|Sly 5 Ancestral Revenge
Author: GradGirl2010 PM
Le Paradox caused more damage than the Cooper Gang realized. Now his time technology is in the hands of the most notorious geniuses. Sly, trapped in the past, is at the mercy of his oldest nightmare and is being pieced apart. What's worse is the Thievius Raccoonus is coming apart at the seams. All of Cooper History is vanishing. Has time finally run out for the Cooper Clan?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Sly C. & Bentley - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,239 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 03-02-13 - Published: 02-27-13 - id: 9052189
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Journey to the past
Torches flickered in a sandy stone carved corridor, dancing in the small breeze gliding over the sand covered floors. Rats and cockroaches scurried over the ground, retreating into their burrows. Bats hid themselves in the corners of the ceiling, screeching venomously at anyone who walked by.
A whip cracked, whistling through the air. "GYAH!" Someone cried out in agony. The whip cracked again. "GAH-HA!" The shadow of a restrained man reflected on the wall. The man hung his head, panting dryly with his arms chained towards the ceiling. The whip whirled in the flickering shadows and slashed across the back of the man. "AH! GRR…"
"The more you resist, my young friend," A female Italian accent purred in the echoes of the corridor, "The more you will have to endure." She cracked the whip on his back, making the man roar out. Blood trickled down his near bare body.
Gathering our equipment together, the four of us gathered into Murray's van and were off to the ruins. Alauna sat up front together. We talked about our latest discoveries in our own particular fields. How Alauna was reviewing her genealogy, how I was tinkering with my chair trying to give it upgrades – we were the stereotypical nerds' geeking out over things others found boring. Carmelita was stuck in the back with Murray. How unfortunate for her. Cake was spilling on her hair. Of course Alauna was enjoying herself. Though it was at the expense of another, it was nice to see Alauna laughing. She's always had an impish giggle. It was…cute.
Uh…BRR! Bentley shook his head fervently. There was no time for that. Sly was in danger, we were going to time travel, and I'm thinking about how cute…Ugh. What am I thinking? Why would someone like her truly like a guy like me? I can't afford to let this happen again. Unless I want a repeat of what happened with Penelope.
Not that I think Alauna is like Penelope. I mean, let's be serious, Carmelita and Alauna were alike. But Alauna like Penelope? Nah. Not even close. Alauna may be ruthless and relentless, but she's never turned her aggression on those she trusts. Penelope on the other hand bought into a world domination speech. I simply meant there were more guys in the world way more interesting than I am. Like…Sly and Murray. They were more Alauna's type. As for me, I was meant to be left in the wind. Alone…forgotten.
To distract myself, I called ahead to Demitri, asking him if he arrived at the hide out. I told him we were taking another trip through the time stream and would need him to look after the Thievius Raccoonus. He was there, and overjoyed he could… "Be the backup dancer for his bros timeline dance." Whatever that meant. I mentioned our old friend Alauna was acting as our guide. His eyes ran over her so much I almost saw foot prints take form.
We needed Demitri so he could let us know if anything changes in the book. Of course we still have the old communicators we used. Demitri said to bring back his "Raccoonus Dudus," so they might, "Boogie down until the Paris light black out." I'm more than aware of what he meant.
The minute we get Sly, we're going to party until time itself decides to stop.
The van bounced roughly along the sandy desert dunes, jerking everyone inside as if they were on a bad rollercoaster. Murray's remaining desserts had fallen onto Carmelita. Bentley was bounced into Alauna's lap. To her relief, the chamber was only yards away. Alauna had brought the van to a spiraling halt. The van tipped on one side, then plopped back down on all fours.
"Ugh…" The four breathed in relief. Alauna snickered weakly, feeling her head whirling. "Got us here." She announced mischievously.
"At the price of my dessert." Murray grumbled sickly, holding a hand to his stomach. "I think I lost it half a mile back."
"Sorry, Murray." Alauna giggled. "Try recovering it from Carmelita's hair." Carmelita had a regular sundae with a cherry on top crafted on her navy hue of hair. "I'm sure she'll be grateful." Murray considered the idea with deep contemplation. But the minute Carmelita shot him a dog like glare he backed off. Alauna chuckled, loving the Inspectors misery. "You okay, Brain?" She asked Bentley who was lurched on her lap.
"I'm fine." Bentley moaned sickly. Nauseated bubbles twinkled around his head. "Shaken up, but fine."
"Sorry about that." She scratched the side of her head. "Given what we discovered, we needed to get here fast."
