A/N: I wrote this cuz my friend hannahsakura2010 practically threatened to kill me if I didn't update. She's deadly people. Fear her! *shudders*


Chapter 2

The clock was ticking. The King's Clock was ticking. That meant the King was nearby!

"Gather the guards. No one comes in or out of the city. If the King is here, we have to find him." No one moved. "Now!"

And immediately, the world leapt into motion. The servants raced off to get captain of the guards leaving the Jack to pick up the King's Clock and turn around. Only to come face to face with a Ranger.

"Sir."

"Is it true? Is it ticking?"

Yao nodded. " It is."

The Ranger tilted his hooded head forward. "Then you have our help. What do you need?"

Taking a deep breath in relief, Yao replied, "Help lock down the city. We don't need a panic, but we know the King is here. We have to find him while the window is open. If he gets away, we may never have a chance to find him again."

The Ranger nodded. "Consider it done."

As he turned to go, Yao called, "And Ranger, thank you."

"You're welcome, Jack."

And the Ranger was gone.


"Hurry, brother."

The gunmage picked up his speed at his brother's warning. He was very aware of the security in the Capital. He also knew the myths of the Rangers. He knew he had to get to the nearest port. If they got close enough, then they could snag a Sparrow then they could escape easily. No one questioned a Sparrow taking off from a port.

Then the bell began tolling and suddenly a Sparrow was looking more and more important. He tightened high grip on his brother's hand and began running. He may not know what the bell was ringing for, but he did know the bell never rang unless it was something important.

Which meant those guards were probably still after him despite what the Jack said. His brother told him there was strife in Spades due to the lack of a Full House. But he never thought the guards would openly go against the Jack's orders.

Unless it wasn't the guards.

His feet began moving a little bit faster.


When they finally made it to the port, Matthew was gasping for breath and his wrist was definitely bruised from his brother's tight grip. But he wouldn't bring that up. Instead he just tried to catch his breath and take advantage of the rest while it lasted.

He glanced up and saw Alfred's gaze darting back and forth obviously looking for something. "Al?" he gasped.

"Sparrow. See any?"

Straightening, he looked around. Ten ships still docked, three coming in, seven leaving, and thirteen Sparrows darting around in the skies around. But none on the ground that he could see. But there were soldiers everywhere. More then usual.

"Al," he whispered, "we need to leave. Now."

And then he was being pulled again. First gently, as they weaved casually through the crowd. Then when a cry rang out, they were running full speed again. And still no Sparrows. And were the shadows moving or...

Rangers.

They were surrounded.

A sharp, high pitched shriek echoed over the port, and Lady swooped down over the two Rangers standing around them to land on Alfred's outstretched arm. She was young and free willed, but loyal to a fault. He positioned himself against Alfred's back so they each faced a Ranger.

"Anything?" Alfred whispered.

"Nothing," he whispered back.

"What do you want?" Alfred, ever the leader, demanded. Lady adjusted her footing on his brother's arm.

The Ranger facing Alfred tilted his head. "No one is allowed to leave to the city until the Jack says so."

"He's gone back on his word then?"

"Brother!" Matthew admonished.

The Ranger raised his hood just enough to show his face. He was middle aged, handsome like a rugged mountainside, and his light brown hair had hints of grey in it. "The King's Clock is ticking."

"The King is here?!" Matthew cried, turning to face the first Ranger over Alfred's shoulder.

"Indeed, Truthseer." Matthew ducked his head. "No harm is meant and no harm will be done, you have my word. As soon as the King is found, everyone is free to return to their duties."

"We ain't from Spades."

There was a moment of silence, and then the first Ranger nodded. "And how do we know what you say is true?"

Alfred looked at his brother. Matthew glanced at the Ranger before meeting his brother's eyes again. A short shake of his head was enough.

"We'll stay. As long as you c'n promise us we'll stay t'gether."

The Ranger nodded. "I can promise that."

"The bird too."

The Ranger stared at the bird then back at Alfred. "The bird too. And if I may, what kind of bird is he?"

"She is a bald eagle," Alfred said and Lady flapped her wings to maintain her balance.

The Ranger tilted his head curiously. "I though bald eagles had white feathers on their heads and tails."

"Adults do," Matthew corrected. "She's a juvenile."

The Ranger nodded. "Well then, gentlemen. Welcome to Spades."


Yao rushed through the city the King's Clock clenched tightly in his hands. The King was here, in the Capital. And the Jack was getting closer and closer to finding him. The second hand continued to tick away but the hour hand tilted slightly to the right, towards the port. The minute hand remain stationary.

He didn't bother to alert his guards to follow him, instead choosing to race ahead. Hopefully the Rangers had taken care of stopping port traffic, otherwise the King may already be gone. That couldn't happen. Spades needed her King. And the Jack needed help.

The hour hand was beginning to move ever so slightly, adjusting the King's location to a more specific point as he neared the King's vicinity. When he finally reached the port, he made a sharp right so his body aligned itself with the hour hand and began moving, slowly down the boardwalk.

With his eyes so incredibly focused on the hour hand, he noticed the instant the hand began to tilt to the right. He took another step and the hour hand jumped further right and he looked up. The only people in the immediate vicinity of the hour hand were the same two youths who broke into the North Oval.

He stepped toward them and studied the hour hand carefully. He turned to the person it indicated and looked up to meet wary blue eyes. "My King," he said, kneeling before the startled youth and presenting the King's Clock to him.

When nothing happened, Yao looked back up and was surprised to see...nothing. The two boys and the bird were gone. The King was gone!

But how?