~Divide and Conquer Through Cookies and Milk~
Fang was stuck with Shifter crashing at his house. Alister and Shifter seemed to hit it off after the initial skepticism on Alister’s part. They managed to turn the water in the pool purple with Shifter’s knowledge in chemicals; set off a series of dangerous explosive fireworks with Alister’s experience; and nearly drive Fang to his breaking point. All of this happened in about twenty-four hours. Seven. That was way too many, Fang noted. Now six insane people running around the house, that he could handle. Heck, he probably could handle six and a half if that were possible.
But for right now, Fang on his bed in his room. He was near to pulling his hair out when the Destructive Duo, Shifter and Alister, wondered what would happen if they played the ‘Who Could Throw A Grenade The Farthest From On Top Of The Roof!’ game. That didn’t end well.
Fang sighed and looked at the clock by his side. He seemed calm enough do deal with the situation rationally now. Fang got up and walked to the door. He was about to touch the doorknob when his mind suddenly wandered.
Someone was banging on the front door.
“Open up! Tower Agents! We have reason to believe you are in position of stolen property! Open up!”
They didn’t wait for Fang or anyone to open the door. The door flew open and Agents ran into the house. Like ants, they were everywhere in a matter of seconds. They searched through every room, overturning everything they touched and throwing what they weren’t looking for on the ground.
An Agent walked up to Fang with a document, “We have the authority to search the premises.”
“Look who we found!” an Agent called.
Shifter didn’t look at all happy in between two strong looking Agents
“We found what we came for in the back!” another announced, “They are the ones who did it!”
“Fang,” the head Agent started to say.
But Fang felt a sharp pain on his forehead and the scene melted away.
Fang rubbed his forehead in pain. It had been a while since he had one of these strange visions and it had to get interrupted by a door getting slammed in his face.
“Oops,” Shadow said standing over him with his hand still on the doorknob, “My bad.”
“Don’t you know how to knock?” Fang asked.
“Why,” Shadow shrugged, “It’s just you.”
Fang rolled his eyes, “I was in the middle of something.”
“Right,” Shadow nodded but it was apparent that he didn’t believe Fang.
Fang pushed past Shadow, “Where’s Strider?”
“Don’t know,” Shadow started to walk after Fang, “Probably with his new found twin of destruction.”
“Find him and hide him somewhere no one with find him.”
“Hmm,” Shadow thought, “Does this place have a secret dungeon someplace?”
“I’m serious, Shadow,” Fang looked back at the man.
Shadow raised his hands defensively, “Okay! It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to do it!”
“Raven! Penelope!” Fang called as he walked down the hallway.
Penelope walked out of her room in her pajamas and bunny slippers. She rubbed her eyes.
“I can hear your voice through my nap! That is freaking scary! I should have your voice as my wake up alarm on my alarm clock!” she complained.
Raven walked out of her room without her cape, “You called?”
“I want you two to fly around the island in the shadowcraft a few times,” Fang said.
The girls looked at each other.
“Um,” Penelope looked confused, “okay…may I ask why?”
“No,” Fang said.
“How many times?” Raven asked.
Quickly, Fang’s mind calculated the Islands size and about how long it would take to go around once in a shadowcraft. He estimated the time it would take for the Agent’s to leave in his vision. Taking that time he just plugged in how many time the shadowcraft had to go around to accommodate the time he estimated.
“On the safe side, let’s go with seven,” Fang said.
The girls continued down the hallway and outside. All the while Penelope complained about how she just got the slippers from hacking a store website and how hard it was to get it just right and now she had to get them dirtied.
“What’s going on?” Arisa asked.
She held Blue’s hand a little tighter than usual. It was noticeable how nervous she was. Blue had the same look on his face.
“Nothing you need to be worried about,” Fang said.
Shadow walked up the stairs. Alister joined him with a suspicious look on his face.
“Now, what do you think your doin’, Fang?” Alister complained, “Tellin’ Shadow ‘ere to hide Shifter in the false wall! What’s all that about?”
“False wall?” Fang looked at Shadow.
Shadow shrugged, “In a house this big and this old and the previous owner being kind of a weird guy, there had to be a secret compartment or two somewhere.”
“He did his little shadow wall thing and found one,” Alister glared at him, “But he didn’t know how to get in. So he just pulled Shifter into the wall.”
“It isn’t like I left him there,” Shadow defended.
“At least that problem is taken care of,” Fang said as he breathed a sigh of relief.
A hard knock fell on the front door.
“Open up! Tower Agents! We have reason to believe you are in position of stolen property! Open the door!”
Fang walked down the stairs. He was determined not to have to repair the door once it was kicked down. Fang opened the door as the head Agent was about to kick down the door. The Agent, expecting a hard surface to kick, ended up kicking in midair and losing his balance. He fell into Fang to stood like a rock looking down at him.
“May I help you?” Fang asked as the man rubbed his sore head.
There were some laughs from the other Agents. The head Agent glared at them. It looked like he would have to tend to his pride more than to his injured head. He looked at Fang with anger.
“Think you’re such a big shot, huh?” the man said. The man shoved a piece of paper in Fang’s face, “This gives us permission to search the premises!”
The man looked in Fang’s face for any emotion. He smiled. There was no way the man in front of him was going to like this!
Fang just took the document and looked it over. He nodded, “It certainly does. Have a look around. If you are staying long I could get a batch of cookies in and out of the oven. They aren’t homemade unfortunately but it’s all I have for you right now. You should have called ahead of time. I could have made an early lunch.”
There were more laughs as the man just stared at Fang. Fang handed him back the paper and stepped out of the way. He told Shadow to start baking cookies and Shadow did as he was told, all the while hiding a grin on his face. Alister was less subtle.
