Challenge #02138-E309: Plot ThwartsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  5 months ago

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"In my defense I'm not used to people listening when I speak." -- OohLookShiny

"In our defense," said Wraithvine, "you were the first of us to come up with a workable plan."

"Wasn't that workable," sighed Marvin. "We failed."

Lady Anthe, also chained to the wall of the dungeon, was smiling. Always be wary when a Kobold is smiling. "I wouldn't say that. We got into the castle. Objective one went without a hitch."

"Uuuuhhh," said Marvin. "I'm missing the part where we seamlessly move to, say, Objective two: warn the monarch about the coup."

"They took all my spell ingredients," complained Wraithvine. "It's a little difficult to do anything heavier than a cantrip without them."

"That's fine," Lady Anthe was still grinning. "Just float over one of your hairpins and I'll have us out of here in half an hour, tops."

Marvin boggled at her. "And you didn't do this last night, because...?"

"We all needed a long rest," said Lady Anthe, ignoring the faces Wraithvine made as ze removed a hairpin. "The guards needed to relax about foiling the threat, and you were both knocked out with that sleep gas. I'm not big enough to drag you two out of a dungeon."

The hairpin had one of Wraithvine's silky hairs caught in it. Just enough to burn a Luck spell, which was exactly what Anthe needed to pick a lock with a hairpin.

"Your hands are shackled," said Wraithvine. "You can't reach the lock..."

Anthe was still grinning. Her hand might hold the pin, but her tail was the limb that took it to the lock. "They always forget that Kobolds have prehensile tails. Now shoosh, please. I need to concentrate."

Two years ago? Maybe as many as three, when she was skulking around the gutters and afraid of the world? She'd have never thought of telling a wizard to shoosh. She couldn't even appreciate Wraithvine's expression because her eyes were closed so she could concentrate on the feel of the lock.

Luck helped. Her lock clicked and Anthe was out of her predicament in seconds. Once she had her eyes and her hands, she could work on her friends' chains that much quicker. With timing and teamwork, they were soon in the secret, disused servants' tunnels, with just enough egress for two people with baskets to pass each other. The fashion for having the servants unseen had faded into obscurity and the byways were largely forgotten by most. Monarchs with uneasy crowns remembered their histories and bricked up any throughways they found.

No such rulers had come through this kingdom for quite some time, so Wraithvine, Anthe, and Marvin found their way into the Child Queen's bedchamber by morning.

She was seven years old, and still slept with a teddy bear. The fact that she was honest, true, and starting to exercise her power with responsibility was something her visier had an argument with. The man wanted the power, but was smart enough to not want the throne. Therefore, he had a successor with a much more pliable mind waiting in the wings for the Child Queen to conveniently die.

The assassin hired by the visier was very surprised to find a cohort of adventurers waiting for him. They were even more surprised to be knocked out and tied up.

The Queen was not at all shocked to find a hog-tied assassin and a cohort of adventurers waiting her convenience in her chambers.

However, the visier and his easily-duped spare heir were very surprised to find the palace guards dragging them out of their beds, first thing in the morning. The reserve heir was even more surprised to hear his trusted friend the visier sell him out in a cold second.

Marvin got the sack of gold as payment for the groups' services. It was, after all, his idea.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / robwilson39]

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Hi internutter,

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