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THE RULER RETURNS

By ... Steve Lucky

CHAPTER THREE

"Good luck, Peter," Lisa mouthed back. Both of them were going to need it.

Peter and Orn walked for a little ways until they got to a small door on the left marked restricted. Orn simply walked up to the door and opened it. Peter thought it was strange that such a door would be left unlocked, but Orn knew more about the situation than he did. Instead of a room as Peter thought there would be, there was an entirely new passage way with many rooms on either side. Orn lead the way.

TIME : 1:41 P.M. (13:41)
PLACE : By the elevator

The two minutes were up. Lisa pushed the button and waited for the elevator. As soon as she was safely outside, Lisa ran down the mountain as fast as she could go without even bothering to stick to the path. Time was of the essence.

Lisa looked behind her. Some people in black uniforms had already begun to search for her. Fortunately, she hadn't been spotted. Then, she looked further ahead. It seemed impossible but another search party had cut off her escape route to the valley. She had to find someplace else to run.

As if an answer to her prayers, Lisa saw a house off to her right. She took off for the house as fast immediately. She thought that more soldiers would appear in front of the house at any second, but nothing of the sort happened.

After what seemed like hours, she reached the house and knocked on the front door panting and gasping for breath. A middle aged woman opened the door. Greatly relieved, Lisa stepped inside and promptly collapsed from exhaustion.

TIME : 1:42 P.M. (13:42)
PLACE : The cafeteria

Hank and Linda waited patiently for anything unusual. It was obvious to them they were only the back up group in case anything happened to Lisa or to Peter and Orn. A few small groups were scattered throughout the cafeteria, but judging from their behavior, they guessed that they were only newcomers like themselves.

"Do you think Lisa's alright?" asked Linda showing some concern.

"I'm sure she's fine," Hank reassured her. "It's Peter and Orn I'm worried about."

"What do you think they're up to?" Linda wondered still not convinced of Lisa's safety, but looking to Hank for some confidence.

"I have no idea," said Hank.

TIME : 1:45 P.M.
PLACE : Inside the restricted area

Peter and Orn went from room to room searching for what they could find. Most of the rooms were empty giving them plenty of time to search. Each time, they found nothing of any interest to them. Upon the occasion that they entered a room that was already occupied, they left the room as quietly as possible. Surprisingly, nobody had asked them what they were doing in a restricted area.

"Something's wrong," warned Peter. "There are too many empty rooms and not enough security for a restricted area. I think we're being led into a trap."

"In that case we'd better be more careful," Orn advised as they continued along the hallway.

Unknown to either of them, the bald man they had met earlier was watching them. He had known all along the newcomers were up to no good. Everything was taken care of. All he had to do was wait for the right moments and then take them by surprise. Peter was right. It was a trap.

TIME : 1:49 P.M. (13:49)
PLACE : Inside the woman's house

When Lisa came to, she found herself lying on the bed in the house of a total stranger. The woman smiled when she saw that Lisa had recovered and handed her a glass of water. Knowing she was safe, Lisa took a small sip and started to relax.

"Who are you?" the woman asked gently.

Lisa used the name Orn had told her to use in case of trouble. She said that she was hiking through the woods when she suffered a snake bite. There wasn't enough time to go to the village, so she came there for first aid and fainted upon arrival.

"You're not telling me the truth," the woman scolded. "You have an aristocratic look about you. My guess is that you're a secret agent of the king and queen and you're on to something. That is why you had to come here, to escape."

Lisa couldn't believe what she had just heard. How could she have known so much? One thing Lisa was proud of was the fact that she had been called an aristocrat. After being a millionaire back on Earth, she hoped that a few aristocratic qualities would show. Seeing how friendly the woman was and knowing there was no one else she could trust, Lisa decided to tell her the truth. She held back her real name, the fact that she worked for M.W.G.D., and the number of friends she had but everything else she said was basically a complete description of what had happened inside the hideout and the plans for the assassination of the king and queen.

Upon hearing how honest Lisa had been, the woman decided that she should open up too.

"Don't worry. I work for the king and queen myself," the woman explained. "My name is Abria."

Lisa took another sip of water. For the time being, she had forgotten that she was still in danger. She wondered how long she should stay with Abria before starting off for the valley again.

Abria was more aware of the danger they were in. She looked out the window and saw soldiers heading for her house. Quickly, she ran to her closet and took out one of her old dresses.

"Change into this," ordered Abria tossing her the dress. "I'll try to cover for you."

Lisa had just finished changing clothes when there was a knock at the door. Abria went over to answer it. Three soldiers appeared and immediately started searching the house.

"Can I help you?" asked Abria in an innocent tone of voice.

"We are the police," said the soldier in charge. "We are looking for an escaped convict. He was spotted in this area. Have you seen anyone suspicious?"

"No," Abria replied.

Lisa suppressed a giggle as she watched the soldiers carefully inspect every possible hiding place for her without even knowing who to look for.

"It's a good thing Peter didn't go," she thought.

After searching everything twice, the soldiers thanked Abria and Lisa for their trouble and left to search elsewhere. Lisa was safe once more.

TIME : 1:55 P.M. (13:55)
PLACE : The cafeteria

Linda quietly tapped Hank on the shoulder and pointed to the ever increasing number of soldiers entering the cafeteria. Hank got up and motioned for Linda to follow him to a place where they could talk. The soldiers did not bother to follow them and soon they were alone again.

"I think they're on to us," declared Linda. and Orn. We'd better try to rescue them."

"The first thing we should do is find Lisa," Hank stated boldly. think up a plan for rescuing Peter and Orn."

Linda agreed. The two of them walked quietly to the elevator not already been discovered. They reached the elevator unharmed. they stepped inside the elevator thinking that their troubles were sound of the elevator taking them up to the surface made them feel reached the top the doors remained closed.

"They've shut off the elevator. We're trapped inside!" Linda exclaimed when she realized what had happened.

TIME : 1:57 P.M. (13:57)
PLACE : Inside the restricted area

Peter and Orn continued to search for anything that might help them stop the Ruler. They still hadn't found a thing and were beginning to get tired of searching. Only one room remained. The room that marked the end of the hallway. Peter cautiously opened the door expecting it to be a trap.

Unknown to him, the entire hallway was a trap. The bald man continued to watch them secretly waiting for the right time to set the trap. It was almost time.

The door Peter had opened lead to some sort of cell used for holding prisoners.

"I don't like this," said Peter stopping Orn from going inside. "I'll go inside and search. You stay behind and keep a sharp eye out for trouble."

As soon as Peter entered the cell, he heard the sound of enemy soldiers running towards them.

"Freeze!" yelled a voice. It was the bald man that had addressed them as the Ruler back in the conference room.

A soldier immediately search Peter and Orn taking their money, weapons, and vials of Xanamite and handed them to the older man they had met back at the elevator. To Peter's surprise, Orn didn't seem the least bit worried on concerned.

"I knew you were a double agent all the time," the bald man snorted pointing to Orn.

Peter knew this wasn't true because if it was, Lisa would have never been able to escape, but it didn't help much under the circumstances.

Another figure approached them. He was dressed entirely in black except for a purple visor covering his entire face so no one could see inside. There was no way of telling who he was, but only one person it could be.

"The Ruler!" gasped Peter.

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