Stowaway, 106

“If you ask me,” said Pax, whom nobody had asked, “the Clan of Kozna’s plan had too many steps, was unnecessarily complicated and was poorly explained overall.”

“Since we’re still here to talk about it,” Jacob said, cleaning one of his knives. “I guess so.”

“I know so.” Pax did know. “Why did they summon their god in the tower using a sacrifice ritual that was powered by deaths occurring in the harbour? Why was there a second ritual to bind the god to this world, which was taking place underneath a church a half kilometre away from both those places? All of these different rituals could easily have been one ritual that took place in one place.”

“Maybe they thought splitting it up would make it harder for people to stop?” Cyrus asked. He’d been writing something for a few minutes, which Pax supposed was probably a letter to Klaus. This seemed wholly unnecessary since Klaus was doubtless present in Narwhal Junction, being that he was omnipresent and Narwhal Junction was included in the realm of omni, which was the name of a large jellyfish that had long ago consumed the world, including its northernmost continent.

Stowaway, 105

There were rather a lot of people fleeing the vicinity of the tower, which was probably because clouds were swirling above it and also it was glowing a little bit, which in Pax’s personal experience, towers didn’t usually do unless something was rather impressively wrong.

The tower was glowing blue, which created a striking and unique visual against the orange sky. Pax considered it for a moment. “So,” he said. “We know the torture cult is headquartered here. We also know the spell circle that was transcribed as a number puzzle on an abandoned Enjoni ship is carved on the ceiling of a secret sex room behind the governor’s office. We know the torture cult is trying to summon their evil torture god. And we know the general rules of reality, such as the sky being blue and towers not glowing blue, are not currently functioning in the area around this tower. What can we surmise from this?”

That the cult is using the tower to cast its evil torture god summoning spell? Nate asked.

Shark Tail

“We have swimsuits you can put on there if you want,” Denver said, undressing on the platform above the tank, which just entailed taking his hat off. “But the sharks like to eat them, so it’s up to you if you want to bother. We have successfully trained all the sharks to stop eating lifejackets, so you’ll each want to wear one of those.”

The five boys on the platform with him were already undressing, no concern about being seen. Well, it wasn’t like it was a secret that most people went in the shark tank naked; it was visible from the rest of the aquarium. “I can swim,” said one of the younger boys.

Denver nodded. “I’m not saying you can’t. But for safety reasons you guys are only allowed on the surface of the water. I can only take two of you at a time, who wants to go first?”

Slavery, 97

“You needn’t stay if you’d rather leave, Daniel.”

Daniel would rather leave, but he shook his head. “I’ll stay,” he said.

“Very well. Until I tell you to leave, then, you may pour the tea.”

Daniel nodded and got the teapot, which was hot. The door opened, and in came Cyrus with Cassius. “Hi,” Cyrus said, looking nervous.

Daniel’s collar was a shield that meant he didn’t have to look at Cyrus. They hadn’t talked at all since the time in the room upstairs.

“Hello, Cyrus,” Theodore said, voice cold. “What can I do for you?”

Stowaway, 101

“A whole other continent, huh?” Cyrus asked, leaning back against the wall, knee drawn up to his chest. “I wonder what’s there.”

“And why it’s being hidden,” added Ignatius, sitting beside him. “The Storm Seas surrounding it can’t possibly be a coincidence. If there’s a whole continent that’s hidden from the rest of the world, it’s because someone went to a lot of trouble to hide it.”

“The people who live there, do you think?” Robin asked, arm around Pax’s middle. “Or people who really didn’t like the people who live there?”

Pax shrugged, because he knew Robin was asking him. “My guess would be the former, because if you have the power to hide an entire continent, you probably have the power to do something worse to it. It makes more sense to assume that the denizens of our mysterious continent are either extremely isolationist or extremely afraid, which is really the same thing. Whichever it was, there are records of the Storm Seas dating back centuries, so it’s entirely possible that the people who live there now have no idea why their continent is inaccessible to the rest of us.”