Guests chattered and drank expensive drinks and servants in cream-coloured vests floated around carrying silver platters, all the while a man sat joyously in the corner playing away on a piano. Dozens of people span around and waltzed to the flow of the music, and in a synchronised stream they inhabited the dancefloor all night long.
But Mr. Tanner’s eyes were fixed entirely on the hallway at the far side of the room, and occasionally jumped from guard to guard. Quietly, like a tiger during a hunt, he made his move. In a most inconspicuous manner he strolled down the hallway until he came by the room with the vault and its guard. The guard was more or less polite, however his voice was heavy with authority. “Excuse me, sir,” he said. “I’m afraid no guests are allowed back here.”
Oliver tried to act a little tipsy, and he greeted the guard with a vibrant smile. “My apologies. I appear to have gotten turned around – this is such a large villa. Would you be so kind as to point me towards the rest room?”
“Certainly sir…” As soon as the man raised his arm Oliver grabbed it and stepped behind him, pressing a damp cloth into his face. The guard struggled for a short while, and then simply slid quietly to the floor.
“They all look so cute when they’re asleep,” he murmured, and Jack trotted up behind him.
A dismal look fell over him. “What did you do?” he asked.
“Oh don’t worry. We’ll be long gone before the effects of the drug wear off. Help me turn this. Miss Elsie, you’re on lookout.”
Jack and Oliver managed to get the vault open and they marvelled at what was inside. Jack whistled in awe of the neat stacks of shining metal bricks. “That’s a lot of gold. And you plan on stealing this man’s daughter?”
“Liberating, Mr. Heartwing. I plan on liberating his daughter.”
“Somehow that sounds worse.”
Mr. Tanner shook his head in amusement. “Just help me move this body inside and hide it behind the gold. You remember your task, right? Once you have the uniform on and I am sealed away inside the vault, wait for Mr. Parlow and his bodyguards to deliver the ring. He shouldn’t require more than two extra guards to stand watch directly over the vault. Now, are you sure you and your sister can handle them.”
Jack nodded. “I’m certain we’ve had worse.”
Oliver smiled that smile again. “Good,” he remarked. “I’m placing all of my faith in you.” Once Jack was dressed in the blue uniform and Mr. Tanner was inside the vault, Jack sealed it away, and waited quietly at his new post for company.ns 126.96.36.199da2