• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Frontier Town Mayoral Residence – Ground Floor

Jackie Cat

A cat who writes stories.
Heartache staff
they or she
A house is a shelter, a living space, and a home. A mansion is a symbol.

In the affluent south-east quarter of town, larger and more elaborate residences overlooked cleared grounds to the east, and riverbank quays to the west. Chief among these was the mayoral residence, a true mansion that nominally came with the title and stipend of the mayoral office. It was located just a short walk away from Frontier Hall itself, the town mayor's place of work.

The exterior was several stories of cream and white artisan wood, with a balcony and a rooftop patio.

The interior was several marble-tiled and plush-carpeted rooms, the obvious finery of which was difficult to process on first entering the building, after so much unfinished wood and hewn sandstone in the rest of town. In the ballroom, indigo curtains and brass fittings complemented burgundy walls. There was evidence of servants, but they were professional enough to avoid notice if at all possible.

The security personnel were, by contrast, entirely conspicious. Mayor Voclain had recently employed two private firms, consisting largely of Pawniard and Maschiff respectively, and each had been put to task watching for unwarranted intruders. Sometimes they gave warranted ones a scare, too, just to relieve their tedium.

Preparations for the Grand Gala were well under way.

Ch01: The Girls Attempt to Commit Espionage
A tiny Treecko approached the security with confidence and nonchalance.

"Hello," she greeted with a nod. "I am here as part of the specialized increased security. I'd like to take a look around the area so I know what I'm defending."

Simple, honest, and to the point. The easiest infiltrations were the ones when she already had permission to go inside.

"If you need proof of identification..."

She reappeared several feet to the right and made another bow like it was some kind of performance.
Bellatrix's tail twitched irritably, she'd tried to find a pattern in Sonora's targets but couldn't turn up any solid links between them. Still, there was a fair amount she was able to uncover - especially surrounding the justice system - and that raised many further questions. Why such a small bounty for someone Ignatius desperately wanted to see dead? The sheer amount of abnormalities surrounding those posters was enough to convince Bellatrix to investigate the manor to try and directly uncover any signs of foul play. She needed to tell the group as much but couldn't at this very moment. Once they were more alone and out of earshot.

She followed several paces behind Mhynt, hailing the guards with a polite nod. "Per her word, she's with me," Bellatrix said, presenting the mayor's letter to them. "We largely want to scope for any potential weaknesses or openings so we can keep a closer eye on them on them during the gala to reduce any chances of any unwanted guests appearing."

She gave a similar greeting to the grey meowth who'd been chatting up the guards. Laura, if she recalled correctly. She wondered what she was doing her. Conducting an interview for the Gazette, perhaps?
The pair of Pawniard stared impassively at Mhynt for a moment, exchanged a glance, and then one of them scraped a pair of blades together with an ear-violating screech.

"Wait for the shift supervisor," explained the other pawn, coldly. "Your patience. Please."

The shift supervisor was speaking to Laura, it seemed. A solidly-built Bisharp looked over at the new arrivals from where they were grilling the silver Meowth, and roughly demanded she come along with a gesture.

"Bisharp Rin," said Rin, sharply. "Are you with this Meowth?"

Laura gave the other two investigators a sheepish smile and a wave. "Hey, you two. Glad to see you here."

"Quiet," snapped Rin. Her expression was severe, even for her species.
That answered her question immediately. Bellatrix's only response to the bisharp was to tap the letter she'd laid out on the ground while repeating herself to Rin. "We were hired as extra guards for the gala by Mayor Voclain and we wanted to get more acquainted with the manor's layout so we could more efficiently do our jobs." There was a brief pause as she considered her question. It would be a gamble but she couldn't afford the risk of having members of their group make themselves out as overtly sketchy. Not now, when making Ignatius think everything would be fine was more important than ever. "The meowth is part of our group, yes. She went ahead while Mhynt, the treecko, and I needed to discuss a few separate matters."

She looked at Laura for a moment, then back at Rin. "I apologise for any trouble she may have caused. She was interested in taking the job, but not certain. She wanted to join us to make up her mind."
Rin ordered a pawn to pick up the letter for her, and she studied it intently.

"It's written in his hand," she noted, begrudgingly. She planted the letter on Bellatrix's head. "You may enter. We will stay alert to you while you are inside. Do not stain any thing while inside."

"Thank you, we appreciate it, have a good day," chirped Laura, breezing right past, tail up, beckoning Mhynt and Bellatrix along.

"I did not mean you also—" began Rin, but then she sighed, shrugged, and stabbed an armoured thumb behind her to order the other two inside as well.

A po-faced Pawniard tailed the trio inside, radiating apathetic hostility.
"We will be very sure not to," Bellatrix replied, sliding the letter back under her scarf. "Thank you for your time."

She followed Laura and, once she was certain the pawniard was out of earshot, whispered, "What were you doing back there?"
Mhynt followed along with a slight frown. It was a good thing they were operating on the premise of looking for vulnerabilities because being tailed by one of the goons wasn't going to do her any favors. "Stain?" she murmured thoughtfully to cover her frown, wondering just how that'd be possible.
Laura smiled sheepishly, her ears twitching back and forth.

