Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Scout's Honor - Chapter 119

< Chapter 118                                                                                             Chapter 120 >

Our hero has been caught robbing the Mordanian treasury!

            The blow didn't fall but, before I opened the door, Hunter's sword poked me in the back.
            "Make one move toward Her Highness," Hunter said, "and I'll run you through.  Your speed may save you, but I'll have the guards kill the boy."
            "How Tartegian of you," I said.  "You sure you're not a royal bye-blow?"
            "Why you-"
            "Quiet," I said, then opened the door.  "Your Highness, Captain Hunter would like a word with you."
            A look of alarm flashed across Callan's face, "Of course, David."  To the guards, she said, "Excuse me, gentlemen.  Milo, please stay here."
            I shut the door behind Callan.
            "He saw you?" she asked.
            I nodded, "You need to tell him everything."
            It took her two minutes and included our current plan.  It was the most succinct report I'd ever heard.
            "Those Tartegian blackguards!" Hunter exclaimed.  "I'll-
            "Do nothing," Callan said.  "Subtlety is the key to my parents' safety."
            "But-"
            "Must I formally 'request and require' your cooperation?"
            There must be more to that phrase than tradition because Hunter reacted as if he'd been slapped.
            "No, Your Highness!"
            "Good," Callan said, "because you're going to play a vital part in our plan."
            "He is?" I asked.
            "Imagine how much more believable my kidnapping will appear if Captain Hunter discovers it," Callan said.  "An hour from now, the Captain will realize I forgot to take my tiara, and he'll bring it to my room."
            "An hour?" I asked.  "What if Rupor takes his time showing up?"
            "Worry, instead, that Rupor reaches my room before we do," Callan said.  "Captain Hunter, have you a pen and parchment nearby?"
            "What do you have in mind?" I asked.
            "Watch and learn, darling," Callan said.  "Watch and learn."

Can Callan convince Rupor to come to her room?  Find out in Chapter 120, the last chapter of Scout's Honor, coming Friday!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scout's Honor - Chapter 118

< Chapter 117                                                                                             Chapter 119 >

Our hero has been caught robbing the Mordanian treasury!

            "You are a disgrace to Rob's memory and unfit to wear his sword!" hissed a voice behind me.
            I recognized the voice.
            "Captain Hunter, this isn't what it seems," I said, keeping my voice level.
            "Be silent!  I don't know how you fooled Rob and Her Highness, but you're not going to fool me," Hunter said.  "Was robbing the treasury the real plan all along, or just a contingency if the kidnapping failed?"
            "Neither.  I'm doing this under orders from Princess Callan," I said.  "She needs to pay her mercenary fleet to search for the king and queen."
            "She's got the Mordanian Navy at her command," Hunter countered.  "She doesn't need mercenaries."
            "The Regent commands the navy, not Callan," I said.  "And if those who hold Their Majesties knew Callan was on to them-"
            "Enough of this!  Her Highness is just outside.  Let's just ask her," Hunter said.
            "Fine," I replied, "but not in front of the other guards.  A wrong word from any of them could doom Callan's parents."
            "So you can take Her Highness hostage?  I don't-"
            I could no longer afford to delay.  Boost!
            I spun, knocked aside Hunter's blade and pinned him against the wall.
            Releasing Boost, I met Hunter's eyes, "I will die before I allow harm to come to the royal family.  Rob knew that.  It's why he gave me his sword."
            I released Hunter and turned toward the door.
            "If you don't believe me," I said, walking away from him, "pick up your sword and run me through!"
            Metal scraped on the floor as Hunter retrieved his sword.  Quick, steady footsteps approached.
            I walked on, waiting for Hunter to strike!

Will Captain Hunter strike down our hero?  Find out in Chapter 119, the next to the last chapter of Scout's Honor, coming Wednesday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Scout's Honor - Chapter 117

< Chapter 116                                                                                             Chapter 118 >

Our heroes are off to rob the Mordanian treasury!

            Our plan to rob the treasury was simple and went just as we had planned.  The two guards outside the treasury sprang to attention when they saw the princess approaching.
            "Your Highness!" said the guard who had brought Milo to Callan's room.  "We weren't expecting you.  Is anything amiss?"
            "Please be at ease," Callan said.  "Finally freed of obligations, I want to personally thank each of you for your handling of Milo's...youthful indiscretion.  Could you summon the guards from the treasury so I may address you all?"
            "We cannot leave the treasury unguarded, Your Highness.  Would you care to step inside?"
            "I'd rather not subject Milo to that quite yet," Callan said.  "He's quite embarrassed by his actions."
            Callan appeared to think for a moment.  "What if Captain Rice stands watch in the treasury while the other guards are out here?"
            "Your Highness," I protested, "my job is guarding you, not jewelry!"
            "Come now, David," Callan chided, "I'll have four guards to watch over me!"
            "Very well," I sighed.
            Seconds later, I pulled the treasury door closed.  The wealth in the room might have overwhelmed me, but Martin and Milo had told me what to take.  The chest full of gems was right where Milo said it would be.
            I began lining my pockets with gems, then filling small bags which I tied inside my pants.  Callan thought she could keep the guards occupied for five minutes, so I was dismayed when I heard a click after a couple of minutes had passed.  I spun to face the door and sighed with relief when I saw it remained closed.
            Then I felt the cold point of a sword against the back of my neck!

Who holds the sword?  Where did they come from?  And what do they want?  Find out in Chapter 118, coming Monday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scout's Honor - Chapter 116

< Chapter 115                                                                                             Chapter 117 >

Our hero plans, somehow, to use five corpses to protect Callan's parents!

            I dragged the five bodies into Callan's room while Milo wiped up the blood in the hallway.  As long as no one was looked too closely, I didn't think anyone would see the stains.  I hoped we would only have to test that theory one time.
            Callan threw a blanket over the corpses.  "Okay, David, time to explain how five dead men are going to guard my parents."
            "They're going to kidnap you," I said.  "And Rupor."
            "Are you sure you didn't get hit on the head?" Callan asked.
            "No, dear," I replied.  "With a little artful placement of the bodies, we'll make it look like a band of armed men forced their way into your room.  The gallant guard died in the attack, as did four of the attackers.  When it's discovered you and Rupor are missing, the obvious conclusion will be another kidnapping.  Rutger will know his assassins failed, but he won't know what happened to you and the prince.  That uncertainty should shield your parents."
            Callan nodded, "It's the best plan we've got.  Quite good, given the short notice."
            "Body guards!" Milo burst out laughing.  "Because they're bodies.  Guarding."
            "That's a horrible pun!" I groaned.
            "Yeah," Milo smiled.
            "It looks like I missed some action," Martin said from the balcony.
            Behind him, bobbing on the breeze, floated the Pauline.  Nist was carefully checking the lines holding the airship to the balcony.
            We brought Martin and Nist up to speed on the events of the evening and our plan.  I left those two in charge of setting the stage in Callan's room.  Callan, Milo, and I went out.
            It was time to rob the treasury!

How will our heroes rob the treasury without alerting the guards inside and outside of the treasure room?  Find out in Chapter 117, coming Friday!