The Marshals, having concluded their business in Grunting Hollow, prepare to continue their journey. Nelli clings to life as a dead man’s foot clings to her.
The Marshals march their 16 captives back to Fair Play without ceremony. Nelli finds herself rejecting the the grafted foot, and does her best to stay positive and alert. Once reaching Fair Play, they begin mulling over how to reach River Junction with all these prisoners, since the journey is far too long to be undertaken on foot. Eventually they settle on the idea of taking the prisoners on the daily stage coach in batches.
They speak to the priest, Cage Baldwin, who is still unofficially in charge. Riley Colt the blacksmith has been appointed interim watchman and has they key to the town’s jail cell. The marshals find Riley dozing in the Sheriff office. With protest they agree to shove all 16 prisoners into the jail cell along with two existing prisoners, making for very tight quarters, and the marshals help keep watch overnight.
The prisoners complain loudly throughout the night, engaging in minor scuffles with each other over sleeping space, but there are no major problems. As the sun rises, Cage relieves Riley. By this time the prisoners have shifted from complaining about exhaustion to complaining about hunger, but the interim mayor is unsure how to go about feeding them; normally he and Riley would pass some food into the cell, but that’s not going to work with this many prisoners in such a foul mood. The marshals reckon they can let out small batches of prisoners, and the townspeople agree to feed them in thanks for sorting out the town’s troubles. A certain degree of wing-stretching is also allowed to the prisoners during the day.
The stagecoach eventually arrives, packed with eight passengers. Nelli, in increasingly dire need of qualified medical attention, takes this coach without her cohorts, who agree to watch the prisoners and wait for the next coaches. After a cramped and painful journey, Nelli eventually arrives at River Junction. Her first order of business is to seek out her guild house, finds it in under an hour, and is provided with food and a place to sleep. She consults with a doctor and is provided with her options (medical regeneration, bionic foot replacement, or magical healing), and opts for a bionic foot. She will now need to schedule surgery and arrange payment.
The next day’s coach arrives at Fair Play with three passengers, and Eliza embarks with six passengers (one bandit, one Fair Play troublemaker, and four goons). After Eliza’s coach arrives at River Junction, Eliza obtains directions to the Sheriff’s office to drop off the miscreants for local punishment. She then returns to the stage station and ask around until she learns that Nelli went to the guide guild office. Eliza makes sure Nelli is ok, then arranges accommodation near the stage station and sends a note to Nelli with her location.
Bob takes three prisoners on the next day’s coach and arrives at the River Junction station to be greeted by Eliza. He drops off the prisoners and heads back to Fair Play. McTeef takes five more prisoners on the next day’s coach while Bob watches the remainder at Fair Play. The next day’s coach does not have enough room for the last four prisoners, so Bob sends a note to River Junction stating that he will have to wait. Finally, the day after, Bob loads the last four prisoners into the stage, and arrives at River Junction to join the rest of the party.