Tyler snuck over to the gate of the palace with his pickaxe gripped tightly in his hands. He peered through the gate and smiled. The guards were patrolling a different part of the grounds at this time, just like they did every time Tyler had come to stake the grounds out. He motioned for the rest of his group, five other men and two women, each armed with a shovel or a pick, to continue with the plan.
Walter stepped out of the bushes where the group had been hiding, and started twirling a grappling hook around and threw it at the top of the wall, and it clinked into place. Tyler looked back and forth to see if any guards were coming to investigate the sound the grappling hook had made, and once several minutes had passed with no guards showing up, he motioned to the bushes once more and the other members broke from cover and started scaling the wall. Tyler was the last one to go, and he pulled himself up the rope quickly. He pulled the rope up and tossed the grappling hook back down to Walter before dropping off of the wall. Tyler gave each member of the group a confident smile. “Excellent work, everyone. Matthew, where do we go from here?”
Matthew pulled out a copy of the blueprints and studied them. “Once we go through the front door we need to go immediately to our right. There should be a stairwell at the end of the hall that we need to go down.” Matthew folded up the blueprints and stuffed them back inside of his bag that hung over his shoulder.
Tyler gave the doors of the Pedestal, the place where the parliament met, an appraising look. “Wait here and I’ll go check to see if the way is clear. Matthew, keep an eye out and make sure that the guards don’t sneak up on us.” Tyler hurried across the lawn and up the stairs to the front door. He eased the door quietly open and smirked to himself. These bureaucrats did us a favor by keeping these door hinges greased. He stuck his head in the door and and looked around the entry hall of the Pedestal.
Tyler said a quick prayer of thanks that the entry hall was not being guarded, at least not at this time, and motioned for the others to follow before he walked inside of the hall. Tyler stared around the room in wonder at all of the murals and statues. Scenes of the founding of the mines, Aquore before the aquatic moon Ludecai had been created, and the first settlers stepping foot on the planet for the first time hung from the walls. The murals were in complete contrast with the statues however. Instead of focusing on the history of the planet, the statues focused only on the government. The hall was filled with statues of the current members of parliament, and were replaced every time someone left or joined them.
Walter stepped into the room next to Tyler and made a disgusted sound. “How can these people see murals like this everyday and forget why it is that they are here. Without us, they wouldn’t have anything to govern, or any money to have their precious statues made. How many quill do you think one of those is worth?”
Matthew came up behind Walter and placed a hand on his shoulder. “That’s not why we’re here, Walter. We need to stay focused on the mission or we’re sure to be caught. I believe that we need to go down this hallway.” Matthew pointed to the right and started to head down the hall.
Tyler stepped up next to Matthew and patted him on the back. “Thank you for keeping us focused on the mission.” A chink and a thud sounded from behind Tyler and Matthew, and they both turned to see Walter smiling proudly in front of the statue of Jackson Lang, a member of parliament that had a well known love of raising taxes. The statue was missing its nose now, however, and it was lying at Walter’s feet.
Tyler’s eyes flashed with anger. “Walter! What have you done?”
Walter smiled back at Tyler. “Don’t you think that old Jackson looks better without that big hooter of his? Maybe this way he’ll be able to keep his nose out of my business!”
Tyler quivered with rage. “You fool! What are we going to do if the guards heard that? You just put us all at risk! Get in front of me, I want to be able to keep my eyes on you for the rest of this mission.” Walter marched his way past Tyler, and gave him a sullen glare. Tyler shoved him and motioned for the rest of the group to pick up the pace.
The group hurried down the hall past vases, paintings, and small statues made from quorite, the rare metal that made drastically changing the face of Aquore worth it. Ashley, a woman running along at the back the group, grabbed a statue made of quorite and stuffed it into the bag slung over her shoulder. She smiled to herself. If I can grab a couple more I can get off of this rock and live happily in the Midas system.
The group made it to the stairwell at the end of the hall and Tyler stopped at the top of the stairs and motioned for everyone to head down the stairs. Once everyone was on the staircase he looked down the hall and smiled. Even with Walters blunder they seemed to have made it in unnoticed. He hurried down the stairs after the rest of the group.