"Agreed." Bentley pushed up, fixing his glasses. "And that…HRMPH…" He covered his mouth, "Was fast." Alauna grinned bashfully, hoping she hadn't traumatized the Brain in anyway. Bentley pulled himself up by the window sill. Looking out the moonlit valley of sand, he saw the half buried entrance to the chamber Alauna mentioned. "Is this it?"
"Yep." Alauna answered ominously. "One mile long straight hall, two rights and one left, we'll be there."
"Okay." Bentley shuffled into his seat and reached into Alauna's pack. Alauna was impressed by how well he could move given his disability. Then again, Bentley always was amazing. "Murray, put this into the machine." Bentley handed the two rocks to him. Murray placed them into the machine. "Alright," Bentley accessed his IPad, "Calibrate this, adjust that, fire up the auxiliary – PUNCH IT ALAUNA!" Murray and Carmelita froze in terror and hugged each other closely.
"HARD!" Alauna's foot slammed onto. The tires screeched, gusting up the sand in a heaping cloud. The van darted into the chamber, ricocheting off the stairs and walls. Alauna struggled to stay in her seat. The van bumped and grinded on the narrow walls. Carmelita could have sworn the corridor was getting narrower. The time machine powered up with the increase of speed. The walls and hieroglyphics blurred by. The end of the hallway swiftly approached.
"Bentley…" Alauna trembled out in fright, pushing back in her seat. Murray ducked down, hiding under his hands.
"Keep going!" Bentley input a quick code. The hands on the clock whirled rapidly backwards. Static surged around the van.
The end of the hallway was getting closer. "Bentley!" Alauna's foot quivered, ready to step on the break. Carmelita covered her eyes.
"Almost done!" Bentley hit enter. The year 1300 B.C wrote itself out on the screen. A rippling aura field cast itself around the front of the van like a ship coming into orbit. The wall was only yards away.
"BENTLEY!" Alauna cried squeezing her eyes closed.
"DONE!" Bentley pushed a red button. The van only a few feet from the wall, a vortex formed in reaction to the field around the van and it was swallowed up into the wall. The vortex closed, disappearing like water down a drain.
"WHOOOAAAA!" Everyone screamed as the van was spiraling around the vortex. Alauna finally felt her dinner slash breakfast slithering up her stomach. Carmelita would have laughed, but her food was about to blow from her stomach as well.
A dark hole at the end of the vortex finally formed. To everyone's relief. The van shot out of the vortex, launching from the torture chamber's entrance and several stories into the air. Abnormally high. Bentley practically floated from his seat as they fell. Alauna slammed on the breaks, bringing the van to a bouncing halt. As a dust cloud cleared from around them, everyone sighed with relief, thankful the ride stopped. Stomach gargled loudly. Bentley and Alauna out the window, Murray in a paper bag, and Carmelita out he back doors - everyone hurled their lunch onto the sand.
"Now I see why I hate roller coasters." Carmelita grumbled.
"I'll never mix cake with spaghetti again!" Murray swore, raising a hand.
"Well…?" Bentley groaned dryly, "It was…just in the nick…HRMPH-BLAHHH…of time."
"Please tell me you don't make a habit of cutting things close." Alauna heaved dryly.
"You kidding?" Murray gargled. "He's become as devious as you since the last time you saw him."
"A genius who's devious?" Carmelita slumped out the window. "I'm going into retirement after this."
"Ugh. Faith and Begorrah." Alauna moaned. "Even I have to admit this is too much." She complained, holding a hand over her eyes. "When did it get so hot all of a sudden?" She peered to the sky through one eye. "Wait…it's the middle of the day?"
Bentley fixed his glasses, studying their current when and where location. "IT WORKED!" Bentley cheered, congratulating himself. "WE'RE IN EGYPT CIRCA 1300 B.C.!"
"We are?" Alauna questioned dubiously. She exited from the van, touching her feet to the surprisingly hot sand. Her legs almost caved from the adrenaline rush of the trip. "Wow…" Alauna gaped in awe. Carmelita, Bentley, and Murray exited the van to, and were just as in awe as Alauna.
Before, they were in a vast desert where there was nothing for miles. Now, they were in a deep – seemingly bottomless – deep gorge. Sheer rock walls all around them. In front of them was a narrow pathway, leading into what seemed to be branching off pathways.
"OH…MY…CUPCAKES!" Murray blurted. He jaw was dropped to something inside the gorge they were in. When the three turned around, utter disbelief fell on their heads.
Behind them was a massive building, touching either side of the gorge. It was built like the pyramids, only elongated. From the looks of things, it was built into the back of the gorge. A wide ramp of stairs, sectioned into three by statues of jackals, led to three different carved out archways. The second floor had a connecting rectangular balcony. Hangman nooses leered over the edge with flimsy planks outstretched beneath the rope. The third floor had a large round balcony. And judged from the broken railing, that's where emerged from upon entry.
