Ancient Egypt, 1350 B.C.
The desert sun beat down on the time travelers as they arrived at their destination. The desert sands surrounded them on all sides and through the hazy heat, they could make out the HUGE pyramids, as well as the Jackal-headed sphinx, poking through the sparse clouds that dotted the sky. Carmelita almost immediately shed her jacket, tying it around her waist while Sandra rolled up her sleeves.
"That's the capital city." Bentley quickly supplied. "Slytunkhamen's secret base, as well as wherever Sly's been hiding these past three years, have to be down their somewhere."
"Well, we're gonna need to establish a safe house and stash the van before we do anything searching." Sandra told them.
"Good idea." Carmelita agreed. "We need a base of operations, then we start reconnaissance."
Without another word, Murray drove the van as close to the city as he could, then killed the engine and pushed it the rest of the way. The gang found an abandoned shop stall and quickly hide the van inside of it and cover it with a tarp. They then took shelter in the building right next to the stall.
"Perfect." Bentley declared as he begins setting up their hideout. "I'll start setting up here."
"Let me know how I can help." Carmelita offered.
"You can help me connect my system to the van's power battery. That'll give me the juice I need to get our operation up and running."
As the gang began setting up, Sandra looked out the rough window out at the Egyptian landscape. She had this faraway look in her eye, as if she wasn't quite there. Carmelita looked over for a minute to see Sandra pulling a photo out of her hoodie pocket. Like the one she had of her and Sly, it was well worn and creased. In the photo was a slightly younger version of Sandra with what looked like a young, muscular bear cub and a small koala. They were laughing in the photo and smiling widely, the koala dangling off of the bear’s arm with Sandra placing a pair of peace signs. Despite the obviously happy moment displaying the photo, Sandra seemed deeply saddened as she looked at it.
"Sandra?" Carmelita called.
The red raccoon stowed the photo at almost lightning speed as she turned around.
"Yes?" she asked, forcing a smile on her face.
Carmelita wanted to ask her about the photo, but it didn't seem like the moment. Instead, she picked up Sly's spare binoc-u-cam and handed it to Sandra.
"Without Sly, you'll have to do his parts of the reconnaissance." She told her. "Go take a look around and see what you can find."
Sandra got a mischievous smile on her face as she nodded, then snatched up an earpiece and dove out the window. Carmelita watched her go, surprised to see her do a 180 emotional turn. Something was bothering that girl, and Carmelita would find out what.
"Did you really have to give her Sly's spare binoc-u-cam?" Bentley asked.
Carmelita turned to the turtle, who was currently typing away at his laptop.
"She'll need a way to take the pictures you need." Carmelita explained. "Besides. I thought you were over your mistrust for her considering how eager you were to come to Egypt."
Bentley looked up from his typing and adjusted his glasses.
"She did provide us with a solid lead, I’ll give her that.” He corrected, “But I've got this feeling that there's something up with 'Sandra'. For all I know, she's some sort of undercover cop or one of Sly's future enemies."
Murray, who had been finishing bringing in the last of Bentley's equipment, set his load down and faced his friend.
"If you think that, then why let her bring us to Egypt?" Murray asked.
"Because, even if I don't trust her, I can't let the slight chance that Sly really is here get passed up." Bentley explained. "If she really is Sly's descendant, and Sly really is here, then I'd be a fool not to take the chance. But that doesn't mean I buy her story yet."
"She had your Thievius Raccoonus." Carmelita countered. "She read from Sly's entries, and there was no mistaking who wrote it."
"Take it from the turtle who helped Sly recover that book page by page from the Fiendish Five, it can be stolen." Bentley countered right back. "It's gonna take more than a cane and a book to prove to me that Sandra Cooper is truly a Cooper."
Carmelita sighed in frustration. They weren't gonna get anywhere if some form of trust wasn't established between Bentley and Sandra. Both of them were key parts of the operation, and they both needed to be able to count on each other.
"Look Bentley," Carmelita tried, “there has to be some way to prove that she’s a Cooper. If the cane and book aren’t enough for you, then what about physical abilities? From what I’ve learned from chasing Sly, only a true Cooper can pull off half the stunts he does."
Bentley looked up from his computer again at the idea.
