In His Majesty’s Secret Service
Sneak and Snoop read King Bombo’s message for the tenth time and one extra for good measure. Snitch, who had been patiently waiting, started to jump up and down to read the note. When he reached the max height of his jump, Sneak shoved the note into the smaller spy’s face, causing him to fall on his back. He quickly sat up and saw his two comrades deep in thought. Holding the note in front of him, he read:
Shadow the giant to gather information. This may be useful in the future.
Snitch looked at Twinkletoes the messenger pigeon, who shrugged. Follow the giant, eh?
Getting the others attention, he opened his pocket and pointed to it, indicating that they hide in the giant’s pocket. Sneak threw a roll of parchment at him. Snitch unfortunately couldn’t dodge in time and was hit in the nose. Rubbing his nose, he continued thinking. After a moment, he perked up and reached a hand into his cloak. A grappling hook appeared. This time, it was an inkwell that was thrown at him. He covered his face and ducked. The inkwell missed its mark and smashed against the wall, showering his hands and some of his hair with ink. Thankfully, a piece of cloth was nearby that he could wipe himself off.
With the cloth still in his hands, he scanned the room and saw that Twinkletoes was dozing off. His eyes widened and he pointed at the bird. This got the other spies’ attention. The messenger pigeon would have a much easier time keeping up with the giant than they could, although they had to keep up somehow.
“Horse.” Snitch said. And they had just the horse in mind, too.
Sugarsnap was a gray horse that belonged to the farmer near the spies hideout. They had bribed him into their service with copious amounts of apples and carrots. It made their jobs easier knowing that the farmer was usually preoccupied with running the farm to see that his horse would go missing for periods of time.
Sneak poked Twinkletoes. The bird eyed him warily. “You’re going to tail the giant and we’ll follow you on horseback.” The pigeon nodded.
After coaxing Sugarsnap away from the farm in the early morning, the spies went to the capital since the giant normally had his breakfast there. Besides apples and carrots, Sugarsnap was also given sugar cubes to placate him on having all three spies ride him and a saddlebag. Sneak and Snoop sat in front, leaving Snitch in the back occasionally getting hit by the horse's tail. Each spy taking a day to observe the giant was out of the question since that would mean Snitch would be by himself. Besides, how much could a giant’s schedule change on an island of people much smaller than him?
The spies found a secluded spot on a small dead end street that was on a hill level with the table that had been constructed for the giant. His name was Lemuel Gulliver, but everyone just called him Gulliver. Despite the distance, it was easy to hear the giant due to his deep voice. Snoop was in charge of note taking and for this purpose he had a piece of parchment tacked to a board. So far, he didn’t really have anything. He looked over his notes.
No family aside from parents
Sugarsnap shook his mane impatiently, receiving an apple from Sneak in response. The spy made sure to have plenty of treats on hand for the long day ahead.
“Thank you for the meal, your Majesty.” Gulliver said. Sneak prodded Twinkletoes, who took this as his cue. He took off and followed the giant. Snoop hugged the board to his chest as Sugarsnap started galloping after the bird. The ride was uncomfortable, but the spies were used to dealing with what they were given.
No one paid the strange scene of three cloaked men riding a horse any mind as the trio left the city and followed Gulliver into the countryside. He was walking at a leisurely pace and caused the ground to rumble. It would have been possible to get alongside the giant at this point, but Sneak felt it best to stay behind to prevent the chance of being discovered.
The giant reached in his pocket and pulled out a piece of wood and a carving knife. This caught the spies’ attention. Taking advantage of the distraction, Sneak used the opportunity to get next to the giant. Wood flakes were falling as they kept an even pace. This went on for a period of time until the giant stopped abruptly to work on a minor detail. Sneak halted Sugarsnap. Twinkletoes slowed down, unsure of what to do.
Gulliver looked up from his carving and began walking toward a small hill a short distance away near an entrance to a forest. He sat down to continue carving. The spies used the trees for cover while Twinkletoes landed on a branch near the giant. It appeared that the giant wouldn’t be moving anytime soon, so the spies got off Sugarsnap to stretch their legs and eat lunch.
As they ate, Snitch became aware of a strange sound. He tapped his companions on their shoulders and cupped his hand to his ear. They leaned forward and listened. The noise was actually the giant humming. It sounded like a happy tune, most likely wherever he was from.
After finishing their meal, the spies relaxed. Snitch eventually dozed off. Snoop had the parchment board on his lap and absentmindedly twirled his quill. Sneak attended to Sugarsnap, who was grazing.
“There.” Gulliver said. The two taller spies became alert. The giant was holding a wooden horse. Snoop wrote on the parchment:
Skilled at carving
Now that bit of information would interest Bombo. If King Little was aware of Gulliver’s skill, there was a chance that he could ask his ally to create ships for the inferior Lilliput fleet.
The giant admired his work. His gaze turned distant, as if he was deep in thought. Shaking his head, he put the knife in his pocket and stood. He kept the horse in his hand. Sneak mounted Sugarsnap while Snoop grabbed Snitch and placed him on the horse. The small spy slowly opened his eyes and blinked. His drowsiness vanished instantly when the horse reared, causing him to almost fall off.
Gulliver stretched and began walking again, this time at a faster pace. It was hard to keep track of him due to the forest the spies had to ride through. They couldn’t even see Twinkletoes. Sneak made Sugarsnap go as fast as he could. They startled a farmer with a horse drawn cart as they sped past him. Snitch was clutching the back of Snoop’s cloak with his feet in the air behind him like he was some sort of makeshift banner. Just when the horse’s stamina was flagging, they made it out of the forest. It was mid day.
