Imprudence | Chapter 17 of 28 - Part: 1 of 10

Author: Gail Carriger | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 8326 Views | Add a Review

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FOURTEEN

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Drifters Like Cats

Aggie Phinkerlington appeared at Rue’s elbow. “You summoned?”

Rue handed her a set of glassicals and pointed north. “We’ve got company.”

Aggie looked through, her eyes wonky with magnification. “You always did attract the nicest types.”

“And here I thought you liked Mr Lefoux.”

Aggie handed her back the lenses. Was she trying not to smile?

“I take it you know how to shoot that thing?” Rue gave a chin nod to the crossbow.

Aggie didn’t bother to answer, simply made her way to the best vantage point on the forecastle, propped her massive crossbow up on the railing, and winched the string back to load a bolt. Old-fashioned, thought Rue, but serviceable.

“Spoo,” she called, “leave off prep work, grab a friend, and man the Gatling gun. I take it you’ve figured out how to use it?” Rue had confidence in Spoo’s general interest in violence. She was eleven, after all. All eleven-year-olds were, by nature, bloodthirsty.

“Aye, Lady Captain.”

Spoo grabbed, of all people, Virgil, who had been herding Footnote belowdecks. They ran to ready the massive gun.

“Don’t go shooting any friendlies. I spent far too long, and too much sugar, acquiring that escort for you to go potting a Drifter. Spoo, take your instructions from Aggie.”

Aggie didn’t respond except to nod at Spoo.

Spoo gave a reluctant, “Aye-aye.” A former sootie, Spoo had transferred up to deckling because she didn’t like Aggie.

Nevertheless, Rue was pretty darn certain that if anyone could forge a working relationship under pressure to kill people, it was those two.

Rue picked up her mother’s parasol, trying to decide which of its armaments would be most useful long range. “Percy,” she said, “set course due south and take us up. Not into the aetherosphere. Find us a good breeze so the balloons can keep pace but be prepared to boil up to full propeller if needed. Hold us towards the back of the pack so the gunners have shooting lines.”

The Spotted Custard let out her usual noise of petulant flatulence but responded with eager nimbleness to Rue’s commands and Percy’s touch. They puffed smoothly upwards, shadowed by an escort of seven balloons. Fortunately they found a favourable southern wind and hooked in, moving quickly.

Rue watched their hunters with her glass. They were obviously confused by the multiple ladybug dirigibles and their multiple Drifter companions.

Anitra appeared at her elbow.

“Floote’s plan seems to be working.” Rue gave her a cheerful smile. “They are dividing to follow, not sure which of us is the real Spotted Custard.”

The young woman smiled back. “Best keep your distance, then. As soon as they have deck view, they’ll spot you as a female captain and know for certain which is which.”

“I take it he didn’t go as far as to have all the decoy captains dress in decoy Worth tea-gowns?”

“Bit pricy.”

“Good point.” Rue kept grinning. “Could disguise myself with one of those Drifter robes. Got any spares?”

Anitra shook her head. “Not with me.”

Rue gestured to a deckling. “Run down and raise Miss Sekhmet. We could use her military prowess. Ask her to bring me one of those silk robes of hers and a scarf or two.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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