Scarlet Shadow - A Thief's Uprising: Part Three
Cenoal and Scarlet finished a few hours later. They were now in the caverns once more. The one they were traveling in was deserted. “I suggest you watch it with that tongue of yours,” Cenoal cautioned, breaking the silence. “Not everyone has Kreio’s humor.”
“I doubt I can,” Scarlet responded.
“You’re not a Scarab. Not yet, at least,” Cenoal continued. “No one’s going to take you seriously until you have this thing.” Cenoal brushed back his hair to reveal the Scarab Marking on his neck.
“I may not be a Scarab, but I’m no coward,” Scarlet retorted.
“I never said you were, Princess...” Scarlet’s eyes widened. Cenoal smiled. “Well, FINALLY you notice!”
“Yes, I know,” he said. “You’re a noble.”
Scarlet was somewhat relieved at the fact that the Captain didn’t know WHICH noble. Still, it worried her greatly. “How did you guess?”
“Not many thieves know nobles like I do,” he stated. “You act like a noble, you speak like noble, you even FIGHT like a noble!” Cenoal eyed the Lupess. “Too much honor. Stop thinking we have rules here. We don’t.”
Scarlet’s gaze grew icy. “Well, I do.”
“Rules you broke when you joined us,” he responded. “Forget your old life.” The Captain met the Lupess’ gaze. “You’re a good fighter and I respect you enough to keep that secret of yours. Stop being a noble and start being a thief.”
The two reached a hall where wooden doors lined its sides. Cenoal led the Lupess to the end of the hall. He opened the last door. “Your room,” he stated simply.
The room’s interior held little, but Scarlet didn’t mind too much. A bed, drawers, a table, a few chairs... As Cenoal turned and walked off, Scarlet couldn’t help saying, “You have a wit, Cenoal. Use it more...”
The Captain stopped. “With you around? I will.”
Scarlet awoke. She rubbed her eyes and glanced at the clock. The sleep she had recharged her, but it was anything but peaceful. She had gone to bed at four. It was now twelve in the afternoon! Her stomach grumbled. The last thing she ate had been those three fruits. She got up and walked to the door.
The Lupess was surprised to see that there wasn’t anyone around.
Scarlet turned quickly, bumping into Cenoal. He shook his head. “Yep, you’re lost.”
“I’m new, remember?”
“Yes, I know.” The Captain took Scarlet’s arm, already leading her off. “Kreio wants a word with you...”
The two entered the throne room. Kreio was seated on his throne, toying with his dagger. “Ah, Scarlet, Cenoal,” he said, his voice showing boredom. Slowly though, a smile appeared. “I have a task for you, Scarlet. Cenoal shall grade you.”
Cenoal quickly tiring of watching out for the Lupess, but he took it well. “What is it you require, Milord?”
“There is a special brooch I want,” Kreio continued, turning his attention to Scarlet. “It will be within the palace walls tonight. Your task is to go fetch it for me.”
Cenoal showed no concern, though he highly believed Scarlet was not ready for such an assignment. “Sir, are you sure?” he questioned. “It would be more... fruitful... if you had a different thief. Azers Shadow, perhaps?”
“No, I wish for this to be her first mission,” Kreio replied firmly. “I want to see if she truly IS a worthy addition to the guild.”
Scarlet showed no emotion. “As you wish, Milord.”
“Excellent!” Kreio exclaimed. “It is a Scarab brooch. You shall set off at midnight for the palace and must return with the brooch by dawn. If you are able to complete this task, the Scarab Marking shall be yours.” Kreio’s grin grew cruel. “Be warned, Cenoal is there to observe, nothing more. If you get caught, he is forbidden to help.”
Scarlet nodded. “It will be as you say, Milord,” she said, giving a quick tip of the head.
Once outside, Cenoal gave an exasperated sigh. “You’re dead,” he stated.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence!” Scarlet responded, ears pinned down.
“Sakhmet palace is a huge maze!” Cenoal continued. “You can’t just go in at midnight and expect to get out of there before sunrise!”
“I’ve had my fair share of palace mazes, thank you very much.”
“This is different... VERY different.”
Scarlet’s stomach gave a growl of displeasure. “Ugh, whatever!” she exclaimed.
Cenoal couldn’t hold back a small chuckle. “I’m off to grab a meal myself. Want to come?”
Scarlet gave a pout. “I guess I won’t be able to find my way up anyway...”
The marketplace was extremely busy. The crowds were driving Scarlet nuts. Cenoal suddenly grabbed her hand and led her into a deserted alley. A large wagon rode past the alley with a dozen guards leading. The wagon held a large glass case with a single thing inside – a beautiful Scarab brooch. The brooch was crafted with black gold and two blood-red rubies served as its wings.
Once the caravan had past, Cenoal gave a sigh of relief. “Sorry about that,” he stated. “Don’t want to get caught, do we?”
Scarlet grinned. “Oh, so the great Captain of Scarabs is scared?”
“Excuse me, Princess?” Cenoal questioned. “Me? Scared?”
“Bet you couldn’t out-run them,” Scarlet continued with a non-caring air.
“Well then, if I can out-run those giant lumps, what’ll you do?”
“I’ll give you this.” Scarlet removed a small armlet from her pocket, one of the few things she had brought with her from home. It hurt to offer the piece, but she knew it was big enough a risk having it. The beautiful piece of jewelry was decorated by hundreds of minute diamonds.
