Scarlet Shadow: A Scepter Full of Trouble - Part Four
Scarlet hopped off the platform and onto the dance floor. None of the attacking thieves were of Kanrik’s guild! This could NOT be good. Scarlet began to panic. Who were these thieves?! Where were Kanrik and HIS thieves?!
Scarlet took a deep breath. This was no time to panic. She turned to the two kings and was surprised to find them... arguing? “Didn’t I tell you we needed more men?!” Hagan scolded.
“You know I put every available knight on this!” Skarl countered.
Scarlet couldn’t resist, it was just too much. She walked over to them. “My Lords, if I may; the castle is under attack,” Scarlet said sweetly. The effect on the kings’ faces was hysterical. They both looked thunderstruck and were obviously not expecting anyone to address them in that manner. “I believe we should get the two of you to safety.”
The kings shook their heads, and Scarlet took them to one of the hallways. “Please stay here!” she said as she began walking off.
“Wait!” Hagan cried out. Scarlet turned around. “You should stay here. You may get killed if you leave!”
“I can’t let the King’s Scepter fall into a thief’s hands,” Scarlet stated, bending down and grabbing the dagger she had fastened to her ankle. Of course, she meant a thief that WASN’T part of Kanrik’s guild.
The two kings stood there, astounded and curious as to why a mere noble would bring a dagger to a ball. “Do you know how to handle swords?” Skarl asked just as Scarlet was about to leave.
“Yes, I do, my Lord, now, if you don’t mind, I have to...”
“Wait,” Skarl said, cutting Scarlet off and racing over to one of the rooms. Scarlet just stood there, waiting. As the seconds passed, she felt as if she had been standing there for hours. She finally turned around and was about to run when a strong hand pulled her back. King Skarl stood there with a pair of beautiful silver butterfly swords. When put together, one could see clearly a beautiful poem engraved vertically in gold on their blades:
Someone true need not fear,
Not while happiness is near,
Someone kind need not weep,
For friendships he will keep,
Someone brave need not cower,
For he never will evil devour.
“Thanks,” Scarlet said, dropping her dagger as she took the swords and ran back to the ball room. She looked around. What she saw didn’t surprise her. All the nobles were scrambled and the thieves were scattered everywhere. “I hate a messy job,” she criticized.
“What was that?” a voice echoed. Scarlet turned around. Towering almost two feet above her was a HUGE green Kougra. He pointed a dagger at Scarlet’s throat. “Looks like the little princess needs to be put in her place.”
Scarlet growled. “Don’t call me princess!!!” she yelled, bending down and with one swift motion, tripping him. She quickly thumped his head with the hilt of one of the swords, knocking him out cold.
Scarlet quickly turned to the direction of the voice. A purple Grarrl watched her smugly. Scarlet almost dropped her swords. There, standing right in front of her, was Galem. “Very impressive indeed,” he said, watching the Lupess’ reaction.
“G-Galem?!” Scarlet stuttered. It couldn’t be! He disappeared over a year back!
“I see you know me,” Galem said, grinning evilly. “I’m here to make my comeback...” He turned his back on Scarlet. “And a great comeback it shall be!”
In that instant, Scarlet broke the most important rule she had learned as a thief: NEVER let your guard down. Galem spun around and surged his dagger forward. Scarlet hung back, dropping the swords and gripping the left side of her waist. Slowly lifting her head, Scarlet caught a glimpse of Jeran fighting off Galem’s thieves. Jeran looked at her, his eyes portraying worry.
Suddenly, a dagger’s hilt flew down on the blue Lupe’s head. Galem grinned as Meridell’s Champion fell before him. He pointed his dagger down, ready to deliver the final blow. Another dagger flew in from out of the blue, hitting the hilt of Galem’s dagger, causing the Grarrl to dropped the blade, drawing his hand back in pain.
He turned about, his eyes burning with fury. Scarlet stood there, her two swords planted on the ground next to her. A smug expression adorned her face. Galem snapped his fingers. Two thieves grabbed Scarlet by her arms. “I have to admit, you remind me of a certain thief I used to know,” Galem said, grinning as Scarlet winced due to the tightening grip of his thieves. “Of course, she would never allow herself to be caught in a predicament like this.”
