Chapter Seven

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1868, Fraysner's Harbour

Adelyn woke just in time to see the sun's rays peak out from behind the mountains. She was surprised—usually she was awake far earlier than that.

She made quick work of pulling her shoes onto her feet, once again being careful not to wake the two girls that snored across the room. When she pulled the bag she'd hidden under her blanket out and onto her shoulders, she let out a sigh. Nerves were pricking at her skin with every step she took through the house. They were screaming at her, telling her not to go.

On her hand, the burn throbbed from beneath the bandage. Over the night, it had made the covering damp and uncomfortable. Before she left the house, she peeled it off her skin and tossed it into the trash. The wound didn't look as though it'd gotten any better as she slept.

Adelyn made it out onto the street without waking anyone inside. She kept her head down while she walked. She had all her money and trinkets tucked away, deep in the bag on her back, and she felt anything but comfortable walking the streets with that much coin on her person.

The port was bustling with sailors and shipments. Harlem was there somewhre, working. Adelyn worried he might look up and notice her walking, but no matter how hard she searched, she couldn't find him in the group that worked on the pier. She stopped just next to the steel bridge that connected the streets to the docks, leaning against the post with her back to the water.

When the sun had completely risen from behind the mountain, Adelyn began to wonder if she would have enough time to run. The nerves had gotten to her, and she'd played through several awful scenario's in her mind while she stood there waiting for the pirate she'd promised to meet. She thought of wind storms that could tip the ship over, and fish the size of houses that could be waiting for her to fall to the ocean.

The furthest Adelyn had ever been out at sea was when her and Harlem had gone swimming, and even then she'd been too afraid to go much farther than her waist. She wasn't sure she would be able to handle however long she was about to be at sea for—at least, not with her sanity in tact.

And then, forgetting the disasters that the sea had to offer, there were also the pirates to think about. There was a reason they scared everyone in the harbour. Adelyn had heard every story and bit of gossip that went around about the pirates, and half of them made her skin crawl. She wasn't sure if Nik's crew would be much like the one's she'd heard people talk about, but she had no reason to think they wouldn't be, either.

Just as Adelyn was considering running back down the street she'd came down, she spotted Nik as he stepped out of the Rat's Den tavern, a grin on his face. His steps were straight, but the way he held his head wasn't right. Adelyn wondered exactly how many drinks he'd had while he'd been in there.

"Adelyn," he said as he approached. His eyes drifted up to the sky above her head. "Right on time."

"Early, actually." She corrected. She hated the way her voice had shaken, but she ignored it. She had a right to be afraid.

Nik reached forward and took her bag from her hands, slinging it around his own shoulders. The pink fabric looked strange next to his black clothing, but Adelyn didn't comment on it. She wondered if the girl she'd stolen it from would miss it.

"Let's go, then, shall we?" Nik said, leading the way. Adelyn was surprised to see they were not heading onto the docs, but rather back towards the city.

She frowned, keeping on the pirate's heels as he walked. His pace was swift, and his legs were longer than hers, but she kept up. "Where are we going? Are we not getting on a boat?"

"Of course we are," he laughed. "Do you intend to swim across the Dawrey Ocean?"

"Well, no," Adelyn said, annoyed by his mocking tone. She decided she didn't like him much when he had drinks in him. "I just meant the docs are that way, and we are going this way."

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