Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 107,594,495 Issue: 215 | 4th day of Storing, Y7
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Sword upon Sword - a Variation of the War: Part Two

by little_hamsters365


Before Jagg could scream and give away his position, he realized it was a guard from the Citadel. Sighing with relief, he told the guard he had managed to steal three pieces of paper for Kass. They might contain valuable information. Silently, the two dashed back to the Citadel.

     Brought into Kass's chambers, Jagg handed the papers to his master. "M'lord, I managed to grab these before being discovered."

     "Excellent, spy. Dismissed. I would like to see what Skarl's papers have to say." So Lord Kass began to read…

     The attack will be launched soon. Once we have completed the troops with the help of Darigan-

     "Darigan!" Kass hissed. "How dare he. This must be a journal entry." The Eyrie continued to read.

     -we shall be all but unstoppable. We have been provided with weapons he used to have in his armory when the Citadel was his. We have signed a peace treaty, he and I. The former Lord Darigan agrees to aid me in Kass's downfall if I agree to return and restore his Citadel.

     Kass scowled and looked at the next page.

     While Kass is holed up in his little Citadel, we are free in our own land. The farmers can provide us with all the food we need.

     Lord Kass reread the second sentence. "Hmm, the farmers… I could easily destroy their crops…"

     A weaponry has also been established in the lower level of the castle. I fear that we must fight soon. I can sense Kass getting restless. Alas, just recently we struck a gold mine! My Lupe spy has uncovered the war plans of our enemy. We can ambush them when they're preparing. Kass has stationed more guards now. I feel a fight soon.

     Kass snorted and took a look at the next page.

     My fears are proven correct. Recently, my best spy has been captured and imprisoned by Kass. We plan to attack soon to free him. Troops are being sent-

     Apparently he didn't get to finish, but Kass knew the basics and what to do about them. "Spy!" he called. The Kacheek rushed in and bowed.

     "Yes, M'lord?"

     "You have fetched me Skarl's writing and have aided me a great deal! See, they're relying on their crops. All we must do is destroy them." Bit by bit he told Jagg about Darigan and the treaty. The Kacheek was surprised Darigan was actually alive.

     Peering down at the skirmish, the Kacheek could see the forces of Meridell gradually retreating. Weakened Meridellian warriors were carried to the prison. Kass's forces were being aided by their spellcasters on the battlefield. Finally overpowered, Meridell's warriors retreated into the castle.

     * * *

     Kass was thinking about what his next move should be. "Spy," he called to Jagg. "Would it not be brilliant if we could send over one of our loyal warriors to pose as a Meridellian? They could spy on that oaf Skarl and figure out plans and all matter of things!"

     Jagg nodded in approval. Then he asked the question: "Who?"

     "Why," Kass said, "you could be the undercover spy! It would be brilliant - I mean, you're my top spy, why couldn't-"

     "But…they know who I am. They saw me running to the castle…"

     Kass bit his lip. "They did, eh? Well, then…I shall summon one of my particularly good imposters. I believe I shall choose Marin. She's a green Aisha, if you didn't know, and she will be one of the best choices for this job."

     * * *

     Back in Meridell, Darigan sat with Skarl in the king's study.

     "So," Darigan said, "How goes the fight?"

     "We had to retreat today, but do not fret, my friend."

     "I will lead the troops," Darigan decided, "at least some of them, behind the Citadel. We must attack Kass directly. I know most of his minions do not wish to work for him. Anyway, we shall scale the wall or just fly up and we will be in Kass's chambers." He pointed to a spot on the map of his old Citadel. "Then, send most of the troops into different parts of the Citadel to find minions who willingly work for Kass. We can imprison them if you would like, Skarl."

     "Hmm…" Skarl mused. "Imprison them in their own dungeon. And rescue my best spy, the Lupe. He's probably locked up somewhere."

     "Right," Darigan continued, "So once we have his evil minions under control and we have gotten rid of Kass, we'll take the Neopets that were forced to serve him back to Meridell, or you can let them stay with me once I restore my home. But Kass won't be easy to defeat. Do not underestimate him. Anyway, assemble your best warriors. I want them to be quiet, agile, and skilled with a blade."

     * * *

     Meanwhile, Kass was putting his imposter plan into action. Marin, the Aisha, accepted his offer of letting her go into Meridell as a spy. Of course, she would need a disguise of some sort.

     Marin was dressed in basic Meridellian clothing, a simple blouse and a plain-looking maroon dress. She stood before Kass, hoping for his approval. "So, do I look like I'm from Meridell?"

     "Indeed. Excellently done. I believe we can send you over to Meridell now."

     Marin grinned. "Well, I guess it's time to begin my spying." The Aisha jumped silently from the Citadel. She landed without a sound. Saluting to Kass, she ran towards the castle, blending in easily with the everyday Meridellian citizens.

