Steemjammer: The Deeper Truth

Steemjammer: The Deeper Truth by John Eubank

Book: Steemjammer: The Deeper Truth by John Eubank Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Eubank
down several flights of stairs, but she had no idea what floor she’d reached. Ahead, the hallway widened, and she thought she saw a large door. Hearing voices, however, she pressed herself into a dark corner and hoped the shadows would hide her.
    “This ‘sleeb,’” a familiar voice rang down the corridor from ahead, “as you mistakenly called him, has done more to help the Protectorate than you ever will.”
    It was Bram, she realized, followed by the bodyguard, his female cousin, Zylph, and someone else. Entering the corridor from a narrow side passage, they turned and headed for the large door. She remained unnoticed.
    “What is this nonsense?” Zylph protested. “Him?”
    “Keep quiet!” Bram hissed angrily. “We’re not safe until we get out of this dirty old ruin.”
    As they passed a wall lamp, she saw her brother’s face and clenched with anguish. Will has done more for the Rasmussens than Zylph? How was this possible?
    She got up and followed as they neared the steps. Why was he going with them? She wondered if somehow they controlled his mind.
    Whatever the case, she was determined to put a stop to this. She closed in, but just as she was about to call out, someone grabbed her from behind. Before she could scream, a firm hand covered her mouth. Unable to resist, she was dragged back through a small doorway in the wall.
    “Quiet, lass,” a deep voice whispered. “Do ye wanna spoil everythin’?”
    The door quietly shut, and Donell Ogilvy opened a hooded lantern to give them just enough light to see.
    “They’ve kidnapped him again!” Angelica said, trying to keep her voice down.
    “Nay, not so.”
    “Then, what’s happening?”
    “Patience, lass. Yer brother’s fine.”
    “No, he’s not! Bram and Zylph are taking him somewhere. Can’t you tell?”
    Donell cracked open the secret door and peered down the hallway. Ducking back inside, he thought things over.
    “Och, I should’ve thought o’ this,” he said. “Maybe it worked, and Bram wants tah take him tah Texel tah celebrate. The other option is that Bram saw through it, and he’s trying to recapture Will. Either way, I dinna like it, but if we stop them, it would cast suspicion!”
     
    ***
     
    Growing more nervous with each step, Will realized Lockwood was behind him as he followed Bram and Zylph, who bickered. He found himself too unnerved to pay them much attention, save that he was the object of her continued complaints.
    “His name is Will Stevens,” Bram said, “and if you call him ‘sleeb’ again, you’ll regret it.”
    Will couldn’t believe his ears. Bram Rasmussen was still defending him? Whatever Donell was up to, Will thought, they seemed to be buying it.
    “His clothing,” Zylph sneered, “and manners are beneath us. I’ve never heard of a Stevens family, so they must have no power, money or influence. They’re worse than sleebs, Bram. They’re worms.”
    “Not for much longer,” Bram grinned and turned, stopping. “Stevens?”
    “Yes?” Will said, not sure what to expect.
    “Something just occurred to me. If you’re seen leaving with us, it would attract attention.”
    “They spy on our every move,” Zylph whispered. “I feel eyes on my back constantly in this retched slag heap.”
    Bram’s face wrinkled as he thought things over.
    “You may still be of use to us here,” he told Will, “on the inside. I’m afraid you’ll have to stay in this pathetic monument to Steem- failures a while longer. Just fit in and lay low. With that idiotic Steemball thing starting, it shouldn’t be too hard, as everyone will be caught up in that.”
    Slanting his eyes, his voice became stern.
    “Not a word to anyone, remember,” he warned.
    “You want me to stay here?” Will said, trying to hide his relief.
    “I know it must be disappointing, but it won’t be long. You’ll live like a prince, Stevens. Soon.”
    Zylph gave Will an unsettling smile as she turned to follow her cousin down the hallway. Is

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