Child of the Drenched: Intrigue in Faerieland - Part Seven
Mara and Jacques entered Brynn's office to give her the letter they found in Florina's office. Hanso was leaning against the desk and Brynn was sitting behind it looking stressed. Hanso grinned and winked at Mara and Brynn slapped his arm.
"Found the staff yet?" Mara asked right off.
Brynn glared at her. "I was told you had information that was relevant to finding the staff. This isn't a game and your uncle is in a lot of trouble if he doesn't tell us where it is soon. If it winds up in the hands of someone else, an enemy of the crown, that's treason."
Mara decided she was done playing the cute little powder-puff. "Gee, that would be terrible, wouldn't it? If Howl had taken it, shouldn't you have found it by now? This is really sad."
Hanso looked taken aback; she was nothing like the girl who had been so awed by his story yesterday. "Look, Miss, what do you know? You told us yesterday that someone told you the location of the incriminating letters, so I assume you've learned something."
Mara reached into her coat and pulled out the letter and offered it to Hanso, saying, "In return for the fantastic story yesterday, I've brought you a real piece of evidence, to replace the fakes you have."
Brynn's eyes grew large. "What? Give me that, Hanso!"
Brynn snatched it from his hands before he could look at it. She read it, doubt and then anger passing over her face. "Where did you find this and who is the recipient?"
"I stole it," Mara said honestly. "From the office of the headmistress of the Royal Academy of Faerieland. Florina, your key witness. Think about it, though; without her, you would never have suspected Howl of this deed. She called you, she told you that she had seen this, and she knew where the letters were hidden. I actually found this letter by searching in the same place that the letters in Howl's were hidden. She had the opportunity to set it against Howl and he was one of the few people she knew that she could count on not to have an alibi."
"Florina? She's played us for fools, Brynn!" Hanso cried in anger.
"Not so fast, Hanso. How do we know that you aren't trying to cover for your uncle by pinning this on the headmistress?" Brynn questioned.
Mara's face grew hot with anger. "How dare you? I would never!"
Jacques grabbed Mara's arm. "We didn't and that letter is legitimate. We didn't come to you yesterday with our suspicions because we were afraid if Florina got wind that you were on to her whatever evidence she might still have would vanish. We had already convinced her that we believed Howl was guilty, something she was working very hard to get us to do. You're not going to find the staff investigating Howl, and every moment you waste on him the more time you are giving Florina to move it to the mysterious sender of this letter."
Jacques's cool words worked. "Hanso, summon the guards, we're going back to the school. I'm going to get a warrant for Florina's arrest. If she does have the staff, we need to get her in custody so that she can't move it. You two, wait here, I'll be back. I want you to show me exactly where you found this letter," Brynn ordered.
Hanso winked at Brynn and hurried off to do what he was told. Brynn rose and strode off. Mara and Jacques waited, pleased with the turn of events. Soon Brynn returned and ordered them to follow her. They made their way to the Royal Academy of Faerieland to arrest Florina and search the building.
They went into her office, but she wasn't there.
"Hanso, take the guards and find her," Brynn said.
"Wait, isn't she the most powerful faerie here? Which is saying something since we're at a school for gifted faeries. Should you really split up?" Jacques asked.
"He has a point, sweetheart. I don't much fancy facing off against another magic wielding maniac alone," Hanso said to Brynn.
Brynn rolled her eyes. "Fine. You two, wait outside the office."
Jacques and Mara leaned against the wall and watched as Brynn, Hanso, and several guards walked down the halls, looking in classrooms for the faerie. At the end of that particular hall was the gymnasium. One of the guards opened the door and cried, "Halt, Florina, you are under arrest!"
A vine whipped out and smacked the guard away into the wall. The other guards, Brynn, and Hanso went running for the gym. Before Jacques could stop her, Mara was racing down the hall too. They reached the doors of the gym and hurried in.
Florina was standing on the far side of the gym, separated from Brynn and the guards by a swimming pool. There were vines all thrashing about everywhere and one of them held Hanso.
"Put your swords down or I will break him," Florina threatened.
"Now, now, let's not do anything hasty. You know, if it wasn't for me you would still be a statue. I think we can work this out," Hanso was babbling.
A vine wrapped over his mouth as Florina barked, "Silence, you fool! I'm going to give you two seconds to drop your weapons!"
Brynn seethed as she put her sword on the ground. The other guards did the same. They were helpless; there was no way they could get close without endangering Hanso. Mara stepped forward.