Scarlet knew better than to respond. Galem was obviously baiting her, but why? Galem scowled, turning his back. “Maybe for once Kanrik was telling the truth,” he said. “Maybe Scarlet is dead. Leave her. She won’t be any more trouble, not with that gash.”
Scarlet was surprised. Galem DIDN’T recognize her! It was then she remembered that shortly before the Bringer of Night’s attack on the thieves’ camp, she had wandered some way off and had gotten lost. She came back hours later to find the thieves fleeing out the mouth of a giant cave. Seeing how no one was telling her what was going on, she just followed the others. It was hours later that she learned what had happened. At that time, she was still a red Lupe.
The two thieves released Scarlet’s arms. By now, the throbbing was nearly unbearable. Scarlet dropped to the ground, curling up in pain. A thought suddenly struck her. Galem said it was Kanrik who told him she was dead. That meant he had captured Kanrik and probably all the other thieves as well! This worried her greatly. She knew Kanrik could escape from any knot and pick any lock. “So why hasn’t he arrived?” Scarlet wondered. A thought crossed her mind - a horribly painful thought that stabbed her harder than any dagger could. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Scarlet’s head lifted. As her eyes opened, they glowed a deep indigo, so deep they seemed pitch black. The tears that fell to the ground were like acid, burning away at the marble floor. Scarlet no longer felt the pain. She was concentrated on nothing but keeping Galem from obtaining the scepter. She stood up, her body surrounded by a pitch black glow. She turned toward the scepter’s pedestal, ignoring the stares and gasps...
Galem watched the Lupess. He was stabbed by an unbearable numbness - one that kept him from fleeing even when every nerve in his body screamed for him to do so... He was afraid. The Lupess may not have been Scarlet, but she was more powerful than he could ever have imagined. Galem raced for the scepter, pushing through everyone he met. Grabbing the precious treasure, he quickly ran toward one of the halls.
Scarlet ran forward, stopping at entrance to the hall. She felt the anger, the hurt; all those dark feelings lurched forward in the form of an energy blast, seeming to dwarf the burst of shadows she had done the night before. The blast shot into the hall. Suddenly, a strong sense of exhaustion surged through Scarlet’s body. She dropped to the ground, unconscious...
Scarlet’s eyes fluttered open. “What happened?” she asked herself. She turned her head around, trying to see where she was. It looked somewhat like a large room. Scarlet lay in a queen-sized bed with red drapes hanging loosely on either side of the four-poster bed stand. “Where am I?” she asked, speaking to no one in particular.
“Well, now, look who’s awake!” Scarlet tried to see where the voice was coming from, but failed in doing so.
A tall, yellow Lupe appeared beside her. “You gave us quite a scare!” he said, taking a seat beside the bed. “You know, you really saved the day.”
“Thanks, but what happened exactly?” Scarlet asked, suddenly feeling her whole body ache.
“You mean you don’t remember?” the Lupe asked, concern filling his voice.
“Don’t remember what?” Scarlet replied, straining brain cells to remember. “I came here to do something, but I forgot what it was...”
“Is she awake yet?” a familiar voice asked. That one voice triggered Scarlet’s memories to resurface. She was here to keep everyone occupied in order for Kanrik and his men to attack the castle. A bunch of thieves attacked, Galem was alive...
“What happened to Galem?” she asked, turning her head to face Jeran.
“We couldn’t find him, so it’s still possible that he’s alive,” Jeran said, taking a seat next to Tor. “Although, we were able to capture the rest of them.”
“And the scepter?” Scarlet asked anxiously.
“We couldn’t find that either,” Jeran replied.
“Oh,” Scarlet said, mentally kicking herself for destroying it. “I have to get back to, um, my mansion. You know, duties and all.”
“Nice try,” Tor said, eying Scarlet. “Your invitation was a forgery and we know you aren’t a noble.”
“Ok, you caught me,” Scarlet said, pouting. “I’m not a noble, but I AM part of a rich family.”
“That’s likely,” Tor said doubtfully. “Since you have committed this crime, you will have to live under house arrest for a month.”
