Chapter 12: "Behold, the Sea Itself!"
The time had finally come. Five days had passed as if in an instant. Now, the eight travelers stood on the pier stretching out from the city, as the fishing trawler was loaded with supplies and belongings.
The Old Man shuffled up to the adolescent boy that was hefting most of the load. “Good day, young man. Will you be joining us on our journey across the sea?”
The young boy stopped moving and just stared at him.
“Don’t pay him no mind.” A very heavy man appeared over the railing, sporting a patch of multi-colored beard but not a scrap of hair on his head. “That’s my boy, Brutus. He don’t speak at all. Barely even thinks to be true about it. Right Brutus?”
The boy, again, only stared. Then he continued hoisting the crates onto the boat.
“Ah, he’s a good boy though.” The fat boat captain made his way down the ramp and extended his meaty paw toward the Old Man. “Captain Berton Evinrude. Friends call me Bert.”
The Old Man accepted Bert’s hand and received a strong handshake in return. Bert pulled him into a fierce hug and then held him at arm’s length. “Rightly good. You’re a tough one for a feller your age. Respectable indeed. Come a long way, have you?”
The Old Man nodded with a small grin. “Yes, Bert, we have certainly come a great distance. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Bert grunted and hurled another sack of grain over the side of the boat. “So, I been hearing silly talk about some search for Devona. But you don’t seem like the nutso type who hunts after imaginary islands. So, where are we really going, if you don’t mind my bother?”
The Old Man smiled, “Captain Evinrude, we are going to Devona.”
Bert froze in place and looked the Old Man over. “Devona, eh? So, we’re really going on with it? Well, there ain’t no charts for finding myths…lest you’ve got some maps.”
The Old Man shook his head sadly.
Bert contorted his face in thought. “So, this is an honest-to-goodness treasure hunt in the raw? We just go on faith and instinct?”
The Old Man nodded.
“It’s a crazy plan, to be sure. But, luckily, me and Brutus ain’t scared of crazy.” Bert wiped his brow and looked at the sky. “Might want to get your folks settled in; we can break port before sundown.”
They may have been ready to leave port, but the Great City wasn’t done with them yet. The citizens turned the travelers’ departure into another grand event. Music in the streets, dancers, vendors, food, excitement, and beautiful words of kindness from the people. The fanfare of their last day in the city actually managed to rival that of their first day.
But as the celebration wound down, the small boat set away from the pier and carried the travelers onto the Endless Sea.