Part 4: Chapter 7 – The Girl Who Wanted To Be A Painter
Tor let out a sigh as he left the inn and got into the magitec car.
“How was it?”
Asked Euphie, who was sitting in the passenger seat.
“It was no good. They have no rooms available.”
“This is the seventh one. They must see us as enemies.”
“So that is what Riskinan’s warning meant. They were quick to act. Each side is tightly united together. How beautiful.”
After turning down Riskinan’s suggestion, they were now being seen as enemies of the Accommodationist side.
On top of that, they had refused to accept the quest from the Expulsionists, so they were seen as enemies of that side as well.
Because of this, all of the inns turned them down when they searched for a room.
“This is no time for sarcasm. We must find a place before they start closing. Or else we will be driving all night.”
“Yes, and parking such a large magitec car somewhere would be like asking the Barrow family to come and arrest us.”
“At worst, we might have to leave the city once and camp outside.”
“There might be no other way. However, I don’t want to be driven out like that either. We haven’t done any sightseeing yet. If we’re going to be rejected at every inn, then we might as well give up and look at some of the stores instead.”
“You’re quick to switch gears.”
“I just don’t like to lose.”
He started the magitec car again, and for some time, they drove around and looked for a place where they could pass the time. And then, an art gallery caught their eyes.
As this was the capital of art, an art gallery was not that unusual in itself. However, it seemed like they were holding a contest now.
“Looks like you can enter for free.”
“Should we take a look?”
“You don’t even care about searching for an inn anymore, do you?”
The twins chuckled, but were enthusiastic about it.
And so they found a place where you could park carriages, and they parked the magitec car there.
Then the three stepped out and walked towards the art gallery.
As they were holding a contest, it was a very large building, and quite crowded. They were even passing out numbered tickets.
Tor wondered if they would be refused entry, but they were clearly not recognized, as the receptionist handed them the tickets with a smile.
Clearly, they did not have enough time and resources to spread information about the trio to every corner of the city.
It’s not as if they were wanted criminals, and so they were able to enter boldly.
Each floor seemed to be split up into four areas, and were decorated with paintings.
There was a route you were supposed to follow, and so they followed the flow of people as they inspected the art.
And while Tor assumed that you would have to be quiet, the other visitors were talking excitedly as they looked at each painting.
Tor relaxed then as he turned to look at the art.
“…I don’t get it.”
Tor folded his arms and narrowed his brows. He could not understand what he was looking at, let alone judge whether it was good or not.
Euphie and Mailey would glance at a picture, lose interest, and quickly move to the next one.
Tor tapped Euhie on the shoulder.
“This one. What is it?”
“You can’t tell?”
“I think it is not a solid object. It probably represents something that only people with the right sensibilities can see. The type of art that is about empathy, not understanding.”
In other words, if you did not feel empathy at a glance, then you were rejected.
“Perhaps later, when time has changed your sensibilities and tastes, you should look at it again.”
“I doubt I’ll have the opportunity.”
“Then it is fate.”
There was something about that that felt a little sad. Though, not sad enough to make him want to purchase it.
They moved on to the next painting, and then the one after that.
While it was a contest, he did not know what the theme was.
But unlike Tor, who had increasingly more questions, Euphie and Mailey would sometimes stop and stare at a painting.
It was when he was close to the end, that Tor stopped.
It wasn’t any fascination with the painting. It was the name that was familiar to him.
Tor recalled the new acquaintance’s face as he looked at the painting.
It was a landscape painting that used a lot of blue. And while it wasn’t anywhere in Crambarrow, he recognized it.
“It’s a port town.”
Euphie and Mailey said with puzzled expressions as they gazed at it.
There was no sea or even lakes near Crambarrow.
“It’s a port town to the south, called Fulma. I went there for a quest about three years ago.”
“Now that I think about it, Mr. Riskinan Barrow is the leader of an Adventurer clan. Perhaps he visited this town for the same reason, and painted it.”
“I suppose so. Still, this is impressive work.”
Even Tor could easily see the skill involved. He thought it could win first prize.
