Cain had scribbled the letter in a rush. His penmanship was wild and barely legible to the point where only the signature looked real. Thus, when the Queen's men received the letter, they put it in the questionable pile. If Jeb hadn't come in to pick up a package at just the right time and accidentally knocked it on the ground and reached over to pick it up, the response would have come too late.
"The Queen or consort needs to see this immediately," Jeb said handing the note off to a Royal messenger. He had seen enough of his father's quickly written notes in recent weeks to recognize the authentic thing. He also knew when it was urgent. The content only solidified the letter's importance.
When Ahamo saw the letter, his first reaction was to run off to his youngest daughter's rescue. He quickly curbed it. He was needed elsewhere first. The Queen, upon seeing the letter, put her best available advisors to work and had a finished product ready within the hour. She also commended Jeb on his fortunate discovery and allowed him to go where he felt most needed.
Ahamo, Jeb, and a courier arrived at Finaqua less than twelve hours after the start of the Rebellion siege. They barely avoided capture, mainly due to Jeb's quick thinking. The courier was sent through loudly proclaiming that he had "a letter to deliver to the princess. And please, don't shoot me. I'll leave at once." The letter was, of course, a decoy as the real news was smuggled in by Ahamo under the guise of being a Rebellion soldier. He and Jeb had little difficulty dispatching of one of the outer guard. Jeb himself remained hidden so as to plot from the outside and provide a distraction as necessary.
Azkadellia paced the foyer. Her father had just arrived and gotten past the guards through as much luck as cunning from the sound of it. He did not bear good news. The courier had appeared moments before with "official" documents which were not so official so much as court gossip. Ahamo quickly dismissed the man who was more than happy to return to a safer locale.
Ahamo and Glitch were arguing over who should be in charge of what when she finally turned her attention to them.
"I can't get through them," Glitch said. "They'll recognize me. You've been through once, Ahamo. You should go."
"Ambrose, Cain requested you specifically. Might I remind you I barely made it through the first time. I can't risk exposing myself to them again. Besides, you are an Official of the court. They'll know me immediately if I come to DG's rescue, where, once again, I risk being taken myself."
Glitch began muttering something about spatial dynamics or some such other nonsense that Azkadellia and Ahamo didn't understand.
"Ambrose, do it for me," Azkadellia finally said.
"Yes, of course, Doll. Anything for you," he said halfway through a sentence on how the ratio of apples to oranges in the OZ was like stars to galaxies. He obviously hadn't been on the same wavelength. He looked up. "Oh no. I'm not going out there. They have guns and," he waved his hand, "other things."
The royal family members looked expectantly at him. Glitch sighed in defeat.
"I'll get you out," Ahamo said. "Let's just hope the messenger got the note to our man on the outside."
It was Azkadellia's turn to look baffled. "I'm sorry, Father?"
"I failed to mention Jeb Cain was in our little party. He's working from the outside. He'll create a distraction for us when we need it, which, of course, means that we'll have to get Ambrose ready immediately."
"I'd like a day. A week. Next month?" Glitch allowed himself to be dragged to the door, but just out of sight of the Rebel soldiers loitering in plain view on the grounds. Ahamo handed over the appropriate paperwork. It was put into a small sack which was slung over Glitch's head and shoulder, then tucked under his coat.
"Lose that and it's over. Instructions are inside once you get clear. And do not waste time. If you're too late you will never have a happy ending. Unfortunately, neither will Az," Ahamo said. Glitch nodded and glanced at Azkadellia. She kissed her palm and blew. Glitch was sure his lips tingled. He smiled and returned the gesture.
Ahamo placed himself in the doorway and made a series of sharp whistles. Several explosions around the perimeter sent the Rebellion guards for cover. Ahamo gave Glitch a good shove sending him on his way. Instinct kicked in as Glitch ducked and covered and dived through the chaos. As he went out, Jeb came in.
Ahamo and Azkadellia retreated into the estate. Jeb just squeaked in as Ahamo slammed the front door.
"Good work, son. Nearly as good as your old man," Ahamo said with a clap on Jeb's back.
"I'm better and you know it, Sir," Jeb said panting for air from his sprint. He was all smiles though. "I got a good look around as I set those up. I have some ideas."
"Coming, Az, darling?" Ahamo said.
Azkadellia was looking over the route Glitch had taken. "Yes. I was just thinking that Ambrose must be safely away now."
"No doubt he is. None at all." She let her father lead her away to help make battle plans. The maze was, no doubt, guarded which is why they hadn't considered it for the little trip in and out with Ambrose, but the lakes certainly had some possibilities for later attacks. Also, Jeb had just proven one could get in or out if the need arose or if the siege were to last longer than any of those inside hoped it would. Azkadellia was getting a few ideas of her own, and she was sure Aron would have a few himself. Despite Glitch leaving and the news of her sister's capture, Azkadellia was feeling better about the day already.
TBC . . .
A/N: Okay, I know this was short. I needed to get a few people to their proper places. The next chapter is one of my longest, so you have that to look forward to. I hope to get the rest of the story up in the next couple of weeks. It all depends on how busy I get. Thanks to all my wonderful reviewers and readers. Keep it up!