My uncle suggested this story and I thought it was too good to pass up. Enjoy!
Azalea smiled at the guard as she passed him. She went over to the gardens and sat down on a bench. She looked around, soaking in the sunshine, flowers, and the aroma. It’s so beautiful out here.
Her eyes jerked open and she saw a grinning sandy-haired man in royal attire standing to her left.
“John!” She jumped up and they embraced. “I was not aware that you were coming,” she scolded playfully.
“First of all, that’s not very fitting for a princess to jump up like that,” he teased. “And second, it’s worth the surprise to be greeted in such a fashion.”
Laughing, they kissed each other and then began walking around the garden.
“In a week, we’ll be husband and wife,” John remarked. “You’ll be Azalea, queen of the Aidiwen Kingdom.”
“The Palace is busy with the preparations. Her Majesty the Queen – Mother – has been giving orders constantly these last few weeks, trying to make sure that everything is perfect for the blessed day.”
John smiled affectionately. “So have I. I’ve set my most trusted advisor to organise things for our return while I’m here,” he informed her.
They lapsed into a loving silence as they walked over to the pond and leaned over the railing. Azalea watched as a leaf slowly spiraled down and landed in the water, causing ripples.
“I was thinking of going for a walk. Would you like to accompany me, my love?”
“I would love to but Her Majesty the Queen has demanded that I oversee the preparations with her to make sure it is to our liking.”
“She did not ask that of me,” Azalea noted.
“That’s because of tradition,” John pointed out. “The tradition is that the bride-to-be cannot oversee her wedding preparations as it is believed to bring bad omens to the couple’s married life.”
“Anyway,” he grunted as he pushed away from the railing. Her heart beat faster as he took her hand. “You go for that walk. I’ll go and,” and he leaned closer and whispered in her ear, “try to survive the time spent with your mother.” They chuckled. “A word of advice,” he continued as they resumed walking. He stopped and looked at her. “Try, and please try to keep out of trouble.”
Azalea could not stop a very unladylike grin appearing. If her mother was there, she would chide her and regale her for hours on end about the etiquette’s demanded when becoming queen. “Since when do I get into trouble?”
Azalea carefully opened a side door and slipped out. Making sure the cloak obscured her face, she walked silently forward, keeping her head down.
“Be careful, Your Highness.”
She looked up in fear, and was met with a wink from her accomplice. “Just remember-”
“I know, I know. Don’t tell Mother. Since when do I ever? I’ll distract the guards. The merchants’ caravans are heading over to the palace gates,” and with that, he ran off to carry out his part.
Surreptitiously looking around, Azalea saw the merchants caravan heading to the gates to leave the palace grounds. Without appearing to rush, she swiftly made her way over to the caravans. The smell of camels assaulted her senses as she reached up and took the hand of one of the young women who accompanied their husbands on their travels.
“Up to your tricks again, Your Highness?”
Azalea seated herself next to the woman, nodding briefly to the woman’s husband, who bowed his head slightly as he drove his wagon forward. “Shh!” she hissed.
“Well, keep your eyes down, then. People will look at you, otherwise.”
“So, looking forward to the great day?”
Azalea was surprised. Wynna’s husband usually was silent and preferred not to talk. “Yes, very much, Vaxe.”
A camel groaned and Azalea looked to her left and saw a camel in the streets being checked over. It looked sick. Oh, poor thing.
“Are you having a successful time, Vaxe and Wynna?”
“Yes, very much,” Wynna answered, a small smile on her face. “A blessing, really. Now we have enough to sell and be able to get a doctor to check me out.”
Azalea then noticed that Wynna had laid a hand on her belly as she spoke and side glanced at her to see if she had noticed the implication. She smiled at Wynna and said, “Congratulations, you two.”
Wynna simply nodded in acknowledgement. “We’re almost there.”
Azalea then watched as Vaxe pulled on the reigns slightly, just enough to slow the horses down. Azalea kept a hold of the side of the wagon and lightly stepped off. She surreptitiously looked around, taking stock of the surroundings. Stepping away from the passing wagons, Azalea mingled in the crowd.
She felt a thrill as she walked around the streets. John, her younger brother Cespar, and her father Dritz were the only ones who knew about her escapades. Normally, she was able to handle royal life, but there was sometimes were it would simply become too much, and she would need to leave for a few hours and just unwind.
