Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 34
What the Sea Refuses
by Brian Dolton
by Christian K. Martinez
Portraits from the Shadow
by D. Thomas Minton
Three Seconds
by Jonas David
Oyster Beach
by Sophie Wereley
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Blockbuster Viagra
by Chris Bellamy

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What the Sea Refuses
    by Brian Dolton

What the Sea Refuses
Artwork by M. Wayne Miller

1. A Conjuror Comes To Pangxiao

The bitter ocean wind rocked the fishing boats at their moorings, and blew salt spray across the network of wharves.

Yi Qin allowed herself a sigh of relief. The pier, while not quite dry land, was at least attached to it. The two days she had spent aboard the Sapphire Cormorant had been intensely unpleasant. She did not like the sea; she did not like ships; she did not care for sailors.

Which meant that she was almost looking forward to her appointed task: dispelling an entire ship's crew of ghosts. Then she could head back to the Imperial City. On foot.

She was alone in the gathering night. The crew had dispersed rapidly to dockside wineshops and eating houses, to be followed (she strongly suspected) by the pleasures of the Pillow World. The wharves were deserted. There was only the wind. There was always the wind.

She pulled her overdress around her and turned her back on the ocean.

Harbourmaster Guang Er had sauce on his plump chin and did not look pleased to have so late a visitor. Yi Qin bowed; he returned it as a perfunctory nod.

"And what is your business that cannot wait until morning?" he asked.

"My name is Yi Qin," she said, handing him the Emperor's Tablet from her traveling bag.

"You?" If he tried to mask his surprise, he did not succeed. She doubted he had tried. "You are . . ." He peered at the tablet in his hand, clearly eager to detect some hint of forgery. Apparently failing, he looked up, and she stood patiently as he inspected her just as closely.

"You are a conjuror?" he finished, at last. She held out her left palm, showing him the scars.

"I am a follower of the Seven Ways. I know five of the Twelve Unspoken Words. I patrol the hidden borders of the Empire. I am here to deal with your troublesome ghosts."

"Very well. I'll have you escorted to the police house. Ling Fan will have quarters you might use." He lifted a small bell from his desk and rang it vigorously. As much as being a summons to his servant, it was a clear sign that her audience was over. She bowed, as protocol and courtesy demanded.

He did not bow back.

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