Written for today’s short affair prompt at Section VII.
Summary: In which recovering stolen jewelry from THRUSH leads to the possibility of something weirder.
Not cross-posting this as I’ll be expanding this in the future.
Napoleon led the way into the underground THRUSH hideout; the international criminal organization had, as of late, been accused of a wide string of jewel robberies worldwide. The trail had, surprisingly enough, led to just across the river in Brooklyn, and the hideout they were now raiding.
“Strange, is it not?” Illya mused, as they raided the hideout, taking the one, lone prisoner who had been found quivering with fear in a corner. “He practically hid under our noses, and he made no effort to resist capture.”
“Well, now that you mention it, this does seem a bit too easy, doesn’t it?” Napoleon asked.
“I’d hold off on those sentiments,” April sighed. “We haven’t found any of the loot yet; judging by how scared out of his wits he is, it could be that some higher-ups took his spoils from him.”
“That’s likely,” Mark called to them, as he held the now-babbling THRUSHie in custody. “All I’m getting from this bloke is that he did ‘what The Lady told him to do.’ Don’t ask me who ‘The Lady’ is, though; he won’t say.”
“The Lady…” April murmured. “Edith Partridge?”
“I highly doubt THRUSH would be listening to her after we foiled her husband’s plans to aid THRUSH in the Yukon,” Illya said. “Then again, Emory Partridge did escape them; it could be that he reunited with Edith and they restored their prestige in the eyes of THRUSH somehow. You’ve been keeping tabs on the Partridge sightings, haven’t you, Napoleon?”
Napoleon nodded, deep in thought.
“Both Partridges are on the run, and while the Squire certainly has unfinished business with me, he’s not currently capable of doing anything about it—and, I assume, neither is Edith,” he said. He paused as he noticed the THRUSHie stammering to Mark about The Lady while pointing at the far wall. “Something over there…?”
He motioned for Illya to follow him to the blank wall; the CEA placed his ear to the wall and began to knock on it.
“It’s hollow,” he said. “Illya, help me push this.”
His partner was by his side in an instant, and soon, a segment of the wall opened to reveal a dimly-lit room. The room was lit by candles which illuminated a group of purple gems on the table, arranged in a circle around a small bowl.
“Amethysts,” Illya said.
“And here’s everything else,” Napoleon said, indicating a pile of gems of all kinds that appeared to be discarded in the corner—rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, pearls, and both white and black opals. “…Why’d he keep the semiprecious amethysts and throw away everything else?”
“The Lady told me to do it!” the THRUSHie yelled at them from the other room. “She told me to take only the amethysts and discard the rest—and put the big one in the oil!”
Napoleon and Illya now looked into the bowl, seeing a large amethyst immersed in scented oil.
“Some type of plant oil, with honey added to it,” Illya said, after sniffing it. “I think our THRUSHie was attempting to perform some kind of ritual; this ‘Lady’ is either someone who put him up to this, or some delusion he hoped to please by performing this ritual.”
“Still not a believer?” April asked.
“Let’s just say I prefer approaching things with a rational mind,” Illya said, pushing up his sweater sleeve and reaching to take the amethyst from the bowl. This action was met with a screech of horror from the THRUSHie that was so intense, even the skeptical Illya stopped in mid-reach.
“Noooooo!” the THRUSHie yelled. “Not you! Only Solo!”
“…What…?” Napoleon asked, incredulously.
“The Lady has chosen Napoleon Solo—only he can take that amethyst! He is the Chosen One who must give the amethyst to The Lady!”
Napoleon gave the THRUSHie a long stare and then laughed in amusement.
“I stopped giving jewelry to women years ago,” he insisted. “And, anyway, I can’t hand over stolen property.”
“The Lady has chosen you!” the THRUSHie insisted.
“Well, that’s too bad,” Napoleon insisted. “Mark, get him out of here; we need to take inventory of all this jewelry.”
“Right,” Mark said, and April left to help him, leaving the two partners behind.
“Well,” Napoleon said. “We have to log and store all this evidence; we might be here a while.”
“You won’t hear me complain,” Illya said. “But I think I shall let you take that large amethyst.”
“…Don’t tell me you’re actually buying into this Chosen One thing!”
“Of course not; this is me you’re talking to,” Illya reminded him, with a smirk. “I just have no desire to risk getting that oil-and-honey concoction on me; the last thing I need is to attract bees.”
Napoleon smirked back and shook his head in amusement.
It was going to be a long evening, but with Illya with him, he didn’t mind at all.