Wails of pain and agony were heard moaning from the ancient building. Chills crawled up Bentley's skin. People may get hurt, but he's never heard them be tortured. "Hard to believe." Alauna scratched her head. "The excavation team and I were only in the chamber for a few hours," She studied the top floor, shaking her head in disbelief, "But we never discovered evidence of there being multiple floors."
"You mean…" Murray tapped his head, trying to contemplate what she said, "We entered and exited from the third floor?"
"Don't look too surprised. Over 3,000 years of sandstorms blew over this place." She studied the gorge they were in. "And judging from the structure of the walls around us," And the rocks around the inner perimeter, "I'd wager this gorge pieced apart."
"Congratulations." Carmelita waved her hands sardonically. "You're a history major on top of a language geek."
"I'm a master language geek, a minor in history." She corrected scathingly. "Do not resent me because I'm educated."
"Yes, you're middle school diploma must be singing your praises."
Carmelita grabbed Alauna by the collar. "YOU KNOW WHAT, IRITISH (eye-rih-tish) BITCH?"
"NO, LATIN-RICAN WHORE!" Alauna grabbed Carmelita by the collar as well. "WHAT?!"
"CAN YOU TWO NOT FIGHT FOR FIVE MINUTES?" Bentley roared. Alauna and Carmelita touched forehead, growling animally with lightning surging between their eyes.
"Uh, guys?" Murray pointed down the path entrance to the gorge. "I think I see someone coming." Carmelita and Alauna glanced to him with furrowed brows. Putting his hand to his forehead like a visor, Murray narrowed his eyes to the path. "Yep…definitely someone coming." Unable to see that far, he placed his binocucom to his eyes. Three horse drawn carriages driven by two Hyenas on each were heading towards them. "And they have cages. Cages with people inside."
"We need to hide!" Bentley panicked. "NOW!" Everyone shuffled into the van. Murray into the driver's seat. They were in 1300 B.C. A van with a clock on top isn't exactly discreet. Murray drove the van to the right side of the building, putting it as far back as possible. Carmelita and Alauna took point stalked to the front again. Carmelita hid behind a statue, below the floor atop the stairs. Climbing onto the statue pedestal, she peered around. Alauna hid beside the ramp of the stairs, peering past the stairs.
The three carriages came to a halt at the foot of the stairs. Three gators emerged from one of the doors, meeting with the hyenas. Carmelita ducked down, keeping her head low. She psst through her teeth, gaining Alauna's attention. Carmelita tossed her a binocucom and ear com. Alauna put the com in her ear. "Can you hear me, Allie?" Bentley whispered.
"Crystal." The gators walked down the stairs, smiling hungrily to the hyenas and their prisoners.
"We need to get to the third floor." Carmelita pressed, speaking to her ear com Bentley gave to her. "That's where the clues lie."
"But it may not be where Sly is right this second!" Bentley explained, stressing. "Right now we need to do some recon of this place!" Alauna and Carmelita didn't enjoy the thought of waiting, but Bentley was right. 3,000 years from now, the third floor is empty and run down. Who knows what's up there right this second? "Listen in on their conversation. Maybe we can learn something. Maybe get some photos."
"I'll take the pictures." Carmelita volunteered.
"I'll listen." Alauna concurred. She dropped to her stomach and started shuffling through the sand, coming to the bottom of the stairs, behind a small pedestal. Carmelita placed her binocucom her eyes, activating the camera.
"Alright." Bentley whispered. "Let's see what the ancients talked about."
"I take it you six had a smooth journey, First Lieutenant Heckles." The middle guard greeted with a deep gravelly tone. His voice make Alauna shiver. Carmelita's first picture was of the three gator guards. The waistbands of their loincloth skirts were different colors. Left had a green band with bronze leaflets. Right was Maroon with silver swirls. The middle was Brown with gold eyes.
"Very smooth, Captain Grunt." The Red band hyena cackled with an Igor like voice. Carmelita took quick shots of the hyenas. Five had black headbands with white triangle ribbons hanging down their foreheads. The sixth had a red headband with three upside down black triangles.
"Intriguing." Bentley gaped. "I've heard of this. The colors of the design determine rank and the band determines what category of authority they reside in."
"I guess that means these groups belong to two different Task Forces." Alauna confirmed.
"The Gators work here, the Hyenas for the Lady Vizier." Carmelita agreed.
