Chapter 5

A Certain Little Something

This called for some quick thinking!

My arms and legs were still tightly bound to the chair, but, to my delight, I found that (with some difficulty), I could move by hopping. Not the most dignified mode of travel, I must confess, but now was not the time to be picky. That solved the problem of reaching the poor damsel in distress, but what about the tricky business of actually rescuing her?

…

I admit, dear reader, I had a moment of doubt. The odds seemed so highly stacked against your poor young Pennyroyal that he even considered closing his eyes and sleeping for a little while. I am not proud of this moment, but I feel it is important to give as true an account as I can, rather than airbrush myself into some sort of perfect hero. What has a man, if not honesty? It is something that can never be taken by force, and is thus a priceless quality. I always say that a trustworthy man is worth his weight in gold- but I digress! No doubt, you are anxious to know what happened next. Therefore, let us swiftly get to the point!

My eyes roved around the room, searching for some way to free myself. This search was in vain, but I did spy a little something that looked like it might just prove itself useful.

This little something was tucked down the side of my writing desk; it had most probably fallen when my poor hotel room had been ransacked earlier. As I hopped over, still tied to the chair (this process was slow and painstaking, not to mention noisy), I realised this was going to cause me a fair bit of trouble!

Nonetheless, I knew that I must persevere. After what felt like hours (although it must have only been a minute at most, or the poor, disagreeable woman would have been dead by this point), I managed to succeed in dragging the object out of the gap between my desk and the wall, using just my front teeth.

I now held a sharp paper knife in my mouth.

Cautiously, I bent my head and pressed the knife to the bonds around my left upper arm. A furious tongue of flame whipped up; I jerked my head back again just in time. Somehow, I managed to resist the urge to gasp in pain. This was lucky; had I done so, my knife would have fallen to the floor, and it's doubtful that I could have picked it up again had I had all evening to spare.

Well, I was still tied up, but this was definitely better than before! Young Pennyroyal was now armed and dangerous!

Now it was time for me to teach those cowards a lesson. I shall not bore you with the details of my hopping back across the room on my chair; needless to say, once more, it was slow, painstaking and noisy. And my arm hurt. Eventually, however, I reached my door, and I knew it was time to rejoin the fray and do my best to rescue the mysterious woman. From the sounds of things, the fight was only increasing in intensity, complete with shouts, screams, crashes, bangs, and the explosive tinkle of shattering glass. It looked like I could add 'disrespect for intricate light fittings' to the list of these villains' vices.

I took a deep breath and summoned my courage. Beyond my door was the point of no return. Once I left my room, my life would be in grave danger, and I knew these moments might well be my last. I tried to think of some fitting last words, but found none- a cruel irony for a writer, I'm sure you'll agree! My morale took quite a beating from that alone, let me tell you. Nevertheless, the time for dilly-dallying and brave words was over- it was time to face my foes!

So-thinking, I flung open my door and flung myself into the corridor…