From Noir to Garonce
After safely leaving the merpeople island, Chiharu and Maki rode the train through the second great open space in the tunnels. This time, they did their best to ignore any looks coming from out the window, even when they felt it staring at them. And still, the Gazer came.
“I didn’t look at it this time. I promise!”
Excuses were made, but when their eyes had met for a second, the Gazer looked very happy.
Such small incidents occurred along the way, but they safely reached Noir in the dwarf lands. By this time, they were feeling somewhat affectionate towards the Gazer and prayed that the archer wouldn’t kill it.
It was now in the evening.
As they stepped out of the train, they could see the town and its many lines of short buildings stretch out both inland and towards the sea. There wasn’t much open land near the shore, as small mountains were close by. It was slightly past these mountains that their destination lay.
Maki quickly looked at her surroundings. Where was that place the old ticket seller had told her about? Ah, there it was. And another thing. There. The carriage station.
“Kaider, Nyran, thank you for helping us. Well, goodbye.”
Maki said to them hurriedly, Chiharu too bowed her head and the two of them tried to rush off to the carriage station.
“Wait, wait. Where’re you going?”
“Where? To the town of Garonce.”
“It will take an extra hour to get there. And there are not many inns.”
“But, we already decided. It’s hard to adjust once you change your schedule.”
“There’s a carriage leaving for Garonce in 5 minutes.”
Some passerby had overheard them and muttered this before walking away.
“Good. You buy the tickets, Norfe.”
The two split up. The younger sister went to buy some deep fried fish. Then she immediately went to the bakery next to it before running back to her brother.
“Oh, I guess I have no choice then.”
“Are you going too?”
“We can’t just leave those two alone.”
“But there are no Gazers or merpeople on land.”
“I just feel like there’ll be something.”
“…Well, you’re probably right.”
Kaider looked up at the sky.
“I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like there are a lot of bird people up there. Could it…”
“There’s no time.”
They were just in time. There were carriages with three rows of four-seats. They were on the large side. The floating stones meant that weight was not a problem, but the mountain roads in the dwarf lands were not wide. And so it was necessary to use carriages like these for transportation. The passengers were two children, Kaider and Nyran, and the man who had muttered to them a moment ago. The rest of the carriage was full of other baggage.
“Huh? Kaider, Nyran.”
The two children with bags looked at them with puzzled expressions.
“Well, we decided that it won’t be too bad to go to the next town.”
“Oh. So we’ll sit together again.”
The older brother seemed quite happy about this, and so the two were glad of their decision. The sister sat next to them and cut open some bread with a knife in order to stuff them with the fried fish. She made two of these and cut one in half and the other into three pieces.
“Here. I was worried because the fish was so big, but it seemed to work out.”
“You’re giving it to me?”
“Because there’s still quite some time until dinner.”
The sister also gave the other passenger some bread. While it was slightly cold, the fresh fish was seasoned with vinegar and salt, which went very nicely with the bread. After that, the siblings shared a bottle of fruit juice that they had bought at the station.
The carriage had windows on both sides. As it was going up a mountain, you could occasionally get a good view of the town of Noir. When the sun started to set, lights began to slowly appear throughout the city.