pushed to make it to
your stupid shindig, thought the Zafara as she was whisked into a seat between
Master Vex and Jeran. "So what's this all about?" she asked.
"Celebrating the ties between Darigan and Meridell,"
replied Jeran. "Or so I've heard."
"Is that... all?" the agent asked.
"Possibly," said the Lupe knight casually. "Hey,
everyone's getting quiet now..."
The blare of trumpets heralding the speech of
King Skarl eventually died down as well.
"Greetings, and a pleasant afternoon to all!"
he exclaimed jovially. "I would like to thank you all for coming to this lavish
banquet shared by both my subjects, and Lord Darigan's subjects, as a sign of
our newly forged friendship."
Cylene could have sworn that she saw a certain
yellow Aisha smirk at her.
"If you wouldn't mind," that Aisha said, "I have
"Go ahead," King Skarl replied in his majestic
splendor, waving with one commanding fat hand. "That's what you have been harping
about, right?" Under his breath the Skeith added, "And robbed me of a wonderful
A chilly feeling slowly crept upon Cylene's spine
as she looked around. Nothing good could come out of this. As the yellow pet
fished out a familiar notebook from some obscure hiding place under the table,
the Zafara realized that her worst fears were coming true.
The Agent pushed her chair back to stand, but
Vex pulled her down.
"I bet she's got something really important to
say!" he whispered excitedly.
"Wait!" King Skarl rushed over to Lisha. Cylene
heaved a sigh of relief as the Aisha turned to stare at him.
The Skeith shook his head. "Uh, can you say whatever
it is you want to say later on? I have very interesting news about Lord Darigan."
"Who, me?" asked the Korbat nonchalantly. "Majesty,
what would that be?"
"Apparently, I should've asked him to take care
of dessert," said Skarl slowly, trying hard not to laugh. "I've learned from
a very reliable source that he's quite the baker!"
Master Vex nearly dropped his goblet. Jeran,
Morris and Boris began pounding the table in immeasurable mirth. Cylene craned
her neck to see Lord Darigan begin to blush as the whole table erupted in laughter.
One of the guests even fell off his chair and continued to laugh as he did so.
But instead of getting angry or humiliated, Darigan
even chuckled. "Ah, so you've figured out what I do when I'm not running the
citadel, eh, King of Plushies and Nightly Dancing?"
"Great Grackle Bugs, he DANCES WITH PLUSHIES?"
exclaimed Lester the Darigan Techo, who had been invited along with Master Vex.
"That's even more hilarious than Vex not being able to beat me in Shapeshifter!"
The Mynci stood up and pointed a finger at his
associate. "I thought you promised to keep that a secret!"
"Well, who cares? You stink at Shapeshifter!"
"I only played that stupid game to please you,"
Lester snickered. "And here you are, coming to
Meridell... where they invented the game..."
Master Vex resisted the urge to chuck a handful
of mashed potatoes towards the Techo.
The Agent blinked in confusion as accusations
and laughs were hurled through the air at a very scary speed. All that hard
work and effort she had put in to find out the secrets... and then something
like this! Shooting a glare at Lisha, Cylene realized that the Aisha was smirking
smugly and about to get up.
"Umm... May I speak now, King Skarl?" Lisha asked,
waving with Agent's precious little notebook.
"Sure," the Skeith said before he collapsed into
a heap of laughter.
"Since you seem to know most of the contents
of this item already, I thought I'd share some poetry with you," the yellow
Aisha declared, flipping through the notebook.
"I didn't know you wrote poetry!" Jeran blurted
out in surprise.
"I don't," Lisha said, "But a certain amateurish
hobby poet does." She grinned and stopped on a certain page.
No, Cylene thought. This was even worse
than her secrets leaking out or the discovery that she had once again acted
as a Double Agent. If only she hadn't been bored enough to write down all those
awful verses that were now being used against her.
The whole table became respectfully silent, with
an air of anticipation hanging above… of course, with the exception of the poor
Zafara. If she had known, she would've darted off a long time ago. But good
manners and guards at the door forbade her to leave in such a hurry, and this
was truly the epitome of the humiliation that scheming little Aisha had brought
"Purple is good, yellow is fine, birds are nice
and I like beaches and brine," Lisha read out, as Cylene cringed at that horrible
voice beginning to read all the thoughtless poetry she had written down.
The handful of mashed potatoes stayed in Vex's
hand as the guests and hosts alike roared in laughter. The Agent managed a half-hearted,
meek one before she sunk deeper into her chair in humiliation and shame.
"This is hilarious! More!" King Skarl shouted.´
"For once we agree on something, as amusing as
it is," Darigan replied in refined manner, though his whole body was shaking
and shivering with laughter. "More, if you wouldn't mind?"
All eyes turned expectantly upon the Aisha, who
turned the notebook to another page and started reading.
"Oh, the rain, the rain so fine, sometimes it
makes the Weewoos whine!" dictated Lisha, trying not to giggle and end up slurring
"Why, you little..." Cylene was at the brink
of exploding with suppressed anger. Her fear of embarrassment was replaced with
rage as she shook in her seat.
"What's gotten into you?" asked Jeran. Sitting
next to her, the knight could easily hear whatever she was saying. "You look
as if someone's been torturing you."
Lester caught a glimpse of the blue Zafara. "Did
YOU write those crazy little rhymes, you did?"
The Aisha smirked. "She sure did," said Lisha
loudly for everyone to hear. Now all heads turned towards the trepid Agent,
who was either too humiliated or too furious to say anything. Eventually a slow
trickle of chuckles and guffaws grew into a quick river of laughter that only
made Cylene blush a deep shade of crimson.
"Simply wonderful!" the Court Dancer declared
as the Agent began shivering in rage. Laughter trickled and flowed across the
large table, filling the room with mirth.
Cylene was the only one who was not amused, and
the humiliation of it all was almost too much for her to bear. The golden rule
of spies had been broken. Never get noticed.
Standing in the limelight, the Zafara felt hatred
well up at the thought of that despicable Aisha revealing all her secrets...
An amateur snatching her notebook by chance! How? How?
But it was too late. As the rest of her body
started to take on a rather reddish tinge, Cylene tensed up, ready to escape.
She would review this failure later on in the safety of her home, but to get
out of here... She should've thought of that a long time ago!
Noticing that the guards had also been afflicted
with this disease-like laughter, the Agent saw her chance. That wise voice in
her mind told her to run, but she knew that her pride demanded revenge. Eyeing
the pets with distaste and dislike, Cylene realized to her horror that she had
become similar to them, if just a little bit. That cold corner would've undoubtedly
just rushed away at first chance had been tucked away, and the more heated part
of herself had dragged her into this mess. And now it refused to let her leave,
not without some kind of satisfaction.
She stood up and walked primly towards the front,
trying to ignore the raucous crowds. Facing Lisha, she whispered, "You've humiliated
me long enough. But… I'll be back, once all this gossip dies down."
The crowd watched as Cylene grabbed her notebook
from the yellow Aisha's paws and stalked out of the dining hall, past the guffawing
guards as she fled the castle angrily, not minding the stares and whispers that
punctuated the whoops and cheers.
But before all that, the Zafara remembered to
thwack Lisha on the head with her notebook in front of everyone else.