Monday, March 18, 2013

Scout's Oath - Chapter 6

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Has our hero opened a back way into the silver mine where Callans uncle, Lord Garrett, is being held?

Through the thinning dust, we saw the hole was now man-height and opened into the silver mine.

"Okay, Jim, go back to the ship and head home," I said.  "Tell Lady Michelle to be waiting for me to call on the speaking tubes."

"You sure you don't need no help?  They's got ten men."

"I've faced worse and I'm still breathing."

"You be careful, son.  I 'spect that purty princess be right riled up if'n you gets hurt."

"Trust me, not riling Her Highness is one of my top priorities!" I said.

In the silver mine, I shuttered my lantern until it gave off a narrow beam of light.  Once my eyes adjusted to the near-total darkness, I started toward the main tunnel.  And tripped over a rock.  I caught myself before smashing the lantern, but reigned in my desire for haste after that.  Better to go slowly with a little light than crawl with no light.

After fifteen minutes, I heard the steam drill.  Five minutes later, I reached the main tunnel.  The engine sounds came from the right but the speaking tubes were to the left, closer to the surface.  Where would they be more likely to be holding Garrett?  I decided they'd want communication most and turned left. 

Ten minutes later, I was watching their camp.  There were seven men, the other three probably tending the steam drill.  Garrett was tied to an iron ring driven into the wall.  As I'd hoped, he was on the side farthest from the mine entrance.  With luck, I could free him before the fighting began.

I didn't have luck.  Two voices drifted up from behind me.  I'd arrived just before shift change on the drill!

Has our heros lost the element of surprise?  Find out in Chapter 7, coming Wednesday!