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David was slowly losing hope. He had leaned against one of the alley walls in an attempt to look bored. And waited. Maybe Mark had just decided to do something else while they were in town. After all, they hadn't talked much while walking. His mind continued to remind him that it had cost them several weeks the last time Mark hadn't been where he had said he would be. Even now they were still discovering the consequences. This delay couldn't be good.

He stood up straight and scanned the crowd again. The sword that was partially obscured by his cloak had been displaced when he had leaned against the wall anyway. It was uncomfortable.

A couple minutes later David spotted Mark coming his way at a jog. He released another sigh of relief. They didn't have another two weeks to waste now.

Mark arrived slightly out of breathe. "Sorry I wasn't here when you got done."

"If you do this to me again, I'm going to kill you myself. Remember, slaves don't have rights."

Mark laughed. "You can't do that. Ch'uya has a claim."

"It would be worth paying him back by myself if you do this to me again. Where'd you go anyway?"

"Things went well for you too? Good. Let's talk on the way back." He started walking and David didn't have any choice but to follow again. Mark continued, "I decided to run down to a blacksmith's shop while we were here."

"I guess that was a good idea."

"Of course it was. It was my idea."

"Hah. I deserved that."

"Anyway, he's willing to work for barter."

"Could you remind me? What do we have to barter with?"

"Charcoal."

"Uh... what?"

"Yeah, think of all those trees we have access to."

"Why does he need charcoal? I doubt your blacksmith barbecues that often. For that matter, how is it even made?"

"It burns hotter than plain firewood and will work well in his furnace. Making it is easy and only requires a little time."

"Maybe it's not the best idea to tell you this then, but I said I would have 10 of those gold coins for Auk'a by next week. We don't have time."

"You said what?"

"Yeah. It was the best I could do. On a positive note he was willing to take only 34 coins total and everything else is good."

"Guess I should have seen this coming. We can still make it. I hope."

"We also forgot to pick a name for me, and mine sounds too foreign."

"You may be right. Eh, it'll work."

"I told him my name was -- oh, no."

"What?"

"I said my name was 'Auk.'"

Mark started laughing.

"It's not funny! I was thinking about Huksonjo. Now what am I going to do?"

"I'm sure we can abbreviate another name." Mark continued to chuckle about it at random intervals on the way home. He really did not think it was as serious as David did.

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