The Captive Kingdom (Ascendance 4) - Page 25


“Am I even still alive?” I asked him. “What was in that bottle?”

“Nothing that should have produced these effects.” He hesitated, then pulled another bottle off his shelf. “Jaron, what bottle did you grab? This is the one that gives symptoms of illness.”

I fumbled for the bottle in my jacket and showed it to him.

Tobias groaned, and I thought I heard him curse, which he rarely did. “You took a medication for pain.”

I looked back at him, certain I had not heard him correctly. “Why do you have a medication that causes pain?”

“It stops pain, unless you take too much of it. We’ll have to watch you and see what happens.”

I forced myself into a sitting position, or what appeared to be a sitting position, though I was certain the room was angling. “Here’s what will happen. You’re going to discover that I injured myself in that fall, and it will require a painful surgery.”

Tobias raised his hands, firmly shaking his head as he backed away from me. “I am not doing a surgery on you, Jaron. I’ve never done a surgery on anyone!”

“Hush! I’ll scream a lot, and you’ve got to make as much noise as you can to scream back. Now, hand me that bone saw.”

Tobias stepped away. “Absolutely not.”

I crouched low on his table and held out my hand for it, then looked upward. Finally, Tobias understood and gave me the saw.

At the exact moment of my first cut into the wood overhead, I let out a bloodcurdling scream. Only seconds later, someone was pounding on the door. “What is happening in there?”

Tobias said, “I’m setting a bone. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

“It’s worse than it sounds,” I called out.

“I’ll get the captain.”

Good. I needed her out of her quarters, but it also meant we had to hurry. I cut deeper into the wood along its natural lines, every cut accompanied by a scream that made my head want to explode. When I couldn’t stand the pain any longer, Tobias took over while I continued to cry out for mercy, or death. Whichever came first.

Only a few minutes later, someone else pounded on the door. Roden.

“Let me in!”

“Not until this is over,” Tobias said.

We were close to being finished. A few more screams and we’d be through, but I didn’t dare attempt them with Roden on the other side of the door, especially if Strick had accompanied him.

“If you don’t open this door, the captain has given orders to break it down,” Roden said.

At my direction, Tobias stashed the saw, swept the wood dust under the table, then quickly wrapped my right arm.

“Open this door now!”

Just as Tobias finished the final knot in my dressing, I realized our mistake. When I had fallen from the ladder, I’d landed on my left side. My right arm should’ve been fine.

“Lie down. Look sick,” Tobias hissed.

Neither was a problem for me. The worst of the fever had passed, but I still felt horrible, and I was in no mood, nor in any condition, for another confrontation with Roden.

Yet here it was.

Tobias opened the door and Roden was instantly by my side.

“Why are you sweating?”

“I might be dying. Can’t I be allowed to sweat while I’m on my possible deathbed?”


Tags: Jennifer A. Nielsen Ascendance Fantasy
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