The next morning found Holden giddy with excitement. Tonight was the night. He only had to get through this one last day at the mill, and then it was on to bigger and better things. He couldn’t wait. He wondered how long it would take to find a suitable mansion. Surely there were some available. He supposed that if there weren’t, he would be able to spend some time at one of the inns until something became available or until he could convince someone to sell. The prospect was alluring. Of course, even a million marks wouldn’t last forever. He would need to find some way to maintain an income to support his new lifestyle. Maybe he could purchase some rental properties by the Wharf District or the Miner’s Quarter. He could simply stay in one of them until he found more permanent housing for himself. Either way, it was a much better class of problems than his usual fare.

He and Famke took up their usual stations at the mill to begin their work day, but Holden had a hard time concentrating on his job. He was supposed to be inspecting the molds today, making sure that each of them were properly filled with molten metal before they were sent off to cool. His mind kept drifting off to the Rose District. He wondered what sort of bed he should buy. He had heard that feathers were the way to go, but he had also heard good things about a new kind of foam that was being produced in the Twelve Nations. He should look into that later, he thought. Lost in thought, he had almost let one of the molds go by half filled, but managed to redirect it to the rejected line just in time. He wondered if he had missed any others. Tulg would have his head if he had, not that he had to worry about that for much longer.

It did make him realize that he had not seen the surly supervisor yet. That was a bit unusual. He decided to ask Famke about it later when he saw her for their lunch break. Until then he just concentrated on sticking to his work, although not very successfully.

“He never showed up today,” Famke said when he asked her about it. “He hasn’t been seen in the factory at all. I saw some new guy covering for him after a couple of hours, though, so don’t think you can use it as an excuse to slack off.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it.” Holden smiled.

“What’s up with you today anyway?” she asked. “You’ve looked like the cat that stole the fish all morning.”

“It’s like I told you yesterday,” he said, “I’ve got a lead on a good thing. And today is the day.”

“Oh yeah?” She cocked her head and her eyes became slits. “This like the last one you had? Because I’m pretty sure I’m still trying to pay that one off.”

“No, I promise. One hundred percent in the clear. Tonight you and me will be celebrating under the stars.”

The lunch whistle blew, prompting them back to their stations. Holden sprang up and gave her a wink without saying another word. He knew it would drive her mad.


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