“Alright, let’s see just how many people and packs this raft can hold.” Sarah stated before Marcus could get a word in edgewise. “You’ll want the packs in the middle and people around them.”
“Not that many packs!” Marcus yelled as six were piled on.
Sarah groaned inwardly. “Leave them on,” Sarah countered, “We need to see what the raft will hold.”
“Fine, it’ll be your fault if they sink the raft,” Marcus snarled at her.
“And it will float again when we take some off,” Sarah growled back.
“What if we can’t swim?” Hopeful Jeremy looked hesitantly at them.
“Oh shut up and get on,” Marcus snarled.
Sarah wanted to deck him, but she contained herself and turned to Jeremy. “We won’t let you fall off, and if you do I’m fully trained for water rescue.”
Marcus snorted his disbelief but kept whatever comment he might have made to himself. Sarah wondered if it had anything to do with the stare Sergeant Wolf was giving him.
“Get off! The raft is too low!” Marcus shouted.
“Leave one at a time please!” Sarah found herself countering him again. “How many men where on there? How many packs?”
She glared at Marcus, if they didn’t know that they wouldn’t be able to load it properly. If they couldn’t load it properly then they would never be able to organize the crossing. The two of them stood eye to eye, the other Hopefuls waiting nervously for something to happen. But nothing did for Sergeant Wolf was quickly beside them.
“I counted six packs and eight Hopefuls.” Both Marcus and Sarah turned to face Wolf. He studied them with his bright eyes. “We’ll cross with four packs and five men. Can you two cooperate long enough to take seven trips across?”
“Yes Sergeant,” Sarah immediately replied, thankful that Wolf had stepped in.
“Hopeful Marcus?” Wolf looked upon Marcus with a grim expression.
“Yes Sergeant,” he muttered. He looked to Sarah as Wolf began to organize the Hopefuls and Scouts into groups of five. “Think you can handle seven trips across and back?”
Sarah gave him a lopsided challenging grin. “I can if you can.”
“Hope you can keep up,” he sneered back.
Sarah’s face fell and she grabbed his shoulder before he could move away. “Teamwork Marcus, don’t forget. Don’t try to best me, because I will not be trying to best you.”
He narrowed his eyes at her and snorted. “Teamwork right,” he grumbled and moved back to his side of the raft.
“Are ye ready Hopefuls Marcus and Smith?” Wolf asked.
“Ready as we’ll ever be,” Sarah grinned as she and Marcus began pulling the loaded raft out into the river. Hitting the original stream bed they sank into the water started the swim across.
Sitting lower in the water than it had been the first time, the current brought the raft further downstream than it had on their first trip. A Scout gave an order and the Hopefuls jumped off to help pull it back upstream. Immediately after everything had been unloaded Marcus started heading back out into the stream.
“Pace yourself Marcus. I don’t think we have to hurry,” Sarah told him. Marcus glared at her so she turned to one of the scouts that had crossed. “It’s not far back to the barracks is it?”
“Not fa at all,” the Scout stated. “Ye got plenty o’ time.”
“Not to mention I doubt they will dock us points if we are late, given the circumstances.” She smiled at Marcus.
He just exhaled gustily. “Are you ready yet?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she grinned at him.
And so the next five trips went. Wolf directed the loading. Sarah and Marcus swam them across. Then she made Marcus rest before heading back, each time having a scout reassure him that they had plenty of time and no points would be docked.
“After all,” she laughed as they headed back to where Wolf and Phoenix waited for the last ferrying, “we ought to be given points for being so helpful.” Marcus just rolled his eyes and waded into the water.
When they reached the shore Wolf was waiting for them. “Go rest,” he told them gesturing to a tree where their two packs waited. “I’ll bring the boat up.”