Graham’s plan was watertight – in theory.
The menagerie was highly fortified and rightly so … when it housed creatures that could kill a man before he had a chance to draw breath. Pairs of the Witch Guard were stationed like embattled chess pieces throughout the complex. On top of the armed muscle was a layer of magery that could be penetrated if you knew what you were doing and Graham knew plenty. Their main concern wasn’t how they were going to get in but how they were going to transport the creatures out. Emily had never imagined how one would smuggle a fluorescent lilac, screeching dragonling out of a menegarie before. Now that she found herself contemplating solutions to such a mission, she was faced with a difficult choice: to drug the creatures or not to drug.
The benefits of drugging the creatures would be they could easily be carted or levitated where they needed to go. However, the downside was if a tranquiliser dart missed its target it could provoke a full-scale furry rebellion, which would not only attract the attention of the guards but could result in a potential loss of limbs. Emily gambled on her friendship with the creatures as an assurance that they would be able to lure them where they needed to go without having to use manipulation or poison.
Emily was uneasy, Graham looked drained, his cheeks were sunken like a once sharp and agile warship now derelict at the bottom of the ocean. His eyes appeared to be straining under the glow of the giant fireflies that buzzed inside their glass containers atop the lighting poles. Emily had pushed to do most of the legwork already recognising that Graham was still not fully recovered from the events of the previous night.
“All set, the security spells are disabled,” Graham said casually, as he finished his silent incantations.
Emily often wondered when Graham had become so powerful and how; sometimes she even entertained the idea that his black market drug dealings had gone a step further …
The plan was, they would begin with the outdoor animals and work their way towards breaking the lab rats out of the lab. The lab was the most laborious part of their heist. Octagonal in its structure, completely crafted out of moonglass, it was a translucent paradise. This, of course, would make it extremely difficult for them to go through unseen especially with fugitive creatures in tow. But Graham had a plan.
“Do you have the newspaper?” Graham asked.
“Yes, it’s here somewhere,” Emily replied tentatively.
Emily wrestled with the zip on her satchel before delving inside. She tutted, sifting through the odd bits and bobs that she had collected over time. Eventually, she pulled the folded newspaper out, a big grin lighting up her face as she realised she wouldn’t be letting Graham down. Tattered and torn, the newspaper flapped in the wind as Emily handed it over to Graham. Carefully, he pulled a shining magnifying glass from his pocket and an intricate, silver tube.
Graham placed the newspaper onto the ground in front of the wrought, iron main gates to the compound. He then lowered the magnifying glass a few inches away from the newspaper, lifted the cap off the tube and let a shard of crystal clear, white light shoot straight at its curling edges. The paper ignited immediately, sending sparks and white smoke pluming into the air.
It only took thirty seconds for the alarms to sound. Emily glanced at Graham. He nodded – it was time to begin the heist…
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