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By Eoin Colfer
Conor Broekhart used to be born to fly.
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The little punt spun in a tight circle and the fishermen pulled for shore, their oars kicking spume from the water. The news travelled faster than they could, passed from one boat to the next. The words, inaudible at first, became clearer with each fresh call. ‘Alive. Alive. ’ Nicholas sank to his knees and thanked God. Victor smiled first, and then began to clap with delight. ‘I came to teach the princess,’ he shouted to no one in particular. ’ CHAPTER 2: LA BROSSE Conor Broekhart was quite the hero for a time.
The famous Saltee walls held fast against cannon, shot and ram, and the celebrated Saltee Sharpshooters were trained to shave the whiskers off a pirate a mile away. There were only two industries on the Saltees. Diamonds and defence. The Saltee prison was packed to bursting with the foulest dregs of murdering humanity that Ireland and Great Britain had to offer. They worked the diamond mine until they had served their time or died. Most died. A sentence on Little Saltee was a death sentence. Nobody really cared.
This boy. He was special, whoever he was. Maybe nine, no more than ten. What ingenuity. The explosion took them high, Victor watched their trajectory and then set off for the pier at a run, dragging the king behind him. ‘The flag could drown them,’ he puffed. ’ The king had recovered himself and soon outstripped the others through a trader’s gate and down to the jetty. There were already half a dozen boats on their way to the fallen flag. The first to reach them was a small quay punt, sculled across the wave tops by two muscled fishermen.
Airman by Eoin Colfer