Harry crawled onto the bank, gasping with what Layke hoped was relief. He himself crawled after Harry, collapsing on the dry, non-acid land. Layke felt the ground and thanked the gods for making something that didn’t make you sink.
Layke turned his head to look at Harry, who was still gasping.
“Are you alright?” Layke asked, after watching Harry gasp for a reasonable amount of time. Harry turned his head to stare at him with large eyes. He said nothing for a while, just gasped then gasped some more. Layke was starting to get worried. “Harry?”
“That was a very traumatic experience!” Harry finally managed to breathe. Layke’s shoulders relaxed in relief.
“Oh, good. I thought there was something wrong,” Layke grinned. Harry glared at him.
“Excuse … me?” he gasped. “There is something wrong, and that’s my … my traumatised self!”
Layke chuckled slightly and shook his head. “If anything, I should be the traumatised one. After all, you did dump all the responsibility of finding a solution to our predicament on my shoulders. And you were heavy!”
“I am very light,” Harry protested.
“Fine,” Layke said, shrugging. “Whatever you want to believe.”
Harry glared at him again, but said nothing. They stayed there for a while, Harry gasping and Layke thinking of what they had just been through. He could hardly believe that he, Layke Tramears, had been stuck in swamp acid! That was the stuff of bedtime stories and legends with heroic knights and beautiful princesses in them. Then again, his life now seemed as if it contained evil villains and fairytale occurrences. He smiled slightly. A mysterious girl behind a tree and a band full of travelling revolutionists; certainly that was the stuff of legends?
“So, what do you plan on doing now?” Harry’s irritating voice interrupted the thoughtful silence. Layke looked at him and raised his eyebrow.
“You aren’t gasping anymore.”
“What a pleasant observation,” Harry said sarcastically. “Like I didn’t know that.”
Layke said nothing and sat up. “In answer to your first question, we better be off, then.”
“Off? I’ve hardly even recovered yet!”
Layke stood up and tried to wipe off as much swamp acid as he could off his clothes. It hadn’t dissolved very much because it was just a thin layer of it. “We must leave as soon as possible,” he said whilst wiping, “before the others leave the rendezvous. Then there’ll be no hope whatsoever of finding them.”
“And then we’ll be lost, together, on a daring adventure to reunite with our fellow revolutionists.” Harry stared off into space, his eyes glazed over. It seemed he was getting lost too much in adventurous ideas for his own good.
“Yes,” Layke said, “but it wouldn’t be very fun.” And I don’t like the sound of that ‘together’ bit, he added in his head.
“Fun? Think of all the heroism involved! Don’t you want the glory?”
“Glory?” Layke snorted. “What glory? If a pair of silly fools get lost by themselves and try to find some bad people to spread a bad idea, what would you do? Would you welcome them and give them lodging and fame?”
Harry looked appalled at the very idea. “Of course not! It’s their own fault, and they should deal with it themselves! And anyway, they’re spreading bad ideas. Why should I help them?”
Layke rolled his eyes; typical Harry. “Exactly. That’s why we won’t get any glory and should set our sights on finding the rest of the crew right away.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “You were talking about us? We don’t seem like that!”
Layke sighed and held out his hand. “Come on, up you come!”
Harry obligingly stood up, but continued to complain as they started walking. “I say, you made us seem like a pair of batty idiots! We are by far more heroic than that!”
“We are revolutionists, Harry. That wouldn’t get us very far in the fame scale.”
After that, Harry shut up, and they continued retracing their steps back towards the first meeting place.