................~~Reversal of Fortune~~...............
Adam, Squibs, Sslar, and Skinny moved down the passage and when they came to the spot requiring Wellies, they all stopped.
"Short circuit predicted," said Squibs, and his light turned orange.
Adam looked at the little can-shaped droid. "Ghaaaah," he pushed out of his throat.
"I can carry him," said Skinny. "My feet are submersible."
"Aye, good and well," said Adam. "I'll no be leaving either of ya, and time's ticking. Let's go."
He splashed into the water, remembering the nasty feel of the eels that had been submerged in the bog. Wincing, he moved forward, holding the Caliburn
out in front of him in a reflexively defensive stance. He turned to see that Skinny had Squibs well above the surface of the water, and then he saw
the snorkel tube. Sslar had curled her tail around her feet and was seated at the water's edge. She would not go beyond that point.
"Damn and blast," he muttered, and his eyes shot downward, peering into the water looking for eels. He lifted each boot to ensure he was not bogged
down again....but even so, the snorkel tube was moving quickly. Adam turned the sword from a 45-degree upright position into a vertical downward, the
sharp end just above the water, warily watching the snorkel tube.
"Skinny," he said, "kick it."
"Eh?" Skinny asked, shifting Squibs to recenter his gravity. "Doctor, if I try to kick anything, our friend here might be, well, it would not be an
optimum outcome. We would all perish."
"Ghaaaaah," croaked Adam again, privately congratulating himself that he had asked them to accompany him.
The tube came closer. Adam raised his hand, prepared to strike at the underwater breather if it came any nearer. It did, and he did. Just as he thrust
the Caliburn's tip (still in its scabbard) beneath the surface it was ripped from his grasp and pulled under.
"Ah, BLAST!" he shouted, and started kicking frantically, not daring to stick his hand in the water. Then his ankle was grasped firmly, and down he
"Doctor!" called the droids.
The water was only mid-calf in depth, but Adam was thoroughly soaked by the plunge. He regained his feet, and as he stood, as though a mirror image of
himself, the underwater breather stood as well.
"You!" Adam said. "I'm beginning to really hate the lot of you!"
Fiona stood there, smiling, the Caliburn in her hand. She reached with the other hand and removed her mask.
"Thank you, Doctor. Your mission has been accomplished," she said, and withdrew the sword from its scabbard, aiming it at his neck. "You won't be
needing this, as you've no idea who it belongs to."
"'Tis the property of my friend, and ye're a thievin', lyin' trollop," he said. He got to his feet and lunged at her, but Fiona darted away and ran
down the passage further toward the Cave.
"Run!" called Adam to Skinny, and Squibs' light turned a vivid magenta. Skinny did his best to keep the droid above the water, nearly stumbling more
than once, but after about 50 yards, the passage turned off, and the echoing splashes of the four feet faded slowly away. They had come to dry rock
A light shone from beyond the next bend. There was no sign of Fiona.
Skinny set Squibs gently down and the trio moved toward the light. Adam hoped his friends could not see the tremors of his fear, nor the hair standing
up on the back of his neck.
After a few more feet, the passage opened up into the Cave. There Adam saw the back of Gert, who was staring down Dag, and the Splitter (still holding
Gia's jewels) was being approached by Ben. Ben made eye contact very briefly with Adam without signaling to the others he had done so.
As Ben came closer, the Splitter put the jewels behind his back. Adam, seizing the moment, leapt forward and grabbed them and then rushed to Dag's
"ADAM!" she gasped.
"Are these significant?" asked Adam.
Gert cackled. "Significant? Ha haha...only partly so, son. Well, well, I see you've mustered the courage to come after her. Frankly, I'm a little
surprised, considering the weakness of fortitude you've shown so far. Now we have almost everyone, and everything where it needs to be. If you'll just
hand me the jewels, Adam, you and she, and the rest of your friends may go. Many thanks for playing." She grinned evily.
"As soon as you give me the Caliburn," said Adam. "Where's that Fiona?"
Gerts eyes opened wider. "Fiona?"
"She's got the sword, and I mean to retrieve it from the wench," said Adam.
Just then a blood-curdling scream came from somewhere beyond the group, and a loud roar. This was followed by silence. The entire party looked toward
the sound's source, and no one moved a muscle.
"Found her," said Adam. Though praying that Sslar had not been skewered, he actually wondered if that was the case.
Ben spoke then, "Fiona? Where is she, I've a word or two to ram down that slender throat o' her'n as well."
He grabbed hold of the Splitter and hoisted the little being into the air, his elbow wrapped firmly round the spindly neck.
"C'mon, yer a-comin' with me, ya little trouble-maker," he snarled.
Skinny and Squibs placed themselves between Gert and their two friends and began moving toward her, slowly, forcing her back into a crevice in the
cave. Dag then looked at Adam and threw her arms around his neck.
"You came for me! You really did!" she said.
Adam smiled, "Of course I did." He saw Gert roll her eyes, but Dag did not, and that was good enough for him.
A shout from Ben broke the embrace, and they all looked toward the passageway. First emerged Sslar, the sword safely clamped between the vice-like
jaws. Ben followed, with the Splitter still dangling from one raised arm.
"Where is she?" asked Gert.
Ben dropped the Splitter abruptly and kicked him with a scuffed boot. The Splitter stuck his tongue out at him.
Ben looked at Gert. "Dead," he said. "Stone dead." Sslar licked her lips and purred, her eyes narrowing.
"So now what, ye old bat?"
edit on 14-3-2012 by wildtimes because: count bypass and title