"Good idea Carmelita." He said as he grabbed his earpiece. "No wonder you were made Inspector in record time.”
Carmelita smiled at the compliment, then sat down at the table to begin cleaning her shock pistol.
Sandra ran along the rough rooftops of the Egyptian city, enjoying the feel of the air rushing past her as she leapt from one building to the other.
"It feels like forever since I've done this." She mused aloud.
Her earpiece broke into static for a second before Bentley's voice came on over it.
"Sandra." He called. "Do you read me?"
Sandra perched on the roof she was on and put two fingers to her ear.
"Loud and clear, Bentley." She replied. "Got anything for me?"
"Yeah." He replied, his voice a bit hard. "I'll just be honest. I don't trust you, but if this plan's going to work, I gotta know you can do what needs to be done."
"I see." Sandra said with a nod. "You need proof I'm a Cooper."
"That's right. Now, Carmelita's told me you have the Thievius Raccoonus."
"Right here in my satchel. I never leave anywhere without it. A moving target is harder to hit."
"Well then, if you really have it, then you've read it, and can perform some of the Cooper family techniques perfected over the millennium."
Sandra looked around and smiled.
"Yes. I. Can."
"Then prove it. I'll name a skill, and you perform it. I'll be able to watch you through the video feature of the binoc-u-cam."
Sandra gripped the binoc-u-cam and gave a grin.
"Alright Bentley. Shoot."
"Rioichi Cooper's Ninja Spire Jump."
Sandra quickly pinpointed a row of clothesline poles erected across an unused alley. Flexing her fingers around her staff, Sandra went running and jumped into the air, landing with precision balance on the first pole. With a cartwheel kick through the air, she landed on the next, then the next, and so on until she made it all the way across the alleyway.
"Well?" she asked. "How'd I do?"
"Not bad." He allowed. "But that was just one move. Let's see how you handle 'Tennessee Kid' Cooper's rail walk and rail slide."
"I can do those two in my sleep."
The buildings were using smoothed palm tree trunks for support beams, and in some cases, said beams stretched between two different buildings. Many were level, but others were set at just the right angle for a rail slide. Sandra spotted one of those two building beams not far off and ran for it. Leaping onto the beam, she rail walked across it to the next building, which had a nice, steep trunk to slide down. Without further ado, Sandra jumped onto the beam and slid down it towards the next building, flipping in the air and landing triumphantly.
"The flip was unnecessary." Bentley remarked over the earpiece.
"Adding my own little flare." Sandra replied, twirling her cane. "Anything else?"
"Well, I do have one more for you, and you're gonna need it if you want to get the surveillance photos we need."
"And that would be?"
"Sir Galleth Cooper's Wall Hook Maneuver." Bentley replied. "Show me that your cane isn't just a prop, and then maybe I'll start believing you're a Cooper."
Sandra spotted a tall structure, probably some sort of watch tower, off in the distance. Perfect for the Wall Hook maneuver.
"Alright Bentley, you're on."
She ran for the building and was happy to note several latches, probably for torches, embedded across different spots on the tower. Jumping up, Sandra hooked onto the first latch with her cane and launched herself up to the next latch. After about five more jumps, Sandra made it to the top of the tower.
"Did I pass?" she asked.
"Alright, I'll concede." He sighed. "You're a Cooper. Only a Cooper could have done everything you just did and still talk like they were just taking a walk."
Sandra gave a dramatic bow.
"Happy to impress."
As she bowed, something caught her eye. Right in the center of the city was the Royal Palace, shimmering in the sunlight in all of its pomp and grandeur. However, there was a figure jumping out of one of the windows, sliding down one of the large columns. Curiosity got the better of Sandra and she brought the binoc-u-cam up to her eyes.
"Bentley." She said as she perched on the edge of the tower. "You getting this?"
The corner of the binoc-u-cam turned to static before revealing Bentley's face. Sandra alternated between zooming in on the palace and looking at the mini screen.
"You see something?" the turtle questioned.
"Someone's running from the palace, guards hot on their tail. I'm trying to get a bead on them as we-"
Before she could finish her sentence, the figure from before suddenly appeared near the bottom of the pillar from seemingly out of nowhere. The figure was a raccoon dressed in an Egyptian wrap, some simple golden armlets, anklets and collar, as well as an Egyptian headdress with the Cooper family crest as the decoration. In their hands were twin scythes shaped exactly like the Cooper Family cane.
