Unexpected Adventure, Part Four
Regis woke a little while later. He grimaced when he realized that he’d fallen asleep fully dressed, and atop the sheets. At least he’d taken off his pack and shield.
A small fireplace had been stoked at some point. Regis eyed the sparking embers from a distance. The elf couldn’t have come in; he would have heard. Magic?
He shuddered and fingered the clasp of his belt. The embers dimmed. He relaxed. So the tinkerer hadn’t been lying.
It was quiet.
Regis went to the window across the room. The shutter creaked slightly when he opened it. Cold air blasted into his face from the glass. Everything was white, and bright enough to make him squint. Snow sprinkled to the ground from the roof, and rested just a foot below the window sill. Nothing else moved.
Something wasn’t right again.
Regis refastened the shutters. From his pack, he removed a pair of snowshoes. That cyborg wasn’t going to get away without revealing who he worked for.
He walked to the cyborg’s room, feeling his way around settling boards.
The door was shut. He tried the handle. Locked.
With a dagger, Regis felt for the bolt. There.
The door opened. And the window across the room had been cut. A thin layer of snow covered the floor in front of it.
Regis glanced around the room. Nothing obvious. But of course, it wouldn’t be.
He went to a corner of the room, and let his eyes follow a seemingly random pattern. It had to be somewhere…
Regis set the snowshoes on the ground and removed his gloves. He crouched, and leaped. His hand outstretched, he grabbed onto a beam. His fingers brushed against something.
Regis swung his other hand up and plied metal from the wood.
He let go, and landed in a crouch to lessen the noise. As it was, the boards groaned.
He went to the window and held the metal out into the brightness. Small, half-oval, with a thin screen displaying four red squares. One of the squares blipped out. A timed bomb.
He turned it over. There were no lines, buttons, or anything to mar the dull grey metal. A Trickster bomb, then. A bomb that only the maker knew how to disable. There were three or four more around the room, he was sure.
Regis clipped the bomb to his belt and put on the snowshoes. Snow crunched beneath his shoes. Beside him were footprints, light but unmistakable. He smirked. No matter how fast it ran, the cyborg was bound to fall into the snow soon.
Going as fast as he dared, he followed the prints. When he was among the tree tops, he tilted the bomb so he could see the display. Still three squares. He had time.
He took a few more steps, and nearly fell into a hole. He braced himself and slid back. Sure enough, Darius was down there.
It hacked at the sides of the hole, cursing whenever its arms locked up.
Regis tossed the bomb down. It clipped Darius on the head and landed in slush. “That wasn’t very smart.”
Darius glared up at him. “Could you help?”
“Disable it first.” A breeze knocked snow from some of the trees.
“I didn’t make it.”
“Who did?” The breeze increased, and whistled. Regis shivered.
An emotionless half-smile spread on Darius’ face. “Him.”
Regis turned, sliding his legs so that he stood defensive. A cloaked figure, black against the white, stood a few feet away.