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The Recovery Man’s Bargain
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The fidelia plant gave off its own light. Hadad Yu recognized it by the faint bluish purple luminescence that shone like a beacon in the fetid swamp. His hands shook.
His entire future stretched before him, in the guise of a flower half the size of his thumb.
Three years. Three years and a dozen false leads had brought him here, to this thousand-kilometer swamp between Bosak City and Bosak’s only ocean. He was 632 kilometers in, at the lone stand of colesis trees his scanners had been able to find.
The colesis trees, warped and twisted by the lack of light, bent over him like adults over a small child. He wasn’t sure if a larger man could have fit into the space. He was wiry and thin, something that usually worked to his advantage.
Like it did now. He wouldn’t have seen the tiny bluish purple light if he hadn’t already stepped inside the circle of trees.