“Well now, that must have cost a fortune,” Cenoal stated, mischief gleaming in his icy blue eyes. He almost looked... childish... “Hold this.” The Captain handed Scarlet his cloak, leaving him recognizable by anyone who had seen his wanted posters.
Cenoal ran after the cart without another word. He gave a burst of speed and overtook it, coming in front. “Hey, you over-sized excuses for soldiers, over here!” Not looking back, the Aisha ran like crazy through the market, the following guards wreaking havoc in his wake.
Half an hour and perhaps thirty wrecked stalls later, he stopped. The angry crowds had formed a blockade, complaining to the guards. They had lost him in the confusion. The Captain’s breath was a bit short, but none the less, it was obvious he could have gone on much longer. “Lost?”
The Aisha turned swiftly to the sound of Scarlet’s voice. She threw the armlet and the cloak to him. Catching the armlet first, he gave her a roguish smile. “Told you I could do it.”
“Pure chance!” Scarlet exclaimed, rolling her eyes. “Are we going to go get something to eat or not?” Cenoal tossed her a loaf of bread. Scarlet gave him a look. “Showoff...”
Scarlet woke up to the sound of knocking at her door. She rubbed her eyes, diverting her gaze to the ceiling. Peaceful sleep had evaded her again. The knocking got louder. “COMING!” she yelled finally. She yanked the door open.
“Ready?” Cenoal questioned.
Scarlet rubbed out the sleep from her eyes. “I suppose I have to go anyway, huh?”
Cenoal laughed. “Yes, you do, now come on...” Scarlet grabbed the cloak she had ‘borrowed’ from the clothing shop and followed Cenoal through the crowds. Once outside one of the exit houses, Scarlet spotted Shade and Arc a few paces off.
Shade snorted. “You look terrible.”
“Didn’t sleep well... at all,” Scarlet said, mounting the Uni.
“Care for a race?” Cenoal questioned as he mounted Arc.
“No, thank you,” Scarlet replied shortly. She wasn’t in the mood to be goofing off.
“You’re on, Cenoal!” Shade suddenly yelled, galloping at full speed toward the meeting point. Arc did his best to keep level with Shade, but was obviously outmatched.
Cenoal grinned. Jumping off the Uni, he yelled, “Alright then, let’s see what you’ve got, Shade!” Shade slowed to allow the Aisha to catch up. As soon as he did however, Shade pushed into another gear.
Shade and Scarlet arrived at the meeting point five minutes early. Lord Kreio was waiting there. Shade was breathing heavily. “That was fun!” he exclaimed as Scarlet dismounted.
Cenoal arrived finally, exhausted. “Ok,” he said, “let’s NOT see what you’ve got...” Scarlet was getting used to the less-serious Cenoal.
“Strange,” she thought silently, “sometimes, he’s dead serious, at others, he’s a complete kid.” Scarlet smiled for a fleeting moment. She looked down at her hands. They were cut from the reins. Scarlet had to remember to acquire a pair of riding gloves soon...
“Be a little more careful next time, wouldja?” Shade scolded.
Lord Kreio coughed, gaining their attention. “Well, injured or not, you must still retrieve the brooch.”
Scarlet nodded. “If I can get this brooch here in, say, five minutes, would you allow me to keep it?” she questioned, her eyes lightening slightly to violet.
Kreio’s laugh echoed into the Lupess’ ears. “My dear, if you can get it in here within that time, I would allow you the brooch AND a thousand gold coins!”
“Ok,” Scarlet replied simply. She reached into her cloak pocket and pulled out the brooch. She fastened it to the cloak’s front and smiled. “Instead of the coins, would it be alright that the brooch replaces the Scarab Marking? I’m... not a big fan of it...”
Kreio kept himself from displaying any surprise. “How?”
“I ran into the cart bringing it into the city,” Scarlet replied.
“It had a dozen guards...”
“So THAT’S why you had them chase me!” Cenoal exclaimed.
“Next time, don’t get too cocky,” Scarlet replied. She turned to Kreio. “Am I in?”
Kreio gave her a look. “Indeed you are.”
“I would have preferred a heads up, Scarlet,” Cenoal said once the two were walking through the halls. The other thieves around paid them no heed.
“Heads up on what exactly?” Scarlet asked.
“A heads up on what you were planning!” Cenoal exclaimed.
“Please, Cenoal,” Scarlet said, her voice slightly annoyed. “You would never have agreed to any of it.”
Cenoal grit his teeth. “And you’re so sure of that how?” he asked. “Look, I don’t like being made a tool out of!”
“No one does,” Scarlet replied. “I know it was a horrid plan, but it worked, didn’t it?”
“I’m not saying it was a bad plan!” Cenoal continued. “I just wish you’d told me so I could have helped a little more.”
Scarlet was taken aback. “You mean, you agree with it?”
“I think it would have been better with a few adjustments, but all in all, yes, I do,” Cenoal stated. “Listen, you’re going to be my student one way or the other. Kreio’s practically made up his mind about that.” The Aisha paused. “I need to know I can trust you.”
“First of all, I never asked you to be my teacher. Secondly, You know you can trust me,” Scarlet replied. “The only thing you’re not sure about is whether or not you want to trust me.”
“I’m pretty sure I don’t,” Cenoal said finally, “but in the end, neither of us have a choice, do we?” Cenoal stopped at the door to the Elite Training Grounds. “Let’s make the best of this?”
Scarlet frowned. “Like you said, neither of us have a choice...”
To be continued...