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16th August

I received details for an assignment today. I'll be travelling up the country to -shire. This is my first non-training mission; I'll still have contact with the rest of Alpha Team, but other than that, I'm on my own...


19th August

I arrived at the estate two days ago, and I feel that Tara (the Duke's daughter) is beginning to trust me and realise that I'm just a normal girl like her. I don't like this, though. While I'm here, I'm supposed to be the daughter of some of the Duke's friends, but the secret is so hard to keep. I can be myself during the nightly Skype calls with the rest of Alpha Team, but other than that, I have to be a stranger.

Why was I selected for this mission, though? Apparently the Duke and Duchess hand-picked me themselves, but why me? I'm not the best actor, and I'm not a girly-girl like Tara is, and it certainly can't be because I'm Quiksilver Junior Surfing Champion: we're in the middle of England on a country estate and there isn't a wave in sight!


22nd August

While the other days on this mission have been uneventful, today made those seem truly adventurous.

Driven into town, Tara and I explored the shopping centre (or rather, she did and I wandered after her). We browsed a couple of clothes shops before eventually stopping for lunch. The first two shoe shops were discarded quickly, before we ascended to 'Shoe Heaven'. (Seriously, that's what it was called. 唉. It was more like 'Boot Camp'.) An absolutely thrilling 3 hours, 27 minutes and 45 seconds, watching Tara 'strut her stuff'. (Yes. I timed it.)

Ironically, I was quite content observing the surroundings as she tried on different footwear for her several upcoming ballet recitals, the classic ballet shoes, pointe shoes, jazz shoes, Dori shoes, the array seemed endless, and these were just for ballet!

Apparently, another hobby is climbing, and so a pair of climbing pumps was added to the ever-growing farrago of footwear, including a par for me too, as we're going climbing on the 30th. News to me.

And so the farce continued, until finally, sickeningly garish fashion boots (这是从我无) and impalingly high stilettos were added to the fountain of kitsch. At last, with bags overflowing with paraphernalia, we staggered out of the shop.


24th August

Today, I observed that security had been tightened around the mansion, with more guards and bag searches in operation for all visitors. Scouring around, I managed to salvage this newspaper scrap from the bin.

Duke of -shire and wife MIA after shooting

The Duke and Duchess of -shire were reported missing after a suspected terrorist shooting as they prepared to return home after a visit to America. No statement has been published by their representatives and the status of their daughter, Tara, remains unknown.

Now I understand why they required a bodyguard... I'm just terrified I'm not up to it.


26th August

Tara's parents have been found! Security is lessening, but every sound around the mansion makes me jump. That security is not as strong as it was, doesn't make sense at all. And the visit to the -shire fête is still going ahead tomorrow... I really hope nothing goes wrong, but the constant prickling of the hairs on the back of my neck give me a distinct sense of unease and surity that the the threat hasn't disappeared with the appearance of the Duke and Duchess... Am I just being paranoid? Reading Agatha Christie before I go to sleep doesn't help:

"Instinct is a marvellous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored." - Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles