So I didn't, at first, intend to participate in the catfight contest, but then I went ahead and wrote this - and I figured, what the hey, I might as well submit it. I hope you'll like it! - Meepo the Kobold, posted as a contest entry on IO Stripping Discussion board
Arienne Renard in: Diamonds and Catfights by Meepo the Kobold
It is remarkable that even the crème de la crème of modern society has such an interest in scientific inquiry; the most foppish snobs and air-headed divas can be found listening to lectures in chemistry, simply to attend the social function surrounding it. It is an ignoble thing, that those who know nothing of science should pretend themselves involved in it; but perhaps my own motives for attending Lady Whitelock's presentation were more ignoble still.
I had come to London from Calais, intending to lay low in England for some time; the change of climate would do me well, and I had intended the trip as a vacation. I am, however, married to my job – and a demanding husband he is, ever beckoning me toward greater deeds. Thus it wasn't long before the days grew slow, and I began to search the newspapers for an opportunity to expand my legend – that of Arienne Renard, the master thief, the Dame Cambrioleuse.
London is dangerous territory, home as it is to a great detective; yet when I read about Jenifer Whitelock, I could no longer contain my curiosity. I had already robbed her aunt Penelope, and as I saw the brooch on Lady Whitelock's breast in the pictures, I knew it was a perfect challenge: To rob the famous adventurer of a prize from distant lands, a diamond of deepest Africa, set in Indian gold. It was the perfect trophy for a perfect thief.
I went to work immediately, ingratiating myself with the London elite, posing as a Swiss heiress. I dyed my hair midnight black, made my eyelashes long and seductive, and dressed the part of a tall, slim lady with lovely lips and a fantastic bosom; of course, this latter part required very little work. Never was I seen without a glass of champagne, drinking the nights away with the rich and the beautiful, awaiting the perfect opportunity – until one day, it arrived. It came in the form of a letter, which read like so:
“Ms. Raquel Agneau,
You are cordially invited to a presentation of Lady Jenifer Whitelock's astonishing theories in physics and chemistry, upon the fifth of July at the Greybitter Hotel. Dinner and refreshments will be served until midnight.
I was disappointed, that the lecture would only be theoretical – for I had heard quite a few tales about Jenifer Whitelock's inventions – but, I told myself, perhaps the absence of bizarre contraptions might make my job a little easier. So, come the fifth, I simply dressed myself up in a gorgeous Barbier (green, with a black hem and sleeves, just short enough to reveal a little ankle), donned a fashionable hat, and made my way down to the Greybitter hotel. During my time in London I had scouted out the place extensively, and made preparations for a plan that was almost completely fool-proof... or so I thought. Providence, it would seem, had provided a fool of extraordinary calibre.
Her name, gentle reader, was Francesca McBosoms – a red-headed rogue of Scottish birth. Though I didn't know it yet, this thuggish pirate had also set her eyes upon Jenifer Whitelock, and was prepared to strike this very night – with methods far more inelegant than mine. Sparks flew when our paths eventually crossed – but now, I'm afraid, I am getting ahead of myself.
It was early afternoon when I strode into the hall where the lecture would be held, maintaining a posture of arrogance, as is the manner of noble-born women. With a practised routine, I gathered up my skirts and sank into a seat, fanning myself gently as I made conversation. The guest of honour had yet to arrive, and the audience sat idle, with nothing but a blackboard to divert their attention.
It took some time before the Lady arrived, but once she did I immediately perceived that something was wrong.
Here came a woman, an adventurer of first class and a certified genius, who ought to be walking with a confident swagger and a spring in her step – but her stride was a smidgeon too slow, her feet just a little unsteady. Her gaze was also lacking in perfection – where I ought to have seen the reflection of a marvellous soul and a brilliant mind, I saw an expression slightly dulled, as if belonging to a woman of ordinary intellect. She was certainly beautiful – tall, blond, curvaceous, the Whitelock diamond twinkling on her bosom – but to the trained eye, her movements were lacking in grace, her wits not completely about her.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she began, “I'm here to tell you of my discoveries in the fields of...”
A pause. Uncharacteristic – Lady Whitelock herself seemed surprised that she must stop to gather her thoughts.
“...organic chemistry and advanced mechanics. Now, let us get straight to it.”
