Shot to the Truth
The Claxton bell was ringing its head off but there was nobody in the corridor, as Alek jogged over to a gut hatch and peeked out to see what the commotion was all about. The whine of engines pierced the air and Alek understood that they were ambushed by aeroplanes.
"Bumsen!" Alek cried, and listened closer. There was something missing from the usual sounds the Leviathan made but Alek couldn't understand what... Then it hit him.
"Dummkopf!" yelled Alek and began to climb up toward the engines, "Of course they would aim for the engines you idiot, the engines are the airships most important way of traveling! The clankers should know that by now from the sultan in the Ottoman empire!" Alek climbed faster reaching the walker cabin, and peeked in to see what the problem was. What met his eyes was beyond what he imagined; Klopp was unconscious and Mr. Hirst was tending to him.
"Mr. Hirst, what happened here?" Alek yelled.
"The god damn German's snuck up on us without warning and shot at our engines. Thankfully they missed and Klopp played an excellent dead engine but one of them managed to shoot him down! I don't know if he can make it from the injuries he had from the Ottoman Empire. Your highness, can you start up the engines and go check on the other side because we don't have any information about what is happening there! Also go look for a surgeon and bring him here to take care of Klopp!"
Alek climbed in and got to work immediately checking if anything was damaged but it seemed like Mr. Hirst was telling the truth. Alek went and turned the key to start the engines up, hoping nothing would go wrong. The engines spluttered a bit but slowly caught and the propeller started to slowly move again.
"Mr. Hirst, I believe you can pilot this engine by now, after watching us for so long. Can I count on you?" Alek shouted.
Mr. Hirst looked worried for a fraction of a second but then it was replaced with a determined face, "You can count on me, your highness."
Alek nodded and grabbed a rope- that is a ratline you dummkopf! Deryn's voice admonished him- and began to climb up onto the spine of the whale to check the position of the other side. Suddenly a violent lurch to the side and Alek almost lost his grip on the ratline.
"What is Hirst doing? Has he gone completely mad down there?" Alek thought and looked down at the engine cabin. It looked like everything was fine down there with the man slowly turning the whale around. Alek shrugged and looked up towards the spine to see if there was anyone familiar that he could ask for a surgeon. He saw two familiar looking teetering boys on the forehead -that's the bow- of the whale. Alek squinted to make out who they were and whistled with surprise; those boys were Dylan and Newkirk with Rigby far ahead of them. Alek yelled at them for help but they didn't seem to hear him so Alek climbed closer-
That's when the second violent lurch came and Alek lost grip of the ratline with one hand. Dangling in the air with one hand gripping the ratline he watched as the boys pitched head first from the bow down into the air.
"No!" shouted Alek and pulled up to grab the ratline with his other hand and started to crawl up to see if they were fine. Once he got there he saw Newkirk, as pale as a ghost, holding on for dear life to a ratline, while Dylan was just hanging there head down to the ocean, unconscious. Alek approached Newkirk but he gave a squeak of fright and passed out right in front of his highness. Aleksandar shook his head with scorn at Newkirk, and crawled down to see how he could unhitch those two. Surprised that they were connected by only a simple clip, he grabbed Deryn by the waist and hauled her up on his shoulder and unclipped her from the idiot Newkirk. Alek started to climb up and was amazed that Dylan weighed so little and was smaller than he previously thought he was. While adjusting Dylan on his shoulder so that he was comfortable climbing up, Alek noticed that his side was wet. Deciding that he'd check what it was, he crawled up onto the bow of the airship. Unloading Dylan from his shoulder he noticed that what wetness he felt was blood. Alek paled and looked around to see if there was anyone who could help him with Dylan, but he found no one. Trembling he understood it was up to him to take care of Dylan, he tore open Dylan's suit and almost fainted at what he saw underneath.
"God's wounds" Alek breathed seeing the big secret Dylan- no, he had no idea what to call her now- had kept from him for so long. At first Alek was furious at her for keeping a secret this big from him when he had shared all of his secrets to her. Then Alek looked at her again and noticed how fragile she looked and weak from the loss of blood, and understood that now wasn't the time to stay mad at her while she was dying. Alek tore his "imperial" travel robes and tightly wrapped it around her wound as to stop the bleeding. Then he stopped to think at what his next action would be, because he knew he couldn't let the surgeons find out or else her job as an airman would be over but he couldn't nurse her back to health either. Suddenly he got an idea, a brilliant idea to whom he could bring "Dylan" to. Alek gently took her frail body in his arms and walked down into the Leviathan's gut.
END OF CHAPTER 3