The Chronicles of Fenwick: Shadows
Selene squatted in the alley, the cold dirt beneath her worn boots making her shiver. How long would it be? How long had it been? She had lost count of the time she had been in this position. Staring at the wall opposite her, a small grin formed on her lips. Two figures in black cloaks identical to her own had appeared – one from the top of the stones... the other, through them.
Standing, she flitted across the narrow lane that, in only a few hours time, would become one of the busiest streets in the Crown Capital of Meridell. She came to a halt in front of the two, her hood miraculously still covering her head and shading her face. “Avalon. Eugénie.” She nodded to each in turn.
“Selene.” It was Avalon that spoke, her voice lovely as bells. Eugénie merely nodded, her hood bobbing lightly. Eugénie was the oldest of the three, and the smartest, to be honest. The twins were not identical, though one wouldn’t be able to tell while their hoods covered their faces. “Sorry we took so long. Eugénie had to make a quick stop.”
Selene looked to her sister, bewildered. Before she could say a word, however, the Zafara had pulled from her sleeve a lovely trinket that would be sure to please the Master. The gem sparkled in the light of the lantern a few paces away, and stood out against the black of the silk glove that covered her sister’s hand. “He will be pleased. Wherever did you find it?”
“The Baroness Toviat is sure to miss it,” Eugénie whispered, voice soft as velvet, a gloved finger coming to her mouth as she moved back towards the wall. “Let us leave; the merchants should be arriving to set up for the day’s market soon.” And with that she disappeared into the darkness, clearing the wall in a single bound that still, to this day, perplexed her sisters as to how she managed it. Though, if you were as light as she was, it wasn’t exactly hard.
A fist made up of an iron gauntlet slammed down on the table in front of two agents, making them shy away from a rather angry Gallium. He wasn’t happy, that was clear enough without the expression of words to accompany it. “I’ve had it with the palace raids you two have been pulling!” The snarl was directed at the two backing away towards the far doors at the end of the corridor. “You can’t seem to pull together anything worth the ranks you’ve been given! How can I trust you out in the open field if I can’t even trust you to follow my orders? And friends! You’re agents; you’re not supposed to –”
He paused for a moment when the doors to the chamber opened and three hooded figures appeared. While it may have been brief, a smile appeared on the otherwise enraged face. “Eugénie! My dear! And your lovely sisters as well!” The two agents had stopped as well, a look of utter terror upon their faces. Their escape, though it had already been slim, was now completely obliterated with Avalon and Selene blocking their way. And with Eugénie in the room, there was only one solution.
Brushing between the two to ascend the steps that led to the Council’s Table, she set the brooch in front of Gallium, the light glistening off of the gorgeous facet.
“It’s lovely. Now, dear, would you kindly remind these two what it means to be agents? It seems they’ve made some rather... problematic friends.” With that, he turned to Lady Carter, speaking in low voices and carefully pinning the brooch onto her sash. Gallium was one to spoil his favorites – such as Eugénie – and Council members, so it was no different than that of a gift from a friend.
Eugénie descended the steps while her sisters brought the agents forward. The guards kept them from leaving the room as Avalon and Selene took their places on either side of Eugénie. When Gallium had finished, he nodded, and Avalon removed her hood, revealing striking crimson orbs and a transparent, ghostly face with equally colored long, flowing hair that seemed to float an inch away from her neck. “The perfect agent has no friends, only targets.”
Next came Selene. As the hood fell back, a steel gray face appeared, with electrifying blue eyes and chocolate brown hair. Her black ears were a remarkable contrast to her fur, and golden studs only further brought out her wild beauty. “The perfect agent has no conscience, just objectives.”
Finally, it came down to Eugénie, and Gallium leaned forward with the rest of the Council, awaiting the long-awaited unveiling. None of them had ever seen her true face, only her disguises. Golden orbs visible even under the shadow of her hood, she first removed her gloves, but kept her hands hidden beneath the long sleeve of the shirt underneath her corset. Removing the hood slowly, she let it fall back as her hair tumbled out in waves.
For a moment, the long, blonde tresses kept her onlookers from peering at her face, but it didn’t keep them for long. Gasps came from the women on the Council, while the men merely looked on in a stunned silence. She could have sworn that Gallium had even smiled. Her entire being was composed of pure white bone, no skin or fur covering the still-bewitching face. She brought a hand down to touch each of the agents’ shoulders. “The perfect agent...” She paused, pressing her fingers onto the soft spot on each of their necks. She felt the pulse slow before they slumped to the ground, the effect of their punishment. “...has no identity, but many faces.” Flicking the blade aside into a waiting guard’s hand, she returned her hood to its usual position before leaving the chamber, her sisters following her lead in silence.
Gallium watched the ceremony with a grim look. Only once did he smile, and it was in place of bewilderment on Eugénie’s part. With a voice as soft as velvet, he had not expected her true form to be a skeletal beauty. What other secrets must she be hiding, hmmm? As the two agents slumped to the ground, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed. While he was most certainly blessed with Eugénie’s abilities, he hated how she was so precise.
Everyone usually messed up somewhere along the road, but of all the times he had seen her perform any sort of termination, she had never once made a mistake. Neither had her sisters, for that matter, but that was beside the point. All three Zafaras were mysterious, but none so much as Eugénie herself. So many mysteries hid under that hood – both her true form and her many identities. How fun it would be to peel her back layer by layer... if it were even possible.
As soon as the Zafara had left, the Council had gone from being as silent as a mute to as loud as a heard of stampeding Elephantes. The women gossiped about what they had expected Eugénie to be, while the men were wrapped up in arguing over which of the three sisters was the most exquisite. They were all beautiful in their own way – that was one way to put it.
“Master Gallium, did you expect this of Eugénie?” Lady Carter wondered aloud. “Did anyone?”
“I had figured her to be something of a princess from the faerie-tales that everyone tells children. What, with that voice of hers!” Madame Choire, the mistress of the young ladies in the guild, piped up.
“I thought she would be an islander. She has a bit of accent, you know. They all do,” Chief Gerunds, head of defense, put forth.
“I didn’t know what to expect. We have seen so many of her disguises, but now we have seen her true form,” Gallium finally said. All the rest of the Council could do was nod their heads in agreement.
“Eugénie! Eugénie!” Selene’s voice pierced the air, followed by a loud thudding on the heavy wooden door to her chamber. “I need to see you!”
The skeletal Zafara brought herself into a sitting position, rubbing her temple. What on Neopia could Selene want in the middle of the day? While they had returned only a few hours before, it seemed Selene had already regained her energy... how typical. “Selene... I’m not in the mood to be bothered. A full shift on the streets is tiring. I’m sure it’s unimportant. Come back later!” She rolled over, pulling her covers over her skull and closing her eyes.
For a moment, the outside corridor was silent, and Eugénie hoped that her younger sister had left. Unfortunately, it was a bit silly to be so wishful. The door burst open, slamming against the wall before being set back into place. “It is important!” Selene huffed, coming to stand at her bedside. “Avalon had a premonition. The Crest has finally appeared.”
No sooner had the word escaped her mouth that Eugénie was up and pulling her cloak around the corseted dress that she had neglected to remove earlier. Sending a glare in her sister’s direction, she stalked towards the door, almost ripping it from its hinges in her haste to leave the chamber. “Now, if you had just told me that when you first spoke to me through the door, I wouldn’t be in need of a new door.” And she went off down the hall, her hood finding its way to rest atop her head.