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We left Yukka and traveled in a straight line. Only we were in the sky.
“Arkaroid is a day away on foot. How many minutes will it be for you?”
“Uh… I think I can reach it by midday if I go really fast.”
Probably two or three hours. After all, there were no obstacles or red lights in my way. And no speed limits or monsters either. It wouldn’t take anything close to a day.
“We can take a break in Arkaroid. We’ll have lunch and then leave right after. That way, we should reach Usk in the evening.”
“Yes, very convenient.”
“Stop saying that.”
It made me feel like a bus.
Usk was the town where Lemon came from. The swamp town… There hadn’t been much of interest there. It had rained really badly, and we were saved by a merchant called Mister Tanjelin. We first met Lemon when trying to enter the town.
And it was in the inn that she recommended to us that I met Lehaty. So, while we hadn’t done much sightseeing, we had met a decent number of people. And since the weather was better now, I had high hopes of checking out any notable landmarks.
We chatted about inconsequential things as I dashed through the air for the next two hours. And then Arkaroid came into view. It was the first time I saw the town under a clear sky. And so I was surprised by how beautiful a lot of the buildings were. They had yellow roofs and were quite charming.
If this were during the spring, the swampland around the town would have been sparkling. There would be flowers around the water and it would have been the embodiment of serenity.
However, it was tragically the icesnow phase. Everything was covered in snow. It was very unfortunate.
“Alright, it’s almost time to descend and walk.”
“Very well. There is a road down there.”
From up above, I could see a single line going through the snow. It led straight towards Arkaroid.
I landed carefully so as not to create a small blizzard, and then gently let Daniela down. We adjusted our disheveled winter clothes and started to walk down the road.
The snow felt much more overwhelming when you were at ground level. It was packed a lot higher than I had expected… But the surface seemed to be frozen. It was as if it had melted and then frozen repeatedly. Either that or someone had poured water over it. It looked slippery.
As we continued to trudge down the road, my body started to grow warm. I was even sweating under my clothes.
I managed to walk all of the way there without tripping. The Arkaroid entrance was right in front of us now. It was a great gate made out of wood.
There was no gatekeeper. Perhaps because it was too cold. I suppose they could do that because there were no monsters about during this time of the year. Part of me thought that a gatekeeper should be present regardless, but I suppose Arkaroid was a lot kinder to its employees than some companies I could think of.
“Mmm…ah, sorry. Did you want to come in?”
“Yes. Me and her.”
A small door opened to the side and a guard came out while rubbing his hands together. He then accepted our status cards.
“Just wait here. It won’t be a minute.”
He ran back through the door as if he couldn’t bear the cold for a second longer. He was the spitting image of an old man coming out of his house to fetch the newspaper in the morning.
The old man came out again after a minute. This time he was wearing a very warm-looking coat. He then took out our status cards from his giant pocket and handed them back to us.
“Alright, you can come in through this door.”
“You mean you’re not going to open the huge gates for us?”
He was pointing at the small side door he had come out of.
“I can’t feel my hands. But you’re welcome to wait out here until I get them warmed up again?”
“Thank you so much for letting us use your door.”
“That’s alright. Now, welcome to Arkaroid.”
I sighed and thanked him. Then Daniela and I walked through the door.
There was a small room inside. It had a table with some documents and a machine that read the status cards. That was it. Oh, and a very small stove…that looked like it would barely warm your toes.
And on the other side of this small room, was another door. Arkaroid would be right behind it. Finally. But would they have good food…? That was the important question.