Ivanka opened the cupboard and found the box of green teabags. She opened it, took out a tea bag and shut the cupboard with an electronic lock. Ivanka put the tea bag in a cup and turned on the kettle. While she waited for the kettle to boil, she thought over the name – Hannah Henderson. She wondered if it was the same Hannah when she was five. Ivanka vaguely recollected hearing the name Hannah Henderson before. Somehow connected to the Court of Scarlet…
Ivanka shrugged. There was no hurry. She would look into it when she went back to the Peak after her break finished. Ivanka walked over to the table and sat down. She pulled out her tablet and began flicking through the public news headlines. EMPEROR AND EMPRESS DEAD.
She quickly flicked back to the article and enlarged it. It was a video. She pressed the ‘play’ button. “The Emperor Noland Collins and his wife, Empress Nora Collins nee Owens, have passed away last night. An official investigation is underway. The Light Force and the Super Cyborgs, who are investigating the deaths, are positive that their death was a natural one. Their only child, Kyen Collins, is deeply grieved by his parents’ demise. The soon-to-be-Emperor was kind enough to give us an interview right now actually,” the news reporter said. “We are now going live to just outside the palace…”
Ivanka scoffed. Live indeed! She knew the score. Record it all beforehand and then present it as ‘live’ to the public. She watched as Kyen Collins was looking at the camera all teary-eyed. Oh, please! She turned off her Tablet. What an actor! Probably couldn’t wait to be Emperor and killed them himself, Ivanka thought. She noticed a small blue light flashing across the screen. She flicked it to one side and logged into her e-mail account. Ivanka clicked on the new e-mail. Oh. From Petrus.
From: Petrus Romanus
Message: Hey Ivanka, I just took these really cool photos of the garden in my backyard. They are in the attachment. Petrus.
P.S. You really should come and see it.
Ivanka was confused. There is no backyard or garden at Petrus’ house, she remembered. And Petrus never takes photos. Who sent this? She downloaded the attachment onto her documents list. Ivanka opened it.
- COURT OF SCARLET
- FOUNDER OF ZION ON TRIAL
- IMPERATIVE THAT YOU BE THERE
- TRIAL BEGINS AT 11 A.M. AND WILL END AT 1 P.M.
- IT WILL BE BROADCASTED ONLY TO ZION
- HANNAH HENDERSON WILL BE A WITNESS AGAINST THE ACCUSED
Ivanka jumped when she heard the kettle whistling. She turned it off and poured it into her mug. After placing the kettle back onto the stove, she picked up her Tablet and reread the message. Hannah Henderson, eh? This is my chance to contact her!!! So, why all the cloak-and-dagger? There’s no reason to hide it like this unless…
I’m NOT supposed to be there.
It suddenly all made sense. And then she realised something else.
How am I going to sneak into the Peak with someone tagging me?
He slammed his foot on the brakes and turned off the engine. He unbuckled himself and quickly stepped out of the car. He walked forward, making sure he kept a distance of eighteen paces behind her. She walked confidently infront of the shopping centres. She turned a left at a traffic light and walked down the highway that led to the city’s boundary. Where is she going? he wondered.
They walked past some houses and old and derelict shacks that he personally wished would be destroyed soon. Eventually the footpath ended. He began to tread very lightly on the gravel, which crunched under their boots. He dove behind a bush and peeked through it. He watched as she walked straight up to the Law Enforcers guarding the entrance and exit to the city in Region 12. He saw the Law Enforcers aim their weapons at her. She seemed to be having a heated conversation with one of the Law Enforcers, and she was pointing at something that she was holding in the palm of her hand. Her identification card, no doubt he realized. They finally gave her clearance to pass through and she walked out of the city.
He stood up and walked over. The Law Enforcers all aimed their weapons at him. “Hold it, mister!” yelled one of them. That particular one walked right up to him. “ID NOW!!!” The Enforcer snapped. He reached down under his jacket and pulled out the silver dragon. The Law Enforcer quickly stepped aside and turned on the radio. “All LE’s stand aside and open the gate. It’s the Emperor’s Eyes! Repeat: Stand aside and open the gates!” He strode through the gates and out into Region 12’s country, unsure about what to expect. On both sides of the highway was steep rocky terrain. Also, it was forested. And there was no sign of his target. His eyes swept everything, looking for movement.
There! A bush’s leaves rustled slightly. And there was no wind. And there she was, carefully climbing up the steep terrain. Where are you headed? He pulled out his gun and checked it. Fully loaded. He began climbing up after her, testing each foot and hand hold before putting his full weight on it. He had loved rock climbing as a child. He took cover behind a tree trunk about half-way up and carefully looked around it. She was walking along a ridge and then disappeared amongst a group of evergreen trees. He waited a few minutes for her to come out. But she did not. He broke cover and ran in after her.
He walked back through the gate, the Law Enforcers standing rigidly to attention. He walked over to the leader as the gates were closed. “Sir, the female unit who passed through here, Ivanka Brown?” he said to the Law Enforcer
“She will not be coming back in here anymore. I killed her,” the Eyes agent reported. “I buried the corpse about 20 clicks due north-west from here. Killed at 2:23 p.m. today.” The Law Enforcer typed the information in on his Tabloid. “Do not touch or in any way terminate the grave. Kyen Collins orders.”
“Ah. The soon-to-be-Emperor,” the Law Enforcer remarked. “You have our word, sir!”
“That is all.” And he turned and walked back up the rest of the highway, past the houses and the derelict shacks and back to his car. He opened the door and climbed in. Shutting the door, he buckled up. Reaching into his trouser pocket, he pulled out a device and turned it off. It turned off the holographic and voice disguise, revealing Ivanka Brown. Thank goodness this car has dark-tinted windows. She repocketed the device and turned on the engine. Now she could travel safely to the Peak.
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