Jack Heartwing could happily admit that imposing as a guard at a stranger’s wedding was not the weirdest situation he had ever gotten himself into. But as he stood there by the vault, motionless at his post, he did begin to wonder how he went from being an investigator of sorts to becoming a full-fledged thief in less than a few days. The thought died away when two particularly rich-looking men approached him with an escort of guards. The man with the receding hairline – who was Mr. Conningham – carried in his hands a wonderful little box.
Jack, realising that this was his cue, tried to straighten up and look like a guard; it didn’t help that his leg was beginning to throb. Mr. Parlow pointed to him. “You, open the vault.”
“Yes sir!” Jack did as he was commanded and within moments the private vault was wide open, and to Jack’s relief Mr. Oliver Tanner was nowhere to be seen. Still, his heart was beating harder than his leg, and it seemed to take absolutely forever for Mr. Conningham to walk into the vault, place the box on the pedestal, and then walk out again. When it was over Jack had to hide his relief.
Mr. Parlow turned to two of his guards. “This is your new post for tonight. Guard it with your lives, do you understand?”
“Yes sir!” they said, including Jack.
When that was over, Jack waited ever so patiently for the two rich men to disappear. But he was struck with an imaginary dagger when the guard beside him pointed out that he had never seen him before. “Are you new?” the guard asked.
“Uh, yes,” he replied anxiously.
“Huh! Figures. The newbies always get the vault. Your legs really start to hurt after the first few hours. Well, congratulations anyway, you just walked into the most boring post in the world!”
“Is that so,” Jack said as he observed Elsie timidly approaching the three of them in her pink dress.
She raised her hand and her high-heels clattered noisily upon the ground. “Um, excuse me. Could one of you please point me to the rest room?”
“Why, certainly miss. It’s just…” Suddenly Jack was on him like a predator. He punched the other guard in the mouth and then gathered his cloth and forced it onto the first guard. Elsie, running up to assist, took down the second guard. She realised that Tanner was right; they did look adorable when they slept.
She was a little surprised by how quickly it all happened. “I’ve never drugged a man before,” she remarked. “It feels so…”
“Frightening?” Jack suggested.
“Well, I was going to say invigorating.”
There came a knock from inside the vault. They opened it up and found Mr. Oliver Tanner standing with the Conningham Ring between his fingers, watching the light bounce of each of the three gems. “Like taking candy from a baby,” he remarked. “A very wealthy baby with powerful allies. I suggest we leave this place immediately.”
Hastily, they dragged the two remaining bodies into the vault where Oliver had left one of his famed paper roses upon the pedestal. With the ring tucked safely away in his pocket, he closed the vault, and like the honoured guests that they were, they simply strolled out and into the blue night of Warren City.ns22.214.171.124da2