The Treasured Diary: Part Seven
Remmy and the fire Kougra sat inside the dark library
speaking in whispers. King Frayinth sat behind them, still bound to his own
chair. Dark circles hung under his eyes, but his exhaustion had no effect on
their penetrating stare. The Fire Kougra found that he could no longer look
in the direction of the tied King without feeling himself shiver to his very
"Sir, we've raised the price on Prince Fenmere's
head to 500,000 neopoints. Every pick pocket and mass murderer in Neopia is
looking for him right now."
The blue Quiggle clenched his fist.
"And they still haven't found him."
"It's only a matter of time, sir."
"Time!" Remmy snapped before regaining his composure,
"we don't have any time! Do you honestly think those maggoty, rotten hearted
Paladins haven't heard about this mishap? That they're just sitting around twiddling
their thumbs, completely unaware that the Treasured Diary they've been searching
for is within their grasp? I'm almost certain that they have something to do
with this conspiracy."
The Kougra swallowed hard. "The thought had
occurred to me…"
"There's some good news," Remmy grumbled
sarcastically. His usually impeccable black suit now looked worn and wrinkled.
His eyes were red and bloodshot.
"But I do have an idea, sir," said the Kougra
hesitantly. He reached into his pockets and pulled out a yellowed flyer.
Remmy snatched it and stared down at the smug
little grin of a royal Gelert. Above it read "WANTED" in big bold letters.
"For involvement in the disappearance of the
Good King Frayinth," Remmy read aloud with an evil grin. He clapped the Kougra
on the back.
"Excellent work, James!" He stood up, seemingly
filled with new excitement. "Now we can get the honorable law enforcers involved
along with the dishonorable ones."
"They'll come to search the palace, sir."
"Oh yes, I'm sure of it."
"Then what will we do with the King?"
"Well, first I'll give my testimony as the innocent
butler, heartbroken at the horrific act that took place between father and son.
Then we'll do just as the 'Wanted' poster says," Remmy grinned, turning to Frayinth.
He held a long piece of cloth, preparing to tie it round the royal Kougra's
mouth, "and make the King disappear."
Fenmere was sitting in his library; right in
the soft cushioned armchair before a warm crackling fire.
The enormous portrait was staring down at him,
the one with his father and mother, the royal Gelert he'd never known, in a
resplendent golden dress holding a tiny Fenmere in her arms. He squeezed the
velvet cushions only to find a handful of straw in his paws…
"Dreaming of better places than here, I assume?"
asked the red Draik in the corner of the small brown servant's thatch.
Fenmere sat up on his straw bed and found that
he'd been pulling it to pieces in his sleep. "You have no idea."
He was back on Lord Cyril's manor, dressed in
peasant's clothes and hiding from a secret society that wanted to kill him.
The tomb of Henry Delore came rushing back to him and for one terrifying moment
he was falling and drowning all over again.
"I suppose I'm still alive then?" he said to
Jase, who was looking at the ceiling intently with his usual sense of indifference
"That or this is one sorry load of an afterlife."
Fenmere looked around him and noticed that they
were alone in the bare thatch.
"Where is everyone?" he asked.
"Lord Cyril is busy keeping up appearances,
attending parties and making sure the manor is in order," replied the Draik
with a bored tone. "People have become a bit suspicious, what with his sudden
disappearances at all hours."
"And the others?"
"Should be arriving at any moment," he said,
reaching into his pockets and pulling out a long silver chain. "Hayden asked
that I give this to you."
He dropped the chain in Fenmere's palm. On the
end dangled a small silver charm. It was an open book. He knew what it meant,
it was the symbol of the Paladins of Strain; a visual interpretation of their
belief that Queen Arin's ancient Treasured Diary should be read.
A small note was tied around the chain. Fenmere opened
it and read in silence:
"You were by our side as we walked with Death,
So death we shall face for you."
His heart lurched. They had made him part of
their brotherhood. They would die for him. But would he really do the same?
He'd only become a part of this by accident, the chance discovery of some secret
passageway and an old book.
A knock sounded at the door, loud and intrusive.
Jase stood slowly with a puzzled expression
on his face. He obviously wasn't expecting any visitors.
Hide, he mouthed.