“Tor, is that really necessary?” Jeran, who obviously hadn’t been informed of the arrest, asked.
“There’s no getting out of it,” Tor replied. “The judge said that either she agrees to be held in house arrest, or she goes to jail.”
“Jail,” Scarlet stated quickly. If she had to go into house arrest, they would ask her where she lived, and she couldn’t just waltz up to the hideout with two knights!
“Nonsense!” a deep voice bellowed. King Skarl, who had just entered the room, stepped up to the two knights, giving them a look. He turned to Scarlet. “As king of this land, I thank you for saving me and my brother in the midst of the battle,” he stated, giving Scarlet a wink. “I therefore decree that your punishment shall be lightened to a month of...” The king thought for some time before continuing, “playing the harp at every formal event!”
Scarlet breathed a sigh of relief. “Just don’t do it again,” King Skarl added. “You will have to stay here, though, so you need to write a letter to your family.”
“I don’t have a family,” Scarlet stated simply, as though she didn’t care at all. The king merely nodded.
The month that followed Scarlet’s recovery was quite amazing. King Skarl insisted on her being shown the whole kingdom, along with a couple of Brightvale spots as well. It was quite strange being in Meridell and not having to worry about guards, knights, or anything else for that matter. In fact, Scarlet was almost... sad to go.
Scarlet looked at herself in the mirror. She was in a purple sun dress and a small necklace adorned her neck. The necklace had been a gift from Lisha, and the dress was from the king. She sighed as she watched her now amethyst colored eyes turn back to a deep indigo. For some reason, that always happened when she was upset. Pushing the thought from her mind, she quickly fastened a lavender bonnet to her head and walked out.
“I’ll see you guys soon,” Scarlet said as she boarded the carriage. Tor, Lisha, and Jeran were there to lead her off.
“Yeah, you be careful now!” Lisha said, handing Scarlet a book. “A little going away present...”
“Thanks, Lisha,” she said, taking the book from the Aisha’s hand.
“Well, I’ll see you soon, Princess,” Jeran teased. He had somehow been able to figure out what annoyed Scarlet the most.
“Yeah, sure!” Scarlet replied, giving him a punch.
“You be sure to visit,” Tor said, handing the Lupess another book. “All the rules of the kingdom, including not sneaking into a ball.”
“Either you’re trying to keep me out of trouble, or you’re just trying to annoy me,” Scarlet stated, giving Tor a look.
“Probably... both.” Scarlet giggled slightly.
“Good-bye!” she said, seating herself in the carriage and waving a heartfelt good-bye to the trio. A small tear ran down Scarlet’s cheek as she looked away. “Good-bye,” she whispered softly, knowing the next time she’d see the two knights, it would be in combat.
“Kanrik?!” Scarlet screamed. She had just arrived at the guild. Seeing how she had changed to her normal blouse and capris at the village, no one really noticed her. Whilst walking through the crowd, she had noticed a blue Gelert’s figure amongst the thieves. Not being able to control herself, Scarlet shouted Kanrik’s name.
“Scarlet?!” Kanrik exclaimed. Scarlet ran over to him. “I thought you...”
“Well, it seems we both thought the same things then!” Scarlet replied, already bursting with questions, all of which Kanrik answered.
“Alright, so, let me get this straight...” she said, running the information Kanrik had given her through her head, “You escaped an hour after they tied you up...” Kanrik nodded as the Lupess continued, “you then ran in to find me, but instead found the scepter, continued searching with no luck, then... gave up?”
“That’s it in a nutshell,” Kanrik declared. “And from what you’ve told me, I understand that you have been living the life of luxury at the palace. Am I correct?”
A small burst of color flooded Scarlet’s cheeks. “Yeah,” Scarlet replied, quickly changing the subject. “I guess we’ll be selling the scepter soon.”
“Actually, I’ve decided to keep the scepter,” Kanrik said with a smirk. As he said this, Scarlet noticed a small, red gleam in his eyes. She decided to ignore this, a mistake she would come to regret...
Author’s note: Wow, after almost a whole year, I finally got something in. This story was originally done last year. It was erased by accident and I had to start from scratch even though we were able to recover most of the original document. Oh, and don’t worry, there’ll be more to come!!