Fourteen

Yun wrapped up all the traveling food given to her by the villagers, cheese, cured meats, dried fruits, and bread. They were nice enough to give her a satchel to at least carry some things. She had taken a day to recover before setting out, using it to prepare some items, namely alchemical charms made from pages ripped out of Artyem’s journal. She also took some time to fashion a dagger from the tip of the hornant emperor’s horn; a simple affair that involved punching some holes in the exoskeleton and tying a handle on. It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it would hold up to some rough work. The hornant exoskeleton was tough enough to ward off steel weapons, so she had no doubts about its durability. 

She would have to travel to the nearest station and snag a ticket to Seventh City. There, she could finally restock some of her equipment, though that staff was going to be tough to replace. Equipment made for weavers was already niche, but at the very least anything should be an upgrade from having nothing at all. 

Yun wasn’t quite sure how many days had passed, but she could tell time was passing by the growing length of her hair, now long enough to be tied back. It was a strange feeling, familiar enough, but far enough gone to feel strange all over again, like walking into a childhood home as an adult. She had taken quite a lot of it off the last time she cut it.

She had found the train tracks some days ago and had just been following them, hoping she would be conscious when one passed by instead of what usually happened, which was an extremely loud vessel passing by at extreme speeds in the unspeakable hours of the morning. Though, even if one had been passing by and she was prepared for it, she wasn’t entirely confident that she could just jump onto a moving train like that. Well, bandits seemed to do it all the time, but she supposed they were probably desperate enough that that was the best option. Actually, in that case, she was probably also desperate enough to do that. 

The opportunity came a day later. While walking along the tracks, she heard the distinct rumbling of an engine in the distance. Perfect. She immediately started scaling the closest tree, preparing herself about the tracks. All she would have to do is jump at just the right moment, maybe jam her knife into the roof for stability. She very well couldn’t go around breaking windows at any rate. 

Any moment now. 

Aaaaaaaaand…

JUMP!

Yun leapt, catching for a couple of seconds on the air while the train rushed, car after car passing rapidly underneath. Her instincts were honed enough that she managed to jab the dagger down, piercing the roof of the car. Unfortunately, the whole maneuver came out far less gracefully than she had hoped. The speed of the train took her along with it and she felt like her arm going to pop out of its socket as she slammed down hard on the metal roof. The wind was knocked out of her and it wasn’t easy to inhale while acclimating to the sheer force of moving at speeds no human was made for. She managed to grip with both hands, pulling herself along long enough to join the mass of the train, feeling the wind begin to slide over her instead of attempting to peel her off. She stayed still for a couple seconds to gather herself and allow a moment to breathe, then she scrambled down to the safety of the car itself, a cargo car containing plenty of crates. She could hide herself here until the train docked. Or shortly before, ideally. Though it would be hard to tell with no windows. She nestled herself between a couple of sacks of grain, feeling the journey of the last couple days catch up to her as she fell fast asleep. 

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