Monday, July 2, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 16

< Chapter 15                                                                                                               Chapter 17 >

The beautiful, betrothed Princess Callan has thrown herself in David's arms, passionately thanking

him for saving her life again.


            When the princess's lips locked on mine, training fled and instinct took over.  I pulled her close and returned the kiss.  Enthusiastically.
            "Ahem!"
            We jumped apart,  eyes downcast, unable to meet Rob's stern gaze.
            "Highness, go to the stern of the airship," Rob ordered.
            The princess bristled at his tone, "Rob, you will not-"
            "Callan, do as I say."
            Chastised, she stalked aft.
            Hoping to avoid a rebuke, I said, "Rob, I -"
            "Silence, boy!" hissed Rob.  "You just took an oath to protect the princess with your life.  That includes protecting her from herself and her infatuations.  That includes protecting her from your base instincts.  Do you understand?"
            "Yes, sir!"
            His gaze bored into mine..  Satisfied, he relaxed slightly.  "Many guards develop strong feelings for those they guard, David.  Burying those feelings is your duty."
            "It will not happen again, sir."
            He nodded, dismissing the matter.  "Now, can that...thing...in your head teach you how to fly this airship?"
            It could.  As Rob marched aft, toward the princess, I concentrated on the airship controls,  ignoring the discussion at the stern.  We needed altitude to reach the prevailing winds and forward speed to generate the lift required to gain altitude.  A clever steam engine mechanism provided power for propulsion and also vented exhaust into the gas bags for lift.
            Looking up from the controls, I spotted a dark smudge on the horizon.  Grabbing the survival pack Rob brought aboard, I took out the binoculars and trained them on the smudge.  Ice lanced my gut as the smudge came into focus.
            A sandstorm stretched across the horizon, bearing down on us!

Severely undermanned, how can the airship and its tiny crew survive the approaching storm?  Find out in Chapter 17, coming Wednesday!