“Now all that’s left is to teach you how to fight.” Coffer said after she had choked down Jake’s curative.

“If it will get my father back.” Emily replied.

“Aye lass, you’ll get yer’ father back. He was my friend and its all any of us have thought about for these last few weeks. I only can’t rightly say what shape he’ll be in after all this time.” Coffer said as he put his hand on her head and looked down mournfully.

Emily’s eyes welled with tears but she blinked them away. “Then we have work to do gentlemen, let’s get it done.”

“You’re really going to try and train her? It would take months to get her into shape for this!” Griffin protested.

“Griffin Kelly, you of all the men here are my least favorite but I will put up with you if you do what is in your power to save my father. If you do, I will not report your burglary to the authorities. If I think you’ve acted with one ounce of restraint in this effort then I will see you thrown in the prison tower!” She said. Coffer began to laugh at his associate’s predicament but Emily turned her attention to him. “And you had better stay sober every minute of the daylight from here on in. You may have found an excuse for your filthy habit but I will not associate with drunkards. If you want to train me, it will be without a lick of the drink!”

Both men stood a bit stunned at this transformation. “Maybe she’ll make a fighter after all.” Griffin offered.

“You should have met my wife, why do you think I started drinking in the first place.” Coffer answered.

“Well you won’t be teaching her fisticuffs, I won’t allow anyone to be hitting a lady.” Griffin stated.

“So we teach her to shoot.” Coffer said.

It was well past four AM. They had tried a long gun, a pistol that Jake had on him for Coffer’s was too big for such a small girl and they even tried out Griffin’s acoustic gun. The target was a large sheet of tin three foot square. They had used near every bullet they had on them but at fifty paces she hadn’t hit the target once.

“This is hopeless, she can’t shoot.” Griffin grumbled.

“I agree, we’ve been doing this for hours with no progress.” Jake said.

“I thought fer sure she’d have some of her father’s knack. I’m dipped.” Coffer whistled.

Emily rubbed her shoulder and then tried to get her ears to stop ringing with no success. “I can’t even see that far.” she said squinting.

“And she’s blind as a bat, wonderful. Well I’m going back to my original plan. Jake, we might as well get some rest so we can go back down the mine shaft tomorrow.” Griffin huffed. “I’ll put a new charge of soda in the cutter in the morning.”

Coffer’s head perked up. “Drake always had plans and back up plans. I’ll wager he planned for this. Griff, let me see the cutter for a moment.”

Griffin looked at him quizzically, “Why? You’re not going to break it are you?”

“Just hand it over man.” Coffer waved him over. Griffin complied cautiously and Mr. Coffer examined the nozzle for a moment, turning it over in his hand. “Maybe,” he muttered.

Coffer left the building in a wink. The three others looked at each other hoping that one of them had some inkling as to what was on the madman’s mind. No one seemed to be able to imagine how the old man’s mind worked.

A few moments later he reemerged. “I’ll bet you know what to do with this!” he said as he tossed a long thin shaft of steel through the air to Emily. In a flash he advanced on her, drawing another just like it. With barely a moment Emily answered his attack by knocking his top hat off. She stood at the ready with the object in her hand, a fencing foil. Coffer lunged to strike but she deftly knocked his blade aside and gave a good jab to his arm.

“Aye that’s his plan.” Coffer said.

“I like this game, advance again!” Emily giggled.

“You’re going to send her up against Jackal Spiders with a foil?” Jake asked.

“No Jake, Mr. Drake didn’t make the cutter for any of us to use. He made it for her. He’s been training her how to use it this whole time. Probably didn’t figure he’d need to give it to her yet.” Griffin deduced. “How long have you been fencing?”

Emily smiled “Father started teaching me five years ago.”


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