The captain’s cabin creaked and croaked crazily as Hugo, Kaskelfinger, and Gilly – squeezed into a corner between the table and the wall – sat down to eat. Kaskelfinger unfolded his napkin and placed it in his lap.

“How did King Hugo, die, lad?” he asked, sorrow plain in his eyes and voice.

“An Imperial Ninja from the southern reaches of Hiwataki assassinated him. I was in the room when it happened, but…”

There was a silence, interrupted by the bang of the loose anchor being hauled up.

“Again, it’s a horrible thing, but – well now you’re king, and I’m sure you’ll do an admirable job.” The captain smiled and paused. “We’ll be on our way in a few minutes. Last chance to go home.”

Hugo opened his mouth, then just shook his head.

“All right, then. Ready the mainmast, boys! Turn the yardarm back for Hiwataki!” Kaskelfinger bellowed out the door. “You can share the captain’s quarters with me. I have a guestroom right over behind that door,” he added.

The lurch of the ship signaled that they were off.

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