Ahead of them were plains with no giant in sight. Sneak and Snoop dismounted. Snitch took a moment to fix his hair, then hopped off. He watched the sky for Twinkletoes while the other two consulted a map. After a few minutes of squinting, there was a steadily growing speck on the horizon. The small spy whistled, but the pigeon was too far away. This got the other spies’ attention.
“Give me your sword.” Sneak said to Snitch. The arsenal carrying spy looked at him puzzled. The taller spy held out his hand and tapped his foot. Snitch quickly pulled out his sword.
With sword in hand, Sneak held it up so that sunlight reflected off it. Smiling, Snitch pulled out two knives and did the same. He even began waving his arms. Twinkletoes saw the signal and swooped in. He skidded to a halt on the ground. The spies circled around him.
“Well?” Snoop asked. The pigeon took a few gulps of air before pointing over the crest of a hill in the distance. Sneak looked at the map. There was a town in the direction Twinkletoes was pointing that was known for its horses.
The two taller spies were already galloping away, leaving Snitch to grab onto Sugarsnap’s tail. Snoop reached back to pull him onto the horse. Not satisfied with how fast the horse was going, Sneak pulled out a long stick with a bag of sugar cubes tied to a string. He held it in front of the horse, who snorted in delight. When they got over the crest of the hill, they saw the giant sitting on the ground with his legs in front of him.
The three stayed on the horse as they rode through the town. No one paid them any attention since they were too concerned with Gulliver. As they passed the town square, they saw the wooden horse with a fresh coat of paint. There wasn’t a secluded enough area for the spies’ to observe, so they made do with a patch of dirt that was far enough away from people, but close enough to keep on eye on the giant. Twinkletoes landed on a gate of a horse enclosure.
When they dismounted, Sugarsnap stomped his hoof expectantly. Sneak took the bag off the string and held it in front of the horse. The sort of faithful steed whinnied in delight.
Turning their attention to the giant, the spies saw that the townspeople were using his legs as hurdles for their horses. From the cheers of the crowd, it appeared to be a contest. Snoop tapped a quill to his mouth thoughtfully, then wrote:
Can be used as training equipment. i.e. horse training
Gulliver’s laughter echoed around the town as he waved to the contestants.
Near the field was a small group of people that were looking on in disapproval. Sneak and Snoop looked at each other and nodded.
Not universally loved as previously thought
The two spies smirked at each other. A civil war in Lilliput could be useful. Their devious thinking was interrupted as Snitch frantically tugged on their cloaks. Snoop lifted him up by the front of his shirt but paused as the small spy suggestively wiggled his eyebrows and pointed. The other two looked in the indicated direction and their eyes bulged out of their sockets. Close to the giant’s right hand was a cluster of attractive women. They were blushing and batting their eyelashes. Many of them swooned when Gulliver smiled at them.
Snitch took the quill from Snoop’s hand and scribbled on the parchment. Snoop dropped him and stared at the parchment with Sneak looking over his shoulder.
HAS A FANCLUB
They eyed Snitch who was grinning at his accomplishment, then they looked at each other and shrugged.
A round of cheering went up as the giant stood. The spies mounted Sugarsnap in sync and Twinkletoes took off. After waving, the giant headed off into the sunset. Quickly looking at the map, Sneak saw that there was nothing of note in the direction that Gulliver was walking. There were some farms, but other than that, there was the ocean.
Despite his size, it took Gulliver some time to make his way through the farmlands. There was only one road and it wasn’t very large. He had to walk as if on a tightrope at points. Strangely, the few farmers and field hands that were still out didn’t pay the giant any mind. It was as if they were used to his presence.
By the time Gulliver made it to the ocean, it was dark. The sky was clear. He laid down on his stomach on a hill that eventually turned into a cliff. His propped himself up on his elbows. The only thing that could give the spies cover was a lighthouse that sat a short distance away from where the giant was lying. There was a small stall with a roof at the base of the lighthouse that barely fit the spies and their horse. Twinkletoes perched on the roof. Snoop sat with his back against the wall with the parchment board on his lap. There wasn’t very much light for him to see, so Sneak took out a lantern from a saddlebag and placed it on the ground. The note taking spy would need to hide the lantern under his cloak and write so that the lantern wouldn’t attract attention. Fortunately, the moonlight and the lighthouse beacon gave ample light to observe the giant.
While the spies had gotten settled, Gulliver had taken out a pipe. Small puffs of smoke rose into the air. The pipe was nothing new. The spies had been in the capital the day the giant was carted there and searched. That had been a week ago. What caught Snoop’s attention was the giant’s expression. Gone was the cheerful face and in its place a pensive expression. He stared longingly at the sea. The sound of waves was joined by a sigh from him. Snoop scratched his face with the quill. He disappeared under his cloak.
Was this a nightly ritual? Did anyone even know about it?
The moon rose higher in the sky, but the giant stayed in the same position. Snitch and Sugarsnap were already asleep. Sneak yawned while Snoop rubbed his eyes. Gulliver’s yawn snapped the two tall spies to attention for a moment. The giant put his pipe away and rolled onto his back. He brought his knees up to his chest and took his boots off. After placing them to the side, he closed his eyes. His breathing became deep.
It was too late and dark for the spies to return to their hideout. It was doubtful that Sugarsnap would carry them back even with a bag of sugar cubes. The farmer who owned him may have discovered his disappearance by the now, but he would be returned in the morning. Sleeping out in the open wouldn’t be a problem for the spies.
Snoop reread his notes and nodded. He was about to put them away, but ended up writing something.
Likes to sleep under the stars by the ocean
Of course, that didn’t account for nights with rain, but the spies would most likely find that out soon enough.