Azalea saw a well and went over to it. She walked over to it and saw the water was high enough for her to lean down and get a drink. Azalea reached down and, cupping her hand, drew out some water. After drinking it, she decided to go to the hills outside of the city. She walked through a few streets and turned into an alleyway. No-one was around.
That’s great, she thought as she continued down the alleyway.
Somebody stepped out infront of her – a man. He had a scar on his right arm, which looked like it was from a burn. The man had a crooked nose and a face that was covered in dirt. A hat was pulled low over his face, revealing only his nose and scowling mouth.
“Hello, young lady. Where’s your escort, princess?”
Horror settled in her stomach. What’s he doing here? She stumbled backwards and bumped into something hard. Hands gripped her arms.
The man before her slowly stepped forward. His hand disappeared underneath a ragged jacket and came out with a gun.
Calm down. Look for a way out.
Her heartbeat started to slow down. The man reached up and she involuntarily flinched. She saw the man grin in delight at her reaction. He then yanked the top of the cloak off of her head.
“It’s not safe to be out here, princess. Come inside and we’ll protect you. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to such a beautiful woman, especially when the wedding’s coming up,” he mocked.
Azalea smirked. “Try anything and I’ll call my lawyer. She will kill you two.”
The man infront of her burst out laughing. “Hear that, Xavier? Well, your ‘lawyer’ will have to watch her back if she tries to interfere.”
The man behind her bellowed with laughter. Azalea winced as his grip on her tightened as he laughed. “Noel, should I take her inside?”
The guy infront of her, whose name was Noel, nodded and turned around. Xavier began dragging her after them. Azalea kicked and screamed, but then something hard hit her on the head.
Everything went dark.
A few hours later…
John was wringing his hands as he stood outside of the throne room. He had looked everywhere and she was not anywhere around. No-one had seen her – well, except for her younger brother, Cespar, who told him that she had gone on one of her ‘adventures’. And that was six hours ago! She normally would have returned by now.
The King and Queen were not going to be pleased.
The double doors to the throne room opened and, taking a deep breath, he stepped inside. As he walked up the carpet, a quick glance around confirmed one thing – Queen Tajule was nowhere in sight.
She must not know yet.
Reaching the thrones, he knelt down on one knee. “Your Majesty,” he intoned. “Your Highness,” he added, addressing Prince Cespar.
“What is so urgent?” Dritz enquired.
Cespar and John had decided to wait until they and the King were together before saying anything.
“Your daughter, I fear, is missing.”
Shooting out of the chair, Xavier went over to the side of the kitchen door and stood at the right side of the door, pressing himself against the wall. Was it Noel? He had left earlier to send a message off.
He glanced over to the bound and gagged Azalea, who was regarding him coolly, her eyes constantly on him. She was bound to a chair, having woken up an hour ago, and soon afterwards had to have her mouth taped shut due to her sassy mouth.
“Be glad Noel said to make sure you weren’t hurt in anyway,” he remarked, remembering her remarks about himself. He was going to continue when he heard a voice call out:
Sighing in relief, he opened the door and waved Noel inside. Noel walked in and then shut the door.
“What’s the news?” Xavier questioned.
“It’s been sent. The royal family should be receiving it within the hour,” he reported.
Half an hour later…
“Send the guards out to look for Princess Azalea.”
“That’s not a good idea, Your Majesty,” Cespar warned.
Dritz glared at him. “My daughter, your sister, is possibly missing. She could be kidnapped, raped, murdered, etc., and you’re saying to NOT to send out a search party?”
“Yes, Father,” Cespar replied. “If you suddenly send out a search party – a group of soldiers – word will get out; and it’s not good for the news to report that the soon-to-be-wed princess went missing after leaving the palace with no escort and no bodyguards. And if she has been kidnapped, and the news leaks out, her abductors will hear of it and who knows what they will do to her then.”
Dritz saw the sense in that. “Well, what do we do then?”
“We don’t know that she’s actually missing. She may just have gotten talking, simply lost track of the time, etc. Wait until morning. If she’s not back by then, then we’ll send someone to look for her. Trust me, I’m worried about her, too. But in all likelihood, she’s just lost track of the time.”
John and Dritz looked at each other and then nodded. “Alright, son,” Dritz agreed. “We’ll wait.”
Then the doors opened. John saw a soldier enter and bow before the king. “Your Majesties and Your Highness,” the soldier acknowledged. “Someone wishes to have an audience with King John of the Aidiwen Kingdom, Sire.”
