The Hero From Meridell: Part Five
Also by bestpet21
Kade lifted her head upon seeing Zamrin enter the room. “Hey, buddy,” she said without even a hint of worry or disdain in her voice.
“What are you doing here? It isn't safe!” her friend responded chidingly.
Kade grinned and cast a glance at the Commander behind him. “I saw my friend going up in a spaceship. Did you really expect me to stay behind?”
Rylar frowned. “You have potentially jeopardized our mission. You should be very upset with yourself.”
Kade shook her head. “I'm not, Commander. In fact... I was hoping you would send me into the field with Zamrin. After all, two swordsmen are better than one.”
The Commander's mouth opened as if he was going to gasp, but no sound came. “You too are good with a sword then?” he said, instead of throwing the tantrum that he felt like. He considered Kade's behavior very disrespectful, but there was no use losing his compure... or his reputation.
She nodded and drew a sword from the sheath by her side, wielding it with her tail. Zamrin tried not to show the surprise in his eyes as she demonstrated her skills through a pretend sword fight. She parried, slashed, thrust, rolled, blocked, all like he had never seen before.
Rylar gave a loud, grunt-like “Harrumph” as if to say, “I suppose it will do.” In reality, he was quite impressed and thought she would make a very valuable addition to the mission.
Kade put the sword back in its sheath and winked almost imperceptibly at her astonished friend. She had kept her talents a secret on purpose. Having a card up her sleeve was a good idea, and Kade always planned ahead. Who could have predicted that she would one day need the talents to help fight in a war on Neopia's moon? No one, but Kade was the type who kept the future in mind at all times and stayed two steps ahead of everyone else.
Rylar addressed both of them. “There's a pod docked on the east wing that will take you to the Kreludan base. It's on autopilot, so you don't have to worry about controlling it yourselves. When you're done, it will automatically take you back here. If something doesn't go as planned, you have your wrist device to contact us, Zamrin.” The Commander examined the expressions on their faces closely. He proclaimed them ready to go and sent them off.
Kade and Zamrin boarded the small pod and soon found themselves blasting toward the moon base. They landed with a hard jolt at a good distance away from the base, and emerged from the pod. Both of them sustained minor injuries from the rough landing.
“You never told me you could use a sword!” Zamrin whispered harshly.
Kade just chuckled and smiled. “I never told you a lot of things.”
The two made their way to the base, barely escaping notice of the Grundo guards, which must have been stationed at least every hundred meters. It took them about fifteen minutes, but they managed to get right up next to the wall of the base by dodging through craters and other strange formations unique to Neopia's moon. Now they were faced with the challenge of getting inside. It would normally be an easy task to disguise themselves as Kreludan soldiers, but, considering that the only soldiers on the base were Grundos, the idea was less than feasible.
Kade grinned when she saw a large hovercraft pulling up towards the entrance. The craft was a freighter with a massive trailer in tow, probably carrying goods and supplies for the soldiers. The trailer was covered with a long tarp that was attached to the edge at various junctures, leaving plenty of room in between for any small Neopet to squeeze through. It would be a simple matter to duck into the trailer while no one was looking, she surmised. Zamrin agreed, and they cautiously headed that way, still being careful not to be seen. The Kacheek leapt in first, followed by Kade who slithered in more awkwardly, having to bend her wings and tail in order to fit through the gap.
The two rode in silence as the craft neared the base. They both had a million words to speak, but they couldn't, for fear of giving themselves away. The freighter was stopped at the entrance and closely inspected by the guards. “Check the cargo hold, Jorn,” one of the Grundos ordered. Zamrin and Kade held their breath as Jorn approached the trailer and began to wrestle with the tarp. He peeked through one of the gaps nonchalantly, hardly giving the contents a second glance. He didn't see the two intruders hiding in the other corner, cloaked in shadows. “Yeah, it's good,” he said and the craft began to move again.
Kade and Zamrin both exhaled at once. “That was a close one,” Zamrin whispered under his breath. His friend nodded. The fear still hadn't quite faded from her eyes.
After they entered the base, the bustling noise of workers inside was enough to obscure their whispering, so they began to talk quietly. “We definitely can't afford to get caught, Zamrin. The station's entire army is depending on us.”
“This is going to be hard,” the Kacheek replied. “We can't let anyone see us and we have...” he glanced at his wrist device, “ten important people to get out of the way before they send in the army.”
“How long do we have?”
“Not long. About thirty minutes,” he said in response.
The craft stopped with a jolt and the driver hopped out of the cab, talking to one of the Grundo guards. “This one's ready to be unloaded,” he said.
“Okay, I'll send in some workers as soon as I can. Go take a break. I'll let you know when we're done unloading it, and you can take her back to the Orange Moon Base.” The guard referred to the main headquarters of the orange Grundos.
The driver grunted and left the room, leaving only the guard to watch the freighter. Now was their chance. Zamrin slid out first, exiting on the opposite side of the guard, followed by Kade, who slipped and tumbled to the ground. She landed with a thump. The guard strolled over suspiciously, but saw nothing. Kade had ducked under the freighter at the last second. He shrugged to himself and went back to his post.
Kade and Zamrin slipped out of the room unnoticed and hurried down the nearly deserted halls of the base's storage section. It wasn't long before they came to a corner, and, peeking over, they saw one of their targets just around the edge. “That's Commander Garlox,” the Kacheek whispered. The Commander was apparently heading somewhere else, for his step was quick and hurried.
Kade nodded knowingly and slipped around the corner. She rapped the Grundo firmly on the back of the head with the flat side of her sword. “One down, nine to go,” she declared confidently. “That was too easy.”
The two carefully tucked him in a small closet where he wouldn't be seen and continued forward, both of them knowing they wouldn't get another easy shot like the one they had just gotten. They came to a fork in the road and chose to go left. Kade peeked around to see what was in that direction. She jerked back and whispered, “Two guards, one on either side of a door. It probably leads somewhere important, but there's no way to get past them.”
Zamrin scratched his head. “How about the other way?”
Kade darted over that way and peered over the corner. She came back with the news. “The same,” she said. “We have to get past them somehow.”
“Okay,” Zamrin agreed. “We'll charge them. You take the right guard, and I'll take the left.”
The Eyrie appeared to be satisfied with the plan. On the count of three, they both leaped into sight and ran forward. One of the Grundos reached for his radio, another his blaster. Kade took the latter down before he had a chance to fire. Zamrin hesitated and missed his chance.
“We need backup in storage, now!” the Grundo shouted through the radio. Kade turned to him and knocked him out with one swipe.
“I'm sorry--” Zamrin started.
“No time for that now,” his friend said. “We need to move.” She forced the door open by jabbing her sword through it, and the two hurried through, already hearing the shouts of angry Grundos behind them. They ran as fast as they could, gasping for air, only to see another army of Grundos charge around the corner in front of them. They were trapped.
Kade cast a glance to her side and saw an emergency exit. “Go!” she yelled at Zamrin, and before he even knew what was happening, she shoved him out the open door. “I'll hold them off. Run!”
“Just go!” she said as the Grundos closed in around her. Zamrin saw them shackle her and send her off to the holding cells. There was nothing else he could do now. He had to run.
To be continued...