Proven part VI
Wayne Manor was huge. At least, the mansion was. People dressed for the occasion, either carrying or wearing various masks, streamed into the front door. Most wore dark colors, as Nic and I did, while others wore vibrant pigments, leaving rainbows in their paths.
Nic and I followed the river of people through the mansion. We exited the hallways onto a balcony.
Two curved staircases led down to the dance floor. There people mingled, holding glasses of champaign and various wines. A few held plates of finger-foods and other hors d'oeuvres. The constant chatter and clicking of heels blended to a steady rhythm, one that reach up the high, arched cieling, where a shining chandelier hung. The resulting image looked like something out fairytale-'Cinderella' or 'Beauty and the Beast'. No one noticed as the masked young girl and her partner descend the staircase
Scanning the crowd, I saw a man near one of the floor-to-ceiling-windows surrounded by a large group of people. Though his face was half-covered by a plain, black mask, I knew it was our host. All the other guests appeared older than myself, though a group near Bruce Wayne consisting of four teenagers stood talking, sipping glasses of punch. I took in the whole room, careful not to miss any exit routes, anything, anybody.
Suddenly I felt a presence. Immediately I put up a solid barrier in my mind, knowing from long hours of training that it was a mind-bender trying to get to me.
Nic nudged me and whispered quietly in my ear, "It's Ruse. Let him through."
I lowered the mental barriers slightly then, when I recognized the presence as Jasper's, all the way.
'Don't recognize me, Silver Wings.' I felt a small smile on my face as Nic began to lead me to the buffet.
'Just being cautious, brother,' I responded. Though Jasper wasn't related to me in blood, my team members were defiantly my family.
'Thirteen reporting for duty,' Alek said, or rather thought. As Nic and I reached Jazz next to the shrimp plater (his mask changing color as it reflected the light at different angles- black, then green, then dark purple, then black again), I saw Alek enter the room and begin to descend the stairs. He too wore a black tux. A white and orange-striped mask with kitty ears covered his face from the nose up, his slightly frazzled hair sticking up over the top.
'Hey, helmet hair,' I jested. He scanned the crowed until he saw us, then made his way over. 'Thanks for the ride home.'
'Sorry 'bout that. I was busy helping Blaze get things ready for tonghts's mission.'
'Speaking of the mission, what is it?' I asked.
"You didn't tell here?" Alek and Jasper asked in unison. Out loud. I fixed Nic with a speculating look.
"I'm not going to like this, am I?"
"Probably not," he responded with a shrug. I hated his cool deminer.
"Fine," Alek said, "I'll tell her."
'Not aloud,' Jazz reminded him.
'Right. Do you remember the exact details of the Weapon?'
'Of course,' I thought, 'a near flat cylinder measuring 2 inches thick and 4.75 inches in diameter, solid black, weighing barely more than a standard throwing knife-about 200 grams, cold to the touch, most likely made of light weight titanium.'
'And the opening?' Nic prompted.
'Opening?' I picked up a shrimp from the plate Jazz was holding and nibbled on it.
'The Weapon you saw was only a case. An outer shell,' Jazz explained.
'You didn't really think the Weapon was a circle of metal did you?' Nic criticized.
'Cylinder,' I corrected. 'So how do you open it?'
'With a key,' Alek said, 'And that is why we are here.'
'Why would it be here?' I asked, getting annoyed that I was so out of the loop.
'Our sources tell us that an exchange between the current key holder and his employer would go down here,' Jazz informed me.
It made since. A subtle hand-off in this unsuspecting crowd would not be difficult. If you added the masks to hide your identity and easy access in and out of the building, you had the perfect meeting place.
'And who is the current handler?' I asked rescanning the faces again in my head, though the masks were of no help.
"We don't know," Jazz stated vocally.
"You don't know?" I said incredulously.
"That's not completely true," Nic corrected, then laughed as if something were funny. I joined in, knowing the interruption was to keep up appearances, making the crowd see us as four people simply enjoying their selves and not getting ready to steal... A key. "The handler is in the Mansion," Nic continued, "Probably." If it hadn't breaken our cover, I would have facepalmed and groaned. Or slapped Nic for being a smart-ass. Instead I settled for a glare and a sigh.
I wanted to get this up 'cause it's kinda long and I wanted to give you guys something while I worked on the rest. Posting more soon!