John looked at King Dritz, who nodded in approval. John then turned back to the guard. “Who is it?” he enquired.
“A boy, Your Majesty,” the guard replied. “He says he has an important note to pass onto you, Your Majesty, and that only he can hand it to you, Your Majesty.”
“Did he say who sent him or where he got the message from?” John queried.
“No, Sire. He wouldn’t tell us anything more, only that it was dire,” the guard responded. John signalled for him to send the messenger in, and the guard departed. He returned a minute later with a little boy who looked to be about ten or twelve years old, and the youth bowed in obeisance.
“Hello. You may stand. What’s your name?”
The boy stood up. “Deka, Your Majesty.”
“What’s the message you have for me?”
Deka pulled out a piece of paper and with a shaking hand held it out to the King of Aidiwen.
“Who’s this message from?” King John questioned.
“I do not know. All I know is that an old man came over to me and offered me 50 Argwens to hand this note to you and that it was very important that you see this,” Deka answered. He seemed to be telling the truth.
John accepted the note and quickly scanned its contents. He went over to Dritz and gave it to him.
He read it and looked John in the eye. “There’s only one person to call,” he stated.
John nodded. “The Avenger.”
Bond pushed open the barn door as he pushed a wheelbarrow full of hay inside. He stopped by a big stack of hay, grabbed a nearby fork and began transferring the hay onto the stack.
“It’s your misfortune ain’t none of my own”
Who the heck is that?
“Whoopee ti yi yo-“
“Rue? Is that you?” Bond asked in disbelief.
“No. It’s the Tin Man.”
Climbing to the top of the hay stack, Bond looked around and soon saw Rue lying on top of the hay. She was holding a half empty beer bottle, with a few more bottles around her.
And then he realised that all the bottles belonged to his secret beer stash.
“Have you drunk ALL my beer?”
“Yeah, well, I keep telling you that it’s not good for you!”
He clenched his fist. “You are so-”
“Bond! Rue! Where are you?”
He sighed and called out, “We’re in here, Indy.”
He then heard Jones come into the barn and climb up over to him. “What happened to you, Rue?” Jones enquired.
Rue burst out giggling and emptied out the rest of the liquor onto the hay. “You little-!” Bond was halted in his tirade by his friend, Jones, who began muttering vulgar words and did Bond hear something about the king of the Aidiwen Kingdom with people from King Dritz’s palace?
“What were you saying?” he asked, glad to have something else to think about then the loss of his precious beer.
“Oh, the king of Aidiwen, Prince Cespar, and Princess Azalea’s lawyer are here. They desire to have an audience with Rue the Avenger,” he said, sounding as if he wished none of this were happening right now.
Upon hearing what Jones said, Rue pulled herself up, staggered over to the edge of the hay stack – and tumbled down.
King John jumped when Rue stumbled into the room. He had heard many things about Rue the Avenger – the rumours and the stories all lead him to picture the legendary woman as – well, the opposite to the staggering woman who reeked of liquor that was attempting to bow in obeisance, but who was only succeeding in falling flat on her face.
Cespar summed it up perfectly. “So much for the 9-foot-tall marvel,” he remarked quietly.
Then the man who had introduced himself as ‘Jones’ burst into the room and groaned once he saw the awkward situation. John then saw another man run in behind Jones.
I wonder who he is?
“So, what’s this about?” Bond asked as he helped Jones get Rue seated on a nearby couch. He noticed Aidiwen’s king and King Dritz’s son, Cespar, look at each other tentatively. Prince Cespar pulled something out from his belt, walk towards him and hold it out to him. Bond recognized it as a piece of paper. He took it and opened it.
After reading it, he adopted a ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ expression.
“How was she kidnapped?” Bond interrogated as he handed the note to Indiana.
“Azalea went for a walk half an hour to ten this morning. By four in the afternoon, we noticed that she had not returned, which she normally does about four or less hours after she leaves,” King John explained. “She did not have anyone with her.”
Bond’s ears perked up. “Why ever not?”
“Well, because she was sneaking out of the palace for a little while. His Highness Prince Cespar, His Majesty King Dritz, and I are fully aware of her trips into town that Azalea takes every so often to clear her head. We usually have one or more people secretly tagging along to make sure that she stays safe, just enough so as not to grab attention,” King John answered.
