The dirigible was a thing of beauty.
Syadaia caught her breath. The others wouldn’t want her to give away their bargaining position by gushing. They’d been very firm on that; they’d been very firm, in general, on the idea that she ought to keep her mouth shut unless told to talk.
Syadaia was beginning to believe that she needed better friends. On the other hand, these friends came with the promise of profit, which was better than the last bunch had.
The artificer cleared his throat. “This, fine folk, would be the dirigible. It’s neither as practical as the river-boat nor as lovely as the goatless carriage, but it meets and exceeds all your specifications.”
Gunyung cleared his throat. “It will do. We agreed on…”
“Seven hundred fifty Rei.” The artificer’s voice left nothing to question.
Gunyung tried anyway. “Of course, that was before we saw the finished product…”
Syadaia had trouble covering her expression. The dirigible was beautiful; it was trimmed in brass, its banners were brightly colored, the patterns exotic and strange, like something from the southern isles, and the covering was striped in a beautiful sky blue. It was the most gorgeous piece of machinery she had ever seen.
The artificer knew it was a steaming pile of goat dung, too. “Seven hundred fifty Rei. Or I sell it to my next customer, and you can swim to your – ah, what did you say? – vacation destination.”
Behind Gunyung, Kezhya coughed. They had done their best to look like wealthy businessmen, but Syadaia and Kezhya knew, if Gunyung didn’t, that they looked like what they were – thieves in stolen finery. Syadaia’s colors were all over the rainbow, and the patterns in her tunics and scarves covered the last seven years of fashion. It was possible, of course, that the artificer didn’t know that…
“This other client of yours?” Kezhya spoke up, having gotten the cough out of her throat.
“The West Lannamer constabulary .” It was impossible to tell beneath the enormous beard, but Syadaia thought the artificer was probably smiling. Possibly even laughing at them.
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