Scarlet Shadow: A Scepter Full of Trouble - Part Two
“Scarlet, let’s move!” Kanrik yelled, grabbing the Jeran’s sword and pulling it free from his sleeve. Without hesitation, Scarlet replaced her swords into their scabbard and bolted down the opposite corridor. “How’ll we get out of here?” Kanrik asked, making sure to stay with Scarlet as she sped on.
“The normal way – through the gate!” Scarlet replied.
“Are you nuts?!” Kanrik yelled. “Can’t we just leave the way we came?!”
“No!” Scarlet replied whilst turning a sharp corner. Kanrik, on the other hand was caught by surprise and had to slow down to navigate around it. “If we go that way again, they’ll know where the panel is, and we’ll have no other way of getting in the next time!”
“There won’t be a next time if we don’t get out of here now!” Kanrik argued. Scarlet ignored him and continued running. Kanrik, finding that they would stand a better chance together, continued following her.
They ran across many hallways and soon came to a HUGE ball room. The big front doors of the castle were on the other side and were, unsurprisingly, closed. The two rushed over and pushed the doors forward to no avail. The guards’ footsteps could now be heard as they closed in on their position. Scarlet gripped her hands together as the shadows started forming an orb within them. Scarlet directed the orb at the doors, causing the shadows to lurch forward, piercing the doors and forming a large hole. Kanrik just watched in awe as she leaped through.
“Come on, Kanrik!” Scarlet yelled. Kanrik quickly shook his head and crawled out. They were now in the castle courtyard. Looking around, Kanrik saw the big, outer wall and the huge gates. As usual, the gates were closed, leaving them cornered between the guards and the wall. I mean, sure, they had the gigantic courtyard to run around in, but a thief can only run for so long.
Turning to Scarlet, Kanrik saw that her eyes were closed and that the shadows were rushing at them again. The shadows planted themselves under the thieves’ feet. “Um... Scarlet?” Kanrik said as he saw the guards begin crawling through the hole.
“Hold on tight,” Scarlet whispered. Her eyes opened as the shadows lifted the two of them high in the air. She looked around. The guards on the ground looked completely dumbfounded. She turned to Kanrik and stifled a laugh. He looked almost as dumbfounded as the guards. His face suddenly turned pale, though, as his gaze drifted to the wall.
Scarlet followed his gaze and saw a line of archers atop the wall. She quickly bent down and touched the shadow board. The shadows crept up her arms as she closed her eyes. She concentrated on the situation. Suddenly, she opened her eyes, now glowing a dark indigo.
At that moment, a shower of arrows rained down on them. Scarlet quickly reacted by maneuvering the board and descending down low, out running the deadly arrows. She had to find a way out. Deciding the wall would be the best place to go, Scarlet sped toward it.
The archers watched as the two thieves evaded their arrows and speed over the wall, helpless to stop them. Pretty soon, Tor and Jeran ran up to them. “Danner, report,” Jeran stated, turning to the blue Wocky.
“They...” Danner said, hanging his head, “escaped.”
“Looks like this Scarlet Shadow is more powerful than we expected,” Jeran uttered, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, he is,” Tor agreed, clenching his hands into a fist. “How could they have gotten through our defenses?! King Skarl will be outraged!”
“Calm down, Tor,” Jeran said calmly. “They didn’t get the Scepter, and besides, we’ll get them somehow.”
“Ok, spill, Scarlet!” Kanrik barked as soon as they landed safely in the woods, beside the Unis. “How did you do that?!”
“That is none of your business!” Scarlet countered, her indigo eyes flaring. “I just got us out!”
Kanrik was taken aback at the shadow Lupess. For the slightest moment, there seemed to be a dark glow about her eyes. “Scarlet, I demand that you tell me how...” Kanrik stopped. Scarlet was leaning on the tree beside her when he started, but now she fell to the ground, exhausted. “You alright?” he asked uncertainly.
“Controlling shadows takes a lot of energy,” Scarlet hissed as she wearily stood and mounted Shade. “You can go on ranting and raving while not getting any answers...” She gave him a sharp glance. “...or you could just let it go and be glad I’m on your side.” Kanrik just watched as Shade trotted off.