"That was the Shadow Power technique." Bentley whispered.
"Developed by Slytunkhamen I." Sandra muttered. "That's him. That's my Egyptian ancestor."
Slytunkhamen peered out from behind the column, searching for any sign on the guards. He looked worried, almost terrified as he made his way across the palace grounds to escape the guards. Unfortunately, this very large, very intimidating dog intercepted Slytunkhamen.
"Uh-oh." Sandra gulped.
"Sandra, don't do anything rash." Bentley insisted.
Sandra zoomed in as Slytunkhamen attempted to fight off the big dog. The dog only seemed to laugh before snatching the Cooper Canes out of his hand.
"He's in trouble!"
Sandra went to jump off the tower, but Bentley quickly shouted for her to stop.
"No, Sandra!" he practically cried. "You can't!"
Sandra stopped short, watching the big dog take down Slytunkhamen with the help of several other dog guards.
"He's getting pummeled out there!" she screamed. "I've got to help him! He's our only lead to Sly!"
"I know that!" Bentley replied. "But if you go down there, all that will happen is that you will be pummeled as well."
"No buts!" Bentley insisted. "Look, if you want me to trust you, do what I'm telling you to do and stay where you are! We can save him after we get more information."
Sandra watched helplessly as Slytunkhamen, now unconscious and held between two of the dog guards, was dragged into the palace. It was hard, extremely hard, to let them walk off, but Sandra did, turning away and slamming her cane down on the roof.
"DAMNIT!" she shrieked. "I hate this! I hate being so USELESS!"
Bentley had seen Sly act like this once, when Le Paradox had snatched Carmelita during their Saudi Arabia trip, albeit, not to the extreme that Sandra was showing. It only went to prove that Sandra really was Sly's descendant. Remembering how he had to talk Sly down from his anger, Bentley did his best to do the same for Sandra.
"You're not useless." He tried to tell her. "Without Sly, you're the thief of the team. You're our stealth expert, our master of disguise… You're our Cooper."
"You don't GET IT Benjy!" she yelled, angry tears in her eyes.
"Ummm…. Who's Benjy?"
Sandra realized what she had said and her breath hitched. Wiping her eyes, she stood up, grabbing her cane as she did.
"That's not important." She replied, doing her best to sound tough. "Like you said, we need more info, and the longer I stand here acting like a complete child, the longer Slytunkhamen is locked up and Sly is missing. So, what do you need?"
Like with Carmelita, Sandra's emotional 180 threw Bentley for a loop, one he quickly recovered from.
"Right.” He let out, clearing this throat. “Umm… You should probably start with the main gates of the palace. See what kind of security we're dealing with, then make your way around the perimeter."
Sandra picked up the binoc-u-cam once more, focusing in on the main gate. There were several guards not only patrolling around the wall perimeter, but at least four guards by the entrance alone. Sandra had to give a whistle.
"How are we gonna get in there?" she questioned aloud. "That wall's too high to climb, and nothing is close enough for me to use as a jumping point."
Sandra used her cane to rope slide down towards the shorter buildings until she reached the edge of the city where the Nile River was. The wall stretched right up to the edge of the water and even deep enough into the Nile that you'd need a boat to get past the wall.
"The Nile access is out too." Sandra added, focusing the binoc-u-cam on the part of the Nile enclosed by the palace to make the palace’s private bathing area. "I unfortunately inherited Sly's inability to swim."
"We'll have to find a way either over or under that wall somehow." Bentley remarked.
Sandra blinked, then looked down at her cane. She slapped herself on the forehead.
"Idiot." She chastised herself. "I forgot my special skill. I have a way over that wall."
Bentley raised an eyebrow, but decided to give Sandra the benefit of the doubt. She'd proven she's a Cooper, so if she said she had a way over that wall, then she had a way over that wall.
"If you say so." He said. "Now… see if you can find that big guard. If my guess is correct, he's probably the Captain of the Royal Guard."
Sandra found a different watch tower and scaled it quickly, perching on the roof and grabbing the binoc-u-cam once more. Focusing her search, Sandra began scanning the grounds, hoping to catch a glimpse of the big guy. Eventually, she managed to locate him in one of the large balcony windows.
