The Chief folded her arms and scowled at the group. Sigthyme, Juniper, Tak, and Grace all stood stunned.
“Uh, Chief,” Sigthyme began, but was cut off by The Chief.
They held up a hand to silence them.
“What are you four doing here?” They asked in a deep growl.
“Not you, you!” The Chief cut of Sigthyme again and pointed their finger at Juniper.
“We…we came to investigate,” Juniper said as she tried to muster up some courage. “We are trying to find Riffen.”
“I told all of you to stay out of this,” The Chief said. “This is no place for civilians.”
“We are members of The Titan’s League,” Sigthyme said.
The Chief shot a look of anger toward him.
“This is no place for monster hunters. This is a crime scene and is under the jurisdiction of The City Guard. I told you all directly not to come here and you disobeyed me. You disobeyed direct orders.”
“We could not stand by and do nothing,” Juniper said.
“So you decided to insert yourself into my investigation against my will,” The Chief said. “If you will not listen to my words, maybe my actions will convince you.”
The Chief snapped her fingers and six city guard members stepped forward.
“Arrest them,” The Chief said.
“For what?” Sigthyme asked.
“For meddling in city guard business, trespassing, and tampering with a crime scene. All crimes,” The Chief said.
“Do you think that is necessary?” Emissary Pria Selorn asked.
“Do not begin telling me how to do my job, Emissary,” The Chief said and Pria fell silent.
The city guard members came forward and pulled manacles to shackle the group. Each of the guards slapped their manacles on the group members, while three members put shackles on Tak. Tak growled with disgust, but did not resist.
“We found a secret passage. We are helping,” Grace said as the city guard member put manacles on her arms.
“You are not helping,” The Chief said as she looked over at Grace and then over to the passage. “What did you do?”
“We found it. I found it,” Grace said.
The Chief looked for a brief moment before turning back to some city guard members behind her.
“Take these four out of here,” They said. “Then get a group together and investigate that tunnel.”
“Wait, we found it. We deserve to -” Grace said.
“Quiet,” The Chief glared at her and Grace fell silent.
All four of them were escorted out of the building as city guard members came in to secure the open passageway.
The Chief stepped out into the alleyway and addressed Mara and Sauler.
“You two. Robinhearts. I will be speaking to your leader, Orsik, about your involvement in future guard business,” The Chief said.
“No, please don’t. We were helping, really,” Mara said.
Sauler placed a hand on Mara’s shoulder before speaking to the chief.
“We understand. We are sorry for our involvement here,” Sauler said.
The Chief huffed and then followed the group of guards holding Juniper, Grace, Tak, and Sigthyme.
Pria stepped out of the building and followed The Chief.
“Chief, shouldn’t we tell them the information we have received?” Pria asked.
“You can tell them after we book them and throw them in the cells,” The Chief said.
“Do you really feel it is necessary to lock them up?” Pria asked.
“They went behind my back and went against my orders. You agreed this was to be left up to the City Guard.”
“They care about finding Riffen.”
“I care about bringing Krumb to justice and bringing the Prince back alive. I cannot have some adventurers getting in the way of official investigations,” The Chief said. “There must be order.”
“Just release them to me. I will keep an eye on them,” Pria said.
The Chief grumbled.
“It would be highly unusual for me to hand over trespassers to an Emissary,” The Chief said.
“I understand that, but I believe they would be better off. Plus they will be out of your hair. I will see to it,” Pria said.
The Chief thought for a moment.
“I will book them and hold them in jail until tomorrow morning. Then you can come get them,” The Chief said.
“Alright,” Pria said. “But I can still speak to them, correct?”
“After they are put in their cells.”
Sigthyme, Tak, Juniper, and Grace all walked together, handcuffed and being held by the city guard.
“We really messed up,” Sigthyme said.
“Yeah,” Juniper said.
“We messed up by being caught,” Grace said. “I found the secret passage.”
The city guard looked at each other and kind of shrugged and continued to let their prisoners speak freely as they walked.
“Well now we’re going to be thrown in jail,” Sigthyme said.
“How are we going to find Riffen now?” Juniper asked.
Sigthyme let out a sigh.
“I don’t know,” Sigthyme said and the group fell into silence again.