“Well, I never knew Scarlet could get that angry,” Kanrik said as he mounted Sable.
“That’s because when you two fight, she’s normally full of energy,” Sable responded, following Shade at a somewhat faster pace to catch up. “When she’s tired, she gets grumpy. Just act like nothing happened, and you should be alright.”
The two rode on for a long time. The Guild was conveniently placed somewhere between Brightvale and Meridell, both of which were Kanrik’s districts. “I heard what Tor said about you,” Kanrik stated, breaking the long silence. “Is it true that they don’t know who you are?”
“Depends,” Scarlet replied. “I mean, they know that I’m a shadow Lupe and all, but they don’t know that I’m a girl. In fact, the only other thing they know is that I’m known as the Scarlet Shadow. I like keeping my identity a secret; it helps me in those situations when someone spots me in town.”
“You mean no one’s ever been able to recognize you in town?” Kanrik asked. “Without your hood, I mean.”
“Not a single one,” Scarlet replied simply. “There are wanted posters for me, but all the descriptions of all the guards put together give them nothing but, well, a shadow Lupe in a hood. In fact, I’m the most in danger when I do wear my hood.”
“I learn something new every day,” Kanrik stated just as the tents that littered the Guild came into view.
Scarlet woke up early the next day. Looking at herself through the new body mirror she had bought, she realized just how big a mess she looked. Her clothes were wrinkled, her cloak was on backwards, and her hair looked like a Pteri nest!
Scarlet scrambled for her brush and clothes bag. She looked in and pulled out a pair of black capris and a black blouse. She quickly pulled them on.
“I should think of getting a hair cut soon,” Scarlet stated, painfully brushing out all the tangles from her hair and plaiting the long locks into a loose braid. Although Scarlet wasn’t girly AT ALL, she never liked looking messy. After all, you want to look professional in front of the other thieves. When she was satisfied by her appearance, Scarlet clipped her swords to her back and stepped out of her tent.
Coming out, she was surprised to find Joe, the blue Mynci, standing outside her tent with the bell rope tightly in his grasp. “Wow, that was quick,” he said, looking at the bell, then at Scarlet. “I didn’t even ring the bell.”
“What do you need, Joe?” Scarlet asked, trying to refrain from laughing. She couldn’t just laugh in front of the biggest gossiper in the whole guild.
“Kanrik wants to speak with you,” Joe replied, taking his hand off the rope. “Sounded important.”
“Alright,” Scarlet stated, already walking toward Kanrik’s tent. When she got to the tent, she rang the small bell and was startled to find Kanrik opening the door flap at first ring.
“I think I know how we can steal the scepter!” he exclaimed, ushering her in.
“That’s great, but why the sudden caution?” Scarlet asked, taking a seat and watching the Guild Master peer out the door.
“Because, I have a feeling there’s a traitor in the guild,” Kanrik replied, finally sitting down.
“Why do you think that?” Scarlet asked, curiosity getting the better of her.
“Well, for one thing, Meridell normally has regular Draik soldiers guarding their treasures, so, why did they have their Champion posted at the door?”
“It’s a magical scepter! Why wouldn’t they?” Scarlet stated, eyes rolling.
“I guess you’re right, but still, we’d better be careful,” Kanrik replied with a sigh.
“Whatever you say, Oh Wise and Honorable Guild Master,” Scarlet said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Now, about this plan of yours...”
“How’d you like to go to a ball?” Kanrik asked, a mischievous grin haunting his face.
“Ooh, no.” Scarlet said, shaking her head vigorously.
“Scarlet, it’s the only way!” Kanrik said persistently.
“No, it isn’t!” Scarlet countered.
“The scepter will be brought out of Meridell right after the ball!” Kanrik argued. Scarlet mulled over what Kanrik had said.
“So you want me to steal it in front of all the nobles of Meridell and Brightvale combined?” Scarlet asked sarcastically.
