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Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Twenty-Six)
Chapter Twenty-Six In Which Servants Prove They're More Than Meets The Eye
Tim and Tom, the two servants of Jane Mortimer had, as their boss wanted, scoured the entire temple all day and night, searching for any hint of super amazing alchemy. Their official reason for being at the temple had been researching the environment and how plants were affected, information they hoped to use for their farms back home, as well as take some plants back to spread and regrow all over the world to be used by their company to make stuff from beauty products to medicine. Since it would help revive endangered plants, the people of the Dragon's Temple were more than happy to let Jane and her crew come and take a look around.
Now, their real reason for coming to the temple was because Jane Mortimer, owner and chairwoman of Mortimer Research Institute Enterprise by day, head of a criminal organization by night, had heard rumors about the place holding secrets about amazing ancient alchemy. If such alchemy were to fall into Jane Mortimer's hands, not only would she be raking in the big bucks for her company, she could also create incredible weapons and technology that would make her criminal organization the top of the underworld. Then no one in the organization that she had inherited from her father could complain about her youth and inexperience.
Tim and Tom had searched the place top to bottom while mingling among the other servants of the joint and doing servant things like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. It was really tough work, working for their princess boss who was in charge of two worlds, but the two wouldn't have it any other way. They owed the first boss a lot, and they were there since the princess was still in diapers.
Worry latched onto their hearts when they heard the loud booms coming from outside. The princess/boss had left them to do their own thing while she went on adventures with her friends. Yes, they understood that she wasn't actually playing around with her friends, and that she was just tagging along with their playing detective to get her hands on the secret alchemy this temple was supposed to be hiding. But it still looked like she was enjoying herself, and that made them as surrogate fathers very happy.
Being from the criminal world, they knew better than to rush around in a panic. Old survival habits kicked in, and the two quickly ducked into a broom closet where they hid until the commotion died down outside. Armored men and women marched by, armed to the teeth. Tim and Tom could see them come and go through a crack opened by the door. They recognized the insignia on those armored people's shoulder plates as the symbol of the Rowdy Rogues, something they hadn't seen since their days on the streets.
Two of the Rowdy Rogues stayed behind as others left to other places. Once those two were alone, Tim and Tom burst out of the closet and attacked, using really heavy dust pans to knock them out. The lackeys of Jane Mortimer took the Rogues' armor and locked the unconscious pair in the closet.
The armor they donned were ill-fitting and uncomfortable, but there was no use complaining. With the armor on, they were able to mix in with the other Rogues and learn what was going on.
Apparently, the Rowdy Rogues were here for the same thing that Jane was here for. And their plans were incredibly effective. They were able to exploit the two heroes' probably only weakness, their kindness, which got the two heroes to surrender quietly. Even Jane hadn't gotten that far in the planning stage, which was probably a good thing. Tim and Tom were criminals, but even they thought there was a line that shouldn't be crossed.
The duo's hearts nearly skipped beats when news came over the radios in their helmets that Jane and the others had been captured. It took a lot to restrain themselves from flying into a frenzy to save her. But restrain themselves, they did, because they knew that just recklessly going out there would do no one any good. Patience was the key, and so to patience they must submit to.
Together, Tim and Tom walked the halls, pretending to be on patrol while listening to the radio for more information. Their patience paid off and they overheard a Rogue telling another one where their boss was being kept. Relief washed over them, learning that their princess was not hurt.
Destination set, the pair set out at once to rescue Jane.
"And that's when you met me," said the doctor's girl after listening to the men's story (minus the part about them all being criminals).
"Yep," said Tom, the short, fat one.
"Your Zhangese is surprisingly good," said the girl.
"Thank you," Tom said. "The two of us like to study foreign languages during our spare time, thinking it might help our boss in some way."
"So, what's your story?" Tim said.
"Well, what is there to tell?" Xiao Mei asked. "You probably heard all that happened from chatter over the radio. Zhun was a traitor. He got the Rogues in here, and they captured us all, getting Jing and Mei Ling to behave by using hostages."
