Tainted Victory – Chapter 11, Part 9 (Page-a-Day)

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Evelyn looked into the dining room. She took a deep breath, nodded, then ran to the dining room. The rest of the party followed. She entered the dining room when the door finally snapped apart under the crashing assault of the external army. She slid over the long table to the far side of the room. Along the far side sat a cabinet filled with different dishes and presentation ware. Next to it a candle fixture hung from the wall. She grabbed the fixture then yanked it down. The fixture bent at the hinge. The cabinet shook. It scooted aside to reveal a meager wooden door that would splinter anyone who touched it. Evelyn knocked it with her elbow. The door creaked open. She slid in followed by the rest of the party. The door squeaked closed. The light coming into the corridor vanished. The only sense of what was happening outside came from the shaking and scooting of the cabinet back into place. 

The Blue army flooded into the dining room after them. They froze when they saw that no one was around. Colt helped Olivier to his feet and into the dining room. Olivier smiled. He knocked his hand against the long wooden table. 

Claudia felt along the wall for a lantern. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness they were in, but she only could get the outline. Her hand knocked against the rusted iron. She removed the lantern from the wall. The removed an arrow from her quiver, lit the tip and used it to kindle the candle in the lantern. The arrow fizzled out quickly. She tossed it aside. 

Claudia handed the lantern to Evelyn. She held the lantern up, but it was clear she didn’t need it. She knew where they were. 

“What is this place?” Goblet asked. He knocked along the walls. They were cold, rough stones. 

“This is the servants’ passage, correct?” Hugh asked. 

Evelyn nodded. She headed left, to what would have been the rear of the dining room. “When I worked here I had to learn all of these paths. It was helpful to steal because the king and guards barely knew which way a path would lead them.”

“We must hope Olivier and Colt are the same,” Claudia said. 

“Anyone so far up his own ego that he wants to be king would not know where they are going down here.” 

“What’s the plan?” 

“We run,” Evelyn said. “We run, go to the king, tell him what happened. He stops them and we leave this mess behind us.”

“That won’t work,” said Hugh. “It is unlikely we will make it out of the city, much less make it to the king before Olivier and his army find us.”

Evelyn turned abruptly. “Well how do you plan to stop them, Doctor?” She waved the lantern about. “We are totally out manned here. I have knives, Claudia barely has enough arrows to hunt a deer, Goblet has muscles.”

“I have seemed to misplace my axe. That is indeed a great shame.”

“And you don’t fight!” She thrusted a finger into Hugh’s chest. “We are totally screwed! When we are totally screwed it is best to run away and make it someone else’s problem.” She turned back about and continued walking down the hallway. The silence gave way to darkness the deeper they got. It took her a minute to realize she did not hear the steps of her party behind her. 

“There is another way,” Hugh said. 

“We kill Olivier,” Goblet said. 

“That might work. However, I am not open to harming anyone more than we must. No, we break the knife.”

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