"There he is." She said with a smile.
She zoomed in as best she could and was surprised to see him talking to someone. The figure was a hawk owl dressed in what looked like the attire of the Royal Advisor. The figure lacked a shirt, proving they were male. His coppery feathers and golden eyes seemed to send a chill down Sandra's spine. Her smile dropped and she became visibly shaken.
"No… No, that's not possible." She stuttered.
The silhouette was too familiar, too obvious, too imposing not to be recognized.
"Clockwerk…" Bentley whispered.
"This must be before he started turning himself into the robot you guys destroyed." Sandra whispered. "He looks…. Normal."
"If he's here, then chances are good he's the reason Slytunkhamen is imprisoned." Bentley surmised.
"You've got to be right…" Sandra replied. "My question is how he managed to become Royal Advisor."
"No idea." Bentley answered. "But I think you need to get back to the hideout for now. If Clockwerk is here, things just got much more complicated."
Back at the hideout, Bentley went over the footage from Sandra's binoc-u-cam, analyzing it on his computer. While he did that, Sandra paced around the hideout with a nervous energy.
"Slytunkhamen's been arrested….” She murmured, “Sly's still missing… Clockwerk's here… and time is running out…."
Murray watched her pace as he munched away at a sandwich, his eyes following her every move. Carmelita also watched, trying to figure out how to calm the raccoon down. Sly never got so emotional, and even when situations took a turn for the worst, he usually was able to keep a level head. It was obvious that this was one trait Sandra didn't inherit.
"Sandra…" Carmelita called to her. "Calm down."
"I'm trying….” She informed the fox. “Believe me, I'm trying…"
"You want a sandwich?" Murray asked, holding out a PB and J sandwich.
Sandra went to refuse, but then shrugged and sat down, eating the sandwich. Carmelita sat down next to her, eyeing the raccoon curiously.
"You alright?" she asked.
"As alright as anyone can be in this situation." She replied after swallowing a bite of sandwich. "Why?"
Carmelita wanted to ask her about the photo, and why she seemed to be avoiding talking about her gang. She wanted to ask why she was alternating between soul crushing sadness and that usual Cooper enthusiasm, but right now, with everything at stake, it didn't seem right.
"Alright." Bentley called out. "I think I've got a plan that just might work."
Sandra immediately tossed her sandwich to the side, which Murray quickly caught and ate, and went to the table, followed closely behind by Carmelita and Murray. Pulling out his holographic screen, Bentley brought up Sandra's surveillance photos, and his yellow hologram pen.
"Okay, so we're all aware of what's at stake.” The turtle began, “Slytunkhamen is somewhere in the palace dungeons, and we need to bust him out. Carmelita, you're gonna have to give those guards something to look at."
"Bentley, if this is another belly-dancing plan-" Carmelita threatened.
"It's not, I promise." Bentley assured her. "You just need to distract the guards long enough for Sandra to get over the wall. Make sure they're not looking at her."
"And how long will I have to keep their attention?" Carmelita continued.
Everyone looked at Sandra, who closed her eyes and seemed to be doing some quick calculations in her head. She gave a nod then opened her eyes.
"Three minutes, tops." She answered. "By then I'll be over the wall and in the palace."
"That fast?" Murray asked.
"Trust me, I can do it." Sandra replied.
Bentley gave a shrug, then went back to his presentation.
"Okay then.” He continued, turning back to Carmelita. “Once Sandra's inside, you'll need to get away from the palace and help Murray find a boat."
"Boat?" Murray asked.
"Our best escape route is by the Nile entrance.” Bentley clarified, “We don't know what kind of shape Slytunkhamen will be in, or if Sandra will be seen. Our best bet to making sure everyone escapes in one piece is if we have a boat."
"Alright." Carmelita nodded. "Sounds doable."
"Now Sandra, you'll need to find the Captain of the Royal Guard.” Bentley went on, “He'll most likely have the keys to the dungeon, and you'll need those to get to Slytunkhamen. Pickpocket them, then find the dungeon, but whatever you do, do NOT let Clockwerk see you."
"No argument there." Sandra replied.
"Alright." Bentley declared, shutting down his set-up. "Let's do this."