"Found these three stealing bread from our beloved Pharaoh's convoy." Heckles pointed to the monkeys in the cages. Alauna fluttered a hand. Carmelita arched a brow to her. Alauna pointed to the cages. Carmelita nodded and snapped a few photos of the prisoners. I, II, and III were etched. Carmelita had a thought and glanced to the doorways. I, II, and III were also etched. "The Pharaoh personally requested they be hung." The lead hyena shuffled his hands together greedily, revealing his razor sharp teeth in a beastly grin. "And he also wishes to know how our Lady Vizier is doing with our ring-tailed rat guest." RING TAILED RAT? Alauna and Carmelita gasped in their minds. Murray and Bentley, listening from the van, had tears gathering in their eyes.
"PAH!" The captain threw his head back laughing. "The poor fool is continuing to fight."
"Our Lady Vizier has been working him for hours." The green belt guard cackled.
"That whip reached bone and he still won't talk." The maroon band gator remarked in amazement. Carmelita held a hand to her chest. Her eyes widened in horror. "I can see why her Ladyship is growing bored."
"Well at least he's giving the important guests something to watch." Heckles cackled. "Is what I heard true? He wrote a message in the wall?"
"You better believe it." The Gator with the green belt sniggered. "Poor boy." He pat his hand to the hammer clipped to his side. "Though he was lucky. His head would have turned out like that wall had he not dodged." Murray clenched his jaw and fists. "Good thing my foot has good reflexes." Carmelita recalled Alauna mentioning the wall crumbled. Alauna instinctively glanced back towards the van. She saw Bentley and Murray gaping in horror. All four thought the same thing. The prisoner the gators spoke of had to be Sly. There was no other explanation. They could have arrived hours, days, or months after Sly.
Alauna lowered her head into the sand, falling into despair. Sly…for all they knew…was being tortured. Alauna may have received the message all of a few hours ago. But for all they knew…Sly could have been there for weeks and was waiting for them. It tore their hearts.
"Well we'll get these three off your hands." Captain Grunt offered. The hyenas unloaded the monkeys and threw them into the Gators' hands. "You should head back to the palace. Tell the Pharaoh and the Vizier the raccoon still won't talk."
"You got it, Captain Grunt." Heckles sniggered like a gremlin. "Do let me know when the whip cracks his bones."
"I'll send the falcons the moment it happens." The hyenas mounted their horses and took their leave. The gators dragged the monkeys into their respective doors, vanishing into the shadows.
"Those…monsters!" Bentley fumed on the other end. "Those beasts!"
"Bentley, keep your head!" Alauna blurted, massaging her forehead with grief. "Losing your composure now will only jeopardize Sly."
"You're right. You're right." Bentley inhaled and exhaled meditatively. "Okay." Alauna and Carmelita heard him clap his hands to his cheeks, snapping himself out of his funk. "I did a little background research during the conversation." He explained, breathing heavily. "The colored bands on the hyenas and gators do symbolize their affiliations and ranks. The Hyenas have red, and black bands with triangular ribbons. Black bands with White triangles are the lackeys, and red bands with black are the leaders."
"What about the gators?"
"Green bands are the lowest of the guard, Maroon middle, and Brown is the highest. The designs indicate they are the leaders."
"That's all well and good," Carmelita interrupted, "But how exactly does that help us find the Ring-Tail?"
"One of the Gators mentioned Sly was entertaining the Important Guests. Know anything about that Alauna?"
"It has to be the room I found the message in." She and Carmelita looked to the third floor. "The room was wide, had a view of every last torture device – it had to be the spectator's box for the nobles."
"And from the sounds of things, Sly might still be giving them a show." Murray remarked.
"Look ladies," Bentley began firsthand, "There's no time for a complicated plan. Especially since we haven't had a chance to gather Intel on this place." In other words, Bentley was about to send them in blind. "You both are the most athletic. Get to the third floor, and find Sly." Carmelita and Alauna exchanged hateful glares. The last thing either one wanted to do was team up with each other. "I know you both have bitter feelings for one another!" Bentley interjected as if reading their minds. "But try to remember that we're here for Sly. Someone you both care about deeply." Alauna and Carmelita lowered their gazes somberly. They couldn't deny that they both had some feelings for Sly. "No fighting – with each other or the guards. We can't let anyone know someone's lurking. Now hurry!"
Alauna and Carmelita peered over the stairs, listening and watching to ensure the coast was clear. They couldn't walk in through the front doors. Alauna never got a chance to study the structure before departure. She has no idea where the other floors lead or how big they were. Carmelita pointed to a ledge just beside the second story balcony. Alauna nodded. Carmelita climbed to the platform, scurrying quietly and positioning herself. She interlaced her fingers. Alauna ran up, placed a foot to the hands. Carmelita launched her up. Alauna reached out and grabbed the ledge with one hand. She grabbed on with the other and started to pull herself up. Her ears flapped.
