The lab was over run. Soldiers had already made their way into the hangar where the new yacht was being built. The carriage house and stables were being combed through as well. From the sounds below they were moments from breaking in to the main doors of the laboratory itself.

Shankar moved quickly around the room, destroying several pieces of correspondence as well as disposing of several vials of one off formulas to dangerous to allow anyone access too. The footsteps coming from the stairwell told him just how little time he had left. He threw clothes from his wardrobe into one sack and filled another with Master Heizeltroff's. As he finished he heard the banging on the door. In the last few seconds he grabbed a set of keys from his bedstand. With a grimace he pulled the keys from the ring and swallowed them in quick succession.

The door burst open and three soldiers with rifles at the ready stormed in and took aim at Shankar, who had seated himself comfortably in a chair and lit a cigarette. Directly following them came a black garbed person, their face obscured by the featureless white mask worn by the agents of the DSS. The voice inside was under some affect to make it sound as if a recording played by a crude automaton. "Where is he? Where is Wilhelm Amadeus Heizeltroff?"

Shankar gave a small shrug and a grin as he looked to the soldiers, recognizing the 60th Rifle patch. "As a lawful citizen of the empire and a retired member of the Sirmoor Rifle Regiment I seek asylum from forces not in the employ of the empire." The DSS agent began to make a noise before one of the soldiers stepped forward and gave a simple nod. "Have you proof of your service?"

Shankar stood slowly and drew the kukri from his lower back setting it on the table beside him. He also pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket, unfolded it and layed it beside the kukri. Stepping back he waited as the soldier checked both. The man gave a nod and lifted the heavy bladed knife before handing it to Shankar. Behind him the white masked agent snarled out. "Are you a fool?! This man is the personal servant to a dangerous fugitive. He is sure to have more information we need!"

The rifleman turned on the agent with a look of plain disgust. "My orders were to seize this property and arrest its proprietor IF he was on site! This man is a war hero from one of the most decorated regiments in modern history. I am not going to my commanding officers tonight and tell them I arrested Captain Umesh Bahadur Scherchan, one of only surving members of the regiment that saved the entire 60th rifle from being over run. I value my career Agent Thirtysix." He spat upon the floor before continuing. "I disagreed with this absurdity from the onset but I follow orders, but I was not told to obey you. It should tell the world much about you yanks that the ones you send after your criminals dare not even show their face nor even have a name."

As the soldier, a lieutenant given the knots on his shouler cord, ripped into the agent Shankar gathered both of his bags and looked around the apartment sadly. It may well be the last time he would see it. A few minutes later Shankar was led away from the facility by two young soldiers, the three talking quite congenially.

::::
Several days later, in the dark recesses of a half crumbling castle deep in the mountains of the Alps a lettwe was received. The servant handed it to his master, trembling a bit in fear as the old man took it. His voice low and rough as he spoke. "Stop that senseless shaking Ludwig or I'll feed another part of you to one of my darlings. Now go!"

Opening the letter he smiled as he recognized the identity spell on it. A slight prick of his finger and touching to the paper revealed the encoded message. The ink seemed to swirl before revealing itself to him.

'Conte Sforza,

I apologize for the complications in reading this letter. I am quite displeased to inform you I must request repayment of our debt as I have been displaced and find my resources depleted thanks to the efforts of the DSS. I realize that such short notice is quite unquoth and you have my sincerest apologies for such. Please send word to Maestro Simon de Scimmia concerning the repayment.

Sincerely,
W.A. Heizeltroff'

The old count grinned as he called for Ludwig to bring him his writing desk. He had suspected for some time such a letter would arrive. Heizeltroff had always been quite full of himself. Regardless a debt was owed and it would be paid as agreed.

:::::
Several thousand miles to the south a messenger boy knocked gently on the door of the largest hut in the area. A kind looking man with gray just tinging the temples of his jet black hair only seemed to accent the clear white of his eyes, seemingly without pupils answered the door. His voice as kind as his smile. "Why thank you young man! I always appreciate such quickness. Here, give me a moment." He stepped back inside for a moment before coming back out with a small basket filled with fruits and two loaves of bread. "Take this and make sure you share with those siblings of your's and do tell your mother I hope she is well."

The boy thanked him kindly before running off for his next delivery with the basket in hand. The gentleman took the letter and opened it, running his fingers over the paper he felt the tell tale divots in the writing. A short prick of his finger, blood pressed to the paper and immediarely the letter heated for a second before Wil's voice was clearly heard.

"My dear friend Bbale,

I hope this missive finds you well and still doling out your kindness as readily as you do your medicines. I write with sad news. The DSS finally came for me. My home, my lab, and all of my resources have been seized by them. I am informing you so you will know I can no longer send my regular donations to you. I am extremely sorry to inform you of this.

I also would like to ask if your offer of a case of your trance stones still stands? I could really use the calming effects they so readily provide. If you the offer stands please address them to a Master Simon de Scimmia.

Your friend,
Wil Heizeltroff"


:::::

The last five days had been spent answering questions from several military commanders about the activities of Wilhelm. Shankar had given them no more than they had at the start in truth. A signed non disclosure agreement between him and Wilhelm took care of many of the questions. As did the royal decree from her Majesty Queen Victoria forbidding him from mentioning any work done for a political power. The little information he did provide did little more than confirm the information they had. Finally it was decided he had given all he legally could and, upon approval from the proper authorities he was released.

Shankar left the barracks outside of London and headed back into the city. He knew they would follow him so used his experience and knowledge of the alleys and tunnels under the city to quickly loose any who may have tailed him. Deep in the underbelly of the city Shankar slipped into a long forgotten room left by the builders of the tunnel system. Striking a match he lit a candle set on a small table before setting his bags down in a trunk. He had prepared this safehole several years earlier when there had been rumors of just such a situation.

He moved to the far side of the room and pressed back three bricks causing a small section of the wall to slide away. Within was a small safe he quickly opened revealing several forms of identification, a small store of cash, several bars of gold bullion, and a handful of vials filled with a nearly glowing crimson fluid. "Well at least the supplies are intact. This will help greatly."

He gave a nod as he closed the safe and the wall section before laying down on the cot to one side of the room. He knew he may as well get some rest, it would be several more days before they stopped the search for him.

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Comment by Arabella Porter on March 9, 2016 at 7:36pm

  I'm so curious!!!

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