The Flight and the Pursuit 2 Ch. 5
Crossing the Strait of Yuon
Vars stayed in the assassin’s hut for two days, healing up. The various inhabitants of Neutral Territory came to meet him. Vars also was able to get a better look at the hut. It was really just a sub-par yurt, there was no felt or animal skin covering the wall(it was a round building so it only had one wall), the poles that made-up the wall were in a simple arrangement rather than the more proper lattice arrangement on most, and the roof was beginning to fail in some spots.
Other then observing the yurt he also was beginning to wonder how he would go about crossing the border of Neutral Territory and then crossing the Strait of Yuon. Other then Neutral Territory Zark owned all the land on its continent. It was separated from the rest of the world by the Strait of Yuon. It was named by the first king of Zark, in his own honor, over nine hundred years ago, back before it became an empire nation one hundred years ago.
The U.C. was also very stringent on the crossings of the strait. Only merchants or officials with very special passes could use the strait, and for official purposes only. Anyone caught breaking these laws is tortured for two days and then killed. They also had ships patrolling the strait at all times. Needless to say it was very risky even considering it.
On the third morning Vars hobbled out of the yurt on a cane a visitor had whittled for him. The whole area was a cross between a plain and a savannah, and very rocky as well. Those two guards were still there, eerily watching his every move. He gave them a wave and slowly hobbled to the shore. Not but twenty miles away sat Arick, the world’s second largest free country. Jift, its capitol, was in view. Ship after ship in line in the dock sat waiting to set sail. Then Vars went wide-eyed when he saw the Cattivo Pugnale make harbor.
"Crap!" he shouted aloud.
"Do you always randomly shout words out loud, or is that just a special thing you do while I’m around?" the assassin said beside him.
"Holy crap! Don’t do that!"
"What’s wrong anyway?"
"That," he said pointing at the ship.
"So, what’s wrong with it?"
"That is the fastest ship, in Zark. If it’s there that means they’re trying to get the warrant approved. I have to get out of here now."
"Calm down. I got us a way across the strait. A friend owed me a favor for doing a job for him."
"Two hours. At our dock, right down there," he pointed at a little wooden structure that only had five planks of wood out of twenty left.
"I honestly thought that was another yurt."
"Fine, I’ll get the whiskey."
"And my pad. Thanks," the assassin laid down and relaxed as Vars slipped back to the yurt.
Two hours went by and a ship came to the dock. A rather corpulent man came off the medium sized shipping boat. He had a grey stained brown goatee and hazel eyes to match.
"I do hope this means we are finally even," he casually said to the assassin.
"We will have to get back eventually, so no."
"Fair enough. Now you two need to get in this," he pointed at a large brown crate for cargo with some scattered holes here and there.
They quickly loaded up and were sailing in no time. What little breeze Vars could catch through his tiny air hole felt wonderful after being stuck in a crummy yurt for two days straight.
"Good tidings," the man yelled at the crate, "I say we make Jift in two hours."
"Great, I’m stuck in a tiny dark space with an assassin. I could think of way better ways of crossing the strait, or at least better for me."
"Relax, I won’t hurt you, much."
"You do realize we’ll have to go through Calma, right?" Vars questioned.
"Yes, I do. But this was inevitable. Besides, I’ve got a plan."
"What if it doesn’t work?"
"Well, we’ll be tortured for two weeks, have our appendages cut off, and then be fed alive to the eighteen-foot-long swamp croc. So let’s just hope it works."
The boat slowed down and then stopped suddenly. "Has it really been two hours already?"
"No," a deckhand nearby whispered. "The strait patrol has stopped us for a search."
"Crap!" Vars reached for his knife and met the assassin’s hand.
"Don’t. Just wait and see what will happen."
"Captain, I trust you have your Trader’s Pass, correct?" a scrawny little man with two gigantically muscular people behind him said.
"Why yes, of course. Here it is," he produced a little, torn silver rectangular slip of parchment.
"All Right, but I want to look at your cargo, with my own eyes. We’ll start with that extremely large one there," he pointed right at Vars and the assassin.
Light flooded in through the back as the crate was opened by the deckhand.
"Out. NOW." They quickly scrambled out, but forgot the whiskey.
The checker opened the front and found the lone bottle. He picked it up and took a swig then immediately spit it out everywhere. "What is this, moonshine whiskey?" he said to the captain.
"Not supposed to be, but companies are using lower grade ingredients to make their beverages. I can’t help it."
"Fine. C’mon let’s leave before I find anymore disgraceful whiskey." He tossed the glass bottle back at the crate. Vars reached around and speedily grabbed it. The checker turned after not hearing it shatter, looked around like a paranoid person, and left the ship for his own.
"Okay, let’s please get to Jift. I don’t like the sea," Vars bemoaned.