"Hm?" Alauna got to her elbows and listened in, adjusting her ears. There was a narrow rectangular window in front of her. There were odd echoes coming from it. To her horror she heard pattering footsteps coming right towards her. Alauna scrambled to the ledge, placing her back to the crook of a tiny wall in the ledge. She fluttered a hand to Carmelita, telling her to take cover. Carmelita ducked behind the building. Alauna stood on the ledge, making herself as invisible as possible.
The footsteps she heard were quickly approaching. Rhythmic when they touched the ground. Like pikes piercing the dirt in twos. One-two, one-two, one-two, one-two. Those footsteps came to a halt. Alauna, moving as slowly as possible, turned to peer around the corner. She couldn't see much of the person. They were standing in the doorway. But Alauna could see pinch claws in white gloves.
"That blasted Cooper!" Alauna was surprised. It was a female voice. Could this be the Lady Vizier. "Why must they all be so stubborn?" Alauna was baffled by the accent. Romanian? Bulgarian? Czech? She couldn't tell. All he knew was it didn't belong in Egypt. "I have worked this man for days and he still won't talk! OOH!" She stomped a foot. Still sounded more like a pike hitting the ground. "This is more annoying than Prague!" Prague? Did Prague even exist in 1300 B.C. "I better get some answers soon, or the Cooper Line will end with him…and so will my career." Alauna heard the footsteps retreat back into the halls of the second floor. She tried to get a peek of the woman. She vanished into a hallway before she could get a view.
"That was weird." Alauna whispered.
"What is?" Alauna whipped around. Somehow, Carmelita was standing right behind her.
"One sec." Alauna touched her ear com. "Bentley, did you guys ever go to Prague?"
"Once. Years ago. Why?"
"I think I just overheard the Lady Vizier venting to herself. She mentioned Sly and Prague."
"That's strange. Did you get a good look at her?"
"No. She disappeared."
"I'll go scope her out." Carmelita volunteered. "It may be our only lead as to why Sly is even here being tortured."
"Though her plan begs hazardous, Carmelita's right." Bentley agreed. "See who the Lady Vizier is. Stay out of sight."
"Right." Carmelita climbed around Alauna, touching down to the balcony as lightly as she could.
"Oye." Alauna beckoned her quietly. "Sly's going to want to see you. So make sure not to get caught."
"Why, Alauna, I didn't know you cared." Carmelita pretended to be flattered.
"I don't." Alauna climbed to the balcony and then onto the statue of a cat. "I just don't want to have to explain to Sly why you weren't here for him. Despite my being confused why you even came." Carmelita bit her lip, feeling the sting of her words. Taking the high road, she entered into the large room, disappearing down the same hallway as the Lady Vizier. Alauna scoffed through gritted teeth, then proceeded to climb on the archway. She managed to reach the third floor balcony. She poked her head over the ledge, scanning for guards. She slithered onto the balcony, skulking like a jungle cat after its prey.
There were two rows of five chairs on the balcony. Something Alauna didn't see before their journey. Much changes in 3,000 years. Alauna poked her head into the elongated hallway. It was much wider than she expected, and more lavish. There was more to it. Adjoining halls leading to different rooms. Most likely cells for the prestigious prisoners. Alauna could hear voice coming from each of the rooms. All of them laughing and chortling over minor moans of pain. Potted plants, fresh hieroglyphics, no cob webs or rodents – as far as she could tell. There were large square holes in the wall. Scimitars, axes, and helmets were hung in those holes like trophies.
None of this helped Alauna. Walking down the hall would be too risky. Especially since she stood out worse than wolf in a flock of sheep. Up above there were balance and support beams. One of the beams descending diagonally onto the archway of the door she had entered from. Alauna smiled triumphantly. When in doubt, keep to the ceiling. Springing off the wall she grabbed onto the beam. She shuffled along, coming to where she was able to pull herself up without hitting her head or getting squashed.
"Hmph. This is higher than it looks." Alauna shuffled swiftly yet silently along the beam. To her displeasure there were cob webs. She spoke too soon before. But at least she was able to get through the hall without feeling as if she was about to be spotted. As she sauntered along, Alauna heard the grinding of cranks and chain, the blood curdling wails of the unfortunate prisoners. People move in and out of the rooms, talking amongst themselves as if they had just watched someone catch a fish. A few laughed like maniacs. The lifeless bodies of innocent people we dragged out, tossed into one room at the end of the hall. Alauna could see countless bodies piled inside. It took all of Alauna's will power not to express her disgust out loud. She was there for Sly. Not to play Moses.
