ARC 2 - Chapter : The Master Plan
Once Tucker’s blinding light effect wore off, the stage was set. Kiara struggled to no avail against J.D.’s grasp while Gray started to demand what was going on when his eyes locked onto Tucker’s sword and he gulped.
“Let me go!” said Kiara, kicking and doing anything she could to get free. “You have no right to lay your hands on me! Let me go!”
“I’d keep my voice down if I were you,” said Tucker. “You don’t want your mother to know about your dirty dealings, do you? It’s a quiet night. It would be all too easy to alert the rest of the house that something is going on out here and then there would really be a show.”
Kiara stopped her struggling and glared at Tucker.
“After all,” he continued. “I still don’t know everything that’s happening here, and judging from the secrecy and what I’ve overheard so far, your mother and father don’t know the whole story either.”
Unexpectedly, Kiara lashed out angrily.
“They think they are controlling me, making me miserable! Don’t make me laugh. It will take a lot more than banishing me to my room and ruining my social life to get me to give in and do whatever they want me to.”
Tucker couldn’t keep the sour expression from his face.
“You call that a room?” he said. “It’s more like a dumping ground from what I saw. How you could even live in a place like that is beyond me!”
“So you went in my room!”
“Why do you think we were called here? Of course we went in your room. All points were aimed at you, after all.”
“But Mother said that I would be kept out of this entire affair!”
“Yeah, well, that was before we figured out how involved you were. To be fair, it was a pretty good cover, saying that you were sick. The Lady was probably hoping that the mention of sickness would keep us away. I honestly would have normally done just that because nobody wants to catch a disease that has been supposedly plaguing a wealthy girl for weeks. But, you blew that cover by roaming around the mansion after dark.”
Tucker nodded and added, “I spotted you on the very first night. Observing us from the balcony by your bedroom.”
Kiara groaned. “I was curious who had been allowed inside the house so late.” She sounded more and more like a little kid as the confrontation went on.
“Let me guess,” said J.D. “You were hoping that we were actually this guy right here, checking on you?” He nodded at Gray.
The man scowled.
“You would do well to let me go,” he demanded. With every word he said, his crazily bright teeth snapped like a vicious dog. “I am a very important person in this town, and if I am unjustly accused of wrongdoing it will reflect badly on the two of you.”
“Oh, that’s ambitious!” laughed Tucker. “A wealthy person using their position to make other people turn a blind eye. Haven’t seen that before!” He pressed the sharp, cold edge of the sword closer to Gray’s neck. “I would be careful not to abuse my power if I were you, Mr. Fielding. I have all the evidence I need to convict you two - and it’s written in your own hand. I also have a sword at your neck, so if you don’t want an extra mouth, I suggest you keep your first one shut and come with us quietly.”
Gray’s eyes narrowed.
“Your odds are not so good,” he said, his eyes darting to both of his helpers. “I have two extra bodies while you only have the two of yourselves. We can take you down easily.”
“I’d like to see that,” said Tucker. “Please, humor me. Two men with tiny daggers are hardly a tough match for me and my partner. Besides, if you try anything, we could easily get away with Kiara alone and drag her in front of her mother to answer everything.”
“She won’t talk,” said Gray. “You think we don’t have a backup plan? There are plenty of explanations for this! My two men are paid well. They are willing to take the fall for this. All it will take is Kiara giving one good scream and the rest of the house will be out here to see that we were merely meeting in secret because it’s torture to be away from one another, and we just so happened to get caught up in this whole debacle. Nameless men stealing the spoils of the Thorne household because they are in need of easy money.” He gave Tucker a self-congratulatory smile. “Makes perfect sense. And after all, who do you think that Lady Thorne is going to believe? You two hired investigators? Or her own flesh and blood? My bet is on the latter.”
Tucker wasn’t giving up so easily, but it was clear that Gray had a point. The man wasn’t stupid. When everything came down to the wire, most parents were willing - and programmed - to overlook their children’s shortcomings and do their best to blame anyone else for wrong-doing. What if Gray was right and Lady Thorne sided with her daughter? It would mean the end of this job and probably no payment. He was envisioning the two of them telling Lady Thorne their suspicions and the woman refusing their explanation. Would they be laughed out of the estate?
No, he told himself. They had more evidence than the simple crying of a spoiled and defiant daughter. There were the letters back in Kiara’s writing desk. He was hitting himself for not just keeping one of the incriminating correspondences, but that just meant he needed to bring Kiara and Gray in front of Lady Thorne and keep them from destroying all the evidence and going with their initial backup plan of pleading innocent.
If this is going to be a fight, thought Tucker, then so be it. The job sounded easier back when he thought that it was an animal getting into the greenhouse. Animals were simple and followed patterns. People like Gray and Kiara, however, were unpredictable and crafty.
This battle would take concentration. And a few other tricks up Tucker’s sleeve.
“Don’t tempt me,” he warned. “I’m a Mage and I will make things tough for you if you don’t come quietly.”
“We won’t!” Gray looked like he was struck with amused disbelief. “Didn’t you hear what I just said? We will not be going anywhere with you! We are innocent, dammit!”
“I admire your dedication, but we all know that’s not true. I am giving you one last chance before I have to fight you. Come quietly and nobody gets injured.”
Gray wasn’t having any bargains. He snarled.
“You underestimate us,” he said. His eyes flickered. “We aren’t simple thieves. I’m warning you. Let us go, or it will be you who pays. We have a lot of people supporting us. You’d do well to keep your noses out of our business. Just tell Lady Thorne that you can’t finish the job and cut your losses. I might even pay you a bit of this bounty if you agree.”
Tucker gritted his teeth. Gray was a scoundrel to the end it seemed.
“If this is the way it’s going to be, then fine.”
With a quick squeeze of his hand around the staff handle, Tucker summoned some of his mana and sent a blast of icy Frostbite at the henchman that he was keeping at bay. The attack collided with the man’s boots and frothed like a miniature winter storm until the man’s legs, below his knees, were encased in shining crystalline ice.
The man’s cry was filled with shock and pain at the sudden biting cold encasing his body. He wasn’t the only one to cry out, however. The other henchman standing near J.D. hollered and jumped back, clearing J.D.’s sword and rebounding so that he could lunge at Tucker.
So it begins, thought Tucker. He hoped that the two of them together were good enough to go up against this crew of thieves.
Bio: I have been a writer pretty much from the time I could hold a pencil and scribble letters. I am looking to develop my craft and better my storytelling. I am a huge fan of fantasy and horror in all their incarnations. When I'm not reading, I'm usually hunting for Legos. You can find me trying to decipher the mini-figure blind bags at the local big-box store.