Mission: Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
The dining car was for second and first class passengers only. The decor was rich and velvety, with soft cushioned chairs, tables with deep burgundy tablecloths, and plenty of candles in windlights, as well as dextrocite fuelled lamps. The wait staff, for its part, seemed oblivious to the fact that quite a few of the people in the room definitely did not belong there.
“There you go, Madame Peacock,” the waiter said politely as he topped off Ashrieda’s coffee mug.
“Why thank you,” Ashrieda replied, batting her eyelashes at the waiter as she relieved him of his coffee pot.
Daenelia was stuffing her face with croissants, spreading flakey crumbs all over the table and floor. She was wearing something that looked like a nanny outfit, demure and proper. Ashrieda had won the coin toss for the identity of an actual Peacock family member, and the captain was too old to pretend to be one of the younger misses.
Shanen was happily eating his meal, nodding when Ashrieda offered him a cup of coffee too. "Thank you," he said happily as he swallowed a mouthful of food. "I'm starving."
"We did promise to be back in an hour. Dottie wanted to go out as well, as madame Peacock. She'd kill me if we were late," Daenelia grinned.
Shanen looked at his wrist and his face fell a bit. "I don't have the time," he said glumly.
"Still missing your watch?" Ashrieda asked.
Shanen nodded. "If I ever get my hands on that woman,..." he said. Behind him a lady stood up and moved past the table. Shanen shot her a look, he looked to Ash and then back down the carriage. "Hang on..."
'It couldn't be...' the blonde man thought to himself as he rose to his feet, following the woman who just passed them. It was his mind playing tricks surely but then his instincts said something else.
Daenelia looked up and watched Shanen walk out of the carriage. She looked at Ashrieda and winked. "There he goes again," she said grinning. "Walking off after a pretty... face." But Ashrieda wrinkled her face a little, rather than jumping to a conclusion.
"I'm not sure," she said. "Maybe we should follow him." The captain did not respond, which Ashrieda took to mean that she agreed. “Dottie’ll be all right, we’ll bring her back some gin or something,” she added as they strolled off after Shanen and the strange woman.
"Hey!" Shanen called after the woman. She seemed to freeze for a fraction of a second before continuing on as if she heard nothing. "Hey!” Shanen called again as she ducked into a side room on the left side of the carriage into what looked to be a passenger dorm. Reaching the door Shanen followed her in.
The two women followed him as quickly as looked seemly. Ashrieda striding along calmly, but fast and determined, Daenelia sight behind her, almost pushing her forwards. Shanen pushed past people, keeping his eyes on the woman in front of him.
The woman tried to open doors to compartments, failing to open one, until she ran into a door that opened into the corridor. Shanen caught up with her and pushed her in the empty compartment. Daenelia and Ashrieda followed them in.
"What's this? Unhand me, let me go! Help! Help me!" The woman screamed loud enough to wake the dead.
“Make her shut up,” Ashrieda hissed, moving quickly to bar the door. Already there were people outside murmuring about the commotion. She glanced at Shanen curiously, looking for a clue, then to the woman, who was fumbling in her dress pockets, and grimaced.
With a look of triumph the woman pulled out what looked to be a tiny coin purse and tossed it to the ground. Daenelia and Ashrieda both made a grab for it, but it was Daenelia who picked it up. "Ow, shiny!" she said.
"Let me go and I can supply you with more coin," the woman said. She was standing on the seat, backed into the corner next to the window. Daenelia opened her mouth to accept the offer, but Shanen cut her off.
"You have something that belongs to me," he nearly growled.
The woman stared at Shanen intently, seeming to disregard Daenelia, who was going through the contents of the purse, and Ashrieda, who’d gone back to blocking the door.
“I am sorry. You must have me mistaken for someone else,” she said finally, a smirk playing on her lips.
Daenelia whistled and held up a key with a tag on it. "Look at that," she said. "The lady has a lockbox." She studied the tag. "On this train!" She waved the key in front of Shanen's face excitedly. "Let's go and look!"
Shanen looked from the woman to the key and back. "I never forget a face," he said. "You're coming along."
"The carriage with locked storage is this way," Ashrieda said as she led the way.
Shanen pulled the lady up, and put his arm around her waist in a gentle but firm manner. "Let's go," he said.