They couldn’t believe their eyes. Almost the whole warehouse was full of sparkly vampires. Things were a lot worse than they originally suspected. Matticus looked over at Revis, but he was looking all over the room. Trying to follow his gaze, the Jester couldn’t tell what Revis was looking for, so he started listening to the meeting. Listening to the meeting soon proved to be very boring to him. All they were talking about were city guard rotations and certain sections of the city.
Matticus felt a tug on his armor. Turning, he saw Revis gesturing for him to follow. The two men made their way out of the building, occasionally having to duck into the shadows to avoid detection. When they got outside, Matticus turned to Revis, “What are you doing? Shouldn’t we stay in and listen?”
“And maybe not hear anything of importance? No. I’ve got a plan.”
“Shut up. Did you notice that, other than the exit we used, there was only one other way into and out of that building?”
“So, we’re going to get Steph to come out, block the two exits, and then set the building on fire.”
“And how are we going to get her to come out?”
“You’ll figure something out. I have faith in you.”
With that, Revis took off into the shadows.
Matticus watched his knight disappear and managed to keep hold of the thoughts that were rampaging in his mind before they could tumble out in a yell to his companion and alert everyone inside the warehouse to their presence. Where are you going? Am I just supposed to think of a plan or am I supposed to carry it on on my own? Is there some sort of signal so I’ll know when you have the other exit blocked? And how in the heck am I supposed to get the sparkly vampire groupie thing outside?
The Jester cast eye daggers into the shadow where Revis had slipped away. Sighing, he turned his attention back to the warehouse and the task at hand. There were plenty of ways to entice the meeting participants to come outside, but how could he ensure that Steph came out first and with enough of a lead so the way could be shut and blocked behind her? Pushing aside all distractions Matticus tried to think of the simplest solution to the problem.
“Wait a minute, he told me to shut up! That’s strike three.” The Jester switched gears and contemplated how best to teach his Knight a lesson, and in doing so came up with a plan to get Steph out of the building. First things first, however, he had to block off the exit. Checking out his surroundings, he saw something that should do the trick. He wasn’t sure what was in them, but he saw some barrels off to the side and, after some effort, was able to push them in front of the door. With that accomplished, he made his way towards the other door to get Steph to come outside.
As he got closer to it, he saw that he didn’t have to use his plan. Steph was coming out on her own. Not only that, it appeared she was talking to herself. Matticus wasn’t sure what to do here, so he ducked down behind some empty crates until he could figure something out. She walked straight towards him, stopped when she was about ten feet away, bowed, and said, “Your Jesterfulness.”
Before he could say anything, he heard Revis say, “We don’t have much time. Get back to the other exit, wait until you hear me yell, then stick your sword into those barrels, and say, ‘futbol rules’. Got it?”
“Not yet. Wait until you hear me yell.”
Matticus reluctantly did as he was told. He should be the one in charge here, after all. Revis’ yell interrupted any further contemplation. So, he thrust the sword into the barrel and said, “Futbol rules!”
He watched in amazement as his sword burst into flames. The Jester couldn’t watch for too long, though, as he had to grab his sword and retreat. The barrels he had moved in front of the door contained lamp oil.
The fire rose from the barrels to the warehouse door and surrounding walls, a raging inferno devouring everything in its path. Matticus was forced to take additional steps backwards, the flaming sword still in his outstretched hand, to ward off the waves of heat pouring off the building.
Hearing screams coming from within the building, re-alerted to the dangerous situation should any vampires escape, Matticus dashed back into action and used his flaming sword to light up sections of the warehouse the fire hadn’t spread to yet. The heat licked at him until he was forced to retreat again for good.
Out of the glowing darkness he saw two shapes running towards him moments before he heard their echoing boot falls. The roar of the flames seemed to mute all other sounds. The shadows Steph and Revis cast as they approached danced and twisted in the light of the fire.
Revis grapped Matticus by his arm and dragged him with them as he and Steph flew by. Running with his sword out, and still on fire, was unwieldy and dangerous, but with Revis gripping his other arm the way he was there was nothing Matticus could do about it. The Knight noticed the sword and yelled to be heard in the din, “Say it again!”
The flaming sword was extinguished, and Matticus managed to safely stow his sword back in its sheath. Their shadows continued to stretch and shrink, dance and weave, in front of them and the three fled the warehouse. They took refuge in a small alley nearby, letting them view the continuing blaze while also allowing them to hide from the crowd that was starting to gather. Guards soon arrived to rally the people to try to extinguish the flames. Despite their closeness to water, they were not able to put it out. The building burned to the ground before anyone was able to escape.
Now that they were sure none would escape, the duo pulled Steph into an empty building so they could question her. Matticus, however, had a few questions for his knight first. “What was that all about? I thought you wanted me to get her out of there.”
“I did, but as I got closer to the door, I realized it would be a lot easier for me to turn invisible, go in there, and get her to march out at knifepoint. I probably should’ve come back and told you about the change of plans, but I wasn’t sure how much longer the meeting was going to go on and I didn’t want to miss our opportunity.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about the sword earlier?”
Revis shot him a look that said that the answer should be obvious. “Because you would have played with it.”
Matticus was about to argue, but he had to admit that he would have played with it. “Why’d you choose that phrase as the trigger?”
“I had to make sure that the phrase would be something that nobody would ever say.”
Hey, Matticus thought, that’s strike four. He’s really going to get it, he silently vowed as they turned their attention to Steph. “First,” Matticus asked, “what is a ‘groupie’?”
“It should be quite obvious,” she replied disdainfully. “A groupie is a human that is in cohorts with the vampires.”
“Oh,” Matticus and Revis said simultaneously.
After a second of thought, Revis added, “Thats not what I thought you were going to say.”
“It doesn’t matter. So you are in league with the vampires. Why?”
Frowning, Steph rose to her full height and proudly proclaimed, “I’m not really working with them. I’m not really a groupie.”
It was Matticus and Revis’ turn to frown. If she wasn’t a groupie, then they would have to question the rest of the intel they received from bardictale.
“What do you mean?” Matticus was quickly losing his interest in the conversation and in questioning Steph. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere worthwhile and he was getting bored. And tired. It had been a long day already. Plus he found his mind drifting towards his sword. He wanted to see what else he could do with it.
Smirking, Steph replied, “I’m a spy.”