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Fish Stocks Limited

Ambrosius was silent.
“All day and all night. If it had been winter I would have frozen to death. In the
end I came to. My wallet was missing and someone had taken my watch. Since then
I've never carried a wallet or a watch, and I've learnt to leave my morals bruised and
bleeding in the gutter, where those of other people left me.”
Ambrosius didn't know what to say. Stan cut another piece of steak and passed it
to his mouth. Ambrosius rubbed his hands over his face, before speaking. “You know,
it just goes to show. There's no such thing as evil. People are just pushed into doing
bad things by circumstance.”
“Oh no,” said Stan. “There is evil, don't you forget it. You've done evil by
cheating those people out of their houses. Just because evil is understandable, that
doesn't make it right.”
“How can I change my nature? You say you can see that, deep down, I have no
real morals. Surely if I am innately amoral then I can't help doing bad things.”
“Humans are perhaps unique in that they can choose to go against their nature. It
is important to pick your battles, though. You must not fight a war against nature,
Ambrosius – I can see that within you at the moment, a childish desire to attack parts
of yourself. No you must learn to live with your nature, evil as it may be. Only then
can you overcome it. Unless, of course, you don't want to overcome it. It is your
choice.” Stan smiled that hypnotic smile. “I suggest you follow me into a life of sinful
luxury, but then I would say that.”
“Enough,” said Ambrosius, smiling. “Something tells me that your advice is good,
but I don't want to follow anyone. I want to take responsibility for myself. If I do good
then it's to my credit, if I do evil it's on my own back.”
“Watch as I wipe a tear away,” said Stan, theatrically. “My little hatchling is about
to fly the nest. Yes, I think our little arrangement has come to an end. You want to
earn a living where at least you don't have to see the people you're shafting?”
“I suppose you could put it like that,” said Ambrosius.
“There is a company you might be interested in working for,” Stan said, dabbing
his mouth with a serviette. “It trades under the name of Fish Stocks Limited. Let me
tell you about it.”
****
Chapter 15 – The History of Fish Stocks Limited
Unthinkably, the City did not exist back then. The ground dwellers were spread in
small tribes amongst the jungle, and had to put up with wild snarlgrüber attacks and
the persistent, biting insects that buzzed through the mist, spreading mist fever and the
dreaded jitters. Fish were hunted with spears, which was extremely difficult owing to
their lightning quick reflexes and keen eyes. People had just too little to eat for most
of the time, and they were thin and hollow-eyed with hunger. But they were pious. In
a world where God's whim could mean the difference between eating a big fat bass or
starving for another week, people valued their God. A priesthood arose, the fish
hunters supporting them with a fifth of their catch. Hundreds of years passed, and the
priesthood gradually accumulated books full of arcane knowledge. The world was
understood in terms of the great pitched battle between good and evil, a battle that
could explain all the glories and hardships that befell the ground dwellers. Demons
 
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