Shoreview's locals are vanishing. Three youngsters become involved when one of their friends wind up missing. Can they solve the mystery before it's too late?
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The sheriff investigates local nums of Shoreview gone missing. It is believed that slave traders are rounding them up to be shipped out in order to be sold. The three young nums who run the "Dare to Trade" shop become involved when one of their friends wind up missing. Upon investigating, they end up putting their own life at risk. Even if they survive, they may never see their family again.
Faun opened the front door to leave the shop. “Goodnight,” she said to Bik and Gaz as they organized the shelves one last time for the night.
“Can you open the shop in the morning?” Bik asked. “I want to drop by and see my father for a while before I come in.”
“Sure, but I don’t have a key.”
“That didn’t stop you from getting in here before,” Bik said with a grin. “Is there a lock you can’t pick?”
“Not that I’ve found,” Faun giggled. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Stepping out of the shop, the cool lake air fanned her long hair into her face, as the entire dock swayed from the waves of the lake.
Most of the shops had closed at sunset, leaving only the taverns and inns open for business. Travelers from faraway places entered hungry and thirsty and left full and often a little tipsy.
Loud music played from within, and crowds could be heard singing off-key to traditional folk songs of adventures, treasures, battles, and loved ones they had lost.
Faun made her way toward home, humming the tunes she had heard so often. There was never a straight shot to anything in the city. Shoreview’s layers of streets were mixed with ladders, slanted walkways, and poles to slide down, as paths rounded businesses and houses to Faun’s destination.
It was like any other night in Shoreview, except for a feeling Faun was getting, as though she was being watched or followed.
She had left the main street to head home and was the only person walking on the narrow path, and yet she didn’t feel alone.
Shuffling footsteps could be heard, but it was difficult to tell from where, or how far away.
She stopped and looked both ways. “Hello?” she called out behind her.
There was no response. Even the footsteps had stopped.
“Bik? Gaz? Is that you?” She said, hoping they were playing with her.
Standing still, she waited for an answer. But received none.
The flapping of flags in the breeze seemed loud as she focused her eyes and ears on her surroundings.
“This isn’t funny,” Faun said strongly, uncomfortable about the situation.
Again, no reply was given.
She returned to quickly walking home. It would be the safest place to be.
As she did, she started hearing footsteps and a tapping of a cane. In front of her, at the end of the path, a man in a long coat stepped forward, out of the darkness. Walking slowly toward her, the man’s thin wooden cane was used but not needed.
Faun stopped. “Hello? Who are you?”
The man took a few more steps forward before answering. “Malice Duprey. And who might you be, young lady?”
“Faun Covinlittle,” Faun answered as she made slow steps backward.
“Don’t be afraid, I don’t wish to hurt you.”
“Why are you following me?”
Malice chucked. “How could I be following you when you came upon me?”
Faun realized his answer was logical. “I got the feeling someone was spying on me.”
“Well, I can guarantee it wasn’t me you were hearing.”
“How do you know that?” Faun asked, keeping her eye on the advancing man as she slowly walked backward toward the main street.
Stopping on the path, he smiled. “I know you didn’t hear me because even I could hear the bumbling about of Mr. Juglar.”
“Who’s Mr. Juglar?”
“Feel free to ask him yourself,” Malice said, pointing behind the girl.
Turning around, she saw a short stocky rodent-like man standing directly behind her.
Before she could react, Mr. Juglar covered her with a large burlap sack and tied it up tight.
Faun began to scream for her life, as Malice Duprey wrapped his hand over her mouth, pressing the sack against her face.
“She’s a good catch,” Mr. Juglar said, as they began to carry her away. “She should sell well on the Pyrth trade route.”
“Quit your babbling. We’ll get life in the Southwind Mines if we don’t get her back to the ship without being noticed.”