Tell Me, Oh Tablet

Down here, no natural colour perforated the steel and nobody had thought to hang a few light-globes. Percy squinted and raised a hand against the poor light, as if she had any ability to wave away the darkness. Devil had told her that the entrance-passageway the maggots had dug from the slums and the underground areas around the castle had been magic-ed behind a wall. Or something. There had been a hole, and now there wasn’t, but somehow she was supposed to knock away one layer… Her, a non-magic user. After all, this had to be locked from the outside. Which was where she came in.

Still, she didn’t get why she couldn’t have just handed Lorden her keys…

The furthest wall from the door, through the tumble of junk, was decked with the same mottled rock as the stairwell instead of steel as the rest of this chamber had, but if Percy squinted, even at this distance and low light, the wall stuck out from its firmament.

Nothing a royal would have noticed if they’d been down here, but nevertheless a change in the structure. One that didn’t quite match the floor layout upstairs.

Percy scrambled towards it. Her footfalls were clumsy, to say the least, but she expected that anyone would hop as much as her when faced with a bare space every metre or so. To cross the room involved more manoeuvres than Percy did cleaning the kitchen floor around the cook.

About halfway there (and halfway too late), she developed a rhythm for dodging around the stuff. First, one foot down into her intended space; second, arms up as balance; third, lift the remaining foot and navigate around the obstacle. Care wasn’t an ideal, but Percy was no monster. She knew to leave property that was not hers.

Plus, it might alert someone.

So, she danced like never appropriate, her fists flailing, as if she were diving through water not air and objects.

About five metres from the stone wall, Percy stumbled upon a particularly large stack of technology. One minute she had her balancing act intact, the next she lost her footing, both feet slipping beneath her. Percy through up her hands, and she smacked against the stack, sending tablets raining onto her feet.

“As only I could,” she said with a sigh.

She bent and lifted the tablets off her feet. No bruises, thank goodness, but one of the small screens was blinking at her, slowly, curiously.

“Huh?”

Odd that some place so abandoned should have working tech.

The screen blinked a warm blue light into the space, casting on the clutter elegant shadows. One tap, and the screen was active once more. Percy thumbed through. The only article on the tablet drive: a letter, by the looks of it, written directly onto the tablet by archaic estylus in loopy handwriting. It was not, however, undecipherable. ‘mghean’ became ‘my heart’ and ‘boreh’ became ‘lovely’, and soon the script was whispering its secrets to her without effort.

She scanned it, eyes widening with each subsequent sentence.

"By all tech!" she swore.

In her hands she held a lover's letter, one from the queen. And in it a word of Elenia's parentage, a knave and maggot known for being betrayed by his former colleagues after taking a position in the court.

Adrian Damroc.

The End

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