Puppeteer Chapter 3

The Overseer

At dawn, when the sun was in the east, the trio set off at a steady pace; keeping to the side of each cliff they came across. Every boulder, every cave, anything used for cover, the group used them to keep from being detected. Shadow was confident that they could slip into the enemy’s domain without being seen. He took point and had the others follow each of his steps. Their movements were slow, but the results were fruitful.

On the hour the three spotted the owl, which flew back and forth keeping to the skies and was constantly searching for them. When it seemed as if the party wasn’t around in the area, it flew off into the direction that the ninja was certain was the way to where the others were. They were grateful for their only advantages were stealth, and that this ‘Puppeteer’ didn’t know much of owls. If he did, he would know that they have the best vision and superb sense of hunting… only during the dark hours of the night. In the land of the Ever Rising Sun, an eagle would’ve been a better spy.

Without pushing their luck, the Returners continued their trek through the mountains. The day was clear, but the bite of the wind kept the travel bitter and miserable for each step they took.

By noon, Terra took a seat on a rock for a rest, but was pulled back to her feet by Celes. With every second they weren’t moving, was another second their blood wasn’t flowing to keep them warm. So they continued, benumbed, wearied, and always gazing upward to the ever present sun, hoping to catch sight of the owl.

Many hours later, Shadow ran back to his comrades after scouting ahead. He gave them one wave before returning to which he came. Both Celes and Terra followed, knowing full well their destination was at hand. Trailing the ninja through the ravine, they felt satisfied that they could finally get to where their friends were. Getting out of there would be a bonus.

Celes immediately stopped as a thought came to mind. Pulling out the picture of Locke, she focused on his naked form and knew that his captor didn’t want him rescued. If the others were equally beaten and nude, bringing any of them out into this icy weather could kill them.

“Celes, you got to see this,” Terra called, pulling Celes out of her thoughts.

Pocketing the photo, the former general put her thoughts aside. One step at a time. First step, get into the enemy’s base. Second, find the prisoners. As she turned on the trail, which formed into a cliff, she noticed it was not going to be easy to do step one.

Across the mountain they stood on, about half a mile out, was another large mountain, encased in a pyramid force field that had a dull, orange glow. Half way up the mountain, stood a three floored temple of some kind. The top of the pyramid had to tip. Good thing, since smoke kept billowing out of the mountain. The only way in seemed to end with taking a boiling hot magma bath.

“Seems the enemy doesn’t want any visitors,” said the ninja, dripping with sarcasm.

“A magic shield! How can that be?” Terra asked, not really expecting an answer.

Celes began scanning the mountain that held her friends. It was huge, with steep slopes and only one trail leading to the temple, but the trail turned around the mountain and out of sight. Then she saw it, a cave southeast of the temple and about fifty feet down from the trail. Moving her eyes in a zigzag, she pretended that the cave may lead to an underground connected network. Due west of their location, she saw another cave, that maybe part of the network.

“Follow me,” she commanded firmly as she began to jog to the cave, hoping her instincts weren’t wrong.

* * *

“Send him out again!” barked the monk.

Staring up into the skies, the young man brushed some of his red locks out of his face. Turning to his owl friend, he could tell that she was tired and the sun has been far too much on her eyes. Of course, he couldn’t tell his employer that. Instead, he hooted a few times and his friend hooted back. After a little conversation on what they’ll be having for dinner, he turned to the monk.

“She said it would be pointless. Somehow, they’re masking their tracks. There is no evidence of more than the three she seen last night.”

The monk snapped his head to the door, giving his overseer permission to return to the temple. Placing his chin in the palm of his hand, he began to wonder if Shadow’s random actions were going to cause too much trouble for him to handle. Maybe the prisoners should be slaughtered and he should flee this place before they arrived.

Shaking away such thoughts, he knew his order only cared for two things: playing with other people lives and to create chaos. His puppets were coming, he just didn’t know when. Turning on his heels, the monk returned to the temple, plotting his next move.

In the first room, the overseer watched his employer storm passed him and headed for the east wing. He feared what the monk had planned for him next. The young man signed up as the monk’s eyes and ears, a guard as one would say. But once he heard he would be paid a million gold pieces for his services, he knew that he would have to do more than warn the monk. Eventually, he would have to fight; though with a blade he couldn’t be beaten but the idea of going further did not sit well with him.

“We are going to have to see where this goes old friend,” spoke the youth, stroking the owl’s chest. Her only reply was a simple hoot.

“Where is what going, Daithi?” a feminine voice asked.

Without looking back, the hunter knew who was behind him. He cursed himself for not being aware of his environment as well as speaking aloud. Feeling a cold blade to his back, he straightened and froze himself in place. The young man began to think quickly.

“We were wondering how much time it’ll take for Shadow and the others to get here. Since they’re a group of three, I expect them at our footsteps tomorrow evening,” he replied without sounding worried.

The blade withdrew and the assassin stepped passed him. If she fell for the ruse or not, he didn’t know but by watching her vanish in the hall, he knew he would have to keep an eye behind him at all times. Locking the door, the overseer barricaded it with one of his chairs in his quarters. Satisfied with his safety, he strolled over to a cage full of mice and handed one to his owl.

“Is a million gold pieces worth another’s life?” he asked his friend, but she was too busy feeding. “We will have to see.”

Chapter 4

All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition

This Page © Copyright 1997, Brian Work. All rights reserved. Thanks to Sax for his help with the layout. Do not take anything from this page without my consent. If you wish to contact an author, artist, reviewer, or any other contributor to the site, their email address can be found on their index page. This site is link-free, meaning you don't need to ask me if you'd like to link to it. Best viewed in 1024x768.