All four of them were lead to the front of the courthouse and up the stairs. Both Pria and The Chief followed behind them. They were written up and charged formally by The Chief. Then they were lead downstairs to the prisons and thrown into two cells next to each other. Sigthyme, Grace, and Juniper were un-cuffed, but the manacles were left on Tak.
“He’s a safety concern,” The Chief said as she looked at Tak and that was that.
Once they were put in cells, Pria made her way down to see them.
“Emissary, I am sorry this is how we are meeting for our second time,” Sigthyme said.
Pria looked at them with a look of disappointment.
“You all agreed to let the city guard take responsibility in finding Riffen,” Pria said.
“We know. But we could not stand aside while Riffen was out there. We needed to help,” Juniper said.
Pria let out a sigh.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but your involvement has caused more trouble than help.”
“I found the secret passage,” Grace yelled. “Have we forgotten about that already?”
“Grace, please,” Juniper said as she grabbed Grace’s hand.
“I hope that secret passage will lead to Riffen,” Pria said. “But for now, we do not know what that will lead to. What I do know is that The Chief wants you all to stay here.”
“You can’t get us out?” Sigthyme asked.
“I am an emissary. A diplomat. I am not supposed to interfere with the Chief’s wishes,” Pria said.
The group fell silent.
“But I have negotiated something,” Pria said and the team grew hopeful again. “You will spend the night in jail and in the morning you all will be handed over to me. I will then escort you to the Soulan Embassy where you will be kept for a time.”
“I’m guessing that means we will not be able to go after Krumb and find Riffen,” Juniper said.
“You will have to stay under my watch I’m afraid,” Pria replied.
“One prison cell for another,” Grace said.
She shook off Juniper’s hand and walked to the back of the cell. She sat down on the hard, stone floor and pulled her legs to her chest.
“The embassy is quite nice,” Pria said showing a small smile.
“Don’t worry about her, Pria,” Juniper said. “We appreciate your help.”
“Right,” Pria said with a nod. “Well besides that, I do have some news from the messages I sent out yesterday.”
“Any good news?” Sigthyme asked.
“Some, yes. Some a bit confusing too,” Pria said. “I was able to send messages to my father, King Selorn, and Captain Fe Springbloom. My father was actual unaware of the situation, but I informed him and kept him calm about Riffen’s disappearance.”
“I guess that’s good,” Sigthyme said.
“I then contacted Captain Springbloom,” Pria continued. “They had made her way down Vern Road and were about a day out from Augendale. I seemed to relieve some tensions surrounding this situation. I believe they will continue to make their way here, but hopefully there won’t be any weapons drawn.”
“And the city guard and army will be ok with another army moving this way?” Sigthyme asked.
“You do not need to worry about that. Soulan and Mardrec have a very healthy working relationship and our armies have worked together on many, many occasions. Of course the Soulan Army arriving will definitely raise some eyebrows for the people of Xylon. I’m sure that as more time that goes by, more people will become aware that something major is going on.”
“What about the king? Riffen’s Dad? What did he say?” Juniper asked.
“That one was…strange,” Pria said. “The King was definitely distressed about Riffen leaving Frost Haven and even more so now that Riffen is missing. However I did my best to comfort him. I guaranteed that we will find Riffen and return him home safely.”
“We could help do that,” Grace grumbled.
“I have full confidence in the Xylon City Guard,” Pria said. “I know Riffen will return.”
The group fell silent.
“Well. I better head back to the embassy. I will meet you all tomorrow morning. Please don’t cause any more trouble,” Pria said with a slight smile before walking away from the cells.
Tak walked to the back of the cell and slumped to the ground with a thud.
“Chains,” Tak grumbled as he looked at the manacles.
“I’m sorry, big guy,” Sigthyme said he took a seat on a wooden bench within the cell. “It’s only for a few hours. Morning will be here before you know it.”
Juniper took a seat on their wooden bench and tried to engage with Grace. As soon as they made eye contact, Grace averted her eyes.
“Grace,” Juniper began.
“Save it,” Grace said before turning away from Juniper.
Juniper began to speak again but decided to drop it. She just sat in silence with her back against the wall that separated the two girls from the two guys. Sigthyme started to whistle themselves as the whole group sat here in the jail waiting for morning and their release.
Header Photo Credit to Colourbox.com