Tainted Victory – Chapter 9, Part 1 (Page-a-Day)

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Chapter 9: The Splitoff 

 The party woke Colt up. He stumbled, half awake, through the winding corridors back to his room. The steady tick of Hounder’s claws provided a marker to tell how far the two had gone until the sound disappeared. The party looked at Claudia. She held her mirror in one palm. She gave a thumbs up then slid the mirror back into its leather pouch before leaving the war room. 

Claudia met Evelyn and Hugh in the throne room. The two stood adjacent enough to look like they were at odds, but we’re close enough to show a sign of familiarity. They were both staring at the slanted stone wall. Hugh’s voice carried to her first. “They were definitely not like this when we entered here,” he said.

“I mean having a strange taste in design is normal for those who have alway been told yes.”

“The ruler was always told yes?”

“Probably.”

“Probably is not yes. Yes is yes.”

“Yes, yes. I know that,” Evelyn said. She waved her hand at him. “I mean that when the king was a toddler he was always told yes by every handmaid, knight, and squire in the castle.”

“Sounds like you’re speaking from experience.”

“Well I did say I worked here.”

“Hey!” Claudia yelled. Her voice bounced off the walls and pierced their ears. “Quit your flirty talking and lets get to work.” She clopped her boots obnoxiously to the duo.

“Again,” Hugh clasped his hands together, “Not flirt talking or whatever you said.”

“If that’s the case you just have a rock in your head,” Claudia said. She rested one hand on the hilt of her knife, and the other on her hip crossbow and quiver. 

“Only when it comes to some things,” Evelyn said.

Hugh pivoted around to look at both women. He opened his mouth. His lips eb and flowed to make words, but none came out. He looked back at the wall. His eyes scanned the hatched brick layout. The stones were not slanted in a singular direction like he envisioned. Instead they were criss-crossed. Rows would run northwest until they intersected southwestern or northeastern running bricks. The pattern seemed random. He stepped up to them and placed his hand along the cool surface. He turned to face the arrow still lodged above the entrance to the throne room. The arrow remained stuck in the evenly laid out bricks connecting the stairwells to the pillars holding up the room. He closed his eyes and remembered the cloaked figure. They approached Raisor from stage left. He returned his attention to the crooked wall. He gave it another scan. Scuff marks were etched into the floor. They stopped the instant they reached the wall. 

“What are you looking for?” Claudia asked.

“He’s figured something out,” Evelyn said. “He crinkles his forehead when he gets an idea.”

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