Chapter 1.3

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The old man removed a pouch from inside his suit jacket and threw it on the table. It clinked dully. Jaggles snared it and removed a heavy gold coin. He bit into it.

"Thirty-five aurs," the old man said. "You won't need to count them."

"Like Eden I won't." Jaggles's head swivelled. "Come here you." You meant Ward. Jaggles had never quite warmed to calling Ward by his name.

Ward came over with two cups of blackleaf, which he put on the table.

"This is Mr Corvus," Jaggles said. "He'll be - taking care of you from now on."

Ward glanced at Corvus, but saw no expression on his face. He turned to Jaggles. "Am I leaving?"

"Oh yes."

Ward was not going to give Jaggles the pleasure of seeing his fear. "When do we leave?" he said to Corvus.

"Right -" Jaggles began.

"I wasn't asking you."

Jaggles was around the table in an instant, the back of his hand raised. Ward clenched his teeth - he knew from experience how hard those knuckles were.

"Sit down George," Corvus said softly.

Jaggles remained where he was, his hand raised, a look of pure hatred on his face.

"I said sit down." Something about the old man's voice sent a shiver up Ward's spine.

Jaggles grudgingly returned to his seat, muttering something about frying pans.

Corvus continued. "You have relinquished ownership of the boy. I won't have him mistreated. Now, unless you have anything more to say, the captain is waiting."

"We're going now?" Ward said.

"Unless you have something you need to do first?" Corvus said, giving him a searching look.

Ward's mind had gone to his treasures. How could he take them with him without this man knowing? And if they were discovered - no, they would have to stay where they were. "I guess I'm ready," he murmured.

"Very well," Corvus said, dismounting the stool with the help of his staff, which was taller than he was. "Do you have anything to say, George?"

Jaggles glanced at Ward. He looked as if he was about to say goodbye, then seemed to think better of it, and went into the kitchen. "Close the door on your way out," he said to the kitchen window. "I don't want to catch me death of cold."

  Roses are red,

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Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Vote now,

Or I'll electrocute you.

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