7.2

Yik anchored himself to a tree near the shore with the rope and waded out until the water got too deep. He struggled against the current a little and dipped under the water for a heart stopping moment before reaching the log on the upstream end. Vortran watched nervously from the shore as the girl latched onto his back and he kicked off of the log back towards shore. He made good progress at first but the current quickly began pulling them downstream. The tree he had anchored onto bent under the strain and they disappeared under the water again. Vortran scrambled to the tree and pulled on the rope, winding it around the trunk like a fishing line until and the girl struggled onto the shore. Both of them lay there for a moment, gasping and coughing, before Yik sat up and untied himself.

“Are you okay?” Vortran gathered the rope and hurried over to them.

“I would very much like to go be somewhere dry now.” Yik managed to wring water out of  his shirt and scowled a little.

“You okay to walk back with us, kid?” Vortran lent Yik a shoulder and he stood up.

“Mhmm…” She clutched at something under her now soaked shirt and started back in the direction of the broken ship. Vortran met her stride while Yik walked a little ahead of them. About halfway back to the ship Vortran realized the kid was periodically sneaking a look at her.

“Something wrong?” She asked finally, feeling a bit irritated at the attention.

“How do you know Misa?” Jessie moved a little closer to talk quietly.

“We’re… old friends. From before he found you.”

“Were you the Pascal in his stories? When he was scrapping ships with some friends?”

Vortran felt her heart skip a little and cleared her throat, “He… he talked about me?”

Jessie nodded silently but before Vortran could ask anything else they arrived at the clearing. Mark was sitting in the doorway looking miserable, and jumped up when he saw them.

“You found her! What happened?” Mark seemed to finally notice that Yik was soaked and muddy.

“I need to be dry now. Going inside.” Yik nudged him aside and went into the ship, spreading out in the hallway.

“Yik had to do a bit of a water rescue, and I think we all need some rest now.” Vortran failed to stifle a yawn and Jessie followed suit.

“I’m pretty sure it’s midday right now…” Mark looked up at the still cloudy side. The others ignored him, heading inside.

“You can sleep in my room if you want. Where’s Misa?” Jessie gestured for Vortran to follow as she tiptoed around Yik. Vortran hesitated and looked back at Mark.

“He’s um… in the cell room, taking a nap.” Mark said, scratching his head.

Jessie looked a little concerned at this but didn’t ask anything else, ducking into her room. After a moment’s hesitation Vortran followed her, leaving Mark alone in the hallway with an already asleep Yik.

***

Inside of her room Jessie found a large dry shirt to change into and climbed into the bed. Vortran sat down on the floor in the corner and shut her eyes, only to be pelted with a heavy blanket and several pillows.

“Mr. Calvin gave me lots of pillows so you don’t have to be uncomfortable.” Jessie shut off the light and disappeared under her own covers.

“Thanks…” Vortran curled up between the pillows and covered up completely with the blanket. It wasn’t as good as a proper burrow but she was too tired to mind and quickly fell asleep.

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