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   Chapter 16 Rayko

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12430

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

Daniel did not drop the suitcases. Brinno and Bilk arrived just in time and took them from his hands.

"Carry the young lady up to deck." Daniel repeated the words and knew he was not helping his situation. "Of course."

"Are your hands clean?" Miss Dandra ko Galem asked.

"They are, Miss, " Daniel said. "Now, if you allow me..." He lifted her up in his arms, ignoring the little squeal she let out as it happened.

"Do be careful with my dress, " she said, "it costs more than you earn in a year."

Daniel did not respond. He walked towards the ship and seriously thought about how it would be to dump her in the water of the harbour. As he carried the woman upwards, she kept warning him what he had to be careful of, and where and what to watch.

"And don't drop me. We are up scarily high!"

"Don't worry, miss, I've been up this ship many times. I know my way around here."

"My father told me you are not a proper sailor, sir, so I will worry if and when I choose to, thank you very much."

Daniel suppressed a sigh of relief when finally he could put the woman on her feet. He just knew she would have problems with her footwear on the ship too. He also thought she should eat more, she was much too light.

Brinno and Bilk came up with suitcases. And boxes. Ulaman and Xandree were right behind them, and Xandree steered the young woman to the staircase that would bring her below deck. Daniel frowned. She did not seem to have problems walking here.

"More suitcases there, I guess?" he asked the skipper, who nodded. "Of course..."


Gaguran Slindris had made sure all the carriages returned to wherever they came from, riding in one of them. All the luggage was loaded and stowed. Another carriage had arrived, with a special assortment of food that should be served during the trip, and a cook.

Draiky, a calm person most always, had become very hostile when she heard she would have to share her galley with the strange cook. "If he so much as smears something on the stove in my caboose, " she threatened, "I'm using his face to wipe it off."

After setting that straight, everything was ready for departure. The hawsers were released and brought in. The men had set a minimal sail as there was quite some wind, and the Pricosine moved away from the quay. Daniel was on the bridge, walking around to keep an eye on everything, Ulaman happily yelled commands into the tube, sailors on deck ran to follow them. Lidrin muttered something about the rudder and then they set course for open sea.

The first few hours the entire crew was working hard. Variations in sails were made, the new sail was severely tested as the wind was so favourable. Daniel wondered where the Dandra princess was, when suddenly he saw a yellow and beige spot at the far end of the boat, near the stern. His electronic eye made it easy to identify her.

"Our guest has drifted off to the stern, Ulaman. I'll go bring her back, " Daniel said.

The captain nodded. "Keep an eye on her, Daniel. The Seigner will have our necks if something happens to her."

Daniel left the bridge and walked down the length of the ship, to find miss Dandra ko Galem leaning against the side of the ship. Her dress flapped about her as a tempered flag, her hair was flying in the wind. She did not hear him approach, so he said: "Miss Dandra ko Galem."

She looked at him. "Oh. It's you again." Then she turned her head back towards the water.

"Will you please come back with me, miss, " Daniel said. "It is not all that safe here."

"It is nice here, " she said. "The wind feels nice."

"Miss, I would really appreciate it if you were coming with me. The wind here can be treacherous."

The woman turned

ike white seals who jumped up from the water like dolphins or floated around like otters.

Ulaman noticed that both stopped laughing as soon as they noticed the other one was laughing as well and wondered about that.

Then, after a while, their attention was drawn to a large bulk that moved through the water. It looked like a big rock, lacking its habit to sink.

"What is that?" Rayko asked as she pointed at the thing.

"That, Miss Dandra ko Galem, is a Fringy. It is a kind of fish, but it never leaves the surface. Nobody knows where they came from. Nobody knows what they live on. They seem to be fairly gentle, except when they are in the mating season."

Rayko's face coloured. "I see."

They spent another half hour discovering animals. Then Daniel said he was going to make his round again and quickly paced off.

Rayko relaxed a bit as the man left. She wondered why she had become so tensed up with Mr. Zacharias around...

Daniel had laid down for a nap. He was going to do a night watch again. As he woke up he stared through the porthole, looking at the stars. and thought of his sister Cynthia. Now there was a smart kid. Never got married, as far as he knew, free as a bird, like himself. No kids, as far as he knew, just like himself. Maybe he should write to Cynthia someday. There were too many 'as far as he knews' in that last thought. From his sister his thoughts crawled over to this brother. Married, two children, and not a single moment of his life unplanned or disorganised.

The man on the bed shook his head slightly. That could not be a life. Life without freedom and adventure, it was unimaginable for him. The idea of being married... to whom, he wondered. He knew hardly any women. Rhonda was not the kind to marry and settle down either. Too much of a free spirit. And the women he had seen in Skarak and the other places he had been were not candidate material for someone like himself. He tried to recall some of them. He grinned at some of the memories. And then somehow the Seigner's daughter popped into his head and that had all the properties to make his skin crawl. But Bactine skin did not crawl.

As a little worry started gnawing at him, asking if this life was really what he wanted, he got up to shake off that thought. He did not want to deal with that now. There was a night shift waiting for him, and the certainty that the spoilt girl was put away in her bed was a comforting thing. He would not run into her.

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