“No, I want you to stay inside and keep everyone occupied until our attack,” Kanrik replied. “Seeing how all the nobles are inside, there will most definitely be a couple guards in the crowd as well – disguised as Nobles. So that means that a soldier, or even a knight, could just sneak up behind a thief, making him think he’s just a frightened little aristocrat, and hit him on the head. And that, my dear Scarlet, is why we need you in there. If the soldiers are preoccupied, they’ll be off their guard by the time we get there.”
“Why do you get all the fun while I have to act like some princess?” Scarlet asked, annoyed.
“Just try to find a dress to wear for the event!” Kanrik said, handing Scarlet a bag of neopoints. “There’s a hundred and fifty thousand in here. If you find a dress worth less, you can keep the change.”
“I expect this is an invitation-only party, so how do you expect me to get in?” Scarlet asked, taking the bag.
“Thanks for the reminder,” Kanrik said, handing her a beautiful invitation. “Before you ask, no, it isn’t stolen, and, yes, it’s a forgery. Now, I suggest you get going.”
Scarlet, still irritated by Kanrik’s plan, exited the tent with the heavy bag of neopoints in hand and made her way to the woods to find Shade. Since Shade was still technically a wild Uni, he would always go back to the forest near the guild when Scarlet wasn’t riding him.
As soon as Scarlet entered the wood, a small Wibreth ran over to her. She dug into her pocket and gave it a piece of bread. It squawked happily as it gulped down the bread. Soon, a thud of hooves could be heard on the ground. Turning around, Scarlet saw Shade racing toward her. “I guess you want a ride,” Shade stated, stopping mere inches from bumping into Scarlet.
“Of course, why else would Wiber squawk so loudly?” Scarlet asked, giving the Wibreth a pat on the head before hopping onto Shade’s back.
“We must have the weirdest communication system on this planet,” Shade stated, lifting a hoof and rubbing Wiber’s head as well.
“True,” Scarlet agreed, “but do you remember finding me asleep near the river only to find out I had been waiting all night for you to come by?”
“Where’re you off to and why do you have that big bag of neopoints?” Shade asked, ignoring the statement and staring at the bag, which was now hanging by Scarlet’s belt.
“Kanrik has a new plan that involves me dressing up like some princess and acting girly and all that.”
“Oh, you mean you don’t like that?” Shade asked, mischief enveloping his voice.
“Of course not! I mean, who wants to dress up in fancy gowns just to go some party?” Scarlet replied.
“Um, normal people, I guess,” Shade said, chuckling.
“We’re going to Meridell,” Scarlet said, ignoring the comment. She knew it was true, though. She WAS pretty weird because of her dislike for dressing up in gowns and things like that. Scarlet’s memories began to surface. A long time ago, she DID like dressing up for all the balls her father would throw, but that was a long time ago...
Shade made good time. Besides the fact that the two couldn’t find the dress shop, that is. When FINALLY arriving there, Shade turned and looked at Scarlet. “You said it was on the other side of the kingdom!”
“Give me a break!” Scarlet complained, removing her swords and dropping her hood. “I haven’t been here for years!” Shade shook his head and grunted as Scarlet clipped her swords to the saddle.
“Hello, Miss,” the shopkeeper, a purple Shoyru, greeted as Scarlet entered the enormous room. The room was filled from top to bottom with beautiful gowns.
“Um, hello,” Scarlet said, giving the Shoyru a friendly smile. “I’m looking for a ball gown and thought you might be able to give me a few suggestions.” Scarlet cringed at the word ‘gown’, but thankfully the shopkeeper didn’t notice.
“Going to the big celebration now, are we? I think I have the perfect thing! It’ll match your fur color perfectly,” the Shoyru said, entering the back room. While she was gone, Scarlet looked around. She remembered going here once. She remembered being extra excited that day.
Worried that she would remember some horrible memory, Scarlet put her focus back on the back door. It was taking some time for the Shoyru to fetch the gown, and Scarlet felt a little worried. She was just about to call out when she heard the front door swing open. Scarlet turned around casually, but her heart skipped a beat when she saw the figure entering the shop. There, just a few yards away, was a blue Lupe, dressed like a peasant of course, so as not to attract attention, but Scarlet could recognize the Lupe a mile away... The Lupe was Sir Jeran.
To be continued...