Yes, this is definitely what children are for.
Bliss! These were the most awesome weeks in my life! Just imagine this: not only have we been chasing a real spy, but all the while we were travelling with Mík and his family, and they’ve taught us to be acrobats! And Fikmet has learned to juggle. And Mík has the cutest little sister that I was allowed to cuddle! And Mík’s mum, she is really nice too, and gave us hugs, too. It was perfect. And now we’re in Cuytim giving a show at the winter fair!!!
It was still in Istila, though, that we found our spy. It was like this, like I told last time, we had done everything we wanted to do in Istila, so we decided to take a last bath with Fekemme’s almost-sister-in-law. Her little toddler was asleep, but we were allowed to see him anyway, he was very cute, sucking on his fingers and very sleepy.
But there was some kind of row in the other part of the bath house, the part where people pay money for kissing with the bath girls! When Fikmet and me were talking about how stupid that is, Abate had to blush! So that is how she met Fekemme’s brother. But there were lots of sailors in there, and they came from the White Whale, and they were all sick! They said it was the wine, or the girls, but then I thought, it must be the poison! So we told that to the master of the bath house and he took the sailors to the apothecary and to the harbour master.
I still think that it must have been the poison, but Fikmet is not convinced. But I just know I’m right! So the plot is still going on. Strangely enough, on the White Whale, everyone who is gifted is with the Nameless! I wouldn’t want to travel on that ship, not even for another twelve riders!
And that evening we were back in the bakery shed, and we decided to play the game again, the I-see-I-see game. First it was Fikmet’s turn, and she found two people who were hiding! In a dark place of town, close to the tanner’s. And they were with the Nameless. So we thought, are these spies from the White Whale who poisoned their mates with Bahar’s poison! But it turned out that they were simply hiding themselves because they were kissing! Boring!
So then it was my turn, but I didn’t find anyone, at least, nobody who was hiding, so no spies.
But Fekemme, he was really good! In a dark back-alley, close to our shed, he found a man, well, a boy, and he was really hiding, and he was with the Nameless, too! And we thought, maybe he’s there because he is a burglar, and is waiting for his catspaw to come out of the house! And we decided to catch him!
When we got to the alley, we made ourselves hidden with semsin, which was fun to do, and then we, we crept up to the boy and put our hands on his shoulders! He was very startled!
But he said he wasn’t a burglar, even though he looked like a thief, he even had a very expensive knife from Veray. He came from Veray, he said, and he was with the White Whale, which explains why he was with the Nameless. So we said, if you’re not a thief, what are you doing here? And he said, nothing, and we said, nothing? We don’t believe you.
After all, any sailor with shore-leave would be in the inn, drinking beer, or in the bath house getting clean or getting kisses, right? And then he saw we weren’t grown-ups, and he thought we weren’t dangerous, so he started bragging! He was really, really stupid!
He said, he had a very nice little bit of trade coming up, a man from Iss-Peran had asked him to be here and would give him good money!
So we asked, what for? For being kissed by Iss-Peranian men? That really made him as mad as a wet cat, and he said, no, information, with a flourish as if he were with the actors. Hah! So we really had caught a spy.
And I asked, who, and he said he didn’t know the name, so I used semsin again! I touched him — icky ick! He was utterly yucky with the Nameless! I almost had to puke! I’m so glad my family is with Anshen, I would hate to feel like this all the time when I’m back home!
But I showed him Bahar, and he said, yes, that is the man!
So we said, forget it, he was arrested yesterday, and now you’re coming with us to be arrested too, as a spy!
But… We failed! He grabbed a low gutter, hoisted himself on the roof and escaped!
So we called Arvi with our minds, I was getting a real headache by now, and we showed her the boy, Rhyn he had said he was called, and she said, go to the Harbour Master, and I’ll chase the spy. Which we did, and the harbour master wasn’t having a party, so he was sober and listened to our story, and then sent us to the kitchen, where there was lots of lovely food and vervain, too, for my headache.
And in the middle of the night, Arvi came back, and she was wounded! She had Rhyn’s knife with her, because he had thrown it at her, and caught her shoulder! And then he had disappeared, and Arvi and the harbour master went to the Albatross to to tell them that they should not take Rhyn with them, if he came back on board. But he didn’t come back on board!
And the next morning we went back to the bakery, to hug Mrs. Roushan and fetch our bundles and we went to Mík and Mík’s parents. They were just loading their cart, they don’t sleep in it, but it is full of all kinds of things for giving shows with. And we said hello to Mík’s dad and Mík’s mum and gave little Mevi a cuddle, and we went on our way.
And when we were telling Mík what had happened that night he was very sorry we hadn’t called him. He said, I’m an acrobat, I could have followed him over the roofs! And that’s true, of course! And then Fekemme thought, well, if Rhyn is fleeing and wants to join with the Albatross, he’s going to Cuytim, too, of course! And he isn’t going by road, because we are on the road, so he must be taking a small boat, small enough for one boy to sail.
And then our spy-chase really began. Every morning and afternoon and evening we would use semsin to look for Rhyn in all the small boats we could see, and we did see him several times those weeks, sometimes a bit behind us, sometimes a bit further on.
But that is not all that we did. We went into fishing villages and gave shows, we made a necklace from beautiful little seashells, we did the Invocations on the beach — and that brought Anshen so close that we could feel his hands on our shoulders, if we had turned around, I bet we could have hugged Anshen!!!
And we learned to make a tower, with me and Fekemme at the bottom, Mík standing on our shoulders and then Fikmet on his! And Fikmet learned to juggle with balls made out of leather and horsehair, and how to make those balls, and even, before we arrived in Cuytim, how to juggle together with Fekemme while standing on his shoulders while he was standing our shoulders!
And Mík’s mum, she makes very awesome seals, like curtains, so we worked on that as well, and I had Mevi with me in my blanket almost every night. There’s patch that smells rather of wet toddler, but I don’t mind at all.
And then we came to Cuytim, we went through the town gate as a walking tower, to show people we were acrobats and going to give a show!
And now we’re in Cuytim, and we have been to the Order, and seen and hugged Aule, her leg is completely right again and told the commander, Moryn, all about Rhyn and of course about Bahar and Jhanam. And we gave him the letter, and he gave us clay coins for the baths, and I made sure to get one for Mevi, too, only she thought it was to bite in! She’s just getting teeth.
The baths weren’t very hot, but we were clean, and I washed Mevi, and because of the show and because my hair had grown in the three weeks, Fekemme made my hair red again, he did it very well, only now his hands are bright orange, but he said he didn’t mind because he thought it was fun to make my hair red and also that he thought it looked good, though it’s now redder than his hair.
In the baths, there were also people, two ladies and a man, from the far-east. They were not as becautiful as I thought they would be because of Ferin’s stories, but they were very nice, and we shared our food with them, and they their with us, they had a sort of sweet-sour filled riceballs, with a very nice taste. But if I would eat that all the time I wouldn’t be very fat! And the people from the East are very thin, and they dance with swords and eat fire for a show, which is something I want to see.
When we were in the baths, we started to wonder whether we could make juggling balls from semsin… After all the seals Mík’s mother makes look like cloth, so why not? And we tried to do that and make balls! But they stuck to our fingers, they were still a bit sealy, I guess. And Mevi saw them! The first time she’d seen semsin-stuff, ryst, Fekemme calls it, and that means she’s not going to be deaf in Velihas! Nobody knows until a baby begins to speak, of course. But she grabbed one of the balls and then had to cry because it stuck to her little fingers, so we took her to Mík’s mother, and she was so happy that she cried a bit!
And then we went back to the camp site to prepare for our show!