"Bentley," Alauna swallowed contemptuously, "I'm not going to lie. I envy Carmelita right now." She rounded a corner, recognizing a few of the symbols. "The third floor is awful. A cesspool for the rich and cruel."
"I beg to differ." Carmelita grumbled. "I got the floor where the fat and ugly men make love to the skinny and pretty women." She shuddered over the ear com. "Smells like sweating pigs."
"Ooh…" Alauna shuddered. "I rescind my comment."
"Let's keep the chatter under wraps." Bentley urged. "From the sounds of things, there's loads of people."
"Roger that." Alauna ended the call. She turned down the right corridor, heading for where she received the message.
"I cannot believe that filthy raccoon isn't up for show today." Alauna froze and looked down. A female cat woman were jeering to a dog man. "He stole my life savings. I cannot have my salad imported because of him."
"I know what you mean." The dog man grumbled. "My daughter is upset I wasn't able to get her the golden carriage."
"I'm glad they threw him in the northern most cells. Let him rot in the dark."
"Northern most Cell, huh?" Alauna tugged at her clothing and eyed the beams she was on. "These beams aren't going to work. Neither are these rags." Alauna looked into her binocucom, ascertaining the general direction. North was the wall adjacent to the hallway she just entered from. "Sorry Bentley." Alauna watched a young woman pass by under her. Seemed to be same height and body build. "I need a change of clothes."
The woman turned into a random room, closing the door behind her. Alauna dropped down and entered immediately after her. There was a moment of silence. BAM! BOOM! SLAM! The door opened again. Alauna emerged in her newly acquired attire, her clothing and weapons in hand. A long flowing skirt parting in the front for the leggings. The cerulean blue waistband with a long hexagon ribbon hanging down the front. The crop top hung off her shoulders with a red jewel imbedded in the center of the breasts. A cobra headdress. Thick golden clasp wrist bands and a necklace. "Ugh. Thank god this is temporary." Alauna moved to the window. She saw the van just below and tossed her stuff out. They landed perfectly on top, startling Murray and Bentley. Alauna wanted to laugh about it, but she needed to move.
As Alauna walked through the corridor, she felt an uneasy pressure building on her shoulders. Sure people passed by her without turning a head, a few men bowed their heads, and a couple of the guards eyed her like a piece of meat. But the idea of being under cover in ancient Egypt – the land where Samurai Swords and heavy semi-automatic fire arms had yet to exist – Alauna felt exposed. Vulnerable. And in her get up she felt restrained. But she kept telling herself it was for Sly. She needed to make this work.
"Pardon me." She tapped a Gator guard on the shoulder. The gator shifted his gaze from his friend to her. Both dropped their jaws and ogled her hungrily. "I'm sorry to bother you." Alauna, her hands folded behind her back, rocked her hips side to side, teasing the guards. "Could I trouble you both for a little help?"
"Not trouble at all, My Lady." Guard 1 bowed with a sweep of his hand. "How may we be of service?"
Alauna looked around with feigned caution, prompting the two guards to do the same. She motioned her hand, wishing for them to come closer. "I heard rumors of a certain raccoon thief being imprisoned here. Is this true?"
"As the sky is blue." Guard 2 responded in a whisper. "Why the interest?"
"Well you see…" Alauna batted her eyes like a puppy, "He was the one who stole my most sacred of treasures. Family heirlooms." She touched a hand to her cheek, sighing with despair. "I was hoping to get in a few words with the man he stole my ruby headdress. But I heard he's not seeing the dungeon master today." Alauna instantly moved close to the one guard, pressing her body entirely against his. Her hands to his chest, her knee bent between his legs, her chest teasing his stomach. "But I'm sure someone in your position can help me." She tugged at his brown band.
The Gator swallowed nervously, his cheeks flushing. "I-I-I don't…know…" His voice croaked. "I mean…I-I-I could, but-"
"Please…" Alauna hugged his arm, pressing her breasts to his arm. "I just want to see him for a few minutes." She pouted her lower lip, circling a finger on his chest.
"Well…" The gator started to give.
"For the record…" She purred huskily, walking her fingers up his chest, "I-would-be…" She trailed off, touching a hand to the side of his face, "Eternally grateful." She bent his snout down. "In every sense." Her lips lightly pecked his nose. Steam whistled form the gator guards ears. He laughed drunkenly with hearts circling his head. His friend stood behind him, clapping. "I trust we have a deal." She batted her eyes.