"Florina, you are going to let Hanso go and surrender to Captain Brynn and tell her where the staff is, now," Mara said firmly.
Florina sneered at Mara. "Really, little girl, and why would I do that? I have the upper hand, and there is nothing you can do about that. You're pathetic, just like Howl. Letting a Neopet, especially one who can't even use magic teach here was a disgrace; he deserved to take the fall for the staff's theft."
"Now, Florina," Mara replied calmly, feeling the water all around her, ready to use it.
"Mara, stop, let me handle this," Brynn started.
"Give me one good reason, little girl," Florina mocked.
Mara smiled confidently. "Okay then, I'll give you three." The water rose out of the pool as a scythe of water shot through the window and sliced through the vine binding Hanso. "I was raised by the Drenched!"
Florina paled and screamed as a wall of water crashed into her. She tried to fight back, but Mara turned it into a swirling whirlpool, confining her inside a watery prison. Hanso ran around the pool to where they stood, everyone watching Mara in wonder and some horror. A minute later the water shot back into the pool and Florina lay on the ground gasping, too exhausted to fight anymore. Brynn quickly hurried over and shackled her.
"Um, I'll pay for the window," Mara said, looking at the broken glass.
"Are you kidding? I'll pay for it and with money that is legitimately mine. That was amazing, what you did with the water! I'll bet that makes my stories seem dull," Hanso cried.
"What, no! Don't be silly, that is everyday stuff to me; your stories aren't anything like my average day." Mara laughed.
"You were making up the Drenched thing to scare her, weren't you?" Hanso laughed.
"No," Mara replied with a dark grin.
Hanso looked a little uncomfortable and she laughed at him. Brynn hauled Florina up and gave her to two guards. "Take her back to the dungeons. I'll question her when I get back. Release Howl while you're there."
Brynn turned to look at Hanso. "What are you standing around for? We still have to find the staff. Go search Florina's office for clues."
"Yes, sweetheart, I'm going. You are really demanding, you know that?" Hanso complained as he walked off.
Brynn smiled and shook her head at his retreating back. She turned to Mara and said almost shyly, "Thank you, for rescuing Hanso," then in her normal voice, "I mean and for helping apprehend Florina. That was very impressive. I guess you two can go. Howl will be relieved to see you two, and I'm sure you have a lot to tell him. I'm sorry for all this."
Mara smiled and grabbed Jacques's hand, pulling him after her as she ran.
"Slow down, Mara!" Jacques laughed.
Mara stood with her suitcase at her feet, hugging her uncle tight.
"I'm going to miss you, Delia. You'll have to come and see me again soon. Next time I promise not to get thrown in prison." Howl laughed as he returned the embrace.
"You're so silly, Uncle Howl." Mara laughed.
Howl let her go and looked into her eyes. "Ah, your mother would be so proud of you, Delia. I'm so proud of you, girl."
Mara smiled and picked up her suitcase while Jacques and Howl shook hands and said goodbye. They got into the Eyrie Taxi and waved until they were out of sight. Mara leaned back in her seat and watched out the window, trying to get over her fear of flying. Jacques settled in next to her with a book.
"Are you looking forward to going back?" Mara asked.
"Yeah, the collars, newspapers, and coffee gets old fast. The Black Pawkeet is home. What about you?" Jacques asked.
"Me too, I could never live happily anywhere but at sea, and being a pirate is certainly never dull," Mara replied with a laugh. "Although, if vacations are always this hectic they might trump being a pirate."
Jacques laughed too and they sat in silence for the rest of the flight back to Mystery Island. When they landed they got out and went to the pier where they had arranged to be picked up at. Garin was sitting on the pier looking down at the ocean. When they neared he jumped up and came over to greet them.
"So, I see both of you have returned, I guess that means Jacques behaved himself," Garin said with the big grin.
"Maybe," Mara replied.
Garin put his arm around Jacques's shoulder as they walked to the rowboat. "So how was the trip?"
"Uneventful," Jacques replied.
"Relaxing," Mara chimed in.
"Anything interesting happen?" Garin pushed.
"My uncle got sent to jail for allegedly stealing Queen Fyora's staff," Mara said nonchalantly.
"Mara creamed a powerful Earth Faerie in under a minute." Jacques shrugged as he got in the rowboat.
Garin stopped and looked down at them skeptically. He got in the boat and said, "Tell me everything."