Undercover (A Day at the Palace) 4
by Ifeoma Isabella Okeke in Undercover
Jade stepped into the town and smiled. There were kids running around playing, people standing here and there talking and what-not.
It was apparent that everyone around knew each other and were at least friendly.
Well… most of them. There were a few men standing around arguing, but me have a tendency to do that when they’re bored.
There were several stores lining the main street, either made from wood or brick and all in immaculate shape. Most had a plant of some sort out front for decoration.
The jewelry and clothing stores had colorful eye-catching displays in their windows. It was pretty obvious pretty fast that someone took very good care of the people.
Jade adjusted her royal purple hoodie as she walked.
Another thing she had learned a long time ago, if you put a colorful hoodie or sweater over top of your outfit, people didn’t tend to notice that you were wearing a black shirt and skirt, thus kept suspicion away.
She smiled as she stopped for a troupe of boys playing cops and robbers who ran across the street.
For all the people, there weren’t many cars.
“Mornin’ Miss.” Someone waved.
Jade waved back then continued walking “Alright. Info…” she spotted a bakery and shrugged “Hm. It’s been a while since I had a Cinnamon Roll. Might as well.” then she hurried into the shop.
“Hello. Ma’am.” The man behind the counter greeted “What can I get for you today?”
“How about a Cinnamon Roll. They smell wonderful.”
The man nodded “Comin’ right up! I don’t recollect ever seeing you around here.”
“Perfect.” Jade thought, then she said “No. I just got here. It seems like a nice place.”
“Oh, It is.” The Baker nodded “Thanks to that Prince of ours. He’s a great young man.”
“Yeah, I heard about him, but I don’t know much.” She said nonchalantly “I take it he’s nice.”
“Yes Ma’am! Prince Henry is fair and helpful. Too bad some people are tryin’ to get rid of him.”
“Oh? What do you mean?”
“Well,” The baker took a deep breath “This was a right peaceful place til the Prince finally got old enough to be crowned. Well, when the word first got out, a stranger came into town and started asking questions about our ruler and the finances. Well, naturally that’s some things people want to know if they’re going to move someplace. So I answered all their questions.”
Jade nodded slowly “Then what?”
“Well, that evening, the castle was attacked. But apparently, Prince Henry is one smart pickle.”
Jade quickly swallowed a laugh but kept her attention fully on the man.
“When that group attacked, there was an Agent waiting for ’em.” The man nodded emphatically “Yes Siree. All eight of ’em didn’t get three feet inside before they were runnin’.”
“Wait. You said ‘An’ agent?” Jade asked “As in One?”
“Mm-hm. That boy kicked ’em right out the door!”
“Why weren’t they arrested?”
“Well, they ran.”
Jade was quiet for a moment “Did… you say eight?”
“Yes I did.” The baker seemed to remember the cinnamon roll and quickly went to get one.
“Eight?” Jade leaned against the counter and frowned “There was only seven at the ball last night. Where was the other?”
“Here you are Ma’am.” The baker said, handing her a brown paper bag “Since you’re new here, it’s on the house.”
“Thanks.” Jade took the bag then turned to leave “Oh… uh, the agent that the Prince hired. Where was he from?”
“Well, he’s one of our own, named Spear Knight.” The man answered “But he disappeared a couple of weeks ago.”
“Spear Knight. Thanks.” Then she walked out the door “Spear Knight. I’ll have to look him up. He may be with the rest of the agents.” she quickly ate her roll and tossed the bag into a trashcan. She stopped every now and then to talk to some people, but no one had more information than what the baker had already given her.
“Jade.” Some one said.
The girl looked around then sighed “Where’s the speaker?”
“In your left pocket.”
She pulled out the small earpiece, turned it down then stuck it in her ear “Yes, Cognito?”
“Put on the earrings and take some pictures.”
“I didn’t bring them.”
“They’re in your right pocket.”
Jade reached into her right pocket then quickly clipped on the earrings and put on the bracelet “Have I mentioned that the earrings don’t exactly go with my outfit?”
“Sir?” she shook her head and smiled, then snapped a few pictures while she updated him “And, that’s what the baker told me.”
“Well, the people might be a little careful in talking to a stranger. Try the children.”
“The children. Right.” Jade looked around and saw a group of five boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen skateboarding in a skatepark “Eh, that’ll work.”
