“Crutches. At least until the unguent comes out as it went in.”
The little sticky pot was a vicious purple unlike any plant or animal he had ever seen. Another of the chemist’s meddlings in areas he shouldn’t, now he was changing our colours.
“Thank you.” The paste wouldn’t be wiped off, even on the course hemp waistcoat his mother had sent him (a good, honest, red), just spreading and darkening a patch. He would have to burn it when he got back to the trench, the fellows would appreciate the fuel.
“Shouldn’t you be going? I can hear the guns firing again and you know the Cardinal doe not think highly of dilly-dalliers, you might find yourself and my precious mixture out on the bore fields probing for flexers. We don’t want that.”
The soldier caught a response in the back of his throat and swallowed it down. The Pope’s pets were owed vicarious reverence still and he spoke with an infuriating accuracy. And so he picked himself up on his new legs and hobbled out of the tent. The chemist had already returned to his valves and retorts.

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