The Case of the Misplaced Hero
by Camille LaGuire
Episode 22 - Alex Plots a Counter Coup
THE GUARDS WERE armed not only with rifles and bayonets -- which they had leaning against the wall near their table -- but also pistols. Pookiterin had a pistol and a sword too. And Niko had a kitchen full of knives. None of them were on alert, but Alex did not see himself getting the drop on one of them, and holding the rest at bay while he woke up Thorny, and got him out of there.
Sneaking would be better. Get the door unlocked, distract people, find some excuse to get Niko out of the room. In the end it was Niko who actually gave form to the plan when he sent Alex to the cellar to get some wine for the guards.
"Rozinshura says to keep them happy," he said of the guards.
So when Alex found a box of medical supplies next to the wine, he got the idea to make the guards very happy.
But there were no sleeping pills or pain killers, just things for stomach ailments and laxatives. The laxatives might be an amusing way to get the guards out of the room, but it said they took overnight to take effect.
There was a little bottle of ipecac syrup -- which would induce vomiting in case of poisoning and undoubtedly worked fast. But if everybody started throwing up, it would be obvious they'd been poisoned. Heck, even a sleep drug might make them suspicious enough to call an alarm.
But if you are drinking you expect to get tipsy. And people who are drunk never seem to realize exactly how drunk they are.
Alex stuck the little bottle of ipecac in his pocket as a back up, and went and hunted down a bottle of clear hard liquor.
When he got back to the kitchen, he spiked the wine with a little of the liquor. The security men did not complain, so he spiked it with more, and they got happier and happier.
Pookiterin glared at him any time he approached, even when he held up the wine bottle. Still, the colonel wasn't paying attention to the kitchen, so Alex might sneak Thorny out behind his back. How could he get Niko out? That was the question.
He pondered that as he helped roll up the blootchkes -- which turned out to be little burrito-shaped crepes, filled with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. It was getting dark by the time they were done. Alex stretched and rubbed his back like it was sore, and put on a pained expression.
"Say, Niko, would you mind delivering this bunch? I'm wearing out."
"Take these up front and rest there," said Niko, without even looking up to see Alex's performance as an invalid. But then he leaned closer and added. "I can't go, I must watch them."
Well, the guards weren't quite drunk enough anyway. Alex refilled their glasses, and went to deliver the blootchkes. He ducked Rozinshura without much trouble, and that gave him an idea: When he got back he'd see if the guards were drunk enough, and if so, he'd tell Niko that the captain wanted him. Then he'd take the guards' guns, hold Pookiterin hostage, and get the girl to help get Thorny out of the larder.
When he got back to the kitchen, the lamps had been turned down, and the guards were dozing ... but there was tension. Niko was in the corner, muttering darkly and shooting angry glances at the alcove.
In the alcove, the colonel had removed his sword belt and jacket, and unbuttoned his shirt a little. He hovered over the girl, much closer than before. He reached over and touched her face. She sat like a stone.
Alex set down his tray and fingered the ipecac in his pocket.
"Do you think the colonel wants some wine?" he said.
Stay Tuned for Episode Twenty-Three: "Lady Featherdale Gives Evidence"
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