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MOMENT 36: FRONT GATES
Jeremy and Inicula came into sight. In the wolf-boy's arms rested a limp body. My mouth fell open as I recognized the blonde hair, and spotted face of Baby, her eyes closed.
I shook my head as they approached. Jeremy looked down, not meeting my gaze, but Inicula looked did. I tried to read her face, but I saw no emotion. They seemed to move in slow motion, and this time there were no Big Belly Ducks around.
I whispered the words, "Is she dead?"
"She's alive." Jeremy looked up. "But she's hurt. She howled in pain, and we couldn't tell what was wrong with her."
"What happened?" I asked.
"Inicula knocked her out, to keep her from the pain," Jeremy glared sidelong at Inicula, who shrugged.
"At least I didn't stomp in her jugular." she shrugged.
I winced, picturing again that poor pigeon ani-man.
"So what do we do with her? Will she make it?" I asked.
Jeremy sighed. "I don't know. If she doesn't make it, Pupper will haunt me for not keeping her safe."
"Pupper will haunt you for other things than that," I said. "But he can't because he's not dead. You know we can't bring her with us."
"Then who do you propose we leave her with?" Jeremy asked. "It's not like we've found any other medics or even survivors for that matter."
I glanced back towards the head of the Sky Kraken. "We can leave her with Cthulhu Jr. He's staying here with his dad until he...passes."
"And what if she wakes back up? She'll be in pain again." Jeremy winced.
"Maybe you should stay with her. Inicula, Pom Pom, and I will continue the assault on the mountain.
"I'm coming with you guys. Let's go ask, Cthulhu Jr. to watch Baby then."
Inicula led the way back towards the head of the Sky Kraken. We walked around its shoulder and found Cthulhu Jr. kneeling, with his forehead against a tentacle. I didn't want to disturb him, but we had no choice.
"Hey," I said. "We need to ask a favor."
The squid-faced man turned, slowly, glaring with his big eyes. For a moment we found only silence between us, but I nudged Jeremy with my elbow.
"Oh, um, right," Jeremy murmured and stepped forward. "I have the favor to ask."
"Spit it out," Jr. said. "I'm trying to let my dad be in peace."
Jeremy cleared his throat and said, "Can you watch over Baby?"
Jr. scoffed, and a bubble blew from his mouth.
"I mean it," Jeremy replied. "She's hurt, and we can't take her with us to the top of Mt. Arkhamm."
"Poor girl is lucky to be alive," Jr. said, showing a surprising amount of sympathy. "No one else seems to have survived the crash."
"There might be others, but the point is, we at least need you to watch her until they show up. Keep her safe from the Barn Brigade."
"You can leave her here," Jr. said. "And I'll protect my dad until he passes. After that, I'm gone, without HER."
Jeremy whimpered, and I leaned over and whispered. "It's the best bet we have; we'd better hurry."
"Okay, thank you," Jeremy said. He laid her on the ground nearby Cthulhu Jr, and the squid watched his every movement.
After, Jeremy backed up.
"Don't thank me," Jr. said. "I never said I would protect her. If she just so happens to be in the area I'm guarding; then she gets guarded."
Jeremy smiled at Jr.'s roundabout way of saying he would keep her safe, for the most part.
We turned and walked away from the scene.
"You think he'll protect her?" Jeremy asked.
Before I could answer, Inicula spoke up, "If he's anything, he's a gentleman when it comes to women in distress. Don't worry; she's safe with him, even after his dad dies. He'll stick around to make sure she's safe; he may even try some medical care."
"He's a medic?" Jeremy gasped.
Inicula shrugged. "He knew a thing or two about medicine when we traveled with Clementine the Red. He bandaged and splinted her broken wrist."
"I didn't think he had it in him," I admitted. "He seems so cold and jaded."
"He wasn't like that when we traveled with Clementine. He was the life of the party, always happy, always joking...he was a really good guy back then."