Then I hitched Flecha to the wagon and tethered the mule to the back, and we were on our way. Poor Flecha! We’ve been together a long time and she trusts me in everything, but she’s no dummy. She knew it was a reversal of the proper order of things for her to pull the wagon while the mule traipsed along behind, unencumbered.
There’s another town, about as large as Pojixe, to the south, and if it were just me and Flecha, I could’ve easily made it there by nightfall. But with the wagon and our late start, of course it wasn’t possible. So I figured we would just travel as far as we could, make camp and try for town the next day.
Once I got back onto the main road south, I found myself once again among bands of refugees. But as we continued on our way, I began to notice that someone had built rainwater reservoirs with taps built into them so travelers could get water along the way.
There were also signs posted on the side of the road. They said things like, “Land and Jobs for Honest Citizens,” “Law and Order,” “Peace and Prosperity,” and other such things. It was all very puzzling, so I asked a refugee couple what it was about.
They seemed surprised I didn’t know. “Paraíso Americano. There’s land and work for everyone, no crime, no wars, water, and even electricity part of the day in some areas.”
This sounded unlikely to me. “What group sponsors it?”
“It’s not a group. It’s a man by the name of Don Reymundo, and he—“
I didn’t hear what else they said. I knew plenty about Don Reymundo. He likes to play the different warring factions off each other, while remaining primarily aligned with México Lindo, one of the most dangerous groups fighting for regional control. Unitas tried over a year ago to get some reliable information that they could use to stop his land-grabbing and alliance-building, but so far not much had come of it. And now he was recruiting settlers for his lands? Interesting.
I spent the rest of the day trying to find out more from the various people heading toward his Paraíso, while keeping an eye out for messengers and muleteers who looked like they might have some sort of affiliation either with Don Reymundo or with México Lindo. What a shame I was burdened with a wagon and an errand I couldn’t abandon or put off—it would have made it much easier to gather information. But I did what I could, and made a point of camping near some of the other travelers at nightfall so I could listen to their conversations.
When I get to town tomorrow, I’ll need to find a way to get some of this information to Unitas. Robert’s spies have perhaps already picked up on what’s going on, but I’ve miscalculated before the extent of what Robert does and doesn’t know. The only question is how to get the information to him safely and reliably. I’ll need to think about that, and try to remember one of our codes.
And here I thought I was done working for Unitas.
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