Chance at the Library
Many prefer to play in the daylight, but some, like Double Agent Zafara, preferred to come out under the stars and the moon. This night is no different for the young woman, even when traveling in the shadows of the Meridell castle. She paused just a moment from her sprint from the tree to the castle wall to stare up at the white marbled marvel. Taking a moment to breathe in its beauty and-
“Ok, I’m done.” She shrugged and took out two daggers from her waist sash and stabbed the walls, wedging them into the cracks of the stones. With a grin and a firm hold, she hoisted herself up, scaling the wall with repeated jabs on the wall, her blue eyes focused on a single window at the very top of a tower.
Five minutes later and halfway there, sweat started to roll down her brow. “They couldn’t have put the library LOWER, could they?” she grumbled to herself as she took a minute to pause at a window, wiping her forehead clean. “The only reason I’m even doing this is cause of that ridiculous payment my client is making for this scroll... ridiculous.” She grumbled louder and continued her climb. “Can’t believe I am even doing this... he already double crossed me before... ME! Of all people...”
The client she spoke of was of a suspicious Pet, always clothed in a hood to hide his face. She would have run-ins at with this hooded stranger at night and only at night. He would come to her at unsystematic days, offering her money for random missions. One time was to retrieve a book from Illusen the Faerie. She was nearly caught by the head of the knightly guard’s himself, Jeran, on the very day when he was having a visit to her no less. Another time she was asked to dig into the Symol hole to look into the mystery Symol that dug it. Even at night, however, she had to make a break for it from Jeran again, for he just HAPPENED to be there at the same time. At this point, she believed this client was merely there to get her caught by the Meridell guard and she should just forget ever dealing with him ever again.
However, this time when he came to her again, he nearly begged her to go to the castle to retrieve some scrolls from the library. He gave specific instructions that they would be on a shelf, hidden away from anyone. From the details he gave, the double agent was beginning to suspect the client worked at the castle or had seen these scrolls himself but could not get to them. Whatever the reason behind it might be, she promised herself this would be the LAST time she would do him any favors, even if he did offer a LOT of Neopoints.
Finally reaching the top, she clawed her way inside, panting and completely worn out. She glanced back, giving a low whistle.
“That’s a long way...”
Turning back to the task at hand, she put away her daggers and sneaked through the open hole, entering the library at last. Rows upon rows of dusty books were laid before her, but none of it caught her eye as it would have on any other occasion. She roamed the rows carefully.
“Let’s see... Trumps.... Trumps... Trumpets... Ah ha!” she said, slapping a hand quickly over her mouth as soon as she said it. The blue Zafara looked around to see no one around. Double checking, she peeked around a bookcase, seeing nothing but the fading flicker of the wall lamps. “Hmm... why would it still be on? Ah, must have been some book worm who forgot to put it out.” She shrugged and turned back to the book labeled “Trumps”.
Grinning, she pulled it down, seeing some scrolls tucked away behind. She quickly snatched them out and placed the book back, running to the table to lay them out. “Now... let’s see what makes you so important...”
The blood in her body froze but she kept a calm façade looking up, seeing the LAST person she wanted to see standing at the doorway of the Library.
“...And say we did?” he finished, stepping down the stoop, putting his candle down on the same table she was at. His expression didn’t show arrogance, but it was clear in his eyes. He'd caught her at last.
The double agent wanted to slap herself for her careless work.
“Ah, Jeran...” she said coolly, wrapping the scrolls up and holding them to her. When Jeran took a step to the right, she stepped to the left of the table. “I didn’t think you would be up. What brings you here at this hour?”
The blue Lupe grinned. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking that to you, Madame?”
“I COULD say I asked you first but... I think it’s ruder to not answer a lady’s question, wouldn’t you say?” she said, returning the grin.
“Ah yes, where are my manners?” he chuckled, bringing a paw to his face to stroke his chin, still stepping towards her around the table while she stepped farther away. “Well, if you are that curious... I was reading in this room about an hour ago and got up for a small walk... I like to read late at night usually.”
“...Oh, DO you?” The double Agent’s smile faltered, her expression almost showing like she had a bad taste in her mouth. “What a coincidence... Well, it would be rude of me to keep you from your reading so if you excuse me...” She stepped to the right, and he to the left, trapping her. She stepped the opposite and he only mirrored her movements again, holding his arms up as though ready to grab her for when she sprinted, which was her last option at this point.
“...I have a client waiting, Mr. Jeran, and I cannot keep him waiting.”
