White Swan, Queen of Rogues

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Survival Instinct

By two-am, Humphrey woke. Something was wrong, and Humphrey felt it in his bones. Yes, he was a planner, but Humphrey also knew to trust his instinct, especially his survival instinct. He woke Virginia, who was not able to sleep deeply, and Roger, who needed a pitcher of water, over his head, to wake up.

Virginia did not question Humphrey at all, just grabbed her travel bag and stuffed her red outfit into it, the red dress in which she had spoken to Humphrey for the first time. Humphrey also packed some necessities and then Roger’s travel bag. They dressed warmly, with as much as they could stand, and then they heard it, marching feet surrounding their coachman. He informed on them and was showing the soldiers and the Bloody Lords guards where they were. Yes, from the coachman’s point of view, he had no loyalty to a couple of students, and the bounty was astronomical.

The Inn was large, and the soldiers would need a-time to search it, but they had to get out before it was surrounded. Virginia and Humphrey had stayed here before and knew of the Inn’s smugglers tunnel to the port and headed to it. They just closed the shelving behind which the door was when the Inn’s door splintered inward.

Their luggage would be delivered by the Inn to the Merry Scotsman, departing on the first tide this morning. It would sail to Aberdeen then on to Boston, as they originally planned to do. It was a stately four master with very comfortable quarters, and they were not in a hurry then. They had sailed with this ship once before, during their holidays, and explored Scotland and Irland, where they found an old distillery, and Humphrey purchased several dozen of their scotch and sent it back home.

They saw that the Flying Griffon was also awake and ready to make its way away with the tide. It was also a luxury ship for travelers and just happened to have a spacious cabin available for them. They took it, but Humphrey still had that uncomfortable feeling in his gut. Looking out, he saw a steamer with sails was preparing to depart now. The liner did not need to wait for the wind and tide to depart. They hurriedly disembarked, mostly unseen, and headed for the Sea Wolf and just made before the gangplank withdrew. In the distance, they heard running boots and shouting. Despite not knowing where it headed, they boarded the vessel then paid the captain a goodly sum for his and his first mate’s cabins.

By the time dawn broke, they were well away to Rotterdam, in the opposite direction to where they wanted to go. Looking back, despite this being a bad sign, they saw that the mouth of the River Thames was blocked, and two Man of Wars were chasing two boats, one of which was the one headed to Boston, the one they booked, and the one that had their luggage.

Oh well, although not planned, they made a round-the-world trip including Spain, Morocco, South Africa, Madagascar, all the way to Jakarta, up to Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, then a stopover in Honolulu and few other places in South America. Humphrey had wired home to tell his parents that they would be making the trip and asked if he could buy the vessel, as an investment, of course. They made the arrangement. It was the first of the ships that Humphrey purchased but was not the last. Eventually, they would sell all their ships in favor of investing in shipbuilding yards.

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