If you missed the first two parts in the story, you can click to the left on part one and two and then return here, Or here’s a quick run down.
Menna spies on Duke Milens, who killed the king and is now trying to take the throne, and finds out the Duke has yet to pay the assassin, Lord Sheruk. She was caught spying and Lord Gered saves her from being captured. (He was sent by Menna’s maid, Hilga). This part opens on Menna and Gered arriving back at where Hilga and Princess Cicyllia are waiting.
And now for the end of the story. Enjoy=)
Remain Unseen Part Three
“Ah, Gered,” Hilga greeted Menna’s companion with a giant hug.
Menna scowled at the woman. “Didn’t trust me?”
“My Lady, I trust you implicitly. I just like to have backup plans, which, judging from Gered’s presence, was fortunate this evening.”
Menna snorted. Gered’s escape had involved rappelling down the tower until they reached a lower floor. Then entering the palace through a window and using the tunnels from there. She was still reeling from the crazy decent.
“Gered?” Menna asked, “Lord Gered Monter?”
He swept her an accomplished bow. She blushed horribly. Of all people to see her inept moment, it had to be the man who led the king’s elite force.
“Never thought I’d see a Lady climb better than my men,” he grinned at her.
“Hate heights,” she muttered.
“Never would’ve guessed.”
Oh… She bit her tongue before she said something truly embarrassing. He’d already heard her squawk when they repeled.
“I’ve got an idea,” she turned away from them and joined Princess Cicyllia in front of the tent the Princess slept in.
“Heard something useful?” Hope filled the Princess’ eyes.
“I did. Lord Sheruk provided the poison that killed your father and he hasn’t been paid for the service. He’s supposed to meet the Duke tomorrow night but I’m thinking we confront Sheruk first…”
Hilga and Gered joined them as she outlined her plan.
Lord Sheruk loved his brandy. It was a well known fact, he usually took a glass into his study every evening after supper to enjoy an hour to himself.
Menna shifted to the right on her perch and carefully let down the filament overtop the man’s glass. He was staring out the window and his glass sat lightly in his hand on the arm of his chair.
When the filament was close enough, she squeezed a few drops onto the tiny fiber from her necklace. It wasn’t Mettadon this time but something Hilga said would paralyze. Hilga was turning into a wealth of knowledge about such things. It was a bit disturbing but Menna didn’t question her. She was just glade the woman was on their side.
Lord Sheruk took a drink and the first drop hit the arm of his chair. Menna winced. She shifted the filament to the right just a tinch as he rested his glass again.
Several drops hit the brandy. It was enough. Menna pulled up the filament and waited. Her part was done for now.
Sheruk took a sip and picked up a book he’d had resting on his knee. Another sip. He set his glass down to turn a page and then picked it back up to rest on the arm of the chair.
The book tilted and then thumped to the floor. Lord Sheruk’s head tilted as well. His lips worked soundlessly. Menna frowned. The drug shouldn’t affect his ability to speak. They needed him to be able to converse.
A curse whispered from his lips just as the door opened and Gered slipped into the study.
“Lord Sheruk, I’m not sure we’ve met,” he moved a chair over so he could sit in Sheruk’s line of sight.
“No,” Sheruk whispered.
“Then let me introduce myself. I’m the man hired to kill you.”
Another whispered curse.
“Yes, I could kill you and be paid by the end of the night but I’ve a problem, what’s to say Duke Milens doesn’t betray me like he’s betraying you? Plus, I kinda like the Princess. She hires an assassin, she pays up front. It’s just better for business.”
“True,” Sheruk agreed. His voice, although slow as always, came out stronger than before. Hilga warned the paralytic wouldn’t last long.
“So I’ve a proposal. I’m assuming, one assassin to another, that you used Cerroline on the King, which, as we both know, leaves a slight discoloration under the eye lids. Hard to detect but not impossible. How about, at the coronation, you reveal the Duke’s darker side. The healers who examined him after death can confirm the discoloration. They just didn’t know what caused it.”
Sheruk’s jaw worked as he eyed Gered. “You’ll kill me if I don’t agree?”
Gered gave his lopsided grin. It was far more appealing when it wasn’t aimed at her in derision.
“Yes. And keep in mind, you’ve never met me before because I’m good at what I do. I can kill you at the coronation just as easily as I can kill you now, if you decide to… renege on our agreement.”
Don’t call the bluff. Menna watched the play of thought through Sheruk’s eyes. He was far smarter than she ever gave him credit for.
“You’ve a deal,” he said.
The Duke got his wish. The hall was packed for the coronation. Menna watched from a tunnel in the wall behind the throne.
Lord Gered Monter had pulled his weight for this. He’d brought in his men, anticipating the Duke running when Sheruk confronted him. Gered stationed his men at all the doors as commoners. Menna kinda hoped Milens ran. She’d love to see him taken down in front of everyone.
A pounding sounded and the hall quieted as Duke Milens appeared at the door to the hall. A red carpet led the way to the throne, where the magister stood with a girl at his side who held the crown.
He made his way to the front, his head high and his shoulders back.
The magister started, intoning the ceremonial words. He droned on about duty and justice and…
Bla, bla, bla. Come on, come on.
Menna leaned closer as the magister asked, “do the Lords find this man, Duke Milens, worthy to be their King?”
She’d never heard of a time the Lords said no. There was a chorus of ‘aye’ and the Magister turned to lift the crown.
What? Where’s Sheruk?
“I do not find him worthy.” The words were slow but clear. The hall gasped.
The Duke spun. “You!?”
“The Duke hired…”
He didn’t head for any of the doors, however. He darted around the throne to duck behind a yellow banner on the wall.
Menna heard a scrapping and then light filtered into her tunnel. Another entrance? It had to be. She’d never tried to get into the tunnels from the throne room, so she’d never really looked for such an entrance.
The scrapping came again and her tunnel went dark.
He’ll get away.
None of Gered’s men were stationed in the tunnels. The Duke had free reign of the passages to escape.
Menna scootched out of her little cubby and crawled until she reached the larger tunnel Milens had just passed through. Then she ran after him. His pounding feet thumped in the hall ahead. Turning a corner, she spotted his back as his cape flared behind him.
She darted into a side passage and turned right, then left and came out in front of him. Pulling a dagger, she sucked herself tight against the wall and listened to the Duke’s pounding feet.
He whooshed past her and she swung. The butt of her dagger made a satisfying thwap against the back of his head. He went down on his face and didn’t move.
“Smooth,” said a voice.
Menna grinned, “I do what I can.”
Gered nudged the Duke with a toe. “That’s gonna leave one splendid headache.”
Menna shared a lopsided grin with him. “So we’ve got a room full of people, think we can coronate a Queen?”
Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,
P.S. I love feedback, so if anyone has suggestions, questions, or comments on what they like or what doesn’t seem to work, please let me know. Just be gentle to my poor thin skinned feelings. Thanks.