"Yeah," Tim said. "We also heard about what happened with your mum. Sorry about that."
"Let's just focus on the problem at hand now," the thirteen-year-old girl said, wearing an angry look on her face that looked almost identical to what the boss wore a lot these days.
"Right," said Tom. "First, let's get the boss out. Me and Tim here aren't much in the thinking department, so getting her out is our top priority. She's pretty good in the cunning department (you have to if you want to make it big in business), so if there's anyone left who could think up a way out of this mess, it's her."
So, off they went to the room Jane Mortimer was being held in. They didn't have to get far until they came across a hallway littered with armored bodies on the ground. All of them had battery-loaded suction darts stuck to their heads.
Xiao Mei popped out from behind Tim and walked over to check on the fallen Rogues. She could hear breathing beneath their helmets. They were all still alive. But what in the world could have happened here?
A jolt hit Xiao Mei's heart that sent her jumping back.
"What's going on here?" demanded the Rogue who showed up. He pointed a blaster toward Xiao Mei. "Don't move!"
That was when a streak of yellow light zipped by her face, striking the Rogue in the chest.
"Are you okay?" Tim asked, lowering his blaster.
"Yeah," Xiao Mei said breathlessly. "Nice shot."
"Is he . . . dead?" asked the original personality. The other Xiao Mei repeated the question aloud.
Tim shook his head.
"That blaster bolt was yellow, so it's a stun bolt," he said. "He'll just be sleeping for around eight hours. Only the red ones are really deadly. But the red blaster stones are super expensive in the criminal underworld because of how rare it is for anyone outside of the military to get - oof!"
Tom elbowed Tim in the stomach, glared at his partner, and then jerked his head to the young girl, wordlessly reminding him who he was talking to. Xiao Mei stared at the men with a weird look on her face, clearly wondering how a corporate leader's servant would know anything about the criminal underworld.
"At least that's what they say on TV," Tim said, finishing with a shaky laugh. "Right? I mean, we're just two humble servants of a nice company owner! How else would we know anything about criminals?"
"Right," said an unconvinced Xiao Mei. Then her face lit up in panic. "Behind you!"
Tim and Tom spun around as more Rowdy Rogues came marching in.
"What in the world?" exclaimed one.
But before any of them could act, suction darts suddenly flew from behind one corner, each landing on a Rogue's helmet. The darts all flashed and electricity was unleashed.
"Gah!" screamed the Rogues before they all collapsed.
The trio were momentarily frozen in silence.
"What just happened?" Xiao Mei, the first to recover, asked.
That was when Jane stepped out from the corner, spinning what looked like a toy blaster made of orange and white plastic at her finger. She wore a long belt of suction darts over her shoulder.
"Elementary, my dear," she said, stepping over the unconscious Rogues. "I just stunned them all with my shock darts."
"Miss Mortimer!" the two men exclaimed in glee and relief.
"It was about time you showed up," Jane said, keeping a cool air. "You took so long I even had time to go to my room and back to arm myself. And I'm glad I did."
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Madame," Tom said with a salute. "Your orders?"
Jane's eyes roamed from Tom to Tim, and finally landed on Xiao Mei. Xiao Mei met Jane's gaze with a gaze of her own. Neither girl looked away, and then . . .
"We go for the hostages first," she said. "As long as the Rowdy Rogues have innocent people in their grasp, we can't do anything to stop their leader. If we can get everyone to safety, then we can move on to rescue the two Master Wus. Without hostages to worry about, those two will be free to do their hero thing. So, once we free the hostages, we've as good as one this entire battle."
"Nice planning, Boss!" exclaimed Tim.
"By the way, how did you manage to get away?" asked Xiao Mei.
