An Interrogation

Once Natalia had carefully arranged Cedric’s slumbering form, she started for the stairs to Bolts’ personal workspace and apartment. Just as she reached the first step, she heard a sound. Quickly turning around, she realised Cedric had moved in his sleep; perhaps he would awake soon. Natalia could not take that chance.

“I’m so sorry.” She said for what may have been the thousandth time as she once again reached for the container.

She lifted Cedric’s upper half up and held the open container to him for what she counted as a full forty-five seconds. Once more she closed the jar and set Cedric down. His breaths were deep and even, but his body did not move a muscle. Perfect.

Natalia once again headed for the stairs and bounded up them two at a time, like a small child. In seconds she was at the top, panting slightly and taking in the surroundings that had never changed. Confidently she reached for the nearest door and it swung open.

In front of her she saw her own paradise.

Gadgets and gizmos of such deadly caliber that they could not be kept below lined one wall in protected glass cases. Posters and diagrams were haphazardly stuck to the walls, and a collection of all the tools and parts one could ever need covered three large tables.

And of course, by the back wall sat Bolts himself, working on a large complicated machine outfitted with large wheels and plush seats. After a moment, Natalia recognised the design.

“Oh! You did it!” She bounced slightly and clapped her hands like a small child. “You made the automobile! Does it work? Have you tested it? Can I test it?” She squealed with increasing excitement. In the back of her mind she knew that this behaviour was completely out of character, but she could not help it. The automobile would be the pinnacle of Bolts’ career as an inventor.

“Yes of course, but later.” Bolts said, “But what do you need? It’s not everyday you surprise me with a visit up here.”

Natalia froze as she remembered her purpose. “I need to talk to you.”

Bolts did not catch on to her icy change in tone. “We are talking.”

Natalia took a few steps towards Bolts and stopped a few feet in front of him, crossing her arms. “I need you to- No, you are going to tell me about the Citadel. About the Rose.”

Bolts was startled, then angry. “I will be doing no such thing. I have worked too hard for too long to remain neutral.”

In a flash there was a long, curved dagger in each of Natalia’s hands. Her eyes darkened and her mouth was set in a single line. “I don’t recall giving you a choice. You will tell me what I need to know.”

Bolts looked dubious. “You wouldn’t do that.”

Natalia was growing angrier and angrier by the second. “Who’s to say I won’t?”

Bolts crossed his arms, a smile flickered across his face. “You would never hurt the man who helped you take revenge for your uncle: the man who taught you to fight.” Natalia made a face, but Bolts knew he had hit his mark.

“And besides, you think I am not prepared for this? At the push of a button I have a specialized security system I’ve been dying to use. A hidden vent in the room would release highly toxic gas that paralyzes the body and eventually renders you unconscious. At the same time, a series of traps would bind you and it would be I with the upper hand.”

Natalia found herself struck with the genius of her mentor and friend; though he was growing older and more unfit every day, he had engineered the perfect trap to keep himself unharmed. Finally, Natalia sheathed her daggers in defeat.

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