"Was trying to get entry based on having an invite and being a Gazette reporter. Which I kindof am, now? Assuming Nathaniel actually likes my work, I guess. Anyway – good to see you. Thanks for the assist back there."

She had her notepad out and was glancing around the reception rooms of the mansion, taking down details in scratchy shorthand.

"I'm seeing Maschiff, Pawniard, Patrat, and their evolutions," she observed. "Also, lots of open space, and... I guess you'd call it the landing? Don't think balcony is the right word when it's indoors and facing inward. Mezzanine, maybe?"
"Mm. Good for detection and enforcement," Mhynt surmised. "Will there be guards inside as well, or will that be... unsightly or in bad form, to your employer?" Mhynt glanced back.
Bellatrix responded to Laura with a hum. "Of course." She looked back at the pawniard. She was going to need to keep her story consistent. "We're here for the same reason, after all."

"We will need to give this mansion a thorough look. Leave no stone unturned, lest we get any unwanted surprises during the gala," she said more loudly for the pawniard to hear. She looked around, trying to scope for any immediately obvious openings. Any large or easily breakable windows, perhaps?
"Guards will be inside," answered the pawn to Mhynt, their voice terse and hard. "Mostly 'rats and 'hogs. Dogs in the private halls. In case."

Bellatrix saw that there were many large windows in the mansion, but their grids divided them into panes too narrow for easy entry. Perhaps a small 'mon could get through? Although, it might not be safe to assume they weren't elementally warded. Balustrades on the mezzanine... Patrolling patrat staff... Lots to keep track of.

"It looks like security's pretty tight," remarked Laura. "I'm surprised the mayor felt he needed to hire extra muscle at all."

The pawn glowered at her.

"He didn't," they quipped, coldly.
At that, Bellatrix's ear flicked. "Hm? Then why go out of his way to hire us if the extra security was not needed?" she asked. A small frown tugged at her features when looking around the halls. "It seems quite well-guarded," she observed. Perhaps a secret passage? Maybe she could try look for peepholes. "And I don't believe the mayor is one to leave conspicuous holes in his halls for anyone to enter," she added with a swish of her tail.
The pawn glared at Bellatrix and shrugged like a sulky adolescent.

"Don't know. Maybe he doesn't trust security chiefs. Maybe just wants you people on payroll."

Laura looked over her shoulder from where she'd been examining an enormous framed painting on one wall.

"Is Bisharp Rin one of the chiefs?"

Pawniard nodded sullenly. "Yeah."

"She seems... tough."


"I bet she takes her job seriously."


They weren't a 'mon of many words, it seemed.
"Mm." Mhynt was also of few words in respect to them, looking left and right before saying, "I'm going to do one of my specialized inspections. Humor me."

Then, she flicked her hand, producing a small, simple pebble. She then began tapping it along the outer walls, listening for off-beats. Signs of a hollow, or a secret passageway.
Laura eyed Mhynt, ears pricked. That interview in the Gazette... Mhynt could Teleport, couldn't she?

"Keep that up," she said, quietly.

While Laura kept examining the arrangements made for the guests – very fine, unsurprisingly – and kept peppering the laconic Pawniard with questions, Mhynt continued to probe for gaps. None in the outer walls of the forward wing of the mansion, where the reception areas were... But the suspicious glances from the pawn were encouraging. Maybe there was something hidden elsewhere.

"You said there were 'dogs' in the private rooms?"

"Maschiff. Watchog. They'll shoo any wandering guests. Send them back downstairs."

"Why would guests wander upstairs to the private rooms?"

The pawn snickered. It sounded like the clatter of mixed cutlery.

"Too much wine. Pretty 'mon."

"Ah. That... really shouldn't surprise me, I guess."

Mhynt rolled her eyes and continued her route with purpose and no hesitation. Acting like she belonged, following a procedure like she was an expert.

In a way, she was. Just not for what she'd advertised.
At this point, Bellatrix didn't see much point in loitering and continued down the hall.

Her ears swivelled, trying to pick up on any hollow sounds from Mhynt's knocks. "Doesn't seem like there's much here," she observed plainly. "Perhaps we can move onto other parts?"
"Are the servants' areas also secure?" asked Laura.

The pawn looked offended. "Guard checks 'em coming through. Chokepoint."

Laura nodded sagely. "Chokepoints are good for security. Are you using them elsewhere?"

This got an eyeroll in response. "Yeah. Main entrance; servants' passage; stairways; private hallway—"

They cut themself off abruptly. They didn't quite sell it as a natural ending to their sentence.


"Yeah. Also, rooftop. In case of birds or something. Kindof a chokepoint."

"You don't seem as worried about that."

"Nah. More worried about crowds. And other security. Like you."
Private hallway. Interesting. She'd have to figure out why that was important later and, more importantly, what constituted a private hallway.

"Other security, hm?" Mhynt said. "Bad experience with contract work in the past?"

Thankfully, hallways were a natural outcome of following a standard coverage procedure. Eventually, she'd find when the guards got nervous... She spent five hundred years reading people getting nervous about secrets they wanted to hide. What were a few goons?

...Well. Being part Steel didn't help matters.
Top Bottom