ii) Fassn’s stomach rumbles but it isn’t that which rocks the boat

Fassn’s stomach rumbles but it isn’t that which rocks the boat. The water around the shallow-bottomed craft ripples a moment before a heavy thud impacts the paddle boat, throwing off the balance of the gang within.

Fassn continues snoozing as though he’s unaware, but Shyan, Cang and Abia take notice. They each sit upright and scan the waters. “What was that?” Shyan murmurs.

Another thud, this time more violently. The gang is a ways from the coastline and exhausted from over a day’s paddling already, and the meagre meals that have sustained them. The paddle boat slaps the water in protest as it tries to right itself. Ripples on the surface presage another blow to the craft.

“Water jumpers,” Abia says. She says something to the water in her native tongue, but only a moment later another thump, this the biggest yet. Even Fassn is awake now, muttering about his wings, how they would help in a situation like this.

With another thump, Shyan loses hold of her paddle, watches as it drifts away. The thumping continues, faster now, and harder.

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