The streets of Shanghai were lively that cool January night, not busy or overcrowded, but filled with a quieter yet energetic feel to it. Enjoying the mild evening in the old town of the cultural city, Daniel and Noam walked hand in hand along the sidewalks, taking in the sights that glimmered underneath lit lanterns. Their presence did not go unnoticed however as two wild eyes followed them from a distance.
Slipping from shadow to shadow the dark scrawny figure followed the lovely young couple, swiping a conical hat while passing by an unwary street vendor. Low diabolical laughter could be heard as the figure in black hugged the walls of the alley way carefully maneuvering around the perimeter of where the couple stood.
“How long do we have to pretend we don’t know we are being followed?” Noam asked the love of her life as they stood before a storefront, pretending to window shop.
“Just a little bit longer, I think.” Daniel reassured her. “Just till we know what this person wants with us.”
Noam managed to keep her annoyance at bay at the unwanted intrusion as she silently agreed with Daniel’s reasoning. Out if the corner of her eye she saw a sudden movement as the pulled rickshaw driver that had been standing there idly before was yanked backwards into the shadows. Surprise flittered briefly across the features of the unwary man before a tiny fist knocked the air out of him. With an oomph he fell harmlessly to the cold grown of the alley way, slightly stunned.
Taking his place by the rickshaw, the figure dressed in the dark traditional clothes of a working Asian man pulled the hat lower over devious eyes.
“Shall we take a rickshaw ride?” Noam asked casually to Daniel, pretending not to know what just happened.
“An excellent idea!” Daniel smiled, taking up Noam’s cue. “Oh look! There is one right now! How fortuitous!”
Like a gentlemen, Daniel led his lady in grand style to the rickshaw then bowed, offering his hand as she stepped into it. Still as a statue, the enigmatic person waited, standing in between the rickshaws’ handles hardly able to contain the glee. Then, seeing as the couple were now seated, whirled around and pointed dramatically.
“HA! You have just been SHANGHAIED in SHANGHAI!” Kallista snarled triumphantly then turned back around, hopping to pull the handles down and dart down the street with her “captives.”
But it didn’t work like that. As Kallista tried to bounce the handles down dangling there instead, her thin legs hung useless underneath the scrappy clothing. A soft exasperated sigh escaped Noam’s lips as she let her eyes wander, wondering how long this escapade with the devious Kallista would last.
“Oh look, Daniel,” She spied something and reached down. “This rickshaw has been rigged with a break!”
Pulling the lever, she felt the weight lift from the back as the break released. Instantly Kallista flopped down with the handles as it lowered abruptly. A moment later the rickshaw rolled forward, running over a fallen Kallista.
“Yay! We are moving!” Noam smiled. “Wait. Where did Kallista go?”
“I think she is under the cart.” Daniel replied.
“I think she is under the cart.” Daniel replied.
“I’VE GOT YOU!” A voice wheezed out from behind them as Kallista hung on to the moving contraption, trying unsuccessfully to slow it down.
In astonishment Noam peered around the back of the rickshaw to see Kallista being dragged along, a crazed panicked look in her eyes.
Daniel quickly reached over and pulled the lever again, causing the break to let down. Immediately the ride stopped but they both felt a thud as Kallista, unable to stop, crashed into the back. A painful noise cursed shortly thereafter.
“Kallista,” Daniel began as patiently as he could. “Noam and I would like to be alone for a while. We only have this short time before The Agency needs us back again.”
“No worries,” Kallista staggered out and came around front again, not really hearing him. “I’m OK!”
But as she staggered and half stumbled to the front, she was run over by another rickshaw.
Noam and Daniel both winced as Kallista wobbled to her feet to be run over two more times.
“That’s gotta hurt.” Daniel remarked. “How about you go get the real rickshaw driver, Kallista?”
Weakly Kallista crawled back over and snarled. “I am determined to Shanghai you! I WILL DO IT AND WILL NEVER BE DEAFETED!”
She stood up while she said this and stuck what she thought was an intimidating pose. Then she screamed again as once more she was run over by a rickshaw.
“Hey, you two!” Hellboy called out to them, Sarthacus sitting next to him. “Have you seen Kallista? She slipped away from the group while we were touring some sites. I am afraid she might be headed your way.”
Both Noam and Daniel pointed solemnly under Hellboy’s rickshaw.
“What?” A confused Hellboy began but was interrupted by Kallista who whimpered as she clutched her head and stood up next to him. “Where have you been Kallista? And why are you so dirty? Never mind, hop on the back, there is a place for you to stand and hold on to. Just don’t get this thing dirty. I need to return it nice and clean back to the owner.”
No one knew for sure if Kallista had meant to obey or not for chaos reigned shortly after that. One minute Kallista was standing there with a bloody nose. In the next moment a shout reverberated through the air, getting everyone’s attention.
“THAT’S THE ONE!” A man was shouting as he pointed in rage towards Kallista. “That skinny kid took my rickshaw!”