“Why was this time an exception?”
Someone cleared their throat. They turned and looked, and saw it was the princess’ lawyer.
“We did send two undercover bodyguards to keep an eye on her. But, they turned rogue and kidnapped her,” the princess’ lawyer added.
“That’s an awful precise of what happened,” Jones remarked.
“They’re the ones who sent the ransom note you hold,” the lawyer said to Jones. “The ones that are holding her Highness hostage unless we give them an apple pie.”
“I’ll have some!” Rue called out.
“Ah! So the names signed at the end of this note are the names of the abductors?” Jones realized.
King John sighed. “Yes. Noel and Xavier. They say they’ll hand Princess Azalea back to us if we give them an apple pie that was baked for Princess Azalea’s and my wedding, which is in two days.”
“Which is why we’ve come to you,” Cespar took over. “We want someone to go to the place of the trade-off who will blend in. Be able to go about the place without attracting any public attention, as per request of the note, which states that it has to be a secret exchange and if we send in the cavalry, or they see any sign of anyone around in the area other than them and the person we send in, they’ll kill her.”
Bond then saw the princess’ lawyer tapping Prince Cespar and John on the shoulder, motioning for them to follow her. Excusing themselves, Bond watched as they went to the other side of the room and soon engaged in a debate. He overheard their entire conversation.
“Your Highness, Sire, are you two actually considering putting Rue on this case?”
John nodded. “Absolutely. We need her, Racquel.”
“No, what we need is somebody sober. You can’t have someone who drinks on this job!”
“I don’t drink,” Rue belched from the couch.
“You need to get someone else. This is too important, Sire,” Racquel insisted.
John scratched his head, then looked Racquel in the eye. “Racquel, she’s the only one that we can get in time before lunchtime tomorrow, when the exchange is meant to take place. And from what I’ve heard, she is the best of the best. Sober her up,” he directed, turning to Bond and Jones, “and we’ll see if she’s willing.”
Rue muttered a ‘thank you’ to Bond as he handed her another cup of coffee and then she put the ice pack back on her head. Rue then downed most of the coffee, leaning back in her seat. Ignoring the scalding pain in her mouth and throat, she frowned incredulously at the assignment.
“Pie? They’re after a pie?”
“Yes, Ms. Rue,” Racquel confirmed.
“So, to be clear, you want me and my friends,” and Rue gestured to Bond and Jones, “to go the abandoned solar thermal power plant outside of the city to meet two idiots who’s not smart enough to buy their own pie in exchange for Princess Azalea?”
John and Cespar both nodded. “Yes,” John confirmed, “you will be the one handing the pie to Noel and Xavier. Your comrades will be in hiding and will nab Noel and Xavier after they’ve handed Azalea over to you. We want you three as it has to be kept a secret. We can’t have any soldiers as they will kill Azalea.”
Rue sighed. “Money?”
“5,000 Argwens if you accept,” Racquel offered.
Rue drank the rest of the coffee and handed it to Jones, then turned back to Racquel. “100,000…Wolverines,” she stipulated. Wolverines was the other type of currency in Dritz’s kingdom – and one Wolverine was worth 1,000 Argwens. So.
The guests all looked at each other, then John nodded. “Deal.”
8:30 a.m. the next morning…
“So, what’s our plan?” Jones queried.
Rue bit into her cream biscuit, sipped some of her tea, and then said, “Let’s pull out the solar thermal power plant’s photos and take a look,” she said, glancing up as a couple with their children walked into the cafe. It was surprisingly busy in the cafe. And it was only half-past eight in the morning. Firedorn’s going to have a busy day. Thankfully, with how busy it was, they could talk without fear of being overheard.
Bond took the photos from his satchel, and, moving their plates and cups, he laid them on the table. Rue put her cup of tea to one side and peered closely at the photos that Racquel had given them from the Royal Archives.
The solar thermal power plant was on a plot of land about four acres big. There was still scaffolding around, solar array mounting racks, and an partially completed thermal receiver, though the top part of it that would collect the solar energy from the solar panels had not been built. Neither had the Fresnel reflectors been put in, though their mounting racks had been put in.
“Are they still building it? Isn’t it off-limits?” Bond enquired.
“Yes, it is off-limits. It has been since construction was suddenly called off two years ago after Ver’thad was discovered to be a secret partner,” Jones explained.
