A Memorable Spy

I’d like to thank my father for the inspiration for this story, and I hope you, my reader, enjoy it.

Bob blinked as he regained consciousness, raising his head from its lolled position on his chest. Before he got a clear picture of his surroundings, however, he was intently aware of his position fastened to a metal chair with rope; his head ached, with pain reminiscent of being hit in the head with a shovel. Oh, wait. That was what had happened right before he passed out, wasn’t it? And now that he could see, there was the one who had hit him, standing in the edge of the dim light cast by the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling by a thin wire.

“Ah, at last you are avake,” said the man, his large boots clicking against the concrete floor as he stepped forward. “Ve have been vaiting for some time – you are a heavy sleeper, Mr. Jackson.”

“Well, when you need rest –” Bob began, before the man cut him short.

“Ve have a few qvestions, Mr. Jackson, vich ve vould like ansvered.”

“Obviously.”

“If you cooperate, tings vill go vell for you. If you do not, vell zen…”

A tall, muscular man stepped out of the shadows so that his bare six-pack and malicious face fell in the circle of light. He cracked his knuckles and grinned villainously.

“I see,” said Bob, staring at the man and quivering some. “Well, I’d love to help, but I’m not sure what I can do.”

“You could start by telling us ze names of your employers,” said the captain.

“Let’s see…there was that old blonde chick, I just can’t remember her name. And then the old guy in the suit…”

“Descriptions vill not do, Mr. Jackson, only names.”

“That’s the trouble, then. Sorry, I’m awfully terrible with names. Sometimes I think that’s why people hire me so much.”

The captain stared at him, trying to decide whether he thought Bob was telling the truth or not. “Vell, you must know at least the name of your partner,” he said after a moment.

“Oh, yeah! The guy with the beard.” Bob thought for a moment. “Nope, can’t think of it.”

“Doesn’t ze name ‘Charles Jamesson’ ring ze metaphoric bell?”

“That’s what his name is! I remember now!”

“Really? Zen do you also remember ze names of your employers?”

Bob was silent for a while. “Nope, still drawing a blank.”

The captain’s eyes bulged momentarily, before he turned away from the prisoner. This was not going the way he had intended.

“Mr. Jackson, do you know any names?”

“Well, certainly: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Hannibal, King Louis XIV (or what it XVI?), Plato, Christopher Colum–”

“Qviet!” the captain snapped.

Bob shut up, watching anxiously as the captain paced in front of him.

“Now, let us start at ze beginning, ya?” he asked in a forcedly calm voice. “You vere hired by zis, zis blonde woman and zis man in suit for ze purpose of reclaimed ze secret Allied documents zat I had stolen, ya?”

“Ya – I mean, yes.”

“Hm. So zen you came to ze casino in Mexico in order to get a lead on vere ve vere heading from a certain singer.”

“Yeah, the singer. Can’t remember her name right now, though.”

The captain smiled unamused. “Ze name is not important. You zen used her information to track us down to ze varehouse in Spain vif your partner.”

“That sounds about right.”

“Vere you fell directly into our trap and ve captured you.”

“Whereupon I believe I was immediately transported here,” finished Bob. “Though, that’s just an assumption, since I wasn’t awake for that part.”

“Ya, ve know. I vas the von ‘hoo knocked you ovt. I vas just vondering vy you vere in our trucks ven you must have known the documents vere in the facility.”

“Oh, I was trying to sabotage your vehicles in case you tried to escape. Totally not acting as a distraction while my partner broke into here and stole the documents back!”

“Vat?”

There was a loud bang! from beyond the captain as a door opened, spilling light into the room. There, silhouetted in the doorway, was Jamesson, a briefcase in one hand and a machine gun in the other.

“Oh, there you are, Bob,” he said as he viewed the scene. “You busy?”

“Yeah, sorry. Just entertaining the guests,” Bob replied.

“Right, well, see you outside. Let’s take the motorbikes this time!”

“Great! Right behind you!”

Bob raced out of the room, turning into the corridor toward escape, all while the captain and his goon stared dumbfounded after them, before turning to see the chair covered in severed ropes. The captain’s face evoked perfectly his infernal rage.

“I’ll get you next time, Jackson!” he roared.

