On His Majesty's Secret Service: Part Two
Fredrick sighed. “Look, I know you think you’ve memorised the plan, but can we just go over it again?”
The pink Cybunny sat at the table in front of him smiled sweetly. “We know what to do - we’re professionals.”
Fredrick narrowed his eyes at the Cybunny. He knew what that meant; she didn’t consider him one. Not that she had years of experience at this sort of thing. Jasmine was an actress by trade, not a spy.
“I know that, but this is important,” Fredrick repeated. “Let’s just go through it one more time.”
The four Neopets sat at the table made the uncomfortable silence of people who are making insults internally.
“Thank you,” Fredrick said, turning back to the wall. “Quentin, if you would?”
The starry Zafara at the back of the room, and the team’s assigned wizard, flicked his hands a couple of times. The light in the room faded, and a blueprint of the Citadel appeared on the wall behind Fredrick.
“Right,” Fredrick continued. “Agent Dunlop is being held in the dungeons within the Citadel, here.”
He gestured to an area deep within the structure.
“Anyone entering the Citadel through the main gates needs a valid reason, and there’s only one way in or out of the dungeons. The cells are guarded by one guard, Haskol. The warden, Vex, is almost always present, and Galgarroth, the Darigan General, is a regular visitor. Sneaking into the dungeons is pretty much impossible. We’ll need to be let inside. Getting in shouldn’t be a problem, though.”
Fredrick glanced to one of the potions strewn across the table. They were designed to alter appearance, and even species. Using them, he could practically just walk straight in.
The door to the dungeon was slammed open, and an Eyrie Guard marched in, holding a young Kyrii by the scruff of his neck. The Kyrii was struggling, and making a lot of noise.
“What’s this?” Vex demanded from his desk, hastily hiding a game of Cellblock he had been playing.
“Caught him stealing food down at the market,” the Guard answered over the yells of the child. “Night in the cells should teach him a good lesson.”
Vex got up from his chair and walked over to the Guard. He took the Kyrii’s head in his hand and stared deep into his eyes.
“What’s your name, son?” he asked.
“I’m not telling you nothing!” the Kyrii spat.
Vex sighed, “Alright then, play it your way. Follow me.”
The Eyrie Guard dragged the Kyrii along in the warden’s wake as he made his way down the cell-lined corridor. The Mynci stopped at a vacant cell and unlocked it. As the Kyrii began to protest again, he was unceremoniously thrown inside.
Vex locked the door again quickly, and stated plainly through the bars, “We’ll see if you’re more talkative tomorrow.”
The guard and warden made their way back toward the dungeon entrance, leaving the Kyrii alone. He stood up with a great deal more confidence than could have been expected, and made his way to the door. Across the hall, there was an occupied cell. A Darigan Bruce was sitting inside.
“Agent Dunlop,” the Kyrii whispered. “We’re here to get you out.”
The Bruce looked up, sudden joy and relief spreading across his face.
“Once I’m in the dungeons, I’ll make contact with Agent Dunlop,” Fredrick explained as he continued with his briefing. “Getting in is only half the battle, though; we have to get out as well. That’s where this man comes in.”
Quentin, the wizard Zafara, flicked his hand again. The blueprint of the Citadel changed to a picture of a regal looking Moehog.
“This is Lord Guillaume Von Stratus,” Fredrick continued. “He’s from Meridell, and is an ambassador to the King. As luck would have it, he’s here on a diplomatic mission, arrived two days ago.”
The Moehog strode down the gangplank of the Shenkuu ship with purpose, and came to a deliberate halt in front of the most important looking Neopet waiting.
“I am Lord Von Stratus,” he announced to the Hissi. “You are expecting me.”
“Indeed, sir,” the Hissi answered. “Lord Darigan will see you as soon as you and your staff have been settled in. If you will accompany me, I will escort you to the Citadel.”
The Hissi gestured toward a waiting carriage.
“Good show, my aides will deal with the baggage,” Von Stratus replied, vaguely gesturing over his shoulder at two Ogrins that looked particularly overworked. With help from a Quiggle, one of the dock workers, they loaded up the carriage.
“For the time being it’s not really Von Stratus that we are interested in, but his aides,” Fredrick continued.
He nodded toward the green Quiggle sitting at the table. He was Hewlett, and he had contacts in the docks.
“There were two of them,” he explained. “Ogrins, look almost identical as it is - which will help us.”
“Good.” Fredrick nodded. “Of course, they are visiting diplomats, and the only thing visiting diplomats do whenever they reach a new country is head for a local tavern. Marcel?”
