A Little Help From A Friend by Margui

Note from Jordanna: Margui gave me this story as a little birthday present, and I loved it. She's got me pegged!

"Hey, Em. What do you think is going on at the Governor’s Mansion?" Jack said to Emilia Rothschild as they walked through the village square. Jack Stiles stopped to watch curiously as items belonging to the Governor were being removed and new items were being taken in.

"Perhaps the Governor is redecorating?" Emilia stated as she and Jack waded past the movers and walked into the mansion.

Governor Croque stood in the hallway trying to direct the traffic and keep the crew in check.

"What’s going on Croquey?" Jack asked.

"Oh, it’s terrible, Monsieur Stiles. My brother, Napoleon is short of funds and has cut off the monies he sends to Pulau Pulau. I can no longer afford to pay the taxes on the Governor’s mansion, so I’ve been forced to…" he stopped and then whispered to the American spy and his British compatriot. "…take on tenants."

"Oh, dear," Emilia said, "that is awful, Governor."

"You’re telling me, Madame Emilia," Croque lamented, "she’s moving into my study and plans to redecorate… my beautiful mansion," he cried.

Gaining his composure, Croque pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Emilia. "Look, she’s already made stationery."

There, in his hand was a piece of paper emblazoned with ‘Governor Croque’s Study’, on the top of it.

"Imagine that," Jack said, thinking out loud.

"Exactly, Jack. Why Governor, I think it’s shameful that she would want to redecorate."

"No! Not that. That Nappy would tax his own brother. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if the little shrimp is taxing the monastery and nunnery too."

"Jack!" Emilia chastised with an elbow to the ribs.

Jack took a look at the stylized stationery. "Well, it certainly looks like she’s making herself at home. So, who do you have the honor of cohabitating with? And is she a looker?" Jack asked as he nudged Emilia.

"Jordanna is quite stunning, Jack. But why do you ask?"

"Jordanna?" Jack reiterated, swallowing a gulp of air.

"No, no… put that back. That doesn’t go," Croque said in disgust as he grabbed a small box from the mover’s load. "That’s Mr. Nipples' cow pad…dy."

The distraction gave Emilia time to question Jack. "Do you know this woman, Jack?" she asked.

He leaned over and whispered to Emilia, "In a manner of speaking. Let’s just say, we’ve crossed paths." Then Jack steered Emilia off into a corner, "Em, we need to talk."

Emilia was concerned. Jack wasn’t usually this vague unless he was speaking of one of his conquests. Images of another Kentucky Sue came rushing to her mind.

It was at that moment Jordanna walked out of the study with a very effeminate associate. "And I want you to start immediately and knock out the interior wall. I plan on building an ice rink."

"But Jordanna, my dear," Croque pleaded, "It doesn’t get cold enough on Pulau Pulau for an ice rink."

"Oh?" she said innocently. "I’ll have to remember that. How about an indoor pool? Yes, an indoor pool," she announced cavalierly to her associate. Then she turned to the two strangers.

"I’ll be! Jack Stiles?"

"Jordi." Jack acknowledged. "What are you doing on this dung heap they call an island?"

"Oh what a pity, you didn’t hear? Alexandria suggested I visit," Jordi announced. "She said there were many treasures on the island that I should take a gander at."

"I see," Jack answered slowly and then picked up the pace when he announced, "Governor, if you would excuse us?"

Jack grabbed Emilia and manhandled her out of the mansion. One step out of the building and Emilia forced her arm from his grip.

"Mr. Stiles! What was all that about?" Emilia asked.

Jack could tell the British Intelligence agent was upset with him. It was evident every time she called him ‘Mr. Stiles’.

"I know why Jordi is here. And my guess is it ain’t for the ambiance, sister. She works for the good ol’ red, white and blue."

"I beg your pardon?"

"You know. A Yankee-doodle dandy. One of me."

"Oh?" Emilia smiled, "a pompous, self-righteous ass? But what’s she doing on Pulau Pulau? I believe that is our territory, last time I checked."

"Well, if I understood correctly, I believe she’s searching the Governor’s Mansion for artifacts stolen from Egypt’s Alexandria Museum."

"How do you know… oh, I see," Emilia nodded, "she was speaking in code. Very clever, Jack."

