Because We Were Different – Part 24

Hey everyone! I’m back with the next part to my serial short story! I completely missed it last month (whoops!) but here is the next part! I may try to get another part out this month since I missed August, but we’ll see how things go since I have a few other posts I’m looking forward to getting out this month!

After saying that, if you have forgotten what happened in Part 23, please click here to refresh your memory. Also, if you’re new to the story, you can go here to read Part 1, or click on the Short Stories link in the sidebar of my site! And as always, thanks for reading, and for any likes and comments! ~ Kay Leigh

Part 24

I dressed in the uniform in a tiny closet and found it fit perfectly. There was only one problem with it — I couldn’t carry my backpack with me.

I shuffled through it, looking at the various snacks and drinks Raidon had packed for our escapade, and rolled my eyes. There were also my inventions, the wheely shoes, the slide out sword that actually worked after all, and the useless door unlocker. Well, at least some of my inventions worked… like the smoke bomb. But none of these would be of any use at the present.

The only other things in the pack were the two portfolios I had on Natalia and Raidon. I stuffed those inside my shirt. If someone found my backpack, it would be better not to incriminate them.

I placed the cap onto my head, hid my backpack behind a mop bucket, and then peeked out of the closet. Good, nobody was around. I stepped out of the closet, straightened my clothes, then stiffened. Now it was time to put my spy training to good work.

With a careless gait, I made my way down the halls. Men and women, dressed in the same Shiarizian Secret Service uniforms, brushed past me without a second thought, and I made myself as unassuming as possible. I needed to find out where they kept all the top secret portfolios….

“Hey! Hey you!”

My heart leapt into my throat as I heard the words, but I forced a blank expression onto my face as I turned to an older woman dressed in the same uniform as mine, only with another badge on her shoulder. She must be an officer. “Yes, ma’am?”

She held a stack of papers out to me, not even giving me a second look. “Take these to Colonel Krusian at once.”

Sensing I would only endanger myself if I asked where exactly this colonel was, I took the stack with a simple, “Yes ma’am,” and started down what I hoped was the right hall. This place was like a maze, but I kept a mental map of each turn I took in my mind, praying I’d remember them all if I needed to make a quick escape.

I passed identical hall after identical hall. If I didn’t give these papers to this colonel soon, they’d definitely suspect. What were these papers, anyway? Glancing at the top, I saw the words, Report: Kachinoan Conflict. Ah, news about what they were planning? Or was it a news clipping?

Well, I didn’t have time to read it now — besides, the Kachinoan conflict was not why I was here. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what they did to Kachino. I just wanted to free my sister from Remington’s tyrannical grasp.

I looked up as another secret service cadet came down the hall. I stopped him. “Pardon me… but I’m new around here, and… can you direct me to Colonel Krusian’s office?”

“It’s lunch hour,” the cadet said with a shrug. “The colonel’s not in.”

I frowned. This stack was getting heavy. “I… was told to take these to him. Would he mind if I just left them in his office?”

“His office is locked.” The cadet raised his brows as my frown deepened. This was just great. Would I really have to hold this load and waste time waiting on the idiot to finish his lunch?

“Oh, all right. I’ll let you in to drop off that load, but don’t be late again.”

Now it was my turn to raise my brow. “You… can unlock his office?”

“I’m his secretary, Senior Cadet Harden.” He waved for me to follow him as we hurried down the halls. “You must be one of the new batch of cadets that came in. Which school are you from?”

My mind drew a blank as my heart-rate sped. I had to have Cadet Harden lead me to the right office — perhaps this colonel had some information or at least a map of the place I could look at to find the secret portfolios. But if I fouled this up, I’d probably be dead. “The uh… second school.” Well, if this didn’t work, I’d just have to do away with the fellow and take his keys. At least there was no one around to see it if I did… but there were security cameras. I wouldn’t last for long, for certain. I couldn’t let this chance to discover the princess’ whereabouts get away.

“The second school?” Cadet Harden wrinkled his brow. “Mourbiro?”

I nodded, trying to act like a shy newbie who felt overwhelmed.

“Eh, that’s not a bad school. Chin up. You’ll get the hang of this place soon. It is easy to get lost in when you’re new.” He stopped before a door and stuck his keycard in. The light on the controls flashed green, and then he opened the door to the darkened office. “All right, set those reports on the colonel’s desk and I’ll take you down to the breakfast hall.”

I stepped inside the room, my eyes widening as I looked around. On either side of the room were walls of filing cabinets, all locked. Was this where they kept their top secret things? Wasn’t much security if you asked me… though I realized it actually was secure… more secure than our base at Kachino. Anyone could find where the Kachinoan Military Post was — it had its name etched right onto it. This place had been an unmarked building in the middle of the inner city. Though I’d smuggled myself in, most likely one needed a special card like the one Cadet Harden had to get into the place, and then they needed to have the exact knowledge of where they were going to get through the maze of identical looking halls and doors. And who knew if the inside of all the offices looked the same, just like this one? My heart sunk as that thought hit me. Would I have to tear through the entire Shiarizian Secret Service building before I found the princess’ file?

Well, I had to start somewhere—

“Hey! You coming?”

It was Harden. If I stayed any longer without reason, he’d suspect. As much as I hated to have to do it, I knew I’d have to do away with the cadet… but no, I couldn’t do that. He hadn’t been rude to me, or mean. In fact… he’d actually been nice. But if I didn’t kill him… I set my jaw stubbornly. I wouldn’t kill him. I’d knock him out and tie him up and stuff him in some closet. Someone would find him eventually. But how to set about doing that…?

I set the papers down on the cluttered desk and picked up the paperweight on the desk. It wasn’t the ideal weapon, but it was the only thing I could think to use. I kicked over the tin wastebasket beside the desk then and gave a cry. “Oh, no!”

“Oh, what happened now?” Cadet Harden sounded mildly annoyed as he stepped into the room.

“I didn’t see the wastebasket,” I said, bending down to pick up pieces of trash which had scattered on the carpeted floor. “I’m sorry.”

“Well, don’t worry about it. We’ll get it picked up.” He flipped on the light switch with a sigh as he came over to help me.

For the first time, I actually felt guilt eating at me as he bent down beside me and started picking up the trash. Perhaps it was because his gullible nature reminded me of Raidon. Or maybe it was I hungered so much to be treated like an equal and not some slave or puppet that I didn’t want to hurt him. Whatever it was, I nearly lost the nerve, until my mind returned to Remington… and my sister. It was my fault our parents were dead. I couldn’t let Remington harm her too.

I stood, as if to stretch my back, and then, as hard as I could, I clunked the paperweight on the back of Cadet Harden’s head. Down he crumpled with a groan, but I knew I hadn’t knocked him out, not entirely. I used his momentary shock to snatch the baton from his side. “I’m sorry,” I said, barely believing I was apologizing to him. “But I’ve got to do this for my sister.” And with that, I gave him the blow that convinced me he’d be out of it for quite some time.

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