The shadow Draik that had been sitting rather impassively at the back of the room nodded.
“They’ve been down at the Half Pond every day,” he confirmed.
“Today’s the day you talk to them then,” Fredrick ordered.
A shadow Draik sat down opposite the pair of Ogrins.
“Alright, boys?” he asked. “Hope you don’t mind me sitting down here, only I recognised the accent. You two must be the only other Meridellians up on this forsaken lump of rock and well... the natives ain’t exactly chatty, if you know what I mean.”
The Ogrins laughed politely.
“So anyway, what you gents up here for? I’m in the fish trade myself,” the Draik continued.
“We work with Ambassador Von Stratus,” one of the Ogrins answered.
“Oh! Doing His Majesty’s work, are you? Good on you, that’s fine work. In fact, let me buy you a drink,” the Draik smiled, getting up from the table before they had chance to decline.
He returned a few moments later with a few tankards. As the Ogrins gulped them down, they did not notice the tablets slowly dissolving in the bottom.
“If you get the doses right, that’ll knock them out until morning,” Quentin calculated.
“I always get my doses right,” Marcel, the Draik, sneered.
“At which point Von Stratus will be back on the ship heading down to Meridell,” Fredrick continued. “When they collapse, send them over to the docks.”
“I’ll stow them in the cabins,” Hewlett, the Quiggle, added. “They’ll wake up in the morning none the wiser; they’ll probably just think they had a good night on the town.”
“And in the meantime, our hands are free to move,” Fredrick agreed, moving on. “This is where you come in, Jasmine.”
The pink Cybunny smiled sweetly. “I’ll show them some good old fashioned Meridell charm.”
“Let me in! I said LET ME IN!”
The door to the dungeons was thrown open with even more force than before, causing several pieces of the old wood to splinter.
“Where is he!?” a formidable looking pink Cybunny demanded as she marched inside.
“Sorry, sir!” an Eyrie Guard apologised from behind her. “She turned up at the front gates and demanded to see a prisoner!”
Vex stood up and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, madam, but we don’t have visitation rights in these cells.”
“Don’t have!?” the Cybunny practically exploded as she pointed a finger millimetres from his nose. “I’ll give you what you don’t have! Let me see him!”
Vex sighed. “I’m afraid we can’t make exceptions. If you give me the name, though, I can pass on a message.”
“Message!?” the Cybunny shouted. “Yeah, tell him that if he ever gets out of here, I’ll kill him when he gets home! No son of mine steals from markets!”
“Your son is a Kyrii?” Vex asked.
“He’s not a bad lad!” the Cybunny replied defensively, her aggressive nature briefly relenting to motherly concern. “He’s just... fallen in with the wrong crowd. Please can I see him? Just for a minute?”
Vex glanced over her shoulder before reluctantly nodding. He led the Cybunny down to the cell where he had deposited the young Kyrii earlier and unlocked the door.
“Mum!” the Kyrii gasped, running forward to give his mother a deep hug.
She returned it, but a moment later pulled back and gave him a sharp smack across the top of his head.
“Don’t you ever do that again!” she yelled. “I hope you’re very ashamed of yourself, young man! You’ve brought shame on our entire family; your father was in tears earlier! A thief! After all we’ve done for you, a thief!”
“I’m sorry, Mum... I promise I won’t do it again,” the Kyrii explained.
Vex coughed politely.
“Oh...” She hesitated, fishing about in her handbag. “Can I give him this?”
She produced a battered looking Meepit plushie. Vex shook his head firmly.
“Please? It’s his oldest toy,” the Cybunny pleaded. “He hasn’t spent a night without it since he was born.”
“It’s only a plushie, look!” the Cybunny added, passing it over.
Vex, now with the distinct air of someone who wanted to get rid of someone else as soon as possible, grudgingly nodded and handed the plushie to the Kyrii.
“We’ll be letting him out of the cells tomorrow morning,” he explained as he led the Cybunny away.
“Good,” she replied, with one last glare at the Kyrii. “Because he’s going to find out what punishment really means when he gets home!”
Vex led the Cybunny away, back to the entrance of the dungeons. The Kyrii meanwhile mercilessly ripped off the head of the Meepit plushie, and took a tiny key from within that twinkled in the near darkness of the cells.
“I can find my own way back, don’t you worry about me,” the Cybunny told Vex at the entrance to the dungeons.
Vex smiled, visibly relieved that he would have to spend less time with the woman, and allowed her to leave.
Out in the corridor, the Cybunny ducked into an alcove and hid behind an ornamental urn. She fished about in her hand bag for a few vials of potion, and waited.
To be continued...