Seven let himself fall from the ceiling. He landed gently on the floor and reached down, picking up the paper crane. He looked back up in the direction that Sven had went.
“What was that?” he said quietly. “How am I supposed to react?”
Seven noticed something. A few minutes ago, he could hardly hold himself together. He could feel himself falling apart. But now, after listening to Sven, he felt… better. He was still shaky, but not like the world was collapsing in on him.
He turned and punched a wall. What was with these people. They kept sending him mixed signals. Was it alright for him to be here or not?
“Stop confusing me!” he said, leaning his flushed face against the cold, smooth wall.
A thought came to him that made him frown. Even with how painful being in Pandora had been, at least it had been simple. He knew what people thought of him, he knew his place, and he knew what his place was. Everything now was so much more complicated. He didn’t know any of those things anymore. Maybe that was the reason that he felt like everything was falling apart.
But how was he supposed to find his purpose now? It didn’t seem like the Cakemen would be able to tell him. Wouldn’t that only confuse him more? He’d probably have to find it himself.
“Someone that can fill you…”
Seven was suddenly reminded of the stories he used to read. Heroes going on journeys, only to loose their way. Wasn’t he the same? He gave a wry grin. He looked a little sadly around the hallway he stood before nodding resolutely.
“Find that someone, isn’t that right Sven? Alright,” Seven took a deep breath. Having a clear goal was nice. Now to find Lex. He set off down the hall.
It wasn’t long before he ran into Froi.
“Hey, kid. Whatcha been up to?”
“F-Froi,” Seven said hesitantly, “I’m… looking for Lex.”
“Oh, wait a bit on that. We’re coming into port, so everyone’s pretty busy at the moment, especially Hime.”
“Ya! Isn’t it exciting? We haven’t docked in so long! I can’t wait to have some fun.” Froi grinned. “Poor Venny and Heva’ll have to stay behind with the rest of stay-at-home crew though.”
“Why? What happened?”
“Oh, they’re both still pretty hurt. That’s right, you don’t know! Heva took some shrapnel from the dogfight earlier.”
Seven felt a pang of guilt. Mevin said it was his fault that they were caught up in that.
“Sorry,” he muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing. When can I see Lex?”
“Not sure. He said something about meeting someone once we get in, so it might be a while.” The ship rumbled. “Oh, that’s the docking arms hooking on. In a few, we’ll be able to lower the gangplank. Right! Why don’t we go see if someone will show you around town for a bit. You could use a stretch, too.” Froi pushed him to the mess hall.
“Hey! It’s Seven! I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever!” Basalt said as they walked in.
“Where were you? I wish you could have seen the dogfight. It was pretty awesome. I didn’t get to fight, but my little bro here was sniping guys down left and right,” he smacked Basilisk on the back.
“You guys going out to town soon?” Froi asked.
“Yeah, we’re just about to head out actually. Bask was hoping to bum some food outta Barry before we left”
“And I told you, you don’t need any. You’re just going to go around food stalls anyway,” Barry said.
“Aw come on!” Basilisk slumped over the table.
“Seven, are you going out to? ‘Cause you totally should. It’s pretty fun,” Basalt asked.
“Hey Basalt, you should take him around the Bazaar,” Bask said.
“That’s a good idea! Alright, Seven! That’s what we’re gonna do. I’m ready whenever you wanna head out.”
“Um, I don’t have any money.” Seven’s voice got quieter and quieter.
“That’s alright, Seven. You can bum off me this time.”
“Okay.” He rubbed his arm, then he frowned when he realized how self conscious he was being. He set his jaw and squared his shoulders. Froi raised an eyebrow at the boy.
“I’ll be ready in just a sec. Could I borrow some paper?”
“Sure, there’s a mail room just around the corner,” Barry said, pointing with his ladle. Seven nodded and started walking out of the mess hall.
“Why do we even have a mail room? We never use it,” he heard Basalt say.
“I’m not sure. It was here when we got it,” Bask said.
Seven entered the dark mail room and switched on a light. Paper lay scattered around the table and the floor. Various cardboard boxed stood precariously stacked on top of another. Filing cabinets leaned at odd angles with draws half open. Trash was littered everywhere. He looked around, dumbfounded. This wasn’t exactly what he was expecting when they said mail room.
He picked his way through the room and found a slightly wrinkled paper and a reasonably sharp pencil. He pulled out the paper crane, stared at it for a second, then grabbed a second sheet of paper. He cleared off a portion of the desk and sat down.
A few minutes later, Seven left the room. He walked back to the mess hall and said to Basalt with a firm voice, “I’m ready.”
Basalt looked at him for a second before saying, “Lighten up. You look like you’re going to a funeral. Don’t worry, Seven. We’re gonna have a lot of fun, you and I. Come on! You’re gonna like you’re first sight of Delhi.”
Seven was nervous as he followed Basalt off the comforting Biscotti. The ship was held aloft in a large bay by thick metal arms. The place was bustling. Motor carts drove back and forth everywhere. Huge metal boxes lined the walls and sometimes hung from drones in the air, slowly moving across the length of the bay, or being raise or lowered onto other boxes. Basalt and Seven threaded their way through all this, dodging people and other things to reach the open wall of the bay.
There Seven got his first glimpse of the biggest city in India. Huge building rose up into the sky, almost so tall he couldn’t see the tops of them. The setting sun glinted off their steadily rising windows, blinding him. Flying ships, big and small, threaded their way in between them. Neon signs and massive holograms popped up everywhere, changing every few seconds what they read. A colossal cargo ship was just entering a ship bay above them. It was so huge it blotted out the sky for several minutes as it crawled into the bay.
The noise was what struck Seven the hardest. It was loud with droning sounds and beeping horns and the wiz of flying cars passing by quickly. Music blared, coming from several different places, creating a jarring dissonance. Seven took several steps back before fall on his bottom.
“You like it that much, huh?” Basalt chuckled. “I agree, it can be overwhelming at first.” He turned to Seven and reached down a hand to help the boy up.
“Welcome to Delhi,” he grinned.
AN- Finally got to India, whew. That took longer than I thought it would.