257 Another Jailbreak part one
The cell block was completely empty except for two prisoners. The dark gray stones of the cells was lit by a single torch next to the barred door. Once a day the guards would give food and water to the inmates before leaving.
The old woman smiled at the albino shackled in the cell across the hall. Like her, both of her wrists were attached to the stone wall by two feet of heavy linked chain that ended in iron wrist shackles. A second chain attached to her waist anchored her to the floor.
"Sorry, Chiba." The Albino obviously blamed herself for their capture.
Three weeks earlier the white-haired envoy had been asked by Breach Commander Mtui to go on a reconnaissance mission to the Nether region known as the 'Lake of Blood.' Beta had requested that Chiba be allowed to accompany her and Commander Mtui had readily agreed; things had not gone well.
"You know... My apprentice was tossed into a Dark Temple cell. He escaped in a single day after killing two Dark Chancellors and a Bishop."
"Of course he had the Sasi family." Chiba offered her friend a crooked smile.
"Are you trying to make me feel worse?"
Chiba's cackling laugh carried through the dimly lit cell block. "Sorry Beta. I have an itch!"
"Use the wall or the floor. I've been able to manage."
"The what?" Chiba's wrinkled face took on a look of hopelessness and she sighed heavily. "Not that kind of itch. I haven't been able to visit my friend Baiter since we arrived here. How am I suppose to carry on?"
"Oh god..." Chiba closed her eyes, wishing she were anywhere else but there.
Chiba tried to shift her hip slightly and extend her hand. "I'd lick the floors in this place for six more inches of f*cking chain!"
A laugh escaped Beta's lips despite her attempt to resist her friend's antics, quickly she changed the subject. "That stone in front of you is called a Mirror Stone."
Chiba nodded. "I know, it feels like it's sucking the life out of me."
Beta rolled her pink eyes. "It doesn't work like that Chiba. Beta studied the fist-sized stone in her own cell. A thin tendril of light connected it to her. "I wonder who they are going after?"
Chiba shrugged. "I hope it's Nix."
"Because he'll come to get me! I'm his kind and devoted master who he secretly lusts after." Chiba's expression said that she believed every word she spoke.
"Hmmm... If he lusts after you, then it is a well-kept secret."
"That's what I said Beta!" Chiba went back to staring at her stone. "These aren't doppelganger stones or else we'd be dried up husks."
"There's no such thing but these are pretty bad also. They can't access our memories but they'll be able to access any House or Guild privileges that we do."
"They are able to enter Haven?" Chiba cursed softly. "That might end okay. Our copies will be flying blind. My apprentice's mate is an Irridescent Salamander, her perception is amazing."
"It's bad Chiba. I write everything down in a personal log that I keep in my room. Every mission, and personal notes on everyone I meet. They can find out about Nix and all of his friends that I came in contact with. They'll know details of Mtui and my assignments."
"F*ck... They'll go after your boyfriend too."
Beta looked frightened for the first time since her imprisonment. "You think they'll go after Wind?"
Chiba nodded. "Yes. Unlike you, your copy will probably show him a good time. You really should have sealed the deal."
Beta's pale face turned red. "We've been waiting for the right time!"
"Day time, Nighttime, Anytime. Four months and no sex?" Chiba didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Maybe they'll leave him alone."
Beta shook her head and yanked against her shackles, her voice rising to a shout. "No, they won't! That imposter bitch is going to sex him up!"
I'm curious as to why you chose to come here Nix." Leva brought them to the personal residence that she had taken over, although she was speaking to Nix, her dark eyes kept drifting toward Ducky.
Nix shrugged, he had followed his gut. "Someone has replaced two of my friends with imposters."
Leva gestured toward two very comfortable looking chairs before taking a seat behind her desk. "How did you detect them?"
"My Swordmaster's demeanor was completely different. "Chiba would never have greeted me so politely without some kind of obscene innuendo attached."
Leva pursed her lips while she considered the options. "You detected them too Ducky?"
The Water Witch nodded. "It wasn't them, two completely different people."
"So they aren't doppelgangers then. Their mannerisms would have been perfect. Not minions either, we are undetectable."
"You are the Fallen Chancellor from the Dark Temple?" Ducky finally remembered where she had seen her face. It was the forked tongue that gave it away. "Are you on our side now?"
Leva shrugged slightly. "I'm Nix's minion."
Ducky clapped excitedly. "Amazing!"
Nix listened to Leva speak while trying to process every detail. "Not a doppelganger or a minion. What then?"
"My guess would be a Mirror Stone." Leva nodded to herself, "that would mean they are both being kept somewhere. The stone continually feeds off them and transmits to a smaller stone that's worn around the neck of the spy."
"Why bother with a Mirror Stone? Making them a minion would avoid all the trouble."
"You said that one of them is Breach Commander Mtui's Envoy? She would definitely be seeded."
"I'm not familiar with the term Leva."
"It means there's a tiny artifact somewhere in her body that is completely undetectable. Its sole purpose is to prevent this sort of subterfuge."
Nix leaned back in his chair and considered his next move. "This Mirror Stone would be their only alternative."
Leva nodded. "That's my guess Nix."
He stood slowly, pacing around the spacious office. "I need some privacy, Leva. Could you show Ducky around a bit?"
"Of course Nix. I'll shut the door behind us."
He waited until they left before taking a seat behind Leva's desk.
[Direct Contact: Elen Mtui]
The Breach Commander's holo appeared in front of Nix. "Nix! We are having another Breach Commander Meeting in a few days, I hope you are bringing more Ghost Peppers!"
"Without a doubt Elen." Nix paused for a moment before continuing. "Can you speak freely?"
Elen's smile faded and he nodded Solemnly. "What's wrong?"
"Did you send Beta and Chiba into the Nether together?"
"Yes, about three weeks ago. It went well and we learned some valuable intel. I believe that Chiba returned to Captain Vooni's Dagger team after that."
"I don't believe it was Chiba and Beta that came back."
Elan didn't reply right away. "I understand what you are saying, however, we have safeguards against that."
Nix nodded. "I know, which gives me hope that they may still be alive. Do you know what a Mirror Stone is?"
Elan shook his head. "I don't. Is that some sort of Nether Artifact?"
"Yes. It's kept in the presence of the target and helps fuel the process, cloaking the receptor in illusion."
The dragonspawn's face showed his doubt. "I've never heard of such a thing."
"Doesn't matter. I can tell you that Beta asked me to meet her and the person I encountered was definitely not her. Have you actually seen her face to face since the mission?"
Elan seemed to think about it for a moment. "No. I haven't. She asked for some time off when they returned. We've only communicated through [Direct Contact].
"I need those mission details Elan. The worst-case scenario is that I'm crazy and we'll owe them an apology. I'll leave their capture to you."
Elan sighed heavily. "Fine, I can't afford to ignore the possibility that you are right. Sending the mission coordinates to your Breach Commander Interface. Don't make a move until you hear from me."