“A client? For those scrolls perhaps?” he asked, eyeing her every move now.
Seeing as she was already caught, she had no choice but say the truth. But there’s always room for a lie. “Yes, they are cooking recipes, and he must have forgotten them here from his last visit and is waiting for me at the woods for me to return them to him.”
“Is that so? Perhaps I can deliver them to him myself.”
“I wouldn’t dream of putting you through the trouble!” A dash to one side.
“And I wouldn’t dream of letting a fair maiden do such a task alone.” A quick step to the same direction.
“Would you really call yourself a knight for keeping a lady from a scheduled engagement?” A leap over the table.
“I couldn’t call myself a knight if I let a lovely lady out at night on her own. Perhaps I could join you?” A grab at a foot.
“Oh nonsense, I am perfectly well on my own.” A swinging kick to the jaw.
“That may be- OOF! But I insist you let me join you.” Another grab for an arm.
“Why? You have nothing better to do?” A jab of an elbow.
“Why, no actually. I feel a pleasant night stroll would do me some good from this dusty library!” A release and fall to the ground.
The Zafara made a break for the window, tucking the scrolls in her waist band and grabbed the ledge. She had hoped she would be able to simply slowly climb down the wall with her daggers, but it would seem she would have to make a jump for it and hope using her knives to slow her decent.
“Wait!” Jeran yelled at her. But it wasn’t his voice that stopped her, but a jingle of a familiar noise. Turning, she saw he held up a bag. “I’m prepared to pay you for those scrolls.”
If she hadn’t been holding onto the ledge, she surely would have fallen off at such a ludicrous offer.
“What?” she cried out. A knight, offering to pay a thief?!
Jeran hushed her, turning to the doorway as though he expected someone to jump out. “I am prepared to pay for those scrolls, understand? 2000 up front,” he said.
The double agent blinked in surprise. That was double than the client offered her. Still, she’s not going to let him know that. She eyed him, staying on the window’s ledge. “You will pay me?”
“Yes. And this is how I see it; since whoever your client may be might not be the most trustworthy fellow, it would be far easier to just get the intended Neopoints here and now and get it over with.”
“How do you know he didn’t offer me more?”
“I highly doubt that. And besides, I’ve heard of the deals with the crooked types. Chances are he wouldn’t keep his end of his dues.”
“Even if he didn’t, I’ll make sure he will pay.”
“Wouldn’t that only soil your hands in the matter?”
“It doesn’t matter to me.”
“I’m sure it does.”
“Perhaps my client would be disappointed if I don’t come back.”
“Well now, that’s his problem.”
Now she was getting confused. He didn’t seem ready to back down. “Why are you offering me this?”
“To keep you out of trouble,” he answered honestly.
“Why would you want me too?”
“To give me a good night’s sleep knowing this fair maiden who I have so many run-ins with is not causing trouble.”
She was at a loss for words. The Zafara stared at the Lupe, not realizing he had walked up to her, and he snatched the scrolls from her hands and shoved the bag into her open arms without giving her a moment to recover. He then took out some rope from behind, tying one end to a hook on the wall and handing the other end to her. She was about to ask where he had kept it suddenly ready when he spoke first. “Take it. And go, before the guard comes back.”
Unable to say anything more, she only nodded and started her climb down from the window, her mind filled with doubts of if she succeeded or failed in this task. She decided to think only on her winning prize, her Neopoints, and quickly scaled the rest of the castle wall down. Now all she had to do was debate whether to take on another task from that mysterious client again. She somehow no longer viewed him as treacherous as before.
Jeran looked over the ledge, sighing once she saw the Zafara woman at ground floor and turned to the bookshelf, taking out a random book and shoving the scrolls inside.
“Ah, YES?!” Jeran cried out, slapping his arms behind his back just as a guard entered the library.
“I saw the light... what are you doing up so late?”
“Um... just having a light read, that’s all.” The knight smiled awkwardly.
“Oh... well, be sure to put out the light if you don’t mind, sir. Would help save on wax and all that.”
“Ah yes. Of course.” Jeran nodded, watching the guard leave. He breathed out heavily, leaning back on the bookcase. “Too... close.” He sighed, running a hand through his turf of hair between his ears. Looking around, he nodded to himself at a job well done, and walked out of the library with a grin. He looked to the candle then decided to let it burn out, just in case someone would want to sneak back in at any time.
“Till we meet again Mistress Double Agent,” he whispered to himself, closing the door behind him.