Ver’thad… Rue shuddered. “There is still some uncertainty as to what should be done with it.” She flipped through the photos until she found the one she wanted. She then pulled it out and laid it in the middle of the table for all three of them to see. It was a photo of the solar thermal power plant from the outside, looking in. She pointed at something around the outside.
“To keep people out there is a four metre high electric fence surrounding it,” she stated. She then leaned forward and whispered, “Racquel has told me, though, that it’s not an actual electric fence.”
“Then why do they say it is?” Jones enquired.
“To keep anyone away who would sell the components in the black market. Apparently, solar thermal power plant components are worth a lot of money,” Rue explained. “Anyway, so we will be able to safely enter. I was thinking that we will scout out the place using a drone to determine whether or not they are there yet, and where good hiding places will be. I’ve got the drone in my satchel. Jones, I want you to go get the apple pie that from the cook while me and Bond will wait outside the cafe for you and then we will go to the plant.”
“Glad that’s all straightforward,” Bond commented as he picked up his raspberry rose sundae.
“Alright. I’ll just finish my breakfast,” Jones told her.
“Okay. I’ll go and find us a jeep. Any questions?”
“No,” Jones said, quickly finishing off his breakfast, then getting up, he left.
“Bond, what about you?”
She turned sideways – only to find that he was not there. Where is he? Rue looked around – and spotted him at another table, eating his sundae, and in deep conversation with a young lady.
Pushing her chair back, Rue stormed over and pushed his face in his sundae. Grabbing a fistful of hair, Rue dragged him out of his chair and away from the table.
“Stay focused,” she hissed as she dragged him outside.
Bond snarled. “I was focused.”
A little while later…
“How’s the drone?”
Bond gave her a thumbs-up from where he and Jones were tinkering with it in the car.
“Good,” Rue muttered, giving him a thumbs-up in acknowledgement, and wiped her forehead. Putting a hand up to cover her eyes, she looked up at the sun. It’s so hot. Unscrewing a lid, she took a swig from a metal water bottle, which she had put two ice cubes inside.
Screwing the lid back on, she put it down on the sand beside the rock she was sitting on and turned on her laptop, and established a link to the drone’s camera.
“Okay, get the drone up there!” Rue instructed. Bond and Jones climbed out of the jeep, Bond holding the remote and Jones held the drone. Jones placed the drone on a nearby rock and Bond activated the drone. Rue pressed a key on the laptop and the drone’s camera turned on. She watched through the camera as a few small sand dunes passed by.
Then the power plant came into view.
Soon it was directly over the power plant.
“Go a little lower,” Rue instructed. “Now circle the solar plant a few times.” As Bond maneuvered the drone around the solar plant, Rue used her laptop to snap a few photos, zooming in and out. She then swiftly typed in a command and the camera began snapping photos constantly of the whole plant.
“Bring her in,” Rue instructed and turned off the camera. After Bond brought the drone in and put it away, Rue showed them the photos and footage of the plant.
They finished looking through them. No-one was there. Jones checked his watch. “It’s 10:00,” he stated.
“Where will we position ourselves?” Bond questioned.
Rue shrugged, then handed them the laptop. “It’s up to you. Where do you two think is best?”
Jones and Bond began scrolling through the photos and footage again. Rue rubbed her shoulder as she thought about what they would do. Jones and Bond, after they had decided on where they would position themselves, would take the two motorbikes from the back of the jeep and use them to drive the rest of the way to the solar plant while Rue was going to stay here in the jeep until she had to go over to the solar plant to meet Noel and Xavier.
Let’s hope that it’s all over quickly, she silently wished as she drank some more out of her water bottle.
“Okay,” Jones said suddenly, shattering her thoughts, handing the laptop back to her. “We’re going.”
Azalea banged her head on the roof of the 4X4 as Noel attempted to drive over a bumpy road. Who’s bright idea was this?
They had been driving for twenty minutes now and so far they had taken one of the roughest roads out of town. Are they so dimwitted that they don’t know to travel on the smooth roads?
“Are we almost there?” she asked.
Xavier glowered at her. “No. Just like the last time you asked me five seconds ago.”
Azalea pretended not to hear him. “What did you say? That we’re nearly there?” She gave him her best innocent smile.
Xavier pressed his lips together and just stared out the window, muttering something about people who were so dumb, it hurt – but Azalea wasn’t sure if that comment was directed at her or Noel.
