Monta was in a thoughtful mood as he walked through the dimly lit corridors and realised that his was the more attractive path. Koa had to sit alone in the semi-dark with a sense of guilt and loss and wait to find out if he had done enough to save Herai. Monta’s future held no uncertainty. He would find out who was responsible for this atrocity and then he would kill them. He had purpose, activity and a sense of mystery to keep him going. It was unfair that he judged Koa for his use of a numbing drug.
The city was still asleep. Occasionally the sound of loud snoring echoed from one of the doors he passed, but other than that, the mournful wind and the ever-constant roar of the underground river, all was silent.
His heart jumped. A sudden shock. His foot had caught on something soft and warm. He stumbled against the hard stone wall of the corridor. He was instantly alert, prepared for attack.
Apart from the pounding of his heart there was nothing else stirring. He cautiously bent down to investigate what had tripped him up. It was warm to the touch. As he struggled to get a better grip on the unexpectedly heavy bundle it moved in his hand. A person. He dragged them closer to a torch, almost dreading what he would see this time. It was another guard, clothed in black from head to toe, but this one put a hand out to pull back the hood from his head. With the other hand he held onto Monta as if it were only his support that was keeping him upright.
‘Monta! Did you hit me?’
Monta recognised the guard as Cailo. He looked down at his own hand to find it covered in something dark. ‘Are you bleeding?’
Cailo put his hand up to his head tenderly but stopped as if in sudden pain. He moved his hand to his armpit and found his own hand covered in blood.
‘I don’t understand. I was patrolling as normal and someone hit me on the head. I don’t understand how I got this wound.’
‘Can you walk?’ Monta asked. ‘Koa is in the Sickrooms. He is awake.’
Cailo went on his way unsteadily but Monta had confidence he would make it. He continued even more thoughtfully. The two attacks had to be connected.
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