The sun was setting as the Cooper gang got into positions to begin their plan. Bentley stayed behind in the hideout, acting as the eyes and ears of the group, while Sandra hid in an alleyway across from the palace wall.
"I'm in position." She whispered through her earpiece. "Ready when you are Carmelita."
Near the front gate, Carmelita was dressed in an Egyptian robe with a wig covering her hair. Her expression was anything but happy.
"I'm going to get you for this, Bentley." She hissed.
"Hey, at least you're not belly-dancing." Bentley replied.
"I'd almost prefer that over this." Carmelita groaned. "I'm a police officer, not some damsel in distress."
A remark about the number of times Sly has saved her was on the tip of Sandra's tongue, but she wisely kept it to herself.
"Look Carmelita, we need to draw their attention, and nothing draws more eyes than a woman crying." Bentley explained. "So just think about something sad and start crying."
"I don't cry, Bentley." She replied curtly.
"Carmelita, you're going to hate me for this." Sandra suddenly piped up.
"Why am I-?" Carmelita began.
That's when Sandra slipped behind Carmelita and whispered something in her ear. Carmelita gasped as tears came to her eyes.
"Damn you, Ring-tail." The fox cursed.
Sandra got back into position as Carmelita started her trek towards the main gate.
"Umm…. Sandra?" Murray asked over the com. "What did you tell her?"
"Something only a woman would understand." Sandra replied.
Whatever Sandra had said did the trick and a now sobbing Carmelita was quickly drawing the attention of the guards. With their gaze elsewhere, Sandra adjusted her grip on her cane and smiled.
"Prepare to be amazed." The red raccoon whispered to no one in particular.
With that, she took off running towards the wall. As she got close, she jumped into the air and planted the butt end of her staff into the dirt and pressed a button hidden into the staff part of the cane. The cane suddenly extended with a barely audible hiss and Sandra was sent flying into the sky. She cleared the wall as her cane retracted to its original size, then landed triumphantly on the other side of the wall.
"Another ten point landing." She declared, coming out of her crouch with a grin.
The line was completely dead as everyone had been completely caught off guard by Sandra's maneuver. The first one to recover was Bentley, who immediately began sputtering in amazement.
"What was that?!"
Sandra slipped behind the large pillars to the entryway of the palace before answering.
"I call it the Piston Pole Vault." Sandra replied.
"That was amazing!" Murray practically cheered. "How did you pull off that jump?"
She looked down at her cane, revealing a small red circle hidden in the metal under her thumb.
"My cane has an extension feature installed and I can double my cane in length in the blink of an eye." She explained. "To do stuff like that, I just jump and press the circle button."
Carmelita finished off her little distraction and the guards returned to their posts. She promptly ditched the wig and began changing back into her regular clothes.
"Enough with the chit chat." She called over the com. "We've got a job to do."
"Right!" Murray called. "I'm ready to go boat hunting when you are!"
Carmelita checked her shock pistol, then went to meet up with Murray to find a boat.
Sandra made her way deeper and deeper into the palace, marveling at the sheer size of the place. She could get lost in the cavernous building if she wanted to. However, she needed to find the Captain of the Royal Guard, and where the door to the prison was.
As she turned a corner in her grid search for one of her targets, she found herself about ten feet away from none other than Clockwerk and the Captain of the Royal guard, who appeared to be in the middle of a conversation. She immediately darted back around the corner, gripping her cane tightly and gulping in fear.
"Too close…" she whispered.
Peeking around the corner, Sandra listened in on the conversation.
"Has he said anything yet?" Clockwerk asked.
"No sir." The Captain replied. "He keeps protesting his innocence and insisting he knows nothing."
"Bah." Clockwerk scoffed. "He is guilty, we just need to get him to crack. Just make sure that your men keep an eye on the dungeon, just in case he's got something planned."
"Of course, sir." The Captain saluted. "He will tell us where he is holding Princess Nefetari, one way of another."
Alarm bells started ringing in Sandra's head. Who was Princess Nefetari, and what did Slytunkhamen have to do with her?
The Captain's footsteps approached her hiding spot and Sandra acted on instinct. She planted her staff and hit the circle button, shooting up into the air and hooking onto a hanging chandelier (which was basically just a golden circle with places to hold candles) mere seconds before the Captain rounded the corner. Hanging with one hand, Sandra pulled out her binoc-u-cam with the other.
