Until next time, Usk
The next day. It was finally time for our departure.
“I’m sad that you are leaving us so soon.”
“Thank you. We feel the same.”
This was our second time leaving Miss Karamus. But we were not likely to return for a long while.
“I hope you don’t think I’m just saying this for business purposes, but I hope you that if you are ever in town again…”
“I can’t imagine staying anywhere else. Isn’t that right?”
“Aye. There is no better inn in this town. We will stay here whether you like it or not.”
Daniela said with a dashing smile as she shook Karamus’s hand.
“Yes. I will be waiting…!”
A wonderful sight. She really was too good for the likes of Bacon. She should be with someone like Daniela… What? Wait, what am I talking about?
“Well, we must go now. …Asagi?”
“Uh, yeah. Let’s go. Goodbye, Miss Karamus.”
“Mister Asagi. Miss Daniela. Good luck. And please take care of yourselves.”
We said goodbye to Miss Karamus and exited the Babbling Brook. That’s when we saw that Bacon was waiting for us outside in his civilian clothes.
He had both of his hands in his jacket pockets and seemed rather gruff. There was a guard standing next to him.
“I thought we should get this over with first. Hand over your status cards.”
“Ah, right. …Here.”
“Alright. Let’s go then.”
Bacon passed the cards to the guard, who then ran off in the direction of the guardhouse. That was very nice of him…
“Oh, wait. We need to go see Mister Lontos.”
“Eh? That’ll lose you a lot of time, don’t you know?”
Bacon said with a look of annoyance. I stared at him for a moment and then smiled.
“I knew it. You sent us there on purpose!”
“Uh, not at all…!”
“Good. Daniela, let’s drop Bacon off there.”
“I think that is a fine idea, Asagi. I am sure that Bacon would be most interested to learn about the history of boats. Yes, his inquisitiveness is written all over his face. I read it just now.”
“No! NO! I’ll tell Old Lontos later. But there is no need to visit him today!”
Bacon was visibly upset. And yet this man had no qualms about sending us there to be sacrificed.
“Uh, well… He may be a talker, but his boats really are great. No, he truly is quite popular, you believe me, don’t you?”
“I suppose so… Well, nevermind. So, you’ll tell him for us?”
“I said I would.”
“Good. Then let’s go to the Ritune river.”
“Asagi and I decided to have our breakfast in the boat. So we should hurry.”
Daniela’s motives were questionable, but she was right about us being in a hurry. I wanted to finish our business in the forest before the end of the snow season. And so while it would have been nice to spend more time in town, we hurried on towards the river.
I turned back once and looked up at the Babbling Brook. A place we had stayed at twice. The inn with the comforting sounds of water. I would be very happy to return to it one day.
“Yeah, I’m coming.”
Bacon called after me, and so I ran towards them after shaking off the feeling of regret.
□ □ □ □
We went through the morning market, which was as busy as usual, and then arrived at the Ritune river. I felt the cold, damp wind on my face and hands as I pulled out the boat from the hollow bag.
Splash! I jumped into the boat and grabbed the rope that came with it, and used Legs of the God Wolf to return to the riverbank so I could tie it up to the dock.
“Now that I think about, you flew like that when you first crossed the river…”
“Yeah, that was a while ago…”
“I thought you were some kind of freak…”
After that, we joked around for a while and waited awkwardly. Eventually, we sat down on the ground and stared dumbly at the water. As this was a trading town, there were all kinds of boats docked here. I gazed at them until the guard finally came running and handed us our status cards.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. Here you are. You’re free to go now.”
“Ah, thank you.”
I put them in my pocket and then turned to the river.
“…Well, I guess we have to leave now. We’ll miss you.”
“Indeed… We may both be old men by the next time we meet.”
Bacon and I appeared to be a similar age. So we’d probably age similarly as well.
“Hmm, I’m sure you’ll bald before me.”
“Dumb bastard. In my family, we end up with beautiful white hair.”
“Ah, so you’ll be the first to break with tradition. A true revolutionary.”
“Damn you! I’m not going bald!”
Daniela ignored our stupid conversation and jumped into the boat and prepared to leave. Or maybe she just didn’t want to get in the way of our manly farewell. I’m sure she’d make sure I did plenty of work later.
She was quite quick too. Clearly, she had learned well from Mister Lontos. The boat was ready to go in no time.
Daniela called, and so I stood up.
“…Well, gotta go now.”
“Aye. Don’t get sick out there. It will likely be a rough ride.”
I put one foot into the boat and turned around.
“You take care too!”
“That’s the one thing I’m good at! Don’t worry about me!”
Bacon said as he took a hand out of his pocket and gave me a thumbs up.
I untied the rope and kicked us away from the dock. The boat moved slowly away from Usk and drifted down the river. Bacon immediately put his hands back into his pockets and shivered as he watched us leave.
That’s when Daniela sent magic into the engine. The boat suddenly picked up speed as we were propelled forward.
I frantically grabbed the side of the boat so I didn’t fall. Then I turned back and saw that Bacon was still standing there and watching us leave. Damn it. He was normally so light-hearted and rude, but…
As I watched him, Daniela came out of the cabin. She saw the grim look on my face and tilted her head to the side.
“Are you crying? Asagi?”
“Of course, not… Uhh… But I suddenly feel quite old…”
I didn’t know what to do about the slight pain at the back of my nose, but before long, Bacon was completely out of sight.
Now, it was off to the sea of trees. The ancient elven ruins that lay in its depths. And like that, our journey to find the key to the Nova had begun.
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