     She walked briskly from the Citadel, camouflaged by the chaotic battlefield; warriors were wounded and being carried to the infirmary, regular citizens tried to help wherever they could, and the minions of Kass walking back to the Citadel, sneering at the small Meridellian army they had defeated. Just the kind of cover Marin needed. Weaving her way between the crowd, she set off to do her job.

     * * *

     Standing before Darigan was a large assortment of Neopets that were willing to assist him with his plan. Some were chosen for their size, or their skill in combat. Others were picked for their agility, their strength, or their experience in battle.

     There were the traditional Draik guards along with any number of other species. Unis, Techos, Kacheeks, Shoyrus, Eyries, Lupes, and countless others. Eager to rid the world of Lord Kass, they set off at dusk.

     Upon reaching the Citadel, the band of warriors paused. "Go around to the back of the Citadel," Darigan told them. "Through the woods, and make sure nobody sees you."

     A few minutes later, they were standing behind the Citadel. Darigan was a skilled leader, and he knew exactly what to do. "Quickly! Those who have wings can fly through that open window. The others can use their swords and claws to climb up. Hurry, we need to use our time wisely. Get in, get Kass, get out. That's the plan. Alright? Let's go."

     Silently, the group of warriors from Meridell scaled the wall of the Citadel. Once they were all at the top, they discovered that Kass wasn't in his chambers. Instead there was a small yellow Kacheek sitting at a desk, scribbling something on a piece of paper every so often. Unnoticed by the Kacheek, the Meridellians grabbed him and pinned him to the ground. When he saw former Lord Darigan, he gasped.

     "Lord…Darigan…I will remain under the faithful command of Kass! Get your minions away from me!" Jagg spat.

     "Well, then. Your choice," Darigan replied. "Char, Penn!" Dressed in Meridellian armor and armed with swords and spears, two orange Draiks seized him. "The dungeon stairs are out in the hall. Put him in any cell, but we've got to act quickly and find Kass."

     They continued on through the castle, capturing evil Kass minions and throwing them in the dungeon temporarily. Taking them down one by one was easy, since they each patrolled their own stairway or corridor. The ones they found that were not willingly serving Kass and were being used as slaves were chained up. Slowly their forces grew from the Neopets and their newfound freedom.

     Since they had split up, Darigan set out on his own with only a few Neopets at his heels. He wanted to take down Lord Kass alone, but incase they were confronted by minions, they insisted that they should come along.

     Darigan knew the Citadel best, so he led them around telling them where everything was. Incase they had an emergency they could hide in the spaces Darigan said would be empty, and avoid heavily populated rooms. All the while, Darigan was alert and ready for an ambush. 'Where could Kass be?' he wondered to himself.

     Passing by the front window, Darigan saw Meridellian forces charging at the Citadel. When he saw minions of Kass attacking back, his hopes sank. Not all of the minions had been captured. In fact, hardly any were imprisoned in the cells below. He clutched his sword and listened to the noises of battle going on outside.

     Meridellian warriors rushed into the Citadel defenders. Locked in combat immediately, each army was equally matched. An arrow whizzed through the air and a Kass warrior fell from the Citadel. One Meridellian was sent flying backwards with a powerful spell from Kass's side. Swords met with the angry sound of metal on metal and paw-to-paw combat was a popular fighting technique in the battle.

     Darigan just happened to look by the forest. He saw a peculiar green Aisha with Meridellian clothes walking through Meridell hastily. She didn't look like she was from Meridell. Suddenly, Darigan realized that Kass must have sent this imposter. "Furnum!" he called hurriedly. A brown Uni stepped forward.

     "Aye? What is it, Chief?" the Uni responded. Darigan could tell Furnum was eagerly awaiting his orders.

     "See that Aisha? The green one, right there. Running through the woods." He pointed her out. "She's an imposter! Hurry, fly to Skarl and tell him she's going inside the castle! Quickly!"

     Furnum took off, soaring over the battle and catching up to the Aisha, who was on foot. Trying to be unnoticed, Furnum stayed high overhead the imposter. Beating her to the castle, the Uni soared to Skarl's study. He wasn't there. The Uni ran to his chambers - no king. Finally, he checked the royal kitchen and found Skarl. Furnum hurriedly explained the situation.

     The king called upon guards, who immediately captured Marin. She was irritated. "M'lord, you have lied to me!" she hissed angrily to herself. Kass had told her the plan would work, but now, sitting in her new prison cell, she could only feel hatred for him.

     * * *

     Back at the Citadel, Darigan saw Furnum beat the strange Aisha to the castle. Then he focused on what had to be done. Looking out onto the balcony, standing and watching his minions launching arrows on fire, was Lord Kass.

To be continued...

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