206 The Cover of Night*
"In there?" asked Kit.
Olly nodded. He stepped forward and covered the majority of the inside of the empty crate with a false base, "The Evanine goes on top".
Kit nodded in acknowledgement, "It looks a little small".
Olly look at his ten-year-old friend, then down at his full grown self, "I think you'll be fine".
Kit, who hadn't been paying attention to Olly, stepped forward and lifted out the false base before stepping into the crate himself to appraise the size. After a moment of squatting in the crate, he looked up to meet Olly's eyes, "I suppose it's not so bad".
Olly wasn't quite sure what he had expected. Smuggling was an art. Smuggling comfortably was a rather unexplored facet of that art.
Falla stepped forward from the side, "Ready?"
Olly and Kit looked to one another, then back at Falla. They nodded.
Iah and Sharli stepped forward from the side as Kit stood. Iah handed him a bag with a strap that went over his shoulder.
"It's got food, and water, and some spare clothes. Some charcoal and paper for you as well," Iah said.
Kit smiled, "Thanks, Iah".
Iah paused a moment, then she leaned forward and hugged Kit. Kit hugged her back.
"Be safe, okay?" asked Iah. Kit nodded against her chest.
Iah smiled at his concern, then she stepped back, wiping at her eyes before her tears fell as she stepped over to Olly to hand him his own bag. Sharli stepped up to Kit then.
"Are you sure about this?" asked Sharli.
Kit nodded, "I'm positive".
"How can you be so sure?" asked Sharli.
Kit shrugged, "I just am. This is the right thing to do. It gets the Ruin out of danger".
Sharli gave a side glance to Falla who was busy talking to the workers who were moving the Evanine and charms from the vault.
"It's not her fault," Kit said, "It's not anyones. We can't always predict what will happen, so we have to be strong when something doesn't go our way, right?"
Sharli's mind flashed back to not long after she'd met Kit. When she'd said the exact same words to that boy who was terrified of the abilities he had. Terrified of being taken away. She nodded back at Kit, "Right".
The hugged each other, and Kit whispered softly in her ear, "Don't go where we can't follow. Please".
It sounded like he was begging, though Sharli had little idea about what he meant. If anything, she couldn't follow him. But before she had a change to ask about it, Falla stepped forward.
"Alright, we'll get you to the headquarters. You'll be in there until late tonight, then we'll get you some food as we transfer you into the other crates".
Kit and Olly nodded, then put themselves into the two crates before the false bottoms were put over them and then the Evanine piled on top. Falla knocked onto each crate in turn. Three short raps with a pause after then two more short. It was the safe code they'd agreed upon. Olly and Kit tapped the pattern back from the inside of the crates.
"Alright, start taking them out to the carts," Falla ordered.
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"Master, Sir, there is movement at the Ruin," stated the informant clearly.
Ishta turned to look at him, "Oh, what movement?"
"Falla Startree has arrived with several carts, the others say that she's transporting Evanine sir. At least twenty crates of it," said the informant.
"Twenty crates?" asked Ishta, "Where did they get so much of it?"
"Forgive me, sir, but the informants also say that several charms are mixed in," said the informant, "And not just the protective kind that was sold before".
Ishta gritted his teeth, "I knew that Moonshadow had more up his sleeve that just magic shields. Have the informants follow them. I want to know where she's taking all that stock, but keep an eye on the Ruin. If they're moving the Evanine, they'll surely move the craftsman of the charms soon as well. You can't have one without the other when making the charms".
"Master," the informant acknowledged, then he left the office.
Ishta turned thoughtfully to look out of the window, "So you think that moving them will save them? Think again Miss Startree, and even better, now I've got more stock to work with. If anything, you've revealed your cards far too soon".
It was too cramped in the boxes. It only took about twenty minutes before Kit wanted to shift around. Only shifting would make noise, and that would totally ruin the mirage they were trying to create. If Kit had known that Olly had fallen asleep within minutes of being on the cart, he likely would have throttled his friend.
After what must have been several hours, the cart finally stopped, and Kit waited as they were unloaded, he and Olly with them. They were walked for several minutes before they were placed down on the ground, then silence ensued.
He'd only heard muffled voices through the crate walls, but the silence meant that they were likely in the stock room at Apple Star Trading Headquarters.
They'd made it halfway.
Kit released a breath of relief.
Now, he just had to wait until nightfall. Though now in the silence of the stock room, he felt free to sift in his bag for things to do. For fear of needing to relieve himself whilst still stuck in the crate, Kit only sipped at his water and nibbled at a bit of bread in his bag.
Quite a few more hours passed by in the darkness before movement was heard outside. Kit dozed off at some point thanks to his boredom. When the false base was removed and he was helped out of the crate, he couldn't help stretching his neck hurt. Olly was doing the same, though seemed slightly less annoyed. Kit couldn't think why unless he was used to such tight spaces.
Layn looked between the two of them and handed them each a bowl of stew.
"There's a ship due to leave with the tide tomorrow morning with Silks from the South. It'll take you to Port Lovolon," Layn explained as they ate. He then handed a map and a small pouch of coins to each other, "The Captain is aware so he'll help you out of the crate once you're out of sight of the Island. The map is to the Star Pavilion. It's owned by the Miss so you'll be safe. You'll meet my brother there, Lync. He'll escort you to the mine. Be careful. They're expecting you at the Pavilion before the end of the Fortnight. If you don't get there in that time...I honestly cannot say if we will be capable of sending somebody to find you".
Kit nodded in understanding, "Tell Miss Falla that it'll be at least 3 months before she can get her first patch of Charms from us, so savor what Rassa left behind. That's of course if she finds a safe route".
Layn nodded, "Very well. We can afford a few more hours outside of the crates, just be quiet. I'm sure there is somebody watching".
That morning, in order to confuse whoever was watching. Several crates of Evanine and Charms were move along with the silks that were being sent to Port Lovolon. They spies were so focused on the Evanine and Charms that they didn't look twice at the boxes of silk. Half a day later, Kit and Olly emerged on the deck of The Sea Wing, bound of Eldovia.