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Mar 24, 2019 2:50 AM
stevenchainsaw & imrainai in caravaneer
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It'll take him a few trips to bring in all of the insects, mostly because twenty-five kilos is a lot to carry that distance on top of food and water and other gear. He should be able to make his goal inside a week, though.

Karakul isn't always hanging around when he shows up, but she waves when she sees him. Other people occasionally nod in his direction.

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Since he does want to still have some money after he's done with this, he sells some of the bugs on each trip, and asks Karakul if anyone might want to buy some spare clothes that he found. Asking Karakul things is much easier than asking other people.

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" - I mean I kind of want them, they look like they'd fit, but I don't think my dad'd buy them for me if I asked. Nita's husband might buy them for her, I guess, they might fit her too. Where'd you get them?"

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"Someone attacked me on the way between here and Cricket's place."

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"...oh. Well, it's good that you walked away from it. It's good that you can take care of yourself. ....maybe try selling them to Nita's husband for her, like I said."

It's maybe sort of petty to not want to wear dead people clothes, but it's sort of petty to want extra clothes in the first place, so maybe the pettiness cancels out.

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He nods. "I'll do that, thank you."

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"Mhmm. Did you get enough insects? I can show you where Kukul's tent is, he moved it."

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"Yeah, this is my last trip. Thanks."

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Kukul's tent is always in the same basic location in relation to the other tents; Nick probably could have found it without help, really. When they reach it, Kukul measures the insects very carefully, then pronounces the cost of a guide paid for.

"I'll need to think about who we can spare," he says. "So many men need to be here for their families right now. Sava's wife is about to give birth, Luakul is sick and his brothers are watching his flocks...."

He frowns thoughtfully at Karakul.

"Karakul, you know where the Pullid camp is, don't you?"

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"In theory," she says, very quietly.

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...That is... maybe a slightly concerning direction for things to be going? But, well. She is very helpful. And he can probably protect her from the desperate people with pipes.

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"Our friend here is clearly able to traverse the desert safely on his own, I can't imagine that would change with a guide. You're perfectly capable of getting him where he's going, and you'll return here within one week with a story to tell."

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"I guess," she says, very uncertainly. "I'll have to ask my dad."

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"I'll talk to him, don't worry about it. If you think this is a fair trade for the insects, Nick?"

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He nods.

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"All right, then, get packed. I'm sure he wants to leave in the morning."

He leaves them, presumably to go talk to Karakul's father.

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Karakul is staring at her moccasins.

"I do know how to get there," she says, after a while.

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"—If you don't want to go I can ask him to find someone else...?"

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"No, no, I'm fine, I'm just - I'm fine," she says, sort of lamely. "I - I should pack. I'm gonna pack as soon as I think Kukul's probably done taking to dad."

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"...Okay."

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"It's fine, though. I want to see the camp, and stuff. Should I just come back here when I'm done packing, or - when do you want to leave, exactly - "

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"Since you're the one who knows where we're going it makes sense for you to plan the route and the stops," he points out. "I don't have a more precise timeframe in mind than 'today if possible, sooner is better'."

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" - OK. It'll take two days, maybe three. If I get everything packed up in the next couple hours then we can make non-negligible progress before nightfall. I'll just - come back here in a while."

She stares at the ground for another minute and then leaves. 

Kukul returns to his tent maybe twenty minutes after that. Karakul is back in an hour with a pack.

"So - I guess we just start walking. That way."

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"...Thank you," he says quietly. "For helping."

He goes that way.

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"Mhmm. Of course," she says, rather more brightly than before.

If she's very helpful and likable but simultaneously maintaining proper decorum and not doing anything to indicate that she is at all OK with doing horrible things, then maybe none of the horrible things that are probably going to happen to her will feel like they were her fault!

She can't walk as quickly as Nick probably can, but she keeps up the fastest sustainable pace she can and doesn't complain about it. It'll be sunset before she says anything about stopping for the night. This may be because she's sort of very terrified of what happens when they stop for the night.

"Mayyybe we should stop soon," she says, a good hour or so after she probably should have.

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