“Yeah! That’s the same one who stole that hat from me!” Another man shouted.
Looking dumfounded Kallista began to back away as the mob formed right before her black and blue eyes. Then, with a scream she turned and darted off down another alley way, the mob close at hand.
“Well, this is was unexpected.” Sarthacus remarked, blinking a couple times.
“Not really.’ Hellboy shrugged. “This is Kallista we are talking about.”
“She ruined yet another night out for Noam and me.” Daniel frowned.
“Well, not just yet.” Hellboy smiled and whistled for another rickshaw.
Sure enough there was another man willing and able to take Noam and Daniel for their long awaited ride through old town Shanghai.
Hellboy waved them off then headed back with Sarthacus to prepare to clean up the mess Kallista had made. Again.
In less the forty eight hours’ time, the undercover agents who had been in Shanghai were back home with Kallista in tow. Now the entire assembly of Purple rose gathered in the large conference room, a review panel was set up with Skyril as the head. Along with her at the table sat Hellboy, NJ, Noam, Pyro, Raven, Lizzy, Thalia, Mar, and Octa. Before them stood Kallista, her lower lip trembling a bit in a pout. Around her in seats were the entire Purple Rose agents as witnesses.
“Kallista Pendragon, you have been called here to give an account for your actions against this school and more recently, your actions while in Shanghai.” Skyril’s voice was grave. “Do you understand the charges?”
Squirming slightly under all the scrutiny Kallista snuck a peek around the room for a friendly face. There were none. Some of them looked even bored.
“I am innocent!” Kallista declared with an over exaggerated haughty look. “It is in my nature to kidnap people. I am the Thief in Black after all!”
“You are a criminal who costs this school money that could go elsewhere to something more worthy!” Sam’s voice raised in anger. “Instead we have to spend it all on you to get you out of trouble!”
“I have a list here of some of your crimes.” Hellboy stood solemnly and then read from the list. “Blowing up the science class room,”
“That was an accident.”
“…..constantly abandoning your posts,”
“I had my reasons.”
“……unsanctioned use of school property.”
Kallista stuck out her tongue at them.
Sighing Hellboy ignored her and went on. “……kidnapping Octaboona,”
“You have got nothing on me!” She snarled suddenly.
“Actually we have the video footage of you kidnapping him.” NJ said holding up some of the tapes.
“And footage of you doing all the other things you are being charge with.” Raven added.
“That doesn’t prove anything!” Kallista shouted unconvincingly, her eyes wild.
Hellboy continued on as if Kallista had not interrupted. “….faking your own death,”
“It was necessary!”
“HE’s MINE I tell you! MINE! MINE!” Her fist rose theatrically with each declaration.
“….for sabotaging the property of a restaurant on NJ’s birthday,”
“I was working on a top secret project!”
“You were working on a formula to fart rainbows.” Noam said, annoyed. “It was hardly a secret.”
“It was for me! I had no idea what I was doing!” Kallista snarled again then clapped hands over her mouth looking dismayed. “I didn’t mean to say that. Can you take that off the record?”
“Nope.” Daniel spoke up. “Please remain quiet as Hellboy finishes the charges against you, Miss Pendragon.”
“Nope.” Daniel spoke up. “Please remain quiet as Hellboy finishes the charges against you, Miss Pendragon.”
“Interfering with other people’s assignments,” Hellboy went on, “Attempting to kidnap various members of the Purple Roses agency. Kidnapping Octaboona.”
“I was surprise adopting…”Kallista’s voice trailed off as everyone glared at her and shushed her.
“….attempted kidnapping of the bride, Emerald on her wedding day and disorderly conduct during her ceremony.”
“I would have gotten away with it to, if it had not been for you meddling kids!”
Everyone rolled their eyes at the Scooby Doo line.
“You know what, nuts with this.” Hellboy said suddenly as he tossed the list down. “It will take too long for us to get through everything you have done. We don’t have the time and quite frankly, we have better things to do.”
“Kallista Pendragon, we are all in favor of your sentence.” Skyril said as she stood up. “You are hereby ordered out of the Purple Roses Agency and Academy. You will be escorted to the end of our premises and never to set foot on any of our properties again under the penalty of the law.”
Sarthacus and Zath rose from where they sat along with Sam and Flame to be the guards who would escort her out.
“HA! You think it will be that easy to get rid of me?” Kallista shouted then mooned everyone. “You can’t catch me!”
Dashing madly away from her guards Kallista reached for some doors, opened them with a flourish. “I will see myself out!” She proudly proclaimed then shut the door.
Several loud bands were heard followed by sounds of surprise and pain from Kallista.
“Uh….Kal,” Lizzy facepalmed, “You are in a closet.”
“I KNEW that!” Kallista snapped as she opened the closet door sharply and leaned against it, her hair in disarray as papers flew every which way around her. “I was LOOKING for something. I FOUND it.”
Keeping a close eye on Kallista, the four guards made their way silently towards her, each blocking a potential exit.
