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

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“Keep up, Hughie,” Evelyn said. She patted his shoulder, then kept her hand there longer than she needed to. 

He sighed. “Fine. Show us how to get there from where we are now.”

“I will.” She stepped into the center of the three. “You guys will not come out until I give you my signal.”

“What will your signal be?” Goblet asked.

“You’ll know,” she said. “Do not worry.” She gave the three detailed directions in how to maneuver through the maze they were in. It was at once both incredibly simple, but easy to mix up. A wrong turn here, or misstep there and it would be possible to get all turned around. She looked all three in the eye. “Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Goblet said. 

“Then go,” Evelyn said. The three started off in the opposite direction. Evelyn reached her hand out. She tugged on the back of Hugh’s shirt. The fabric stretched. He took a step back to her. 

“Yes,” he said. 

“Be safe,” she said. 

“We know what is going on now,” he said. “I am not worried about what will happen.” 

She nodded and released his shirt. He jogged to catch up with the other two. 

Colt knelt before his new king. Olivier remained at the foot of the throne. He held one of the broken ends of his staff. Scratch marks ran up his robe sleeves and across his face. None of them were deep. The worst of his marks was a bite along the nape of his neck. It stung. He tossed the staff piece aside. It bounced along the floor with a clunk. Colt removed the knife from his belt presenting it to him on an open palm. Olivier accepted the knife and quickly tucked it away in his robe. “You may stand now.”

Colt got to his feet. “I will make sure the men find those four and kill them,” he said. 

“I have no worries about that.” Olivier placed his hands together. “If worst comes to worst we can have the Blues destroy the whole castle with those four inside. It will help sell the whole narrative better.”

“Of course, sir.” Colt motioned to the throne. “Sit, relax, sir.”

Olivier nodded. “I have…” he stepped toward the throne. His voice faded as the realization came to him. “had the power of the gods in my hand but cannot seem to make it more than a dozen steps before my joints burn deeper than even my strongest flames.” He plopped down onto the throne. Its cushions provided a minimal, but acceptable comfort. 

A few minutes past. The sounds of struggle, sass, and restraining grunts originated from the dining room, or maybe the kitchen. Olivier could not tell. He just heard the quippie, pseudo-smart back talk of Evelyn; that was quickly followed by a tort instruction to stop talking, and then more endless yammering. Olivier just sighed. 

“Just take her weapons and send her over,” Olivier said. He looked to the side room. The Blues in armor removed her knife and sheaths. They then pushed her out of the doorway. She staggered out, using her arms to balance. Her hair fell in front of her face. She flipped it up and shook it back into place. “You can stop with your theatrics.” He scanned the area around him. “Where is the rest of your band?”

Evelyn tightened her posture, dusted her arms, then walked up to Olivier. “They are getting tuned up outside. The lute is quite a hard-”

“Your team!” Olivier corrected.

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