Azalea drummed her fingers on her lap as she watched the city disappear as they turned left, which took them around a sand dune. And it thankfully meant that the trip would be considerably smoother.
But where is this trip taking us? Are they going to do something to me? I hope someone comes for me.
Jones found a doorway in the thermal receptor tower. Motioning Bond over, they walked cautiously inside. They found scaffolding all over the walls, some ladders and one or two toolboxes still sitting there on the floor.
“This is where we’ll hide,” Jones announced. “I’ll just call Rue and let her know.”
“Oh, that’s great. Let me know when Noel, Xavier, and Princess Azalea arrive.”
“Will do,” Jones assured her and ended the call.
Putting the apple pie on the front passenger seat, Rue checked her watch. 10:50 a.m. I’ll leave in twenty-five minutes, Rue decided. She leaned back…
25 minutes later…
Jones heard a car nearby. He peeked outside…
…and instantly pulled back inside, pressing himself against the wall.
‘What’s the matter?’ Jones saw Bond mouthed to him, who wasn’t as close to the doorway as he was, and was starting to climb up the scaffolding.
‘They’re right. Out. Side!’ Jones mouthed back, pointing urgently at the doorway. Bond raised his eyebrows and stayed still. Jones put a finger to his lips. Three car doors slammed shut. Footsteps. A struggle.
“I hope she keeps quiet,” a deep voice stated. A heaving noise and then a dragging noise. Footsteps. Both getting closer.
“Where are you going?” another voice asked, sounding annoyed. Like, really annoyed. Towards Deep Voice. The noises suddenly stopped. He imagined whomever it was suddenly pausing in his tracks.
“It’s far too hot to wait out here. And the air conditioner in the car died six minutes prior,” Deep Voice informed the other guy. “We’ll wait in the tower.”
The dragging noise and the footsteps resumed.
“That’s the first sensible thing that you’ve done since this morning,” the other guy commented. Jones and Bond looked at each other and both started climbing up the scaffolding.
Jones managed to climb onto one of the decks high up before he heard someone enter the tower. Jones pressed himself flat against the deck, head turned sideways. He saw Bond doing the same thing, though he was higher than Jones. He heard something or someone being dumped on the ground, and then somebody sigh in relief, presumably as he sat down in the shade.
“Forty-three minutes before someone arrives to take the princess…and hand us that lovely pie.”
Forty-three minutes up here?!
“Our Ma always makes the best pie,” Deep Voice commented. “Xavier, did you remember to bring some water when we left this morning?”
How long has it been? Ten minutes?
But it felt like ten years. The minutes crawled by. I can’t wait 43 or however many long minutes it is now for Rue to show up, Bond thought. And I really need to sneeze!
Then he got an idea.
Why couldn’t they deal with the two idiots? Right now.
It would be over sooner. And I would be able to sneeze.
…the scaffolding had creaked a little when he had climbed up. Not so loud that Noel and Xavier would have heard it when they were outside. But inside…
…any creaking would be heard by them, giving away their surprise. We can’t risk them killing the princess, he reluctantly conceded, scrunching up his nose to hopefully stop the sneeze. Just hurry up and get here, Rue.
A few minutes later…
Xavier snapped his gun out of his holster, aiming it at the scaffolding above them. “What are you doing?” Noel snapped, feeling snarky because there was no water.
“I heard a sneeze up there.”
A sneeze? But nobody else should be here. Unless…
Somebody’s set a trap.
He stood up, pulling out his gun, looking up at the scaffolding. He couldn’t see or hear anyone. “Put some bullets through the boards,” he ordered. “It’ll flush them out, if they’re there.”
Nodding, Xavier raised his gun and aimed it at some of the boards above his head. Noel did the same. He slapped off the safety catch, and peered through the sights. He rested his finger on the trigger and…
A vehicle pulled up outside. Noel and Xavier lowered their guns, and Noel looked at Xavier, confused. Who could that be? Oh. Right. Someone’s come to get the princess, he remembered. He threw one more look up at the scaffolding. Hmm…
He stepped forward, telling Xavier to keep an eye on the princess. He peeked out through the doorway. A jeep had pulled up beside their 4X4 and someone was leaning against their 4X4’s bonnet. He took an involuntarily step back in surprise.
They sent a girl?