Bentley hid his embarrassment under his hat. His green cheeks were cherry red. How can she be so confident? He moaned in his mind. He listened to her giggle giddily. "Grr…" He massaged his forehead in irritation.
Murray packed Alauna's things into the back of the van, taking care not to look at any of her undergarments in the process. On the other hand he did take time to admire her revolvers. They were shiny, glossy, well kept – "Ooh…"
"I guess things…" Bentley grumbled, drumming his fingers on his arm, "Must be more active on the third floor than the second."
"I guess." Murray put Alauna's holster down. "They must have if Alauna's walking around naked."
Bentley's cheeks flushed bright red. Steam whistled from his ears. His mind wandered into the land of no return. He choked on the air. "NO! NOT NAKED!" He boomed, startling Murray. "She's wearing a disguise!"
"Oh." Murray fiddled his fingers nervously, darting his eyes around uncomfortably. "Right." He shrugged his hands with an impish grin. "My bad."
Bentley turned back to his IPad, keeping watch over the red blips moving through the compound. With each hall, door, and closet Carmelita and Alauna passed by, a general description of the compound was drawn out on the IPad. Alauna was moving smoothly. But Carmelita was stopping, zigzagging, moving all over the map.
"One of the revolvers and the small blade are missing." Murray announced with relief. "At least she's not weaponless."
"That's Allie, for ya." Bentley scoffed humorously. "Always prepared." He tapped his chin, worried he hadn't heard anything from Carmelita or Alauna in some odd minutes. "I wonder what's happening."
The second floor was shadowed and dimmed of the light. Unlike the third floor, there were little to no people wandering the halls. They were hiding in the rooms. Wealthy men with concubines, women seducing men. The past and future hadn't changed much. Money still bought pleasure.
There were Honey Badgers blow horns clipped to their hips. One toot and anyone who wasn't allowed on that floor would be swarmed before they could blink. The claws on their paws were long, razor sharp. They gleamed in the torch light. Their beady red eyes glowered through the dim lighting.
Carmelita hid in the shadows of the walls, seeking cover behind pillars and statues. She watched the guards pass by her, chattering heatedly to themselves. Carmelita moved throughout the corridors, keeping her back close to the walls. There were heavy duty cell blocks, thick wood doors standing between her and the prisoners inside. Carmelita peered through the rectangular holes in the wooden doors. Prisoners were restrained tightly to the walls, emaciated and dehydrated. She looked into the cells, trying desperately to see if Sly could have been moved into one of them. No luck. The Badgers would enter a room or corridor and Carmelita would take a leap and progress forward. She would peer around the corner, scouting ahead. The path was clear. She was so far inside she honestly believed the walls were watching her.
"Hm?" Carmelita tensed in the corner she hid in. She narrowed her eyes to the wall of a connecting hallway. The shadow of a woman was seen disappearing into the darkness. It had to have been the Lady Vizier Alauna thought she heard. Carmelita skulked after the woman, keeping close to the wall. She pressed her back to the corner and looked around.
There at the end of the hallway, a heavily enforced door had barely closed. It was cracked open a ways, letting the light of the outside gleam into the hallway. Carmelita tiptoed quietly. Her shock pistol held downward, Carmelita kept her eyes and ears open. Watching, listening, sensing the slightest shift in the air. She positioned herself on the door, glaring into the crack. She could barely make out anything, but there was a large window which gazed out to the gorge. Judging from the table stacked with papers, and the smells of incents, the Lady Vizier had been living there for a while.
"Where is she?" Carmelita asked herself, trying her best to see into the room without giving herself away. If she could find out where the Lady Vizier was standing, Carmelita might have been able to sneak in undetected. Carmelita placed a hand to the door, opening it slightly. There was a small creak. She winced.
A blood red eye greeted her. "HELLO THERE!" A claw hand grabbed Carmelita by the wrist and yanked her inside. The door slammed behind her. Carmelita's gun was discarded off to the side near the window. Her one hand pinned above her head and a claw clamped to her neck, Carmelita was pinned to the wall, hoisted several feet from the ground. Carmelita clawed fervently, growling like an animal to get free. Her legs kicked and thrashed at the air. No luck. "Still one to fight futilely, My Dear Inspector Carmelita." Carmelita's eyes widened at the sickening purr in which the accent said her name. "Then again you never were one to accept your captures or defeats with decorum."
"You…" Carmelita's voice trembled. "Contessa…" The name fell from her mouth like a guillotine to her neck. Her heart sank in horrific disbelief. The renowned former hypnotherapist of Interpol, and member of the defeated Klaw Gang, Countess Contessa, stood before Carmelita. Once again, Contessa had Carmelita at her mercy.