When she got closer, she saw a girl about nine years old leaning against a tree. Her brown hair was pulled back in a straight braid that hung about halfway down her back.
“Hi.” Jade said as she stepped up to her “How are you?”
The girl shrugged “Fine, I guess.” she crossed her arms “Brothers.”
Jade chuckled “Boys have a tendency to be annoying.” she heard Cognito groan in her ear “What did the boys do?”
“They won’t let me play.” The girl answered “My brother’s the ‘leader’ of their club and claims girls can’t skateboard.”
Jade quirked an eyebrow “Really?”
“Jade.” Cognito’s warning voice said into her ear “Don’t you dare.”
“Girls can ride skateboards just fine.” Jade said “I ride a skateboard everyday.”
The girl looked up at her wide eyed “Really?”
“Jade. Focus!” Cognito barked.
“My name’s Emily.” The girls said, then she turned to the boys “Hey! Joey! Girls can ride skateboards!”
A boy who appeared to be the oldest and around fifteen stopped and looked at her “Emily! Girls don’t ride!”
“But she does!” Emily pointed to Jade “And she’s a girl!”
Joey rode over to the two girls and hopped off his board “You ride?” he asked unbelieving.
“For most of my life.” Jade answered, then she smiled “Tell you what. I’ll have a little competition with you. If you win, I’ll admit that girls aren’t supposed to ride skateboards. If I win, you teach Emily.”
Joey shrugged and grinned smugly “It’s a deal.”
“Jade.” Cognito growled “When you get back to the base, you are in so much trouble!”
“Nothing new there.” Jade thought “Well, Joey. Hand me a board.”
Henry walked down the main street of town, waving to the people as he went.
They were used to seeing the Prince out an about. He’d been touring the town since he was a toddler with his parents.
“Good morning, Sire.” A shop owner bowed “Good to see ya.”
Henry smiled and nodded “You too.”
“Should you be out today? I mean, after what happened last night.”
“Well…” The Prince thought for a moment “I think I’d rather be out here with all of you than alone in the castle.”
“Agreed, Sire.” the man nodded “Agreed.”
Henry sent him one last wave then continued walking.
A bunch of shouting and cheering caught his attention off to the right. A group of boys and young girl and an older girl were watching another pull tricks on his skateboard.
Henry smiled and slowly walked towards the skate park.
The older girl’s hair was jet black and curly, hanging just below her shoulders from it’s ponytail.
“I think that’s… Hannah.” He thought, his smile slightly widening.
The boy, known as Joey, completed his tricks on the ramps then slid to a stop by the group.
“Way to go, Joey!” The boys shouted ” No one can beat that!”
“Well,” Joey said “Can you top it? I’m the skate king.”
Henry watched as Jade stepped forward and took the board “If you insist.”
“She skateboards?” Henry walked closer. Now this he had to see.
Jade stepped onto the board and immediately started doing stunts.
One of the boy’s hands when to his head so fast. He knock his baseball cap off.
Jade used everything in the park. The rails the benches, and then she hit the ramps.
Henry’s eyes grew as he watched her do everything, including going down the ramp on her hands, then switching back to her feet in just enough time to pull an awesome aerial trick.
“Now that is a girl.”
Jade stepped off of the skateboard then brought her foot down hard on one end, sending the board flying through the air. Then it landed leaning against a tree “So…?”
Joey nodded his eyes wide “I’ll teach Emily to skateboard.”
Jade chuckled “Atta boy.”
“That was awesome!” Emily squealed “You were like swoosh and swish! And boom!”
“I think I avoided the boom.” Jade laughed “See ya later.” she suddenly jumped as a voice not to far away spoke.
“That was amazing, Miss Hannah.”
“Prince Henry?” Jade gasped “Who- what-when- where did you come from? Why are you out in town?”
“I always come out to town.” Henry laughed “And today, I was the most amazing thing. My dance partner… skateboarding.”
Jade could feel her cheeks getting red. Why was she blushing? She shook off the thought and managed a smile “Well… Hi.”
“Hello.” The prince was quiet for a moment “Would you like to come back to the palace with me? Take a tour?”
“Really? Uh…” Jade started to shake her head “I don’t think…”
“Go.” Cognito snapped in her ear “And get lots of pictures.”