“YOU WON’T SEE THE LAST OF ME!” Kallista snarled as all four guards dove on her and wrestled her to the ground. “I WILL BE BACK! HA!”
Working together the guards managed to restrain the hysterical girl and started the arduous task of throwing her out of the mansion. Somehow Kallista managed to break free and then pulled something out of her blazer pocket. Everyone froze unsure of what to do.
Standing there triumphantly with hair and clothes askew, Kallista held up a plastic vial with a greenish looking substance in it.
“I HAVE DEVELOPED A POTION to BECOME INVISIBLE!” She declared dramatically, and then gulped it down, throwing the vile aside when done. “YOU WIL NEVER BE ABLE TO FIND ME!”
With this she turned and ran straight into the closed doors, knocking herself out. Shrugging their shoulders the four guards looked at each other in surprise. Then each one took a limb and dragged an unconscious Kal out of the room, her head making a thumping sound as she was carried along.
“Well, I am glad is done.” Skyril said softly as others began to file out of the meeting room and resume normal activities. “I am glad this part is over.”
“I wish it was all over and things could be normal again.” Raven said regretfully.
“As do I,” Lizzy admitted. “But soon it will be. This is what the Agency is all about after all.”
“But we still must be careful,” Noam warned them in a low voice. “We can’t be too careful and should not even be talking about this here, where in this very room unseen spies can overhear.”
“Don’t worry, Noam.” Skyril told her grimly. “I have made sure that nothing can be taken from us that we don’t willingly give.”
All knew what she meant by that and silently agreed. They had already given away so much. It was time to reap what they had sown.
The day wore on and evening fell, the clouds in the clear winter sky picking up the hues of the setting sun. Instructors and students alike gathered in the grand dining room, it’s elegant décor mirroring that of the finest royal houses in Europe.
Delectable aromas came from the kitchen where the professional chefs prepared another gourmet dinner. The usual sounds of fine china and silverware filled the room along with the chatter of the throng. Entering into this fray a figure dressed in black snuck in and danced from hiding spot to hiding spot, snatching a bit of food here and there as “unsuspecting” waiters walked back and forth in front of her hiding place with trays piled with tantalizing food.
It was time to test her experiment and see if it worked. Dodging more waiters, Kallista whirled about then stalked into the dining room with arms flung wide.
“I AM BACK! HA!” She roared victoriously.
But no one responded or looked her way. Everyone kept on eating and chatting, engrossed in their conversations.
“OOMPH!” Kallista doubled over as a bus boy rolled his cart into her.
Falling onto plates of discarded meal, Kallista flailed a bit as the waiter kept going, as if unaware of what was on his cart. Calmly he went about his duties and set more plates and dishes onto top of the floundering girl then rolling on the next table. At first all she felt was distressed. But then a sudden thought struck her. It worked! Her invisible potion worked!
“YES!” She half rolled half fell of the cart, spilling food and dishes as she did so.
Ignoring the voices that halfheartedly chided the bus boy for spilling the plates Kallista stood, trembling with excitement. “I DID IT! IT WORKED!”
Laughing crazily she ran up and down the tables and pulled faces at the occupants. But no one ever responded. They all just went about as normal.
Giving off one last laugh Kallista paused and considered. “I am invisible! Why should I wear clothes?”
With great delight she tore off all her garments and ran outside screaming,” I AM INVISIBLE!”
Soon the sounds of the screaming receded out in the distance. All who remained in the dining room sat silent and stunned for a few moments.
“Perhaps we went a bit too far, making her believe she was invisible,” Noam facepalmed.
Sam looked green after seeing for a second time a naked Kallista. “I don’t know about you, but I feel sick.”
“Someone really should tell her she is not really invisible.” Raven said.
But no one moved.
That night Kallista spent her first night in jail. Disappointed in the short lasting invisible potion, she made mental notes on how to make it more long lasting. Interrupting her deep thoughts a strange man appeared and gazed down at the sullen girl for a few moments in silence. Looking upon his suave three piece suite and fedora hat, she knew what he was; a gangster. Unnerved, Kallista eyeballed him back and snarled a little.
“My gosh, you really are an idiot aren’t you?” He sneered.
“Yes…..I mean, no!” She shot back resentfully and played with her tin cup, whacking against the bars of her cell to distract her from the scary man.
“I heard a Purple Rose was kicked out today. I could hardly believe it.” He took out a cigar and casually lit it. “I don’t know if it’s to my luck or not, but I thought I would give it a shot and check it out, myself.”
“What do you mean?” She asked suspiciously.
“I have a proposition for you.” He said. “I see you have no place to go. If I get you out of jail, how about you come with me?”
“Why would I come with you?”
“To get back at the Purple Roses of course,” He smiled. “They have been a thorn in my side for too long. Maybe it’s time I can give back what they have given me. Maybe you can have a bit of revenge too. How does that sound?”
For a moment Kallista said nothing and considered. Then slowly she got up and stretched out her hand to his. “It’s a deal.”
They shook hands.