Showdown

Luke breathed a sigh of relief as he opened the doors to the main hall. There, across the hall, illuminated by the eight descending streams of lava falling before the walls, upon a dais, stood Princess Andromeda, chained to the wall. At last, after braving the volcano Mt. Poneron, breaking through the gate, and fending off the palace guards, he had arrived at the final stage. Now the only piece missing was the one who had captured Andromeda in the first place: the villain Echthros. Luke touched the bruise on his left arm from where one of the guards had punched him on his way in, reminding him of all the damage he had sustained and all the weapons he had used just to get to this point. Did he really have enough to beat Echthros?

Of course he did. He grinned at Andromeda as he started across the hall and as she called out to him.

“Luke!”

“Andromeda!”

“Me!”

Luke stopped and Andromeda’s smile of relief faltered. Luke turned around, only to see the source of this final word: Echthros. The villain stood in the open doorway, arms behind his back, his face contorted in the largest, most malicious grin Luke had ever seen. As Luke turned to him, though, Echthros’ smile faded.

“What, is role call over?” the villain asked.

“Echthros!” Luke growled.

“Ah, now it is. Yes, Luke, it is I!”

“Well, it won’t be you for much longer — I’m here to stop you!”

“Of course you are. Did you think that I’d think you were here on a tour? You completely destroyed my guards! But I don’t think you’ll succeed in stopping me; after all, I’ve seen everything you’ve put into getting here, and I know you have very little left — and certainly nothing that could get past my personal protection.”

He laughed, grinning even more widely and more maliciously than before, his eyes bulging in maniacal triumph. “Come on, Luke, there’s nothing you’ve got that can beat me!”

Luke reached one hand into his pocket as he stared his enemy down.

“There is one thing,” he said slowly. “Something that you’ve forgotten to take into account; something that you could never have predicted, because you could never imagine it.”

“What?” laughed Echthros. “True love? If this world weren’t so full of evil and debauchery so as to move me to cynicism and villainy, I might be inclined to believe you, but do you really think true love can stop me?”

Luke raised an eyebrow. “Oh, well, I suppose you can add true love to the list, but I was thinking more about…this!”

With the final word he produced a wand from his pocket, pointing it straight at his enemy and shouting, “FELISFIAS!

With a puff of smoke, Echthros vanished; and in his place, a cat.

Luke pocketed the wand and hurried over to Andromeda, quickly freeing her from her chains.

“Oh, thank you for saving me!” she said, embracing him.

“It was a pleasure. Let’s go.”

“Do you think we should take him with us?” She was looking at the cat that had been Echthros, which was busy licking its paws.

“I suppose so. I mean, I don’t think I left any guards to take care of him.”

They walked across the hall to the doorway, where Luke picked up the cat. It promptly hissed and slashed him across the chest.

“Well, I suppose we should have expected that.”

Maliso’s Makeover, Part 2: The Lady

The second part of this story. Hope you enjoy!

“This is going to hurt for a bit,” said Ana Valensa, leaning over the face of young lord Neanias Maliso, one hand in a special glove and the other holding an open vial. “I’m going to rip the mole off, and then apply this serum here, which should heal the wound rather quickly. But it’s going to take a couple days to heal completely. Now, are you ready?”

“Yes. Do it!” Maliso declared stoically.

Ana pinched the mole with her gloved hand and pulled. Maliso screamed as the mole came away from his face with the glove and blood began flowering out of the wound, which was a bit bigger than the mole had been. She quickly applied the serum, which again caused the young lord to cry out in pain. The liquid bubbled black on his skin and hardened, leaving a white cast-like crust.

“There,” Ana said, drawing back.

Maliso touched his cheek and ran to a mirror, examining himself closely. “You’re absolutely sure this’ll heal in time?”

“Absolutely. Now, if you can excuse me–”

“Oh, but you must stay!” Maliso exclaimed, turning to her wildly.

Ana paused. “For what?”

“For my party – my party when my lady arrives!”

“I appreciate the offer, but I don’t do well at parties. My work here is done; I should be on my way.”

“But you’d miss out on all the fun!”

“I’m really not interested.”

“You’re so dull. I thought all girls love parties.”

“Most girls have nothing better to do than gossip and create drama among their friends. Meanwhile, I could be helping people.”

“But don’t you ever get an opportunity to relax at all? Anyway, wouldn’t you want to stay around to make sure this serum works?”
Ana frowned. She was indeed worried a little by the serum, since she had heard it to create odd side effects in some people. She sighed. “Fine, I’ll stay.”

“Great!”

