They looked at the shuddering Chiharu with much concern.
“These monsters come after you if you lock eyes