The girl immediately flashed a smile “I’d love to.”
“Good.” Henry turned to lead the way “What are you doing?” He asked himself “You’re not supposed to let anyone in the castle! But…” he groaned slightly. What was it about this girl that kept him intrigued?
“Everything alright?” Jade asked.
“Hm. Oh, yes, Fine.” he answered quickly “Just thinking.”
“Jade.” Cognio said “Ask him…”
Jade quickly switched off her earpiece. She didn’t exactly feel like listening to the Director all day. She walked a little slower so she was a bit behind the prince, then pushed a button on her belt that caused the hem of her skirt of fall, making her skirt go down to her ankles instead of to the middle of her calf. She glanced at Henry to make she he wasn’t looking at her, then she quickly popped open her watch and hit a button that made her boots fold down and the heel go in till they looked like a pair of pumps.
Then, she pulled a bobby pin out of her pocket and pinned her bangs off to the side of her head.
She smiled as she ran a little to catch up. Now… nothing about her outfit looked fight worthy.
“Here we are.” Henry announced, not noticing the change “It’s pretty big.”
“It’s a castle, it’s supposed to be.” Jade said as she stepped. In the sunlight, the place looked even more huge and glorious than just in the ceiling light light.
Henry led her around showing her the dining room and the kitchen. The music room. The drawing room. Everything.
Jade had to keep reminding herself to snap pictures as she went.
Several maids passed them and smiled cordially.
“And… as you saw last night, the Ballroom.”
“Does everything grow in the mornings?” Jade asked “This place is huge! Especially with no one in it.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I… heard something happened last night.” Jade said slowly “Was anyone hurt?”
“Thankfully, no.” Henry answered “It’s happened quite a few times, but there were normally guards and agents everywhere. But last night there was only one.”
“Just one?” Jade raised an eyebrow “What good is one?”
“Apparently really good.” The prince laughed slightly “You couldn’t see her face or anything, but she could fight!”
“Yeah. One girl against seven guys. It was crazy!” He shrugged “But they finally ran… and so did she. I didn’t find out who she was.”
“So she was like…” Jade scanned her mind for a word.
“She was like an Undercover Cinderella.” Henry finished “Suddenly appeared, then at the stoke of midnight ran.”
Jade burst out laughing, which scored her a curious look from the Prince “I’m sorry.” she said, catching her breath “Just… an undercover Cinderella? Kind of gives you a funny picture, eh?”
Henry chuckled “Yeah I guess it does. It’s almost dinner time. You want something to eat?”
“Dinner? Have I been here that long?”
“Mm-hm. That’s how long it takes to leisurely walk through the entire castle. From top to bottom.”
Jade smiled “So… how did your parents make it to important meeting on time.”
“They always set them for late in the afternoons so they had time to make it.” they both laughed and Henry shook his head “Nah. There’s elevators. And they didn’t walk across every floor on their way down.” he stuck his hands in his pockets “So… would you like to grab something from the kitchen. Then I can show you the gardens.”
“I would love to.”
They went to the kitchen where the maids quickly and happily put together two plates of fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy and bicuits.
“All the help here are really happy.” Jade commented as she and Henry sat down on a couple of stools that were at the counter.
“Yeah. Everyone here is like family.” The Prince took a sip of his water “At least… I think.”
Jade glanced at him “You think it’s possible the attacks might be an inside job?”
“Kind of. I know everyone here pretty well, but…” he shook his head “Greed can cause people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise.”
“Yeah.” Jade looked down at the plate of food “It’s hard to think that someone close to you could actually be trying to kill you.”
“Exactly.” Henry started pushing his food around on his plate subconsciously “Has that ever happened to you?”
“No. Thankfully.” She took a deep breath then took a bit of her potatoes “Whoa, this is good.” she said before she could stop herself,
Henry chuckled “Glad you like it. It’s my personal favorite.”
“What’s life without fried chicken?” Jade teased “Or potatoes… and everything else good.”
“Well, you know what they say.” Henry said “The world would be a better place-“
“If there weren’t so many brussle sprouts in it.” Jade finished with them.
The servants looked over at the couple and smiled as they laughed.
“They are so cute.” One whispered.
“I know.” Another answered. Then they got back to work.
To Be Continued
Please don’t forget to Share and Comment.