Fenmere quickly slipped the necklace over his
head and tucked it into his coarse shirt before diving behind the straw bed.
He peeked over the edge to see what was going on.
"Who is-?" Jase opened the door and his face
twisted in disgust. A tall, muscled yellow Lupe pushed him aside and walked
through the doorway with a white Cybunny and brown Techo following behind him.
The Lupe was dressed in a rich blue, tailored to fit with a high collar. He
looked around the room with almond shaped amber eyes that seemed to take in
every detail around him.
Jase crossed his arms and fixed an annoyed stare
on the Lupe. "Can I help you, Jay?"
Jay turned, hands in his pockets, with a smirk
on his face. "C'mon now, Jase, you know very well that it's Sheriff Jay now.
Some of us do move up in the department so they don't have to live in this awful
type of environment."
Jase's eyes narrowed. "Some of us have to work
undercover," he lied.
"Oh, so that's what you're doing?" The Lupe continued
stepping around, hands behind his back. "Don't suppose you've heard of the hubbub
at the palace?"
"Can't say that I have," Jase lied again.
"The King has disappeared," said the Lupe gravely.
Fenmere's heart jumped. His father? Disappeared?
"And we have a witness who claims to have seen
the Prince only moments before and after the crime."
Jase looked at him uninterestedly, acting as
if this information had no effect on him whatsoever. "So? Stop wasting your
time here and take the kid into custody."
"Don't act stupid. He fled the scene and we've
been searching for him for days. Word on the street is," he said, leaning close
to the Draik, "that there's been some suspicious activity taking place on Cyril's
manor. A certain Gelert dressed as a peasant gallivanting around with Lords,"
he snorted, "and you."
Jase smiled. "Paranoia does not become you,
"Paranoid, am I? Well, why don't you just get
that friend of yours to come out from behind the bed, and I'll ask him what
Fenmere's stomach lurched. He could hear his
heart pounding in his ears.
Jase stared down the Lupe, contemplating his
next move. He motioned for Fenmere to come out.
The Gelert stood slowly and a victorious smile
spread across Jay's face.
"This is Umi," said Jase. "He and his sister
Mina are Lord Cyril's new hires."
Jay looked back and forth between the two, his
amber eyes boring into Fenmere, seemingly searching every shadow and crevice
of his very being. "Do I look stupid to you?"
The Cybunny and the Techo suddenly appeared behind
Fenmere; he felt the bite of metal handcuffs on his wrists.
"Prince Fenmere, are under arrest for suspicion
in the disappearance of King Frayinth," said Sheriff Jay solemnly, "you have
the right to remain silent, anything you say or do can be held against you in
the court of-"
Suddenly the door burst open. In stepped an infuriated
Lord Cyril with Ramaya and Sophia in tow.
"Ah, here's your sister sister. Mina, I presume?"
joked the Lupe.
"Get off my property, Sheriff," seethed the
"Oh, I don't think it'll be yours for long,"
Jay said, grinning, as he pulled Fenmere towards the door. "Harboring a criminal
is a serious offense."
Jase and Cyril looked at each other with panicky
eyes; they could see their perfect planning unraveling horribly before them.
Fenmere could hear Jase unsheathe his gleaming silver dagger, the one embossed
with the open book, and raise it high above his head. Its blade was pointed
at the Lupe's back. He could hear Hayden's grave and serious voice from the
night they'd been in the secret burrow. Don't think you can come between
us and 200 years of searching without a fight.
Fenmere lurched forward, pulling against the
Lupe's strong hold with all his might. "Stop!" he cried out to everyone, to
the world that seemed to be spinning helplessly out of control.
Fenmere's necklace fell out of his shirt and
the book charm dangled and gleamed in the air.
Jay's mouth dropped.
"I believe I need to fill you in on some things,
Sheriff," said a strong voice from the doorway.
They all turned to see a familiar shadow Nimmo
standing boldly before them.
"Hayden?" said the Lupe in shock.
"Tell your officers to step outside."
He did and they left with a look of utmost confusion
on their faces.
Jay then reached a paw inside his shirt and pulled
out a long familiar silver chain. On it dangled a glorious silver book that
twinkled in the warm light pouring in through the window.
Sheriff Jay was a Paladin.
To be continued...