"Bentley, did you hear that?" she asked.
"Yeah.” Bentley replied, the sound of keystrokes filling the speaker. “I'm doing some research on this 'Princess Nefetari' as we speak."
"Good.” Sandra remarked with a small nod. “Clockwerk’s making it sound like Slytunkhamen did something to her, so the more we know, the better."
She focused the binoc-u-cam on the Captain, spotting the ring of keys on his hip.
"Target acquired." She whispered. "Slytunkhamen will be free soon."
She went to unhook herself from the chandelier, but Clockwerk's voice directly beneath her froze her in her tracks.
"The fool…" the hawk owl chuckled, "If only he knew…"
Looking down, Sandra could see the deadly bird in all of his flesh and feather glory standing beneath her. She was literally a few feet away from the creature that would haunt the Cooper family for generations. She found herself holding her breath, praying Clockwerk wouldn't look up.
"How fortunate for me that Slytunkhamen came to investigate the Princess' disappearance." He mused, looking out the window. "It made framing the raccoon all the much easier."
So Clockwerk WAS responsible for Slytunkhamen's imprisonment. Not that there was ever any doubt.
"Now, all I have to do is execute that meddlesome raccoon and move on to phase two of my plan."
At the word execute, Sandra nearly lost her grip on her cane. If that was Clockwerk's plan, then rescuing Slytunkhamen just became even more important. Clockwerk walked away after that, allowing for Sandra to drop back onto the ground.
"This isn't good." She whispered.
"No, it's not." Bentley agreed. "Find the Captain again and get those keys quick."
Sandra sprinted down the hallway, quickly catching up to the Captain. He had his back to her and was watching out the main window. Using her cane, Sandra slowly hooked onto the keys and very slowly lifted them from the guard's pocket. Once she had them in her hand, she darted back down the hallway, disappearing before he could notice.
"Alright, the keys are mine." She whispered. "But they're useless if I don't know where the door is."
"Well then, it's a good thing the Palace was excavated by archaeologists back in 2004." Bentley replied. "Just give me a minute."
Sandra could hear a frantic typing as Bentley hunted down the schematics for the palace. Once that was done, he triangulated Sandra's location of the tracking device in the binoc-u-cam (he had already tried to find Sly this way, but the battery was most likely dead, making his efforts futile). Soon, he had what he needed.
"Now if my calculations are correct, and they usually are, to get to the dungeons, head to the right, walk down until you reached the third corridor, then turn left.” Bentley instructed. “The door shouldn't be hard to miss."
Sandra walked down the right corridor, following Bentley's instructions to the letter. Sure enough, she soon spotted a single guard guarding a large wooden door with metal bars over the small window.
"I see it, but there's a guard." She informed him.
"You're gonna have to get rid of them, just make sure that they don't get the chance of raise an alarm." Bentley replied.
The guard was facing towards the hallway Sandra was attempting to come down, so she planted her cane and launched herself into the air again. She hooked onto one of the three chandeliers leading up to the dungeon door, then swung herself towards the other two. After a second, she was literally hanging right above the guard.
Sandra positioned herself right above the guard and unhooked her cane. As she fell, she positioned her cane so that it came down hook side right onto the guard's head. He was unconscious before the two hit the floor. Sandra rolled away from the guard and straightened herself, keeping an ear out for anyone coming. Luckily, it didn't seem like anyone was around.
"Guard's down, and the door is mine." Sandra whispered.
"Great!" Bentley cheered. "Slytunkhamen is inches away from freedom!"
Sandra propped the guard up against the wall, then slipped the key into the lock and ducked into the dungeon.
Across the city, Carmelita and Murray had managed to locate the docks. Now, they just needed to find a small boat, but all they could find were large galleons or huge fishing ships.
"I think there was a flaw in your plan, Bentley." Carmelita commented. "These boats are too big."
"There's got to be some small boats around their somewhere." Bentley insisted. "Just keep looking. Sandra's already in the dungeon."
Carmelita growled, then turned to Murray.
"We're running out of time big guy." She told him. "Tell me you've found some-"
He was gone. Where the large hippo had been not two seconds ago was now empty.
"Murray?” Carmelita called out. “Where did you-?"
