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   Chapter 6 No.6

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5584

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Ugh, I feel disgusting, " she said, hurrying out of the last roughly hewn tunnel and into the locker room.

"Well, you'll have to feel disgusting a bit longer if you want to make it to the market on time. We've got to leave now, no time to shower, " Drew warned. He checked the clock and quickly emptied his locker into a bag.

"I suppose I can bring my clothes and get changed when I go home. We'll be done before the sun is up; there shouldn't be too many people to offend with my ripeness."

"And just think of the wonders you'll be bringing with you! Which reminds me. Don't forget to bring something to trade."

She nodded and hastily grabbed a few bags of salt and a brooch she'd left in her locker months ago. After a moment of thought, she grabbed a large coil box and two smaller ones. The prospective payments were loaded into a bag and thrown over her shoulder. With that they made their way quickly to the pier a few streets away, where Drew's brother Linus waited in the early morning fog.

The boat was anything but impressive, a simple, flat skiff. It had two large paddlewheels on the side for propelling and steering, and a sputtering boiler to power them occupied the rear. Being a Calderan vessel, however, it was painted with bright, cheery colors in an intricate scheme and had a figurehead carved with skill to resemble a barracuda. The side proudly proclaimed it to be The Triumph.

"Any later and I'd have left without you, " Linus said, flipping open a pocket watch and leaning close to the yellow flame of the boat's oil lamp.

"You'd have wasted your time then, because you don't know today's password. Now let's get on with it befor

th a single cluster sticking out of the back. Where it departed from the pirate ship motif was the piping, which jutted out of and into the hull with little rhyme or reason, and here and there escaping steam hissed and spat. Black smoke huffed out the back of the ship from three soot-covered metal chimneys. Thick black rubber hoses ran up a wooden runner from the deck to the central band of the sack, leading one by one to the nacelles.

Directly below the ship, a small dinghy hung attached to it by a pair of slackened chains. In the dinghy was a mound of sacks and chests and a young man, who, in the process of relieving himself off the opposite side, had his back to the approaching skiff. The man whistled to himself and, based on the trajectory, was attempting to amuse himself by creating as high an arc as possible. Linus gave the steam whistle a quick pull, startling the young man into what was nearly a messy conclusion to his little interlude.

"Well, that wasn't a very neighborly thing to do to a fella!" called out the young man once he'd managed to finish up and make himself decent again.

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