As it turned out, Maliso healed just fine over the next week. After three days the casting fell off, revealing a red scar, which itself quickly vanished over the next four days. Her worries quickly abated, and she turned her attention toward the sick on the manor, not only for something to do, but also for an excuse to get away from Maliso with his incessant talk about the party and his coming lady and his frequent checks in the mirror to acquiesce the state of his scar. Despite her aversion, the party couldn’t come quickly enough – once it was over, she wouldn’t have to deal with Maliso again.

The lady and her party arrived in the afternoon on the appointed day. She was Lady Pelasa, and Maliso greeted her warmly at the entrance to his manor. She spoke just as animatedly as Maliso, speaking rapidly on the subject of the evening’s party and the trite events and dramas of her journey to the manor. Ana wondered how Maliso could follow her; she herself quickly tuned out Pelasa’s prattle in favor of more practical thoughts.

From there they moved into the main hall, which was quickly set to life with music and dance and food as the entire manor congregated for the party. Ana stayed on the outskirts, not desiring to dance and finding few to interact with. That’s not to say she didn’t try. In fact, early into the party she found herself in the company of Pelasa herself, surrounded by the lady’s entourage and a couple local women.

“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced,” said Pelasa upon Ana’s arrival into the circle. “Although I think I’ve seen you before.”

“Yes, you did see me,” Ana confirmed. “When you arrived. My name is Ana Valensa, daughter of the wizard Laro Valensa. How may I be of service?”

“We shall see. I am Lady Pelasa of Giarmindin. How came you to know Lord Maliso?”

“I only met him a week ago. There was a service he needed me for.”

“Oh. What kind of service?”

Ana shifted uncomfortably, unsure if this was information she had the right to divulge for Maliso. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
Pelasa frowned, but said nothing. Ana wasn’t sure what to make of the silence, or of the frown. She wondered whether her response had been appropriate. However, she didn’t have long to dwell on the thought, as Maliso suddenly appeared beside her.

“Ah, I’m glad to see you’re taking my advice at last,” he said.

“Only as a last resort against boredom,” Ana retorted.

“You’re not thinking of leaving already? Have you even danced yet?”

“No.”

“Then come on!” He pulled her from the group to the center of the hall, where men and women were assembling for the next line dance.

“How is she?” he asked as the dance began.

“I’m not sure. Not much more than a typical girl of our time.”

“Do you think she likes me? Maybe we could use a love potion.”

“Absolutely not! I have yet to ascertain what she thinks about you, but don’t expect me to act as some kind of meter for her feelings – I could care less how this turns out.”

“Ah, well,” Maliso sighed. “Didn’t I hire you to make sure she liked me?”

“You hired me to fix a mole – and then you wrangled me into partaking in this party solely based on my worries about the method of treatment. Don’t distort my job out of proportion.”

The dance ended and the couples bowed to each other. Ana left the center floor immediately to sit on a chair in the corner, leaning her head against her arm propped on a nearby table. Another reason she shouldn’t have come – these parties exhausted her.

She felt a presence and looked up, only to see Pelasa standing before her.

“Come with me,” said the lady.

Pelasa lead Ana outside, to a secluded section of the manor. She then gave Ana a cold and deadly stare. “Tell me, just what is your relation to Lord Maliso.”

“A strictly professional one,” said Ana.

“Yes, but what profession? Why won’t you tell me what he needed you for?”

“Confidentiality. It’s not my business to go around telling others why people hire me.”

Pelasa pressed closer and closer toward Ana, who had now backed up against the wall of the manor. She didn’t like the deadly look in Pelasa’s eyes, though she was still trying to figure out why the woman was being so aggressive on this particular point.

“Why don’t I just make you tell me?” The lady hissed.

“How about not,” said another voice suddenly. Both women looked to the side, suddenly realizing Maliso walking toward them. “Is it really this much of an issue?”

“Well, that depends,” replied Pelasa sternly. “I mean, I’d think that, being a wizard’s daughter, she might know a few tricks to help you out, but I can think of a dozen other reasons you would hire her. So what’s the reason?”

“I just needed her to remove a mole.”

Pelasa stared at him, bewildered. She then turned to Ana, who nodded in affirmation of the young lord’s answer. Then, slowly, her frown broke into a smile, and she laughed.

“A mole!”

She was overcome by a fit of hysterics, and clutched her stomach as she doubled over in laughter. Maliso’s face turned bright red as he stared dumbfounded at the lady’s reaction. Ana, meanwhile, moved away from Pelasa, past Maliso.

“What was that all about?” Ana asked him briefly.

“She’s jealous,” he replied vaguely. “She actually likes me.”

Ana sighed and looked back at the lady, shrugging. It appeared her work here was done.