The door rumbled at Tae Jin's words, this time, instead of rising, falling downwards into oddly shaped grooves that fit the door neatly into the ground. A series of clicks, clinks, clanks, and locks seemed to hiss as the door lowered, and revealed a dense passage of shrubbery and more spirit vines. Tae Jin had solved the puzzled, and unknowingly, increased her importance to Dr. Orthro. Surely, the next time they met, he would be asking her advice for his next riddle.
Udal nodded, satisfied as he turned to Tae Jin. "Not bad lad--er, Tae Jin was it? Good guess," he said with a nod. "Now then, Anyu," Udal joked. "Let's get to the harbor. We got some shopping to do."
Food stalls, fishery supply stalls, stores, stands, and more littered the area, selling everything from cured meats and cloth to coals for steam powered ships. Merchants calling out their wares and children rough housing near the water's edge were a sight to be hold. Forgetting the worries of the world, they lived their lives and pressed forward. Republic City was still thriving.
And on the mooring of the harbor, ten ships floated valiantly in the sunlight, some of them gleaming at its brilliant orange glow. Though quiet now, one could imagine the sound of their dormant engines roaring to life with the abrupt firing of coal and fire. The hustle and bustle that went into preparation for a ship's departure was one of the busiest times a crewman aboard a ship would ever experience. But before they could sail away, there were a number of supplies that needed to be gathered. Not to mention actually commandeering a ship.
Udal stretched, taking a deep whiff of the salty air as waves crashed against the shore. "Okay," he said as he turned around, scratching his chest still. "Here's what we're gonna do," Udal began. He held up two fingers, as he continued. "You're gonna split into two teams. There's a number of things we need, but I neglected to write 'em down, so try and remember," Udal said looking to Tae Jin first. "Tae Jin, you take this guy and his little lion-dragon friend. I want you to visit the merchants around here, and use her nose. Lion-dragons are intelligent. They can pick apart liars and thieves with a sniff. But most of all, they're great hunters. Try to find food that won't spoil. And if there's anything you think we'll need, pick it up. I brought a few hundred Yuan just for that. Here," Udal said placing 1700 Yuan in Tae-Jin's hands. "Spend it wisely, but focus on foods and food supplies. Spices, fishing tools, nets, cookware, the lot of it. We'll need a minimum of six month's worth. And there's no rush. Take your time, and make smart decisions." Though Udal was already questioning this decision, he would be patient. Or, he would try to be, at least.
Turning to Shinya and Karina, Udal continued. "You two. You're gonna find us some shipping supplies. I'm banking on one of these steamboats, but I dunno how pricey they are. I want you to find us a minimum of a six months of coal. Don't worry about steel, I'll handle that. But we're also gonna need shovels, crates, and fire iron. I've allotted a bigger fund for this because those tools aren't cheap. And coal is even more expensive. Take this, and try not to impulse buy. I don't wanna have to kill ya before we take off," Udal said handing 3000 Yuan to Shinya.
"Well? What're you lookin' at me for? Go! Gogogo!" he said shooing away the two teams.
"And Anyu," Udal said turning around to her. "I've got a spare 50,000 Yuan. Find me a ship," he said with a smile.
And there were ten for Anyu to choose from. Eight steel steamboats and two old fashioned wooden boats. Most of the eight steam boats were freighters, except for the two closes to the wooden boats. The last two steam boats were fishing boats. The two wooden boats were both fishing boats, already prepared with over-deck nets, sails, and crates. But they were the oldest ships and possibly less reliable. But Udal would leave the ship-shopping to Anyu. In front of each boat stood a Captain, who was willing to either sell or rent his boat for the right price. "Time to think on your feet," Udal said with a nod.