“There is a lot of blue used in it. Perhaps it is because his family sponsors him? But then, why does he work as an Adventurer?”
“Perhaps he uses the quests as an excuse to travel and draw landscapes?”
If you are an Adventurer, you could travel to many towns and cities without having your entrance restricted.
Riskinan Barrow was the son of landowners. Visiting as an Adventurer would be a good way to travel without looking like there was any political intention in it.
Euphie and Mailey seemed to be satisfied with this explanation, as they nodded and turned away from the painting.
“We should go soon.”
They passed the area where replicas of past winners were being sold.
In order to not crash with the current of people, they exited from a back entrance and started to walk back to the magitec car.
As there were many art galleries here, there were also a lot of street merchants. Some were selling paintings, while others offered to draw you.
As they walked down the street, the twins suddenly stopped to gaze at some paintings.
“This one is nice.”
Euphie bent down to look at a landscape drawing that had not been colored yet.
However, the variance in the linework, as well as the composition was very expressive.
And though Tor knew little of such techniques, he also agreed that it was good. Even compared to Riskinan Barrow’s work, this was the one he would want to see again.
“At this size, we can even hang it up in the magitec car.”
“Ah, that’s a good idea.”
Mailey agreed with Tor, and started to look around.
Tor had noticed it as well. There didn’t seem to be any owner by this stall. And there also wasn’t anywhere to leave money if you bought something.
“There are price tags, so they must be for sale. What should we do?”
“Well, we don’t have much time. If we can’t find any inns, then we better return to the gates before they close. We could come back tomorrow?”
“…Ah, are you a customer!?”
A girl’s voice rang from a short distance away. He turned and their eyes met.
She was short, and appeared to be around thirteen years of age. And she moved with the agility of a squirrel.
“You are, aren’t you? Sorry to keep you waiting. I was having some tea, as I didn’t think that anyone would come!”
She sure was honest.
Tor laughed and pointed at the painting.
“We were thinking about buying it tomorrow, as we’re in a hurry. This is the painting that we wanted to buy. Is that alright?”
“Huh? That one? You really want it?”
“There is something about it that feels expansive. And so we thought it would make things feel less cramped if hung in our magitec car.”
“Ah! Thank you! I was the one who drew it! To think that you would buy my art, and not my brother’s! Ah, that’s right. You are in a hurry.”
The girl realized that she was rambling, and so she picked up the picture and handed it to Tor.
“Thank you. I have three silvers. Can you give me change?”
He took out the silvers from his wallet. The girl received them and then started to count her coppers.
“Is there a reason that you are in such a rush?”
“We weren’t able to get a room at any inns. And so we are thinking of leaving the city and camping outside.”
“Outside!? That is dangerous. While this city is a tourist site, there are lots of monsters in the area, as well as magitec beasts recently. Why don’t you come back with me? We have plenty of space, if nothing else.”
The girl looked at the twins as she handed Tor the change.
“Especially with these two ladies with you. It is dangerous out there.”
“Uh, we couldn’t disturb you like that…”
The girl obviously didn’t know that they were more than capable of defending themselves, and so she was worried. But Tor felt uncomfortable about suddenly staying in someone’s house.
“Besides, the reason we couldn’t get an inn was because we refused to take sides with this whole vampire incident. And so we wouldn’t want to involve you or your brother.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. That has nothing to do with us.”
The girl said with a laugh, and then she took Euphie and Mailey’s hands.
“Surely you two would feel more safe with us, rather than camping outside?”
“Uhh, it is not so simple.”
Mailey said, as she knew how strong Tor was.
“But you will come, won’t you? My brother is strange, and only cares about art. But you can stay in my room. It may smell like paint, but it is safe.”
“Well, if you are going to insist so much, perhaps we should go?”
Euphie and Mailey turned to Tor, who nodded.
“Fine. And if your brother refuses, we can head straight to the gate.”
“I will persuade him, I assure you. Though, he may not be so talkative when greeting you.”
The girl quickly started to take down the stall as she introduced herself.
“My name is Piam. As you can see, I’m an aspiring artist. And well, I’d love to hear about your travels.