“Finally,” said Morrigan, as they came in sight of the bustling port. It had taken them the better part of a day to find the train tracks. It had taken them two more days to follow the tracks to their destination: the Port of New Market, on the edge of Lake Cimmerian.
Now the port loomed before them, with tall buildings and fish-scented air.
“We need to keep a low profile,” said Lorry, as they wove their way towards the ferry dock, “We have no idea where the Yellow Woman and her lackies are.”
Michael shivered. “Let’s hope they’re long gone.”
Lorry nodded and swallowed. The latest brush with the Yellow Woman had instilled a deep fear in his heart.
This trip had been a risk, a risk on which the fate of Castille hinged, but he had been willing to take it. For his mother, Lorry would go to the moon and back.
An extreme wariness had taken root in Lorry’s heart, and his eyes flitted back and forth, searching for a telltale flash of canary yellow.
He, Morrigan, and Michael slipped through the crowds towards the ferry dock as quickly as they could. The sooner they were on the boat to Orchen, the better.
Lorry hoped beyond hope that the Yellow Woman had crossed before them. He didn’t want a repeat of the train incident.
Lorry was startled from his revelry by the flash of a familiar face. “Uncle Eric?” Said Lorry.
“Something wrong, Lorry?” Asked Michael.
Lorry shook his head, “I thought I saw…Nevermind.”
They continued on towards the ferry, where they paid for tickets and boarded a rickety boat. Lorry and his friends found themselves a bench and settled down for the two hour boat ride. A few minutes later, the boat’s horn sounded, and the boat pulled out of the harbor.
Lorry closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the bench, letting the delicious sunlight wash over his face. Suddenly, the light was blocked out by something, “Well, Laurence, are you going to introduce me?”
Lorry opened his eyes, and his heart sank. Eric stared down at him. He did not look happy.
Morrigan and Michael looked at Lorry, confused.
“This is Morrigan and Michael,” said Lorry quietly, “Guys, this is my uncle, Eric.”
“Pleasure,” grunted Eric. He turned to Lorry, “When we get back to Applegate, you’re grounded. What were you thinking?”
“I was just…Mom,” said Lorry, eyes locked on the ground,“There’s a cure and-”
“I know about the cure,” said Eric, “That’s how I knew you would be heading to Orchen. You just could’ve asked me! I already had plans to send for it myself!”
Lorry would not meet Eric’s eyes, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see any other option.”
Eric pulled in a deep breath, obviously holding back a torrent of angry reprimands, “We’re already more than halfway to Orchen. We might as well get the cure while we’re there.”
Lorry looked at Eric, eyes wide with joy and relief, “Really?”
“No point in making two trips,” answered Eric gruffly. He sat down next to Lorry, “And don’t you ever run away again.”
Two hours later, they were standing on the dock at Orchen. Orchen was a large city, the largest Lorry had ever set foot in. Behind it loomed the Katiyan Mountain Range, tall and omnious, a silent giant set against a noisy city.
“Right then,” said Lorry, “You said something about a botanist, didn’t you, Morrigan?”
Morrigan nodded, “Yeah, Dr. Theodore Burnes. He’s the leading researcher on medicinal herbs. He basically wrote the book on them.”
“Several books, I believe,” replied Eric, “Let’s head to his lab.”
“So this guy’s your uncle?” hissed Michael, as they followed Eric through the streets. Lorry nodded, “He’s my mom’s brother, and my dad’s bodyguard.”
“If he’s your dad’s bodyguard, why isn’t he with your dad?” whispered Morrigan.
“My dad’s…” Lorry face fell, and his hand gripped at the Amulet beneath his shirt, “My dad’s been captured by the Yellow Woman. He shoved the Amulet into Eric’s hand, and distracted them long enough for him to escape. Eric really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.”
Michael put a hand on Lorry’s shoulder. “I’m sure your dad’s fine, Lorry.”
“We’re here,” said Eric, “Let’s just hope Dr. Burnes is in.”
The building before them was a ramshackle structure, half greenhouse, half building. Eric knocked on the door.
“GO AWAY!” yelled a voice from within.
“Dr. Burnes?” called Lorry, “We need to speak with you!”
The door was wretched open by a bedraggled man in a dirt stained lab coat. “I’ve got no time for salesmen. Go away, and bother some other hapless homeowner.”
He was about to shut the door, but Eric held it open, “We’re not salesmen. We’re here to talk about the cure for Beggar’s Sickness.”
“Are you now?” said Dr. Burnes, throwing open the door, “Then come in! Come in! We have much to discuss.”
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