"Simple," said Jane. "I have mini dart blasters in my sleeves. The darts weren't as effective as what I have now, but they were enough for me to give the guards the slip. Although, it was a bit of a challenge sneaking around them all to get to my room. And being taken to the furthest corner away from my room didn't help matters at all. By the time I reached my room, I had already used up all the darts in my sleeves. It'll be a pain in the neck fixing them again."
Both personalities of Xiao Mei could hardly believe what they were hearing. There was seriously something strange about the people around her. Although here, right now, that was a good thing.
"Do you have a plan on how we're going to free the hostages, Boss?" asked Tim.
"Huh?" Jane said. "Uh . . . Yeah. Of course, I do."
To Xiao Mei, Jane didn't sound very convincing.
"A-anyway, we shouldn't dillydally. More guards could be on their way here. This way!"
Jane rushed off in one direction. Tim, Tom, and finally Xiao Mei after some hesitation, followed after her.
Meanwhile, back at the chamber where the hostages were all gathered, Elizabeth Darkwater was not sitting still. Although it looked like she was like a statue, she was actually inching herself towards the nearest light switch. Inch by inch, she carefully shifted and weaved around the children and adults. Thanks to the chamber's grand size, there was still plenty of room to move around in, despite almost every person in the temple being there. And everyone had split into their own cluster, which freed up that much more space. She was also grateful that the curtains were all drawn and that it looked like those curtains were all thick enough to cover light completely for reasons that would be made clear soon.
It took her almost two hours before she reached her destination. By then, her knees were flaring something fierce, and the effort left her sweating. She didn't let her discomfort show on her face, and kept a wary eye on the guards to make sure they didn't notice her moving. They didn't.
One hand was kept in her pocket where she kept a pair of night vision goggles. Why would she have night vision goggles, you ask? Why, in case there was a black out, of course. Back home, there was always a problem with the power, so Elizabeth kept a pair on her in case a power outage left her working in the dark. This led to becoming a habit of hers to keep a pair with her at all times, even out of the house.
Elizabeth waited for her opportunity. When she saw it, she sprung like a cat lunging for its prey. Her hand slapped at the switch and then everything was plunged into darkness.
"What in the world?" one of the men cried out.
Taking advantage of the momentary confusion, Elizabeth put on the night vision goggles and then went to work.
"Did you hear that?" said one guard to another as they stood outside the room the hostages were being kept in.
"Sounds like a fight in there," said his partner. "And is that blaster fire? Come on!"
Just as he was about to open the door, he heard two noises that sounded like plastic snapping, and something tapping the back of his head.
"What was that?" he asked.
They turned around and saw a young lady in a lab coat spinning a white and orange toy blaster at her finger.
She smiled at them and waved her left hand.
"Night-night!" she said.
"Night-night"? Now why would she say that?
That's when the darts stuck to the backs of their heads unleashed the electricity stored in the batteries. They were out before they hit the ground.
"The coast is clear!" Jane called out over her shoulder. Tim, Tom and Xiao Mei appeared out of a corner.
"Alright, everyone knows the plan?" Jane asked.
"First, me and Tim sneak in as one of the Rogues," said Tom.
"Then we cause a major big commotion," added Tim.
"And after that, you and I help everyone sneak outside while the bad guys are distracted," Xiao Mei finished.
"So we're all on the same page," said Jane. "Good. Let's go."
Tim and Tom put their helmets on and then marched towards the door. They opened the doors and - BAM!
Five adults in robes tackled them to the ground as children came flooding out. Jane pulled Xiao Mei back as the stampede reached past them. The girls stared in wide-eyed confusion as the flood subsided and no one was left. Jane and Xiao Mei turned their gaze toward the room, over the pile of adults keeping Tim and Tom pinned down. Their eyes took in the sight of a maid around their age, wearing night vision goggles as she tossed an armored man aside like he was a rag doll. One hand held a blaster rifle which she had hefted over her shoulder.
"Well," said Xiao Mei, "I guess we've as good as won now."
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Twenty-Five)
In Which Heroes Deal With Shocking Truths Behind Bars