Thieves: Chapter 5
Kamber held Jovlin’s hand as he led her down the dark passage. Her hands were warm, and damp with sweat. He tripped on a loose stone and caught himself on the wall, but found himself wishing for a light to guide their way.
“That was a nifty trick you pulled back there.” Jovlin called
“You had best keep your voice down; these walls aren’t as thick as they appear.” Kamber replied
“Oh, right.” She whispered “You could have at least given me some warning.”
“I could have, but to do so would have made unnecessary noise.”
Jovlin was silent for a moment, and then she responded “Yeah, well I was referring to the whole secret tunnel thing. Are you always like this?”
“Always like what?” Kamber began to walk forward again
“Are you always so hostile?”
“Yeah, well you can thank the King for that.” She was instantly defensive “His taxes make it impossible for a person to make an honest living. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do in times like these.”
“I didn’t mean that as an attack.”
Jovlin wasn’t expecting that, she was just getting started. She paused, not sure what to say. He spoke for her.
“When we get out of here you can go back to your old life, no questions asked, and I’ll keep moving.” There was little emotion in his voice as her spoke.
Silence hung in the air for a while, clinging like a wet cloth, cold and miserable. They walked on. Occasionally Jovlin noticed a little light in the tunnel, but she could never quite make out where it came from. She assumed that there were many exits throughout the tunnel which they had passed.
Once, The Mask pressed against the wall and it slid away with a creak. Light flooded the dark passageway, blinding Jovlin temporarily. They were about to step out into the city when they heard a shout. At the same moment, their eyes finally adjusted to the light and they realized that they were about to step into a hallway filled with palace guards. Kamber shouted and immediately pulled the door shut, once more leaving them in blinding darkness. Then, Kamber had grabbed her hand and they began to run through the passage, somehow managing to stay standing.
When they finally stopped, it was to open another hidden doorway. This time, Kamber only opened it a little ways, and waited until their eyes had adjusted before glancing through the crack between the wall and the door to make sure that this was the correct door and that there were no guards around. It seemed like an eternity to Jovlin before Kamber finally opened it the rest of the way and pushed her out into a busy city street.
As Jovlin’s eyes continued to adjust, she looked up at the sky a blinked a few times. She realized that the light that had seemed so bright before was actually only the light of night. She could barely see the two blurs that were the three moons of Arandrei- Kassandar, Bakgav, and Jovlin. She had actually been named by the man who raised her after that moon. Right now Kassandar and Bakgav were close together, so they only appeared as a single moon in the sky.
The streets around them roared with life. People rushed from place to place, buying food and supplies. Kamber ushered Jovlin into the main thoroughfare and passed stalls displaying rotten fruits and vegetables, moldy bread, and cold cabbage soups. There was little money for food, so people bought whatever they could get, regardless of its condition.
Jovlin was sure that someone would notice them eventually and call the guards, but no one seemed to even see the strange mask covering the face of her companion. Every now and then and young child would stare at him and pull on his or her mother’s sleeve, pointing at the Mask. The mothers would always simply smile in the Mask’s direction and then say something to their parents, ushering them on to the next stall.
Finally, the Mask led her into a dark alley that seemed to end immediately. But it didn’t. The Mask lifted several baskets off of the ground and grabbed what appeared to be a loose piece of cobblestone on the ground. But, instead of it coming up in his hands, it lifted an entire section of the ground, revealing a hidden tunnel. The Mask quickly slipped into another dark passage.
Jovlin looked around for a moment. She really wanted this adventure to end, and she was tired of dark tunnels, but then again… She looked up at the moons above her and decided, she wanted to see the Mask’s lair, and find out who he was.