She couldn’t be too much of a threat. She wasn’t carrying any firearms and was dressed in a grey tank top and khaki trousers. There was something on the bonnet to her right. His mouth watered. The pie…
He aimed the gun at the back of the female’s head and called out, “Put your hands in the air and turn around!” The female obliged and turned around with her hands above her head.
“I’ve got the pie!” he heard her call back. “Now where’s the princess?”
“Oh, we’ve got the princess…and the trap you set up for us!”
Oh my gosh.
Rue swallowed. “Trap? What trap? Is it a bomb?”
She saw the man – Noel, if she remembered his description correctly – did not buy it for a minute. He looked at something in the tower that she could not see and nodded. Another man – Xavier, probably – stepped into view. His arm was wrapped around the princess’ neck and a gun was pressed to her forehead.
Where’s Bond and Jones? Are they…dead?
“We warned you guys that if you didn’t follow my instructions to the letter, Princess Azalea would die,” Noel reminded her. The other guy rested his finger on the trigger. Noel made a tsk, tsk sound.
Suddenly Xavier and Noel turned around. Xavier let out a startled cry. Noel raised his gun and began firing rapidly at something in the tower. Or someone.
Rue shot forward. Noel began to turn slightly as her fist slammed into his nose. He flew a few feet. Rue saw out of the corner of her eye Bond and Jones trying to subdue Xavier, but who was proving to be a good adversary. Noel jumped to his feet, but blood was pouring from his nose.
He threw a punch.
Rue deflected it. Punched him in the jaw.
Noel grabbed her arm and twisted it. Using his knee, he pushed her onto the ground, kneeling on her stomach.
A hiss of steel and something cold was pressed into the back of her neck. A prick and she felt something warm trickle down.
She grabbed his knife arm with her free arm and twisted it away from her. He loosened his grip on her other arm and she yanked it free and grabbed the knife. She then kicked him off and jumped to her feet. Everything went dizzy and she stumbled. Her top started to feel sticky.
He jumped at her and slammed her into the wall, ripping the knife off of her. She grabbed his wrist, trying to keep it from her throat. But everything was spinning. Her grip loosened.
Gritting her teeth, her other hand shot up and, grabbing his wrist, twisted it towards him and drove it forward.
Then everything went dark.
Two days later…
Rue looked up as the door opened. She grinned. “Hi, Jones,” she greeted, her voice raspy.
He sat down on the edge of the bed. “Doctor says that since you’re injuries are healing up nicely, you will be able to come home…in a week.”
“Oh, ha ha. You really know how to make me feel better,” Rue replied.
Jones chuckled. “Noel’s injuries were serious, but he’s stable. He and Xavier face a life behind bars. Bond’s using some of our pay to buy another stack of beer,” he commented.
“Tell him I look forward to it.”
“He’s keeping it under lock and key.”
Rue put on a mock-horrified expression, then whispered conspiratorially: “Where is it?” Jones looked horrified. Rue laughed, then coughed. “Oh, don’t worry. Not drinking THAT much beer ever again! Hey,” she added, “how did Princess Azalea’s and King John’s wedding go?”
“Queen Azalea and King John’s wedding went very well,” Jones said, and Rue noticed that there was a distant look in his eyes. “Very, very well.”
Rue smirked. “What?” Jones asked, genuinely confused.
“Who’s the girl?” Rue teased. Jones rolled his eyes, but he did blush. Ah ha!
“Doesn’t matter.” Jones stood up and began making his way out.
“Now, where are you going? The conversation was just becoming interesting,” Rue called out to him with a grin.
“It’s lunchtime,” he replied.
Rue glanced at the clock beside the bed. “It’s only 9:30,” she pointed out.
“Yes. No. I didn’t mean lunch. I-um. What I meant was that I have a very important date.” Then he realised what he just said.
Rue gave him a ‘I’m-waiting’ expression. He sighed and walked straight out the door, saying “Her name’s Amelia.”
This story is dedicated to my uncle, who gave me the idea.
I had a lot of fun creating this world, and it would be fun to explore it some more. So be on the look out from more stories in this fantasy world!
Of course, I will return for future stories in this world. Whether the rest of the blogger cast will return or not is yet to be confirmed. Negotiations will probably occur from here.
Have a great day/night!
All novels and short stories on this blog are the works of @rue202 and Racheal’s Novels Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of the author is strictly not allowed. You may use excerpts and links or reblogs of this material provided that complete and clear credit is given to rue202 and Racheal’s Novels with clear directions to the original content.