Eighth Circle (Chapter 3, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 3

Crispin peered at his dolphin tablet. His cousin, Peter, stood by his side. They wore the regulation uniform of the marine science unit and had green hair. Because it was wet and cold outside, they were allowed to wear their one-piece, regulation, adverse-environment, protection suits.

Green distinguished them from the lower levels of society and was reserved for members of the royal family and their immediate associates. A special dye got their hair to the correct colour and gave the entire body a greenish tinge that was particularly pronounced under artificial light.

The boys were using the dolphin tablet to communicate with Liala. That way, the guardians couldn't intercept their messages.

'They are not as clever as they think,' Crispin muttered.

'Who?'

'The guardians. They are using technology that was invented hundreds of years ago. They've not developed anything new since they were young like us. They wouldn't understand how the tablet worked even if we explained it to them.'

Peter glanced around. 'They'd better not find out what we're doing.'

'Dead right,' Crispin agreed.

'They'll send in the death trolls if they do.' Peter shuddered. 'They'll crash in and turn this place upside down before we know what's happening.'

Peter was timid by nature. Crispin had got used to his continual warnings. He returned his attention to the tablet. There was a dominant image and fainter images which made it difficult to see what was happening.

The dominant image was from Elsa who was the lead dolphin. The fainter images were from other members of her team. Trying to work out what was happening was like listening to someone talking when others were chattering away in the background.

So far, everything was going smoothly. The dolphins were keeping up a steady pace and there was no sign of the orcas. Crispin wasn't surprised. The murderous creatures kept well clear when Liala was around. They knew she carried a ray gun and could inflict heavy casualties with it.

A patch of kelp appeared followed by rounded boulders. That meant the dolphins were in shallow water and getting close to the island. It wouldn't be long now. All that remained was to get the Lord of Light into the boat and take him to safety.

Then everything went crazy. One moment the screen was dominated by the image from Elsa. Then other images flashed around ... piling up on one another.

'Orcas!' Peter gasped.

Black-and-white bodies filled the screen.

Crispin remained calm. 'Liala will deal with them.'

'But, those teeth ...'

'She will sort them out.'

A blaze of light filled the screen and the orcas were suddenly gone. All that remained was a cloud of blood. Peter began to relax. The orcas knew better than to mix it with Liala. He craned his neck as a new image appeared. Elsa had got her head out of the water and was looking towards the island.

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