Florian decides to try and board the ship sooner rather than later. He thinks traveling with the Poet and Klaus will help his case. Florian carries Klaus on his shoulders so that the group can better navigate the crowd. In the distance is the sound of artillery shells. Rumors fly through the crowd of Allied attacks on soldiers and civilians. A woman tries to buy Klaus, thinking she’ll have a better chance of getting on with a child, but the Poet and Florian reject her offer.
Florian wants to be on the ship because it will take him closer to his sister, but also because Joana and her fellow travelers will be on it. As he often is, Florian is torn between self interest and a sense of community. He lifts Klaus onto his shoulders partially out of kindness, but also partially because he knows if he looks related to Klaus he will be more likely to gain passage.
Florian, Klaus, and the Poet approach the harbor. Florian makes sure the blood from the wound on his side is visible, even as he considers his sippenhaft, or bloodguilt, an invisible wound. Because his father made maps for an assassination attempt on Hitler, he was hanged. Florian is guilty by association. Plus, Florian is now smuggling the key and map to the Amber Room, which will also spell out certain death if he is discovered. He reflects, “Beck blood was bad.”
Florian’s connection to his father gives him strength. Revenge motivates him onwards, but it also puts him in danger. Florian worries that his “bad blood” has not only doomed him if he is captured by Nazis, but that it carries some kind of supernatural bad luck that will prevent him from escaping Germany.