This would be a busy day. We had to make up for all the time we lost trying to find armor.
We stuffed ourselves with breakfast in the morning and gathered our scattered things and thrust them into the hollow bag. This included my inner clothes and Daniela’s underwear. We’d have to wash them in a river sometime later. Once that was done, I crouched low on the ground and made sure there was nothing left on the floor. When I was sure, the only thing left to do was to settle the bill.
“Daniela, let’s go.”
“Wa-wait a moment. I must use the bathroom…”
Daniela frantically dashed away under my exasperated stare. I made sure the windows were all closed and locked as I waited. Everything was fine. I had the key as well.
After a final check, we both left the room. It was a short stay, but very pleasurable.
Several guests were relaxing in the lobby after having eaten their breakfast. We passed them and reached the counter, where Karamus was waiting for us with a smile.
“So this is the day that you two are leaving.”
“Yes, we had a great time here. Thank you.”
“No, it is my job, after all.”
She chuckled while raising an elegant hand to her mouth. But she was actually a sadist at heart.
“Oh, is something the matter?”
I put the key on the counter with a cool expression. Yeah, nothing at all.
“Well, we’ll be off now. You will let us stay if we come again?”
“Yes, of course. And I hope you two have a wonderful journey.”
Miss Karamus bowed deeply and I nodded before we existed the Babbling Brook. The sound of that brook had been comforting to the ears until the end. We would likely choose this place again if we ever found ourselves here. It was comfortable and the owner was pretty. The room was also clean, which was always a plus.
□ □ □ □
Once we were on the streets, we headed for the guardhouse near the docks. After all, Bacon was the first person who helped us, so I thought I might as well drop by. Two weeks of Usk had helped me learn all of the roads, and so we arrived quite quickly.
I said Bacon’s name at the counter and they told me where he was. Apparently, he was leading an inspection of goods and personnel on a newly arrived merchant ship. I couldn’t say I didn’t find this a little troublesome, but at least the docks were close by.
“Oh…what grand ship…”
Daniela looked up at it with surprise. Even I was shocked. The river itself was very wide, but I was still surprised that a vessel of this size could pass here without the hull hitting the bottom of the river. The thing looked to be about fifty meters long. I wasn’t an expert on boats, but that seemed like it was on the larger end.
It was larger than any of the others boats here, anyway.
“Ah, if it isn’t Asagi and Daniela. What are you two doing here?”
Bacon said as he approached us. For a second, I wasn’t quite sure either, but then I remembered.
“We’re going to be leaving town today. So I thought I’d say goodbye.”
“It’s Ya-…oh, so you’ll be leaving then? I’ll sure miss you two.”
Liar. We only saw him those first two days.
“Well, you be careful out there.”
“Yeah. But we’ll be back. As for Miss Karamus, she’s not interested. I would give up if I were you.”
“What? How can…are you serious? But she always smiles so sweetly that I…”
Unfortunately, that was just a disguise. A mask of deceit.
“But there may be a way.”
“Wha-what? Tell me!”
I threw an arm around Bacon’s shoulder and brought my head close to his and whispered.
“Well, she’s a real sadist. So she might oblige you if you asked to be punished.”
“You… If you’re lying to me, I’ll come after you and have you thrown in prison!”
Ah, he didn’t believe me then?
Well, it was really up to him. I was just showing him the way.
“That’s just how it is. Do what you want with it. Now, see ya.”
“Uh. I’m not sure how I feel about all of this. But I wish you well on your travels. And uh, thanks for everything you did in Nicora.”
“Don’t mention it. We were just passing through.”
I waved goodbye, and we walked away from the docks. We would go to the craftsmen street next. To the White Lily. And then it was straight for the east gate.
“…Still, there’s nothing less appealing than someone who comes directly to you, asking to be punished.”
“Indeed. It is one thing to casually solicit someone and then slide into a submissive role part way through, like you. That can be quite endearing. But I would not like someone to come at me like that so strongly.”
“Wait, I, I don’t do that. Do I?”
“Why are you laughing! Hey, stop right there!”
She had just unleashed a severe blow to my reputation, and now she was laughing and running away. This was quite a problem. I had to deny it immediately and recover from this. However, Daniela quickly stopped and began to walk normally as if nothing had happened. Ultimately, I was not able to fix things before we reached the White Lily.