I know this may seem surprising, but Matt Cruse, Kate de Vries, Nadira, Hal Slater, and all content relating to Airborn and Skybreaker does not, and I repeat, not, belong to me, but Kenneth Oppel; the lucky guy.
Chapter One: A Glorious Morning
I woke early. My neck was stiff. My head ached. Bruises and bandages splotched my body. I looked half-mummy. But, I was happy. In fact, I felt glorious. Free.
And, I couldn't remember why.
I turned over onto my back, and I felt a surprisingly hard bump underneath my pillow. I nearly shouted with glee, remembering all that had happened in only a week. It felt like years. Discarding my pillow, I feasted my eyes on four lone bars. Bars of pure gold. It wasn't that I didn't trust the crew and passengers on the Sagarmatha, but after all that we'd been through, I had to keep well watch over my fortune. It seemed meager compared to the thirty-two bars Slater was rewarded with, but, hey, four bars in itself would certainly get me somewhere in the world.
Thinking of Slater put a grin on my face. Last night, after Kate and I entered the dining room, me, with forty solid gold bars in tow, certainly put speechless faces in place of the gloomy ones they'd first held. I don't think I've ever seen a happier man – well, woman, too, because of Nadira – in my life. I laughed as Hal threw back his chair and bounded over to us in three long strides.
He couldn't believe his eyes. "But, but…gold…how?" he managed to stammer.
"Matt found them in the floor of the ornithopter. Seems like our old friend, Hendrickson was taking a bit more than the ornithopter with him," Kate declared with glee.
Slater looked up at me, wide eyed, and nearly tackled me with his one good arm. I looked over, and saw Nadira standing, her face white and tear-stricken. She was in disbelief. I was in hysterics, I laughed like a mad fool.
After the initial shock dimished, I quickly divided the gold bars as was planned – thirty-two for Hal, four for Nadira, and four for me.
Slater held his like it was the Holy Grail itself. Nadira kept shaking her head, as if she didn't believe her eyes.
The remainder of the night changed to a celebratory mood. Even Miss Simpkins was blushed from the wine and dancing. It was easily three in the morning before we bid each other good night.
I couldn't have been happier. We'd found the ghost ship, Hyperion, discovered Theodore Grunel's timeless inventions, survived at an oxygen-deprived level of twenty-thousand, warded off Rath and his crew, escaped with their lives – and gold.
I slipped into my shoes and rolled off my bunk. I had a feeling this was going to be a good day.