I hate the Hollow.
I hate how many different worlds it connects to and how I can’t destroy it.
And I hate how big some of these places are.
The Angry Sea, as Liu calls it, is a prime example.
We traveled to the outskirts of the town I’d found them in, and we made our way along a narrow trail. It curved down, doubled back on itself and soon opened onto a cove that stretched out to a sea the color of amber. A ship lay close by at anchor, and Liu nodded to it.
“With that, we will be able to travel to Gao,” he stated, and the three of us hunkered down. I could see a dozen men at least aboard the ship, and while I wasn’t worried about the men, I was concerned about something a bit more practical.
“Three of us can’t sail a ship that size,” I remarked. “Not with any success.”
“True,” he said and flashed me a grin of yellow, stained teeth. “But that ship, my friend, is a Thinker.”
I frowned, and Zhao chuckled.
“There are ships, and then there are Thinkers,” Liu continued. “Old ships, older than most of these towns. The Thinkers were found here and there, raised up on blocks and left. Thinkers, my friend, can sail themselves. They are alive, in a way. Only the wealthy have them. Only a Thinker can sail into the Port of Chang’e, where we will find Gao.”
“Will the ship work with us?” I asked.
Liu and Zhao nodded.
“They have no love for those who cannot speak,” Liu stated. “Those men have imprisoned the Thinkers, binding them with spells.”
“Well,” I said, shrugging the rifle off my shoulder and stretching out prone on the ground. “I suspect we can break some spells.”
I looked out over the iron sights, found my first target standing at the rear of the ship, and pulled the trigger.
The sound of the shot rolled out across the water as the man tumbled off and splashed into the water. His shipmates raced around, trying to see where the shot came from, and I killed four more of them in their panic.
One of the men got the bright idea to go over the side, and I counted six more who followed.
I reloaded the rifle and took my time killing those in the water.
When I finished, we went down to the water and swam out to meet the Thinker.