The Long Chron – Online Edition – Chapter Forty-Four

“The robot’s on our side?” Griff argues.  “She’s sure got a funny way of showing it.”

“Yeah,” I agree.  “But this is definitely my handwriting.  Why would I lie to myself?”

“Okay,” Tenney chimes in, “so, if this letter’s really from yourself and the robot thing is actually one of us, what does that mean?  That thing was trying to kill us just minutes ago, I highly doubt we could just jump back over to the castle and be welcomed with open arms.”

“Dat’s not to mention we can’t get back to da castle,” Noll joins.  “Da bridge is da only way in.”

“Actually, at least in the future, there’s a tunnel which leads from right around here to the castle,” I argue.

“What’s that on the other side of the note?” Griff asks, pointing at the paper in my hands.  I flip it over and notice a small design in the corner of the paper.  It looks an awful lot like the faces of the pendant.

“Holy crap,” I shout.  “It shows how to set the sphere to get into the castle!”

“You sure?” Griff asks.

“What do you mean?” Tenney asks.

“I mean,” I say, while opening the sphere, “if I set the faces on the pendant to match the image here, I think it’ll bring us into the castle.  Look, it even has arrows showing that…jeez, I feel really dumb now.  I just need to twist this and then, yep, look.”  I turn the sphere to show them how the faces on mine match the one on the paper.

“What now?” Noll asks.

“Now we see if I’m right,” I answer.

“I don’t think so, Chelle,” Griff argues, closing the sphere in my hands.  “I can’t handle going back in time again.”

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” I ask the master.  “Don’t you trust me?”

“I trust you.  I don’t trust random notes in bottles hidden in the middle of an ale barrel underground within the middle of a medieval English city that is currently being ruled by an evil robotic queen.  I’ve never trusted it before, don’t intend to now.”

“But the note says she’s not evil,” I smirk.

“That’s what makes me nervous.”

“Fine, you know what,” I conclude, “you don’t need to come with me.  I’ll do this myself.”

“I don’t fink so,” Noll disagrees.  “I’ll stay by your side.”

“You were going to sell her to the highest bidder not even an hour ago!” Griff argues.

“I’m coming too,” Tenney says, a sense of resolution crossing his face.

“Dammit!” Griff shouts in frustration.

“What?” I ask.  “Now you have even less reason to come, since I’ll have these two strong men joining me on my journey.”

“I’d almost be more willing to let you go off alone than with them.”

“Oi,” Noll recoils.  “Dat hurts.”

“Am I wrong?”

“I like to fink we’s good men.”

“We sell people for profit,” Tenney agrees.  “The man’s got good reason to be concerned.  All I can do to ease them is say that we always do what’s in our best interest.  A queen who has the ability to destroy everything with but a whim is not.”

“It’s not good business,” Noll adds.

“Doesn’t matter,” Griff says.  “I’m coming too.  Do your thing, kid, and let’s get this over with already.”

I re-open the sphere and push the clock face into its proper location.  A loud clicking sounds in the room, followed by a creaking, as one of the shelves holding barrels is magically pulled to the side, revealing a long tunnel behind it.

“What the heck?” I say without thinking.

“What the heck is right,” Griff smirks.

“Once more unto da breach?” Noll asks.

“Really?” I ask.

“What?” Noll looks at me confused.

“Isn’t that Shakespeare?”

“Who?”

Go to Phase Six

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