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white lie coverWil and Ben get to the basement and find a safe room that has coded entry. Figuring it is probably a verbal command, they start trying words that might work.

Wil chuckled, he had to admit, twisted as it was, the idea was logical. A frown replaced the smile. “We’re no closer than we were then, we don’t know the password.”

“Something easy to remember. Something about the family, a pet, even the name of the city?”

“Gundesburg,” Wil spoke clearly and loudly. Nothing happened. The names of all the royal family did nothing either. Five minutes guessing and they were out of ideas.

“Damn Aurialonus anyway!” Wil grumbled. A click sounded and a hiss of escaping air. “No way!” He and Ben took defensive positions, waiting. The door eased open and inside they saw the crumpled form of the petty dictator.

“You suppose the shock of the explosion killed him?” Ben shook his head, stepping carefully toward the man seated on a hard wooden chair.

“No, he’s breathing. Sound may have stunned him.” Wil nudged the inert form with the tip of his gun. The man stirred slightly, mumbled and slowly opened his eyes. Their guns came up and he raised his hands in surrender.

“It’s over,” Wil said harshly in the native tongue of Starflatz. “Get up.”

Aurialonus looked puzzled, then rose gradually from his chair, staggering against the wall. Ben grabbed him roughly by the elbow, forcing him ahead of him at gunpoint. Moving at a snail’s pace, the three men made their way back upstairs.

The people in the kitchen had woken up and were struggling against their bonds. Wil took their gags out, telling them to be still and he would free them. When the maid saw Aurialonus, she spat at him, making a rude gesture, recognizable in any language. Aurialonus seemed to fold in on himself, suddenly looking very old.

Dragging and shoving him roughly, Ben and Wil forced him to the ballroom and through the doors to the terrace. Shouting and gunfire greeted them. Dragging Aurialonus back inside, Wil swore loudly.

“The gas wore off, I can’t believe I forgot!”

Ben was looking outside. “They’re coming this way,” he muttered urgently.

“Got any bright ideas?” Wil was furious with himself and he was taking it out on Ben. Both knew this, and let it slide.

“You’re the genius, I’m just a grunt. If you don’t get brilliant fast, we’re dead.”

“Back to the kitchen. Take him.” He shoved Aurialonus at Ben. “Get the servants out.”

“What are you doing?”

“Giving them a Krall cocktail.” He shut and locked the doors, dashing for the king’s bedchamber as Ben half carried Aurialonus back to the kitchen.

In the darkened bedroom, Wil ducked through the doorway and dropped by Krall’s body. The Marine demo expert was covered in items of heavy destruction. Wil regretted his death, mostly because it was damn inconvenient. They could have used him now. The fact another human being was dead on the floor hardly phased him. It might bother him later, right now he hadn’t the time.

Using his knife, he cut straps, stripping Krall of all his toys. With a wicked smile, he concocted a little surprise of his own design, grabbing items at random from the room. He made three bombs in less than thirty seconds. The soldiers outside were finally organizing and planning to rush the castle doors.

Running across the hall, he found a room overlooking the terrace. Crawling out the door, he peeped through the balcony balustrade. Setting the timer on the first bomb, he hurled it over the edge.

As it exploded with a satisfying blast, he heard the howls of men being ripped apart. The second bomb followed the first, landing to the other side. Horrified shouts reached his ears as the men below tried to figure out where the shower of death was coming from.

The third present was a little different, full of all manner of debris from the bedroom. It also had a special ingredient Krall had fondly called joy juice. It was Krall’s own concoction and similar to nitroglycerine, only more volatile. This he dropped right over the edge of the balcony on the lip of the terrace where the men were attempting to enter the ballroom.

Flinging himself back into the bedroom, he flattened himself on the far side of the bed, hands over his ears. He saw the flash of the explosion before hearing the kaboom which rocked the palace. Pandemonium and panic reigned as the soldiers all tried to run away at once, knocking one another down and trampling each other.

Taking further advantage of this disorganization, Wil slipped out to the balcony once more, unslinging his weapon. He opened fire on the chaos on the lawn. Bullets flew from his weapon, laying down a veil of lead and explosive pellets.

Howling like a Civil War Rebel, he hurled smoke bombs, grenades. One last blast from his weapon and he heard it click on an empty magazine. Grabbing up Krall’s and Bennett’s guns, he ran full speed down the stairs and slid down the bannister the last few feet.

Behind him, he heard the blasts on the ballroom door as the soldiers finally entered the palace. More screams, howls and curses followed. Wil trotted leisurely to the front door, checking Krall’s weapon, satisfied it had a full clip. He sauntered to the door and froze. Not dogs this time or soldiers, but a very beautiful, dark haired woman in a filmy, white nightgown was pointing a very lethal looking weapon at his balls.

“Who are you?” She demanded as all hell broke loose behind him.

It was only a matter of moments before the soldiers made their way into the main palace.

“Who are you?” He repeated, hoping to distract her. It didn’t work.

“Why are you here? Have you come for Aurialonus?”

His silence confirmed this.

“Thank God!” She put the safety back on the weapon and lowered it. “Come this way, quickly!”

Wil trotted after her. “Who are you?”

“Princess Rashima,” she said over her shoulder as she ran. “I was to be tonight’s prize, but he could not manage it.” She took the gun, holding it in one hand, letting the tip drop limply. Wil chuckled.

“It might have been the drug I put in his tea.” She shrugged. “Hurry, while he still sleeps.”

“But we got him already,” Wil remarked.

She raised an eyebrow, glancing over her shoulder.

“You got his double, which you would have discovered as soon as you began to interrogate him. Then it would have been too late. Come.” She gestured urgently.

Realizing this could be a clever trap, he followed cautiously, weapon drawn, silent as a cat on the thick carpets. Rashima stopped by an ornately carved door which she pushed open quietly. It swung inward revealing a naked, heavy set, old man asleep on a lavish four poster. He was drooling and snoring loudly.

©2015 Dellani Oakes

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