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   Chapter 38 Win one, lose one

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 11939

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Over the days that followed, they made a few attempts using a stick and a hook to get to the flying cable. They all failed, the only result one of the sticks falling down.

"Leave it, " Daniel said. "I don't want anyone going down after that stick. We'll just have to be careful and pray that no other cable snaps." It worried him that they were flying so high up to catch the proper wind. A problem here, at over nine hundred feet high, would immediately turn into a disaster. Also, nobody had thought of bringing thick clothes and more blankets, and the air temperature up there was uncomfortable. Daniel, and also Tomlin, had not considered that. Their experience did not cover those things.

Shivering, Aldrick and the skipper were conferring about their course. Following the coast line was their safest bet. Going over sea was the shortest route, but the idea of flying at this altitude with nothing but water underneath, with so many people on board, and the problem with one of the floaters, gave safety right of way.

Sitting at the bow Daniel looked down. He saw some ships sailing far below. Ulaman and Stroro, who had by now recovered enough, sat next to him. "Wind's wrong down there, " Daniel remarked.

Ulaman nodded. "Yes." He put his handless arm on Daniel's shoulder. "I don't know how to thank you, Daniel."

"No need to, Ulaman, " Daniel said. "I had to do this. Anyone would have."

Ulaman's silence could mean anything.

"Still, you did it, and you got us out of there, " Stroro filled in. "We all owe you our lives."

"Let's first see about getting home, " Daniel said. "We're not there yet." He looked to where Xandree was taking care of two sailors who had gone feverish. These two, and the ones most badly hurt, had been put as close to the steam cylinder as possible. They had even taken some of the cabin around it apart, to make the warmth easier accessible. The others on the airship took turns near the hot engine.

"Daniel?" Aldrick half askingly said.

Daniel got up. "Yes?"

"I think the skipper is not well..." Aldrick pointed at the man who was lying on the floor.

Daniel hurried over to the man, who did not react to calling, shaking or splashes of water. That was the last thing they needed. "Do you know where we are?" Daniel asked Aldrick, as Abnezer and Stroro put the skipper somewhere out of the way. One more patient for Xandree to watch over, he thought wryly.

"He was just explaining that to me, " Aldrick said. The look on his face already told Daniel the bad news. "But before he could point it out, he collapsed."

Daniel closed his eyes for a moment. Not that too. "Ulaman, can you come over here?"

The big man, holding on to the lines with his remaining hand and avoiding to look down, came to the cabin.

"Can you tell where we are?"

Ulaman carefully looked around and then at the map. He muttered something, looked a few times more and then shook his head. "I'm sorry, Daniel. I can't make this out. Air navigation is not the same. Things look wrong."

The coast line, far below, was a long straight line. Trouble was that the coast line on the map contained many straight lines. They could be over any one of those.

"Aldrick, when did you last see a large town?" Daniel asked.

The man looked surprised and lost. "Uhm... I didn't really pay attention... I'm sorry."

Daniel looked around. "I want everyone who can look from his or her eyes, to look out for the next town. We have to get down, and near a town is the only option that we get anywhere. Once we are-"

"Daniel, you m

s to Skarak.

-=-=-

Tomlin used his hydger to inform some people they were coming in, once they were in range to connect. Daniel, in that time, was talking to Seigner Waldo Skinsh ko Talush, the president of the Ship Owner Society, to inform him about the rescued people from the Pricosine.

Aldrick had decided to land the airship outside the harbour again and sail in, like they had done in Boragov.

A strip in the harbour had been cleared for them. There were many people present, many of them family members of the sailors. The news of their arrival had spread like wildfire.

Daniel smiled as he spotted a tiny woman with white hair among the masses. He touched Draiky's shoulder for a moment and was rewarded with a hug and a big smile.

The airship moored at a spot where several policemen had cleared a large area. After that, everyone left the small ship. It bore the signs of being home to so many people for many days. The sick were carefully brought ashore and taken away to the hospital for a proper check-up and treatment. There were reporters of the newspapers. Seigner Skinsh ko Talush had a speech prepared, and all eyes and ears were his as he spoke. Clelem Dandra ko Galem was there, with his son Warlem. Clelem mingled with the people of the crew, but for unspoken reasons he ignored Daniel.

Before he could approach the owner of the Pricosine, Daniel was called to the front by Skinsh ko Talush. He was awarded an honorary title that did not mean much to him. As soon as he could, he retreated to the back of the crowd, where he found a spot to sit. He had never felt so tired. He had not allowed himself sleep aboard the airship, almost feeling bad to discover when he had nodded off. He'd see to Clelem later-

"Daniel..." a soft voice said. Daniel recognised it without looking.

"Warlem."

"You did the amazing, Daniel. The impossible. And with such style. I hate to trouble you, but I do need to speak with you, " said the young man.

There was an urgency in his voice that Daniel could not resist. He got up. "Okay. Where? Here?"

Warlem shook his head. "No. Too public."

Daniel nodded. "Give me a moment." He went to where Tomlin, Aldrick and the Skipper were standing, told them he was leaving quietly and returned to where Warlem was waiting.

They walked off, to a carriage, Daniel wondering what this would be all about.

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