Chapter 7, Part 6

With the guards taken care of, Alessandra went back to the door to the security room and quickly picked the lock. The room was quite small, and it was taken up entirely by a large console covered in buttons and knobs and levers and multi-colored lights. There were two technicians sitting at the console, and they turned around in surprise as Alessandra and Shiena burst in.

“Hey!” one of them yelled. “You’re not allow-” He cut off abruptly as a knife pierced his eye, and the other technician died just as suddenly. Shiena shoved the body of the man she’d just killed out of his seat and sat down in it.

“Let’s see,” she murmured as she inspected the console. “Should be right around…” Jamming her knife underneath the console, she pried open a metal panel, exposing a jumble of colorful wires. “Ah, this’ll do,” she said happily, and sliced through a green wire and a red wire. All of the lights on the console immediately went dead.

“Let’s go down and meet up with the rest of the team,” Alessandra said.

“You don’t give the orders around here, chiela,” Shiena said scornfully. “Just shut up and do as you’re told.” Immediately, she left the room, leaving Alessandra to follow with a scowl on her face.

They made their way down to the first floor without incident. In fact, their progress was so smooth that Alessandra began to get that creeping feeling in her gut that she had had in the Vanmorzen manor. She almost said something to Shiena, but she knew the reaction she would get, so she said nothing, and instead continued to follow after her.

In the main lobby of the bank, they found the rest of their team. They were standing around the door leading to the vault, attempting to get it open. As they approached, Kraylea noticed them and waved them over.

“Hey!” he called. “Come get this door open!” Alessandra hurried over and inspected the lock quickly, then she pulled out her tools and got to work on it.

“What’s taking so long?” Fihal hissed.

“It’s not a standard lock,” Alessandra hissed back. “It’s got some sort of sweep mechanism I’ve never seen before.”

“Well hurry up!” Kraylea demanded. “Those mercenaries guarding the entrances are gonna notice that the security systems are down soon. It won’t be long before they start patrolling the halls.”

“Got it!” Alessandra proclaimed. The door swung open and the whole team quickly rushed inside. They made their way down a long, narrow corridor that slowly sloped downward, so that by the end of it they were completely underground. At the end was a huge door made out of nivotal, a strong, dark gray metal. The lock on the door was bigger than Alessandra’s head, and unlike any she had ever seen before.

“Crap,” she muttered as soon as she saw it.

“I don’t mean to pressure you,” Sharae said grimly, “but you’d better figure out this lock faster than you’ve ever done anything before in your life.”

“Yeah, I get it,” Alessandra said, her tone just as grim as Sharae’s. She pulled her tools back out and got to work.

As it turned out, the lock was unusual but not terribly complex. The trickiest part was the sheer size of it. After a few minutes, she begrudgingly admitted to herself that she wasn’t strong enough to force it open herself, and motioned to Kraylea. He gave her a winking smirk, sauntered over to the lock, and, with a grunt, broke the lock. As soon as he did, he motioned to the rest of the team, and they all grabbed onto the door and hauled it open.

Once it was open, Kraylea motioned for Fihal and Alessandra to stay outside and stand guard, while he and the other members of the team went inside to fill their bags with loot. The process of looting the vault took just a few minutes, and the six of them were headed back up the corridor and out into the lobby.

And then all hell broke loose.

As they were crossing the lobby, doors on either side and behind them burst open and a couple dozen mercenaries streamed into the room. Some of them were carrying swords, others had heavy cudgels, and a few were wielding big, two-handed axes. All of them were bigger than Kraylea, and they all had very satisfied looks on their faces. Kraylea and the others screeched to a halt, and began mentally weighing their odds.

“Oh, you people are in big trouble now, aren’t you?” sneered one man, the biggest one of them all. He had a crew cut, a scar down one side of his face, and black beady eyes that seemed fixed in a permanent squint. “You all thought you could waltz into this bank and take whatever you wanted without paying a fee? Well, the fee has come due now.”

“Maybe. Maybe not,” Kraylea said with a smirk.

“Didn’t you ever stop to think that maybe things were a little too easy tonight?” the big mercenary said in a soft, mocking voice. “Didn’t it occur to you that maybe you got into that vault just a little too smoothly?”

“Hey, I was too busy killing your buddies to stop and think,” Kraylea said, his smirk growing wider. The sneer disappeared off the big mercenary’s face and was replaced with an ugly grimace.

“You fools,” he growled. “You were set up! Somebody told my clan you were coming! Somebody from your clan I would bet, unless you’ve been blabbing about your plans all over the slums.”

“If this is an ambush, it’s a pretty lousy one,” Kraylea said with a shrug.

“What are you babbling about, chiela?” the mercenary snarled. “You’re outnumbered and surrounded! None of you are going to leave this place alive.”

“Big talk for someone who hasn’t actually killed a single member of my team yet,” Kraylea said with a wink.

“Enough of this nonsense!” the mercenary leader howled. “Kill them!”

To be continued…

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