“What a dope,” Alister said, “Does he even know who he’s dealin’ with ‘ere?”
Blue shrugged and Arisa sadly shook her head.
I guess not.
The head Agent stood in one spot as everyone else searched the house and the surrounding property. One of them came back to the man, whose face was red with pent up anger.
“What do you mean you found nothing!?” he shouted.
The poor Agent shrugged and walked away. The man glared at Fang as he walked up with a tray of warm cookies. Fang set the treat on a table while Shadow started pouring cold milk. The tired Agents were happy for the treats and ate them completely disregarding the man whose face was reader than a tomato. The man looked up at the balcony then back at Fang and Shadow. Something wasn’t right.
“There are supposed to be seven of you! Where are the other two?!” the man asked
Fang looked up all cool and collected, “Oh, you mean, Penelope and Raven? They went out for a late morning walk. They haven’t come back yet.”
“Well, we’re staying until they do!” the man shouted.
The Agents didn’t seem to have a problem with that. They ate their cookies and drank their milk in blissful happiness.
Fang wasn’t worried. He calculated that into his equation too. Any moment now the girls should be back from—
“That was so lame!” Penelope’s voice.
She walked in from the back yard and stopped short. Her eyes scanned the place that was filled with Agents. Some of them waved at her and she tentatively waved back.
There was a sigh, “What’s wrong? Did Alister and that weirdo Shifter blow up the floor or something?” Raven stepped into view and looked around. She saw Fang’s eyes glaze over, “Oops.”
“Now where have you two been!?” the man yelled, he pointed at Penelope, “You! Tell me where you walked today! Starting now!”
Penelope’s eyes grew huge, “B-b-but, I-I-I, w-w-what’s g-g-going ooooon! Faaang!” she stared to cry.
“Now look what you did,” Fang recovered from his ‘that wasn’t supposed to happen’ moment, “She doesn’t handle very well to yelling.”
The Agents glared at the man with cookies and milk in hand. Making a poor girl cry! Shame!
“I don’t care!” the man yelled, “I want my answer! Where did you walk!?!”
“Waaaa-hater-faaa-haaaaal!” Penelope wailed.
The man’s eye bows furrowed, “What did she say?”
“She said ‘waterfall’,” Raven looked at him.
“The one in our back yard,” Raven answered, “We would have been home sooner but she found something interesting in the water and went to check it out. She fell in so we decided to just sit in the sun until she dried.”
“Fine!” the man yelled defeated, “What about Shifter! Where is he!?”
“You mean Alister’s imaginary friend?” Raven stated.
All eyes turned to Alister. Even Fang looked to see how Alister would handle this one. Alister froze for a moment but he loosened up and glared at Raven.
In a tense voice he said, “I thought I told you not to go an’ tell anyone.”
From that day on, Alister was never able to live down that he had an imaginary friend named Shifter.
Raven shrugged. Her part was over. The ball was in Alister’s court now.
The man looked at Alister, “Is that so?!”
Alister took a deep breath, “Yeah, so what? People can’t have imaginary friends anymore? It isn’t my fault you know though! I was all alone in the psyche ward when I was there. The only friend I had was Shifter. He helped be keep my sanity…well, most of it anyway. Sometimes I think he’s better that any friend I’ve had in the past.”
“A likely story!” the man laughed.
“Really?” Alister pointed to his left, “‘Ee’s standin’ right there giving you goofy faces. Can’t you see ‘im?”
The man looked at the empty space beside Alister. He stuttered as he searched for something to say.
“Shifter!” Alister pretend to scold the air beside him, “We don’t give people the finger! It’s downright rude!”
Arisa hugged Blue to hide her laughter. A slight noise escaped from her laughing.
“But you can’t prove—” the man started before hearing the laughter, “What are you laughing about?!”
The spotlight was on Arisa now. She pulled away from Blue’s leg and wailed.
“I wasn’t laughing you meanie Agent!” she said as fake tears, tears that were most likely from her laughing, rolled down her face, “I was crying because Alister must have been so alone!”
She wailed and cried as Blue stooped down to comfort her. She deserved an Emmy but a hug from Blue would be enough. Fang thought it was a good time to step in.
“I think you’ve stayed long enough. You’ve caused more damage that I could ever though one man could.”
The man looked at him, “But!”
“Now if you haven’t found what you were looking for, I suggest you and your Agents leave,” Fang said.
The other Agents looked at the man with death in their eyes. This was the nicest insane bunch of suspects they have ever had the honor of searching and their squad leader ruined everything. He looked at them all. There was no way he would ever be able to make things right now. Everyone in the room seemed to have a disapproving look on their faces.
The man stuttered before giving in, “Come on! We have to tell Sage we didn’t find anything!”
The Agent’s filed out, leaving the rest of the cookies and milk on the table. Fang walked to the door. He stepped out on to the porch to watch everyone go. When the last van pulled away, Fang walked inside and slowly closed the door. He paused for a while before turning around.
A rare smile was spread across his face. He looked up at Arisa and Blue. Arisa whipped the tears from her eyes. Blue looked fairly proud of his little Arisa. Alister looked like he was about to shoot himself. He looked really pale. Raven just stood looking calm and satisfied. A tiny smile adorned her lips. Penelope’s eyes were still a little wide but not nearly as before. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. The girl looked like she needed another nap. Shadow’s shoulders were shaking as he tried to cover a laugh. His tries were unsuccessful because he burst out laughing. He laughed for a long time and was eventually joined by Arisa. Penelope started laughing slowly at first but quickly started to join the fun. Alister, despite himself, started laughing too. Raven snickered. Blue smiled widely. Fang leaned his head the door and laughed, good and long.
“And that,” he said, breathlessly, “is how you use you divide and conquer. Cookies anyone?”