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Deathwalker 3.0

            And somehow I found myself back out the door with a priceless parchment and no money. Of all the things Neph warned me about, she’d never mentioned small print. Huffing a sigh, I pulled my comp from my belt and checked the directions. Time to start walking if I wanted to get paid today.
            At least the skywalk had a nice view. As I trudged along, I watched the various floats go by. Some of them zipped by fast enough to pull my clothing with the wind they created. Hardly something I’d have called a float. “Float” implied slow. I could practically feel the flick on my ear from Neph along with a scolding, reminding me that they went much slower when they were first invented. I smiled wistfully. It would’ve been worth the scolding to see her. The more complicated things got here, the more I longed for home.
            Warned by a growing whirr, I raised a hand to block the blowback as a float landed next to the skywalk. Brushing the hair out of my face as I moved on, I nearly tripped as I caught movement from the corner of my eyes. Brushing my hair back again, I peeked casually under my hand. The float was still there. It was moving in pace with me – not an easy thing for a fast-moving vehicle to do.
            What now? A mugging? The only thing I had of any value was the parchment. No. Surely a fancy float like that belonged to someone important.
            Even as I thought it, the door field dissolved, revealing cushy seats and Ter Dryst. I sighed with relief, then frowned.
            “Get in,” he said it with such quiet authority that I was obeying before I could think. Stumbling to a halt, I shook myself.
            “Why?” I asked cautiously. “Sir.”
            His lips twisted in what might’ve been a smile. It was gone so quickly that I doubted what I’d seen.
            “Ter Fless asked that I escort you.”
            This obviously powerful man was acting as my chauffeur? Just who was this Ter Fless? Something of the doubt and astonishment must have shown on my face. Again, that flash of a smile.
            “You won’t be able to reach Ter Fless’ on foot.”
            For all that he said it in that same uncaring tone, he’d backed me into a corner. And I had a glaring suspicion he’d done it on purpose.
            “It’s your bad luck,” I mumbled under my breath as I got into the float. The way this day was going, we’d get in a wreck, and I’d be blamed posthumously.
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