v) The gang paddles out from the water’s edge

The gang paddles out from the water’s edge, leaving the fisherman standing with his pole. He shouts, “Thieves, thieves,” and chases them. Others, alerted by the noise, come to look. Fingers point at the small boat splashing madly along the coast. It’s moving very slowly.

“We’ve gotta drop some weight,” Fassn says.

“Get outta my boat,” the fisherman calls.

“We have no weight to drop,” Shyan replies.

“It ain’t yours,” says the fisherman.

“Cang?” Fassn offers.

“I shall gladly kick you back into the water, if that is your intention,” Cang says.

Fassn squeezes the water out of his beard.

As the boat passes under an arched, stone bridge, some peasants upon it begin dropping rocks and sticks down upon the gang. Their riotous voices are alarming. Many are chanting “thieves,” which, while disparaging, is entirely accurate.

Aside from a few bruises, the team thrashes past the bridge and heads north, away from the town. Shyan looks back as the sun burns mist from the water. Seems the whole town is arrayed against them, shaking sticks, throwing rocks, shouting epithets. “Well,” she says. “One more place we can never come back to.”

iii) As the elderly fisherman awakes

As the elderly fisherman awakes from his dozing, Cang slips the paddle boat loose of its moorings. He climbs in and waits for the rest to do the same.

Stepping over the lip of the boat, Fassn catches the curled toe of his boot and tumbles forward, spinning his arms helplessly as he falls into the boat. Cang is thrown overboard, and splashes into the water.

This is enough to wake the dozing fisherman, who regards them all with surprise and confusion. “Who,” he sputters. “What’cha’ll doin’ with my boat?”

Shyan approaches the fisherman while Fassn and Abia struggle to extricate Cang from the water. When he plants his feet on the shore once more, he turns and pushes Fassn in, too. Rather than be upset, he starts to casually float upon his back, making short circles in the sea. “This is great,” he calls out to no one in particular.

“We’re taking your boat, sir,” Shyan says. “Sorry about that,” she adds, as she hops in.