A small boat was suddenly thrown off of one of the larger galleons, touching down right next to the fox. Shaking off the sudden deluge of water, Carmelita looked at the small boat, then at Murray. The hippo looked down at his handiwork proudly before jumping down onto the dock next to her, the oars in his hands.
"The Murray has found us the necessary boat!" he declared loudly.
Carmelita couldn't help but smirk.
"Good job, big guy." She told him. "Now we need to get moving."
Murray gave a salute and climbed into the boat, Carmelita right behind him, and began rowing towards the palace.
The first thing Sandra saw when she entered the dungeon was Slytunkhamen's scythes in a large crate full of other weapons, most likely taken from previous prisoners. She snatched them up without hesitation, sticking them into her satchel as she slipped deeper and deeper into the dungeon.
Many of the cells were occupied by very haggard Egyptians, different dogs and cats or different shapes, sizes, and ages. Most were asleep, but a few were still awake, though they didn't seem to notice the red raccoon slipping through the rows of cells. Near the end of the cell-block, Sandra finally found who she was looking for.
"Slytunkhamen?" she asked.
The raccoon sitting in the final cell looked up curiously, his movements echoed by the sound of rattling chains. Both his wrists and both his ankles had thick cuffs locked on them, keeping him anchored to the floor. He looked up at Sandra and his eyes widened.
"Nefetari?" he asked, "Is that you? What are you doing here?"
Sandra approached the cell door and began unlocking it.
"My name's Sandra." She told him. "I'm here to rescue you."
Slytunkhamen squinted, then sighed sadly.
"I see the difference now." He whispered. "Though the likeness is amazing."
Sandra got the door open and got to work on Slytunkhamen's chains.
"I'll take that as a compliment." She replied, sticking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth. "You okay to walk?"
"I shall have to be." He answered. "My beloved Nefetari needs my help, and I cannot save her from inside this prison cell."
Sandra managed to undo the last of Slytunkhamen's chains, then helped him to his feet. She handed him his scythes, a gesture he seemed quite pleased about, then picked up her cane. He noticed the cane and his eyebrow raised.
"You are a traveler from afar." It wasn't a question. "Like the one who calls himself Sly. He too carries a Shepard's crook like yours."
Sandra gave a nod, happily noting Slytunkhamen's use of the present tense when he described Sly.
"My last name is Cooper, like you." She told him. "But that's not important at the moment."
"You are right." Slytunkhamen replied. "Escape should be our focus for the moment, Sand of Ra."
Sandra blinked in confusion at the end part of that sentence, then realized what he had said.
"Umm…. It's Sandra." She clarified.
"Is that not what I said?" Slytunkhamen questioned.
“No you said-” Sandra began before remembering their situation. “Never mind."
With that, the two Coopers slipped through the dungeons and out the door.
Murray rowed with all his might, weaving through thick groves of papyrus reeds in his attempt to make it to the private part of the river.
"We're almost there, Murray." Carmelita called. "I can see the entrance."
Murray didn't give a reply, simply redoubling his efforts to row. He approached the edge of the wall and passed through the gossamer curtain cutting off the river from the palace bathing area. Considering the lateness of the hour, it was no surprise that it was empty, save for two figures darting through the darkness.
"Cooper?" Carmelita hissed.
"Yes?" two different voices hissed back.
"Good, you got him." She said with a sigh of relief. "Hurry up, before someone notices we're here."
Unfortunately, that's when an unholy screech echoed through the palace. It cut through the quiet and tranquility of the night like a hot knife through butter. Carmelita and Murray both recognized the sound.
"Uh-oh…" Murray stammered.
"Sandra. Slytunkhamen." Carmelita whispered, cocking her gun. "Get in the boat."
The two Coopers immediately jumped into the boat and Murray began rowing once more. Just as they rounded the corner, Sandra caught sight of Clockwerk's silhouette running into the bathing area. They disappeared before he spotted them, but the angry screech grated at all four of their ears as the hawk owl howled in anger.
"YOU WON'T ESCAPE ME FOR LONG, SLYTUNKHAMEN!" Clockwerk cried. "DO YOU HEAR ME?! YOU WON'T ESCAPE!"
Clockwerk's angry jeers followed them as the Cooper gang successfully escaped into the night.