"Thank you," Jack acknowledged.

"But why would the Governor be hiding ancient artifacts from Egypt?"

"To fund the Emperor’s expansion," Jordi said as she and her associate walked up to the two spies.

"I didn’t think Croquey would be that smart," Jack announced.

"Perhaps not," the associate said, no longer sporting his effeminate guise. "A certain feathered informant suggested the cargo was hidden behind the walls in the study."

"So that’s why you want to tear out the wall," Emilia stated.

"Exactly." Jordi announced.

"But why bring you here? Why not get us to get the goods?" Jack asked.

"Your undercover status must remain in tact, Jack. Keeping your anonymity is too important to the cause. I could, however, use your alter ego at the unveiling."

"The Dragoon?" Emilia asked, surprised that Jordi knew about the disguise.

"I am only planning on discovering the treasure, Jack. I cannot force Governor Croque to return it to Alexandria. We were hoping…"

"Yeah sure. I get your drift," Jack said, thinking of a well-timed entrance. "I wouldn’t suppose you would like to replace the window in the study would you," he laughed.

Several hours later, Emilia returned to Governor Croque’s Mansion.

"Oh Emilia, my dear. Maybe you can make them listen to reason. Jordanna and her consort insist on tearing down the wall to put in an indoor pool."

"Isn’t it exciting, Governor?" Emilia responded. "Jordi told me all about her plans. I think it’s a wonderful idea."

"You do?" Croque said, surprised.

"Oh, indeed I do."

She walked into Croque’s study as Jordi was about to take the first blow with the sledge hammer.

"Emilia," Jordi beckoned. "would you like to take the first swing?"

"Could I?" Emilia asked.

Croque stepped in between the wall and Emilia, but had to quickly move away as the English spy swung the sledge hammer at the plaster wall.

The crash of the hammer as it hit the wall was dampened by the sound of the Dragoon crashing through the window to the study.

"The Daring Dragoon?" Croque questioned.

"Hey, I heard there was a party and I wasn‘t invited. I hope you didn’t mind me crashing it?"

"Brogard? The Dragoon," Croque called out. The captain and two of his cronies came rushing through the door.

"It’s the Dragoon," Brogard said as he signaled the two men to attack the undercover spy.

The Daring Dragoon went into action. He finished the two soldiers with some quick defensive moves, finally sending them careening into the plaster wall that was in the process of being demolished. Then he turned his attention to Brogard.

Brogard was a fair fighter, and was getting better with every encounter he had with the Daring Dragoon. But unlike Brogard, the Dragoon didn’t mind fighting dirty. After a particularly effective offensive move by Brogard, the Dragoon countered with a quick push with his foot to the Captain’s midsection. This caused Brogard to loose his balance and he too careened toward the mangled wall. He fell butt first into the plaster, causing the final assault to the wall.

Piece by piece, the wall began to fall apart, revealing treasures of gems and gold. Statuary and gilded goblets began to line the floor of the study as they poured out of the cubby hole.

Both Jordi and Emilia looked shocked at the booty.

"What’s this?" the Dragoon said as he picked up a goblet. "The sacred cup of Imahopen?"

"Isn’t that the Virgin Pharaoh whose tomb and belongings were said to be cursed?" Emilia asked. "It was fortunate that we discovered it, Governor."

"Indeed," Croque responded sheepishly. "Who knows how long it has been in my wall?"

"Very true. But it’s a good thing we have the Dragoon to return it for you," Jordi chimed in.

"Whatever." Croque waved preoccupied as he sat down heavily in the chair at his desk. He put his hand to his aching head. Then silently he added, "the curse won’t matter because my brother is going to kill me."

Emilia added, "That is true. You will return it won’t you, Mr. Dragoon? As exporter, I’m sure I can arrange for its transportation back to its rightful owner."

"It would be my pleasure. I’ll even do it anonymously, so as not to offend the spirit of Imahopen. Now if you don‘t mind, I’ll be off," the Dragoon offered, and then whisked himself out of the very window in which he had arrived.

"I’d say he’s always off," Jordi announced in a hush.

Emilia looked knowingly at Jordi and smiled. Another successful mission was completed.

Copyright 2000 Margui

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