There weren’t that many people. Only around twenty young ones, together with some experienced who were happening to go to the capital as well, but they were safeguarding us on the way. It was a colony of carts, while me, Aldrynte and Alice had our own horses and were on either front or backline. Sometimes we were together, and sometimes we were separated.
There isn’t really much to talk about the trip itself. I wish I could say it was full of events and such, but it was quite uneventful. It was a very calm trip from one side of the country to another. But it was a comfortable trip since the road between Kirkwall and Capital has a great and very maintained road.
In case you didn’t understand that yet; yes, the capital name is Capital. A long time ago, It used to have a few other names, but soon after the contract between many races, the name got changed to the Capital of All Races, or simply known as Capital. It was the moment when all different races united under one big country.
There are seven large towns on the way to the capital. It’s usually wise to travel from one town to the next and then rest. There are smaller inns and villages as well, but they are usually more expensive since they are meant for those who are in a hurry and just need a place to sleep or quickly eat.
So, naturally, our plan was also to travel to the capital within seven days, stopping at every bigger settlement.
To be honest, it was a wonderful trip. I saw a lot more than I had ever seen during my life. Merely a month ago, or so, I had been in the center of the Barren Lands, trapped. I had only seen dark dead soil. There was still some green, but very little. I had never seen as many things that I saw now. Even a trip to Cornwall wasn’t as beautiful as this one.
I saw things that many others wouldn’t or couldn’t appreciate. There were grasslands filled with flowers and other colorful nature. There were wheatfield, cornfields, ricefields and many other different types of fields. There were just normal forests, filled with birdsongs. There were beautiful rivers and lakes. Some were colorful, while others were yet their own way beautiful. There were more like hillsides parts, and on top of it, we could see further away. And there were moments when we could see mountain tips far-far away.
And perhaps during the trip, there were three moments to point out, discussions between my companions and… someone else.
It didn’t take long after we had begun the trip when Aldrynte casually got her horse next to mine. She looked at me, examining me carefully. I tried to ignore her.
“You’re mad, for sure,” Aldrynte finally said it out. “I wonder what did I do wrong?”
I looked at her, an eyebrow rose. “Really?”
“Really. So, I can’t really think anything that I did wrong. So I can only assume…”
I smirked. “Guess away.”
“The fact that I joined your party without asking for your permission?”
“No,” I said, finally looking at her. “It’s the fact you didn’t tell me that you joined my party. I found it out from Erica, not you. I don’t mind you joining the party at all. Maybe it’s really good that you joined. But I need to know those things, Aldrynte. What if decide something that I’m actually very against?”
Aldrynte looked at me, slightly even surprised. “That’s it?”
“This is about trust, Aly. It’s a small thing now, but a huge deal overall,” I said.
Aldrynte sighed. “For my defense, I can’t tell you much if you’re pushing all the meeting times further away because you’re busy.”
“But you knew that I stayed in the Platinum Theater?” I said. “So, how about, knock knock?” I ended up saying the last part a lot louder.
A louder shout came from behind. “Who’s there?”
Dammit, Loid, I thought.
“Fine. W. H. O. Now shut up, Loid,” I shouted. I love that guy.
Aldrynte giggled next to me. “Well, excuse me, but I didn’t. My father never told me where you stayed. If I had known that you were hiding literally next to my room… And a reminder, I can’t feel your presence either.”
Suddenly I had a flashback. I remembered telling Elbert to not tell anyone that I stayed in his theater. I was slightly embarrassed. “Of course, now I can count on him. Your father is a very weird man, you know that?”
Aldrynte nodded. “But he’s a fantastic man. He definitely enjoys his life as much as he can,” she said.
“But anyway, I heard also that you suggested the trip, and that I should be the teacher for a month?” I said, looking at her. Of course, I couldn’t admit my mistake there.
“Yes. I did,” Aldrynte said, nodding. She didn’t give me any other answers, which frustrated me.
“I wrote you a poem. Want to hear it?” I said, very suddenly.
“Well, knowing you now a bit more, and knowing your sense of humor, and also knowing the topic and the tone of your voice, I’d assume that it’s going to be an ironic poem. But I’m all ears.”
“12 months to kill the demon king,
12 months to kill the demon king,
Get a heart, save the world,
11 months to kill the demon king.
11 months to kill the demon king.
11 months to kill the demon king.
Go teach some students, waste some time,
10 months to kill the demon king.”
I was a lot quieter as I said all those lines. Aldrynte, however, couldn’t help but giggle and start laughing.
“We all have to start from somewhere, I guess,” she said, moving her tongue over her lips. “You just need some guided practice…”
“That sounds very… inviting, but no thank you.”
“Your loss,” Aldrynte said. Her horse got even closer to mine, as her next words were a lot quieter. “Hiro, listen. The very reason why we are doing all of this is because of that poem. It’s part of the preparation,” she looked at me, smiling, her dragon eyes were charming as ever. Of course, only I could see her eyes.
“Plus, you remember the agreement incorrectly. We never talked about killing the Demon King when the time is up. We talked about taking the next steps. That’s when we’ll start telling the truth about the mountain to the public, and that’s we’ll start gathering forces. Until then, It’s your job to prepare everyone as much as possible. It can be from finding allies to… teaching the future adventurers many things, which might be needed in the days to come. You’re a very motivating hero. Use your skills. The adventurer’s school lasts for 10 months, so those who enter right now will be fresh out of the oven when the time comes.”
I sighed. “Do I want the new ones there, though?”
“You’ll want every willing person. Even the weak adventurers can have their own uses,” Aldrynte said. Her horse got even closer, as she literally leaned her head against my shoulder. “I’m actually surprised that I even have to do this monologue. You, who just now inspired the entire country with Bill’s sacrifice shouldn’t need it. Or perhaps this is exactly why you need it...”
There was a moment of silence. “I know you’re gone through a lot, and you’re probably very stressed out. But I believe in you. You can do it. You have to believe in yourself, and think how you can turn all of it into your advantage.”
I sighed. “Maybe you’re right.”
“No,” Aldrynte said, grinning. “I’m always right.”
I shook my head, slowly. “Like father, like daughter.” I looked at the side. She was still leaning against me, eyes looking up into mine.
Aldrynte grin turned into a shining smile. “Maybe this is the huge part of us, dragons. We are very confident. Sometimes it can be even our downfall.”
I smiled and leaned my head slightly against her head.
And as a by the way, I have no idea how Aldrynte managed to lean against my shoulder while riding horse perfectly fine next to mine. But she was either truly great at horse riding or because she was a fucking dragon.
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
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