Underby was gathering bottles of Ravilian wine when he first heard the commotion in the main room of the Bucket of Blood, he assumed that Rusty had returned to town and continued to gather bottles he had no personal interest in keeping for himself. The door swung open and Bib rushed in, looking deeply alarmed – an expression Underby had seen on his face only twice. And those two occasions were minor slices of hell. Underby stood, dropping two bottles.
“Boss, you better get out here. It’s mayhem.” Bib said.
Underby rushed to the door, and without thinking ducked just in time to miss being brained by a large chunky pint mug. It smashed against the wall behind him, nicking the back of his head with a hunk of class the size of a curled finger. “What happened?” Underby called to Bib.
“Nothin, far’s I kin see. Jes started up, outter nowheres.”
Underby swallowed, watching tables and chairs being smashed, the portrait of Phaedra which hung above the mantle was now sitting in the flames below, bubbling and curling up black. Posters were being ripped from the walls… he couldn’t even recognize individuals, apart from little Lo dodging legs, and Phaedra running for the front door. It was utter pandemonium.
Underby looked at Bib briefly. Bib looked back, nodded once, then Underby crept back into the secret room, closed the door and locked it. The noise on the other side was only slightly muffled. He looked up at the ceiling, and thought he could hear the foundations of the whole building squeaking. Or, were the foundations laughing? Why had he agreed to give housing to the horrid beast, just when things were starting to go right for him here? He was engineering his escape, no two ways about it. Why hadn’t the Clockwinder heeded his warnings and gotten rid of that damned room?
Underby looked up at the ceiling and shouted hoarsely: “You rotten son of a bitch! Have it! I give up!”
The only response was dust floating down into his eyes from the rafters above. He sighed.
Underby pulled up a flagstone from the floor, took a small worn black trunk from within, and paused looking down at it. He blinked, as he thought of all the plans he had for New Babbage. Soon it would be a smoking ruin, he knew it. The wise knew when to flee while it is still possible. Perhaps someone would foil him, as he was foiled in the summer… perhaps… but Underby wasn’t about to wait around to find out. He stood and crept to the small doorway leading to the sewer system. Surely there would be a train leaving town soon, there always is… it doesn’t matter where. Anywhere but here.