They hurried down five flights of stairs and came into a dank cavern that the blueprints showed had been there before construction on the Pedestal had started. Cages, cells, and torture equipment filled the cavern, though only two cells were occupied at this time. Tyler looked away from the bloodstains on the floor around the torture equipment and hoped that none of it was Kyle’s. The temperature had dropped a considerable amount from what it was kept at on the top floor, and when Tyler gave his next set of orders, a mist formed with each word he spoke. “Walter, keep a look out on this staircase and let us know if you hear anyone coming. Matthew, would you go keep watch on that staircase?” Tyler indicated a staircase at the opposite end of the cavern.
Matthew bowed his head and started to make his way across the cavern and Walter grunted to acknowledge he had heard Tyler’s order. Tyler and the rest of the group made their way to the closest cell, the one that held Kyle. Tyler walked up to the bars of the cell and looked inside. Kyle lay huddled in a ball in the center of his cell covered in nothing but a thin hole-filled blanket and wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. “Kyle, are you alright?”
Kyle jumped in startlement and looked out of his cell, and tears of joy formed in his eyes. He jumped up and limped over to the door of his cell, the welts and bruises that the blanket had hidden before made Tyler cringe. “Tyler? What are you doing here?”
Tyler smiled at Kyle. “The rebellion sent us to get you out of here. How have they been treating you?”
Kyle turned his head and spat. “They suspect that I’m a member of the rebellion, how do you think they’ve been treating me?”
Tyler sighed. “We’re sorry that it took us so long to get here, but we’ll have you out of there and back home to Tanya and the boys in no time!” Tyler raised his pick over his head and swung it down onto the lock on the door. A loud ping sounded out and the door swung outward with a screech.
Kyle stepped out and collapsed into Tyler’s shoulder. The tears that streamed down Kyle’s face soaked into Tyler’s shirt. “Thank God you came for me! I don’t know how much longer I could have kept silent while they beat me.”
Nancy, a short woman with shoulder length brown hair and caramel hued skin stepped forward. “I’m happy to hear that they haven’t broke you yet, Kyle, but that door made a lot of noise when it opened, and we’re not exactly at home. We need to keep moving!”
The man in the cell next to Kyle’s stuck his arm out through the door. “Hey, what about me! You have to let me out too!”
Doug, a tall balding man pointed at the other occupied cell. “What do we do with him? Are we going to leave him for Enforcers to torture?”
Gary nodded his head. “We can’t leave him here, he’s seen all of us!”
Henry, a short young man with his long black hair held in a ponytail hefted his shovel. “We can leave him here, but just not alive. What did he do to be imprisoned in here anyway?”
Tyler cringed and walked over to the front of the cell. “Why are you being imprisoned?”
A voice called out from behind the group. “He was caught stealing in the market place, but allow me to assure you that you all will envy his fate!”
The group turned around and groaned. Standing on the stairs were fifteen members of the Aquore Enforcers. Walter lay unmoving on the floor, blood oozing out of a wound on the back of his head. He was sprawled out next to a smiling member of the Enforcers with two yellow stars on his shoulders. “Surrender now and we’ll make sure to prepare some nice cozy cells for you all, and then we’ll have a little chat about who sent you thieves here. Or we could find a nice wooden box for each of you to sleep in. It’s your choice.” The man held up his fist and each of the guards hefted a crossbow aimed at the group.
Tyler sighed and let his pick drop to the ground. “I surrender.” The rest of the group followed Tyler’s example and dropped their picks and shovels to the ground, and the women and several of the men started sobbing. Matthew turned and quietly hurried up the stairs that he was guarding. He snuck down the hall that led back to the front doors of the palace and snuck out the door and through the front gate. Once he was out, he started to run as fast as his old body would allow him down the path away from the Pedestal.
Tarren stepped out into the path and grabbed Matthew. Matthew looked at Tarren with terror in his eyes, and then collapsed sobbing onto Tarren’s shoulder. Tarren tried to pull Matthew up off of his shoulder, but after the second try gave up. “Matthew, what’s wrong? Where’s the rest of the group you went with?”
Matthew looked up at Tarren, tears streaming down his face. “They were caught! The Enforcers caught the lot of them and I just ran away like the coward that I am!”
Shock filled Tarren’s face. “I”m sure you did all you could for them, Matthew. Let’s get you home and I’ll find a way to get them all out safely.”
“How do you plan to do that?”
Tarren looked toward the Pedestal with determination. “I don’t know yet, but I’m hoping that Scott will have some ideas.”
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more of it, come back on Friday when I will publish part three, and check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page to connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Also, if you enjoy reading my stories, and you enjoy drawing, I’m looking for pictures of my characters. If you want to send me your fan art, I promise to include it with some of my posts! I look forward to seeing that art!