Research (Chapter 34)
I don’t know how to express my disappointment. Disappointment that I didn’t get to pick my own partner. Disappointment that my partner isn’t interested in my presence. Disappointment that he has a lover. Disappointment that I haven’t managed to convince Henik to take me back. Disappointment that I hadn’t managed to escape.
Disappointment that I’m not upset that I haven’t been unsuccessful.
I hate myself for the last one. It’s been a week since the dinner with Mr. Hertilz and really I have become too comfortable. Has the easy life gotten to me already? I mean, what have I done to try to get back to earth? Sure I quietly asked the brainwashed Elena and yeah, I badgered Henik, but honestly that wasn’t a real attempt. Why would the man who in many ways was responsible for my current predicament help me escape from his own relative?
No, no I need to try something actually risky- an actual attempt at escape instead of being the wimp I always was.
The only problem- I still have no idea what to do. It’s pathetic really. I really am made for a soft life of pouring over old documents in the basement of a museum, not a life of action.
So I have decided to do what I do best- look at documents.
Thus I have spent most of the beautifully sunny morning in the library looking through books instead of going to the market as Sean had suggested earlier. He had found me an hour ago with books thrown about the room, some open, some acting as placeholders for others, books on the couch, books on the floor, and books on the liquor tray. The last one making me glad it wasn’t Giddean that came to check on me.
I am just happy Sean didn’t say anything sarcastic; he is such a grumpy bugger. Instead he looked around the room, made his suggestion, and then stocked off with a frown when he heard my negative response. Maybe we shall become great friends after all.
My research, as I have come to call it, has been both fruitful and unsatisfactory. I mean, I’ve really learned a fair amount about Haringshude that I didn’t know before so I suppose that it good, but I am no closer to an escape plan than I was three hours ago when I walked into this room. I don’t know what I was expecting, ‘How to escape alien planets for dummies’?
So now I sit on the cool leather couch with a book that is so large is it tittering on falling off my lap and onto the floor. The pages before me are open to map of the areas surrounding Haringshude. My reasoning is that if I know what surrounds the city I will know where to go in an escape attempt.
I stare long and hard at it. My fingers cross the smooth glossy page, trying to figure out what it was trying to tell me. To the north and north-east of Haringshude is a forest that eventually leads to a mountain range. To the south-west side of the city is a bay that leads to a large body of water called the Vonox Sea. The entire east and south-east side of the city borders on a plain with a large river running through it.
I suppose if I were escape through the forest I would be better hidden from anybody trying to look for me. Then again, I mean, I’m not at all familiar with the flora or fauna of this planet. I’d probably immediately walk through some poisonous plant or get bitten by some strange animal.
I could also escape through the plain, follow the river. The map clearly shows a few villages and houses, maybe I could take some coins with me and buy some food or steal it if I had to. Although, surely anyone looking for me would find me easily with there being little cover for me to hide. It seems like the most obvious route.
I’m not sure what my end game is. Get to Fushaga and force them to take me on one of their spaceships back to earth? I have no weapon with which to force them. Even then, the second I fall asleep on the week journey back to earth they will tie me up and back to Pinn I would go…
“I recommend going through the Speicher Valley, the forest is too unpredictable”
I jump so high that I knock the book off my lap and onto the floor.
“Wha- what?” I exclaim as I turn around to see the Captain with his signature smirk leaning over my shoulder. He straightens up, still smiling. How he managed to sneak in here without me noticing I don’t understand.
My shocked doesn’t seem to bother him, but rather seems to embolden him. He almost hops around and drops on the couch, grabbing my book from the floor as he does so. Flipping through a few pages, he settles on a map that shows a larger area than the one I had been examining.
“If you can get past the city gates, head through here” He points along the valley I had been considering, “follow the river, but go around Inhude, its too close.”
His finger continues along the river until it stops at a town, “Here, this is the first town not closely allied with Haringshude. It will be harder for Giddean to get to you.”
“I’ll never make it that far.” I squeak. It is too far; surely I would be caught before then.
“It’s your best bet.” He continues ignoring me, “Maybe wear some of James’ clothes and cut your hair, it’ll be big on you but nobody will care. You can say you ran away from home… yes a boy that ran from home. A boy can get a small job somewhere”
I want to ask why he is helping me, but I don’t question good advice. If it is good advice…
He smiles his charming smile at me like he solved my problems in one go.
“Thanks” I say quietly like he answered everything.
“So, why do you want to leave? Secret lover?”