The Captive Kingdom (Ascendance 4) - Page 31


“Get in.” I shoved him in almost as forcefully as I’d sent him out the porthole, then closed the door in time for Tobias to enter, which he did in an unexpected good mood. Then I remembered why. He had just seen Amarinda.

“How is she?”

“Ready to escape. We all are, but only if you are there too.”

“I won’t leave until I have more answers.”

“Amarinda has taken care of that.”

“How?”

Tobias’s smile fell. “She stole the captain’s closet key.”

“Why do you look like you’ve just announced a funeral?”

“What if you don’t want to know what’s in that closet?”

Eagerly, I held out my hand. “What if I do?”

Tobias’s eyes shifted. “The key is useless down here. Amarinda will unlock the closet when it’s safe.”

My brows pressed together as my heart began to pound. “It will never be safe! Where does she think the captain will search first when she discovers the key is lost?”

“Is it safer to sneak you in to unlock it?”

I clenched my fists, a quieter method of expressing frustration than yelling. “What if she is caught searching inside that closet?”

“Jaron, you are not the only one who can take risks, nor the only one who can hide a secret.”

“Oh, I already understand that.” I opened the cupboard door and Fink popped out, breathing heavily as if he’d been holding his breath for the past ten minutes.

His first words were, “I only told Jaron so that he’d be angry with you instead of me.”

Tobias slowly exhaled before looking up. “I’m sorry.”

“What other secrets are you keeping from me?”

“No othe

r secrets.”

I doubted that was true, but this wasn’t the time to force those secrets out of him. Nor was it that time for the next several hours as we waited within the sick bay for Amarinda’s signal. I gave him every opportunity to talk to me, but he refused each time. Finally, we heard a knocking sound in our room. But it wasn’t coming from the door, nor the bulkhead.

Fink had been entertaining himself by rearranging Tobias’s medicines in every possible way. He accidentally knocked over a few when he pointed upward. “It’s coming from the compartment overhead.” Then he squinted. “Did you cut a hole in it?”

I jumped onto the medical table and steadied myself before removing the piece of wood we had cut. There was no way of knowing who would be on the other end of the hole until I saw them, but it probably didn’t matter. Whoever this was obviously knew what I had done.

I wiggled the cut piece of wood until it came loose, then slowly lowered it, only to see Amarinda’s face peering down at me.

“I’m sorry it took so long,” she said. “Wilta’s been in here until just a few moments ago. You’ll want to see what I’ve found.”

Tobias eyed me. “No, Jaron, I don’t think you will.”

“So there are other secrets.” Disappointed, I clicked my tongue, then raised my arms to take the first item.

From below, Tobias, Fink, and I formed a line. I would take each item and pass it to Fink, who would give it to Tobias, who was standing near his bed, ready to place each item on a sheet he had laid out.

After a few breathless seconds, the first items came through, small bundles of gold coins in satin bags. They clanked louder than I wished they did, and I held them tight in my hands as I passed them all over to Fink. All of them but the last bag, which I placed inside a pocket of my jerkin. A notebook came next, presumably Captain Strick’s, though I had no time to read it now.


Tags: Jennifer A. Nielsen Ascendance Fantasy
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