"It's good to see you again, Carmelita." Contessa sniggered maliciously. "You're looking well."
"You can't be here." Carmelita panicked. "You're in prison!"
"WAS in prison, my dear." The woman corrected with her thick accent. "I was released for good behavior." Contessa grinned wolfishly, revealing her fangs. "Amazing how helping a few inmates make decent life choices gets you released early."
"You couldn't have been!" Carmelita denied adamantly. "You were to be locked away for life!" The fear rang in her voice. "YOU'RE NOT HERE!" She closed her eyes. "YOU'RE NOT!"
"But I am here, Carmelita." The claw tightened to her neck, earning a pained grunt from Carmelita. "The proof is on your neck." She tightened her grip. Carmelita hissed through gritted teeth. The pressure built in her head as the oxygen was slowly cut off. Contessa narrowed her eyes, burning for revenge. "And I fully intend to stay here."
Alauna was guided to the farthest quadrant of the…prison, torture compound – Torture Prison. The sense of isolation grew unbearably. Unlike the rest of the compound, no light reached beyond a sectional door. When it opened, the bright sunlight revealed everything. A damp, rotten smelling, rodent infested corridor. Alauna suddenly felt health conscious and wanted to run out. The minute it closed the light was severed, and Alauna was in for the long haul. She breathed heavily, trying to calm herself. No weapons – at least
The two Gator guards ignited candle sticks. The orange flames surprisingly lit up the corridor, easing Alauna's rising fear of the closed space, but not of the fear of touching anything. One behind her and one in front, the guards guided Alauna down the hall, keeping their candles raised so not to hit anything along the way.
"Northern most. It's no joke." Alauna commented with a shudder.
"Only the worst criminals get sent back here." Guard 2 cackled, gesturing a hand to one of the wooden doors. "No light, no fresh air, little water and food-"
"In most cases none for a day or two." Guard 1 quickly added.
Guard 2 chuckled, commending his partner. "It wears them down." He elbowed Alauna in the back. "The whip doesn't hurt either." Alauna lowered her head, folding her ears. She clenched her fingers closed, piercing her nails into her skin. They were starving Sly, breaking him like a cheap doll. She's absent for practically two years and this happens. If it was the last thing she did, everyone in that compound will be at the end of her revolver, begging for their lives.
"Here we are." Guard 1 placed a hand to the wall next to a cell door. "We'll stand with you-"
"If he's emaciated and restrained, I will not require guards." Alauna interrupted strongly. "I wish for ten minutes alone with this man. You both will stand at the end of the hall."
"Do this and I will ensure you both are handsomely rewarded." Alauna ran a hand down her tail, stroking it to the nose of the first guard. "Anything you can ask for." She teased, tickling his chin with her tail tip. The guard laughed drunkenly.
The guards opened the door. The second guard gave Alauna his candle light. They told her she had ten minutes. If she finishes early she was to knock. Alauna entered the room and clichéd when the door closed. Were it not for the candle, she be in pitch blackness. Alauna raised the candle to the cell. Filled with mold and cob webs. Bentley would start hyperventilating.
"Ugh…" Alauna whipped around. There was some sort of moister on the ground. By the mildew smell it was water. "Ugh…" Alauna moved the candle to the far corner. Her eyed widened in amazement, disbelief. Hanging limply with his arms spread eagle in shackles, deep rips in his back, a bloodied long sleeve turtle neck torn to rags, blood staining the gray fur, his knees and legs missing patches of fur and with deep scar was a raccoon who brought tears to Alauna's eyes.
"Sly!" She gasped in whisper, sorrow in her voice. Alauna placed the candle to the ground, and got to her knees. "Sly?" She called to him, hovering her hands around him. Sly moaned weakly again. Alauna beamed in elation. He was alive. Barely. "Sly." She smiled, putting her hands to his face. "It's me, Alauna. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." He grunted.
Alauna was taken aback. Sly's voice sounded…off. It was…higher. Hint of an accent. She titled his head up, putting it into the light. She gaped in shock. Sly's face…wasn't his. He had thick beard on his chin. Remnants of the ribbon that held it together were stuck in it. A golden neck brace was chipped and stained. There was a lighter hue on his cheeks coming from his mask. "You're not Sly." Alauna remarked in disbelief. heartbroken disbelief.
"Hmph." The raccoon scoffed. "You're not the first person…to realize this." He heaved dryly, his voice rasping in an exhausted whisper. "I am…Slytunkhamen." He announced. "Slytunkhamen Cooper II." Alauna backed away by an inch. "Sorry to disappoint you."
To be continued.