Swamped Chapter 64 Page 14

You’ve got one desperate idea. They must know the password – and it probably won’t stop them, but it should confuse them. That might be all you need.

“A golden rose has silver thorns,” you wheeze out. The knight at your throat pauses for a moment.

“He knows that password?”

“What’s that matter? He was causing a ruckus a moment ago,” the knight gripping your hands shoots back. “Just keep it up.”

“But how did he find it out?”

“We can worry about that when we don’t have Burgundy down our throats!”

The knight resumes his grip. You’re not sure if that bought you enough time, but it bought you some. You desperately try to hold onto consciousness, but though Burgundy’s figure is growing ever so slightly larger, you don’t think it’s going to be enough…

“You three! Hands off, now! Get up so I can see your damned faces!”

The gruff voice echoes in your ears, but strangely enough it seems to be coming from behind you.

Thankfully, the knights obey. You feel a great sense of relief as the pressure lifts from your legs, hands, and throat. You may just be able to hold on just long enough.

“Sir! He collapsed, we were trying to help…”

“By putting your hands on his throat?”

There’s no further protest.

“I don’t know what you were up to, but we’re going to have a talk about it once this poor fellow’s taken care of. Come on, now. Can you get up?”

You feel someone holding you by the hand, and helping you to your feet. You’re still winded, but you think you can hold together for a bit.

“What’s happening here, Tom?”

That voice is Burgundy’s. You’re a bit surprised she’d be asking you, can’t she see you’re still worn out…

“Not sure. Did you ask for this many knights watching your office, sir?”

Wait. Hold on. Maybe she isn’t talking to you?

“I didn’t. Who’s the poor fellow having trouble standing?”

“Good question. You there! Can you tell us your name?”

“Tom Sixth,” you mutter weakly. “Um, I came here to tell you something, sir…”

“Oh, of course there’s two Toms here,” Burgundy sighs. “Well then. Corporal Second, you tend to these troublemakers while I take Sixth to the infirmary. Got a feeling I need to have a look around the base.”

“Yessir!” You glance at Corporal Tom Second; he’s got a rather bushy mustache, and a stern expression. You can’t recall running into him before, but you’ll have to remember to thank him later.

Burgundy takes you by the shoulder.

“Come on. Seems I caused you some trouble because the records were a bit out-of-date, sorry about that.”

“It’s no problem. But, um, we’ve got something serious happening.”

“I assume it involves Ash.”

She’s good.

“Um, that’s right, sir. We were attacked… by… digging machines? Did you get a report?”

She gives you a glance.

“Digging machines? Just how hard did they hit you?”

“It’s for real, sir! I swear! Ash is trying to manage the response himself. Don’t know if any more are turning up.”

You’re not sure if you should mention the letter.

“Then I guess I’ll have a talk with him after I leave you at the infirmary. Thanks for the heads-up. Now, try not to talk too much, you’re clearly short of breath.”

She’s right. But you’ve also got to help out Grey, somehow. And if you’re stuck in the infirmary, that’s not going to be easy.

So how are you going to slip away?

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Suggestions:

Claim incredibly urgent bathroom break.