No introduction; she turned straight to her blackboard, lacking the showmanship and charisma I expected. Now I was certain; the woman was drugged. In theory, this made my job far simpler – if she were already distracted, swiping the brooch would be child's play – but I could not help but wonder what had caused it. Was the woman an addict? No, impossible; nothing in her history suggested it. Had she taken some drug to calm her nerves? Surely not Jenifer Whitelock, who had stared down lions in the savannah. No, there was but one explanation – she had been drugged against her will, some powder or poison that she was yet unaware of.
I noticed it too late – the glass of water near the blackboard. In midst of her lecturing, Lady Whitelock took a sip to clear her throat, and a second dose of the poison came into her system. She blinked, coughed, and stumbled like a drunkard.
“Excuse me,” she declared, “I believe I am not well. Excuse me.”
She left the stage, the audience in shock. No doubt the drug would have felled any lesser woman in an instant, and my respect for Lady Whitelock only grew, as I saw her disappear through the hotel doors.
My mind raced. She would have a room at the hotel; it would make sense for her to retire there, whereupon she would likely fall unconscious. To simply follow her would be child's play, but I could only assume some plot was afoot – one which I might inadvertently stumble upon, were I to act too carelessly. Discretion was advised, even more so than usual. Fortunately, I always come prepared.
I slipped out of the room unseen, moving soundlessly past portraits of some Earl or other, until I reached a little broom closet. This I entered. Once inside, I hastily removed my dress.
Underneath it, I was quite naked. I often am; it saves time changing outfits. Wasting no time on undergarments, I pried loose a board from the wall and withdrew a maid's black dress, which I donned alongside a head-piece and an apron. Kicking off my shoes, I replaced them with crude sandals; the disguise was all but perfect. I stowed away the lovely green dress, and re-emerged into the corridor.
Now to find Lady Whitelock's chambers. A native servant provided me directions – the Lady would be staying on the topmost floor, in the room facing the public square. She had been given a balcony with a most magnificent view, I was told, and would likely be retiring there, as the weather was hot and a breeze might do her good.
Well then. Whoever schemed against her would be sure to watch the door – but the balcony, well, that seemed like a perfect point of entry. Few people expect interruption from without, at least not so high up; knowing this, I made my way into the room below. It was occupied, but that was a triviality: The man inside was at reading, and too engrossed in his novel to pay me any mind. I easily reached his balcony.
There were voices from above. Had I been too late?
“You'll... never... get away with this... Francesca.”
Jenifer Whitelock's voice – was she still conscious? Remarkable!
“I beg to differ, Jenny dearest.” came a mocking voice, cut with a Scottish accent. “I've handily defeated you at swordplay – an easy task, while you're under the influence of Bangladeshi sleep powder – and stripped you of your dress. My masters need your journal; the dress, well, that's just for me. A little trophy.”
I heard the swish of a sword, and a startled gasp from the adventuress. A ruined corset flew out over the edge of the balcony, crashing to the street below.
“Careful, Jenny. Don't insult me. Now – fare-thee-well. I leave you your bloomers; be thankful for that.”
There was no time to approach by stealth; the diamond brooch was on that dress. I threw myself out on the balcony railings, and in full view of the square below, clambered up to the floor above. Undoubtedly I drew some attention from the street; the wind whipped at my skirts, and at least a dozen people must have seen my naked bottom – but I paid them no mind.
I arrived in time. Peeking up over the railings, I caught a glimpse of the thief. She was a beauty to behold, a buxom redhead dressed in sailor's breeches, knee-high boots and a ruffled blouse, the very image of a dashing rogue. The sword in her hand completed the image – and in the other, she held the ruined remains of Jenifer's dress, the Whitelock diamond twinkling from its folds.
Whitelock herself was on the ground, succumbing to the sleep powder at last. She was no less lovely than her assailant – a gorgeous blond with fine, large breasts and delightful legs, wearing nothing but her thin white bloomers. They clung to her hips, and seemed quite tight – I could almost perceive what lay beneath. My gaze travelled up her body, and lingered on her lovely pink ******* just a little too long – when I looked up, Francesca was gone.
“Don't worry, Mademoiselle Whitelock,” I whispered. “Arienne Renard will deliver your vengeance.”