Chapter 17

On the MTR, Jasmine read from her app: Duk Ling junk. Built in 1955 in Macau. The last authentic junk in Hong Kong.

‘Good morning, I was expecting you,’ said the crew man. He reached for the lever above the door of capsule eight and clamped it shut.

HKHG 017 Final‘Wait!’ said Gramps. Too late, they were already climbing.

Jasmine laughed. She knew what Gramps wanted to ask: are you sure you’re not going to throw us into the sea? She worried a bit about that too but had faith. Where was the boat now? She kneeled on the bench to look. Yes! There were the distinctive orange sails, flapping in the wind. Jasmine imagined herself as a fine lady dressed in silk, jewelled pins in her hair and fluttering a fan.

Up up went their capsule, rocking to and fro, going a little too fast for comfort. Then there was a high-pitched beep, a stomach-churning lurch and the two of them were flying hand in hand through the heat. Jasmine closed her eyes and sang.

A surprised seagull squawked as they landed softly at the back of the junk. ‘Duck your head,’ said Jasmine as a sail swung round.

What beautiful views! From right to left, all the way round, buildings sparkled in the setting sun. Jasmine wished her history project would never end. The rocking of the boat lulled her into a peaceful dream of seeing Teacher Tam’s smile as she handed him the finished project.

A hawk flew by. ‘Which clue of ours did you like the best?’ he cawed, dropping an envelope into her lap.

‘Wait?’ called Jasmine. ‘I thought –’

But the bird had flown away.

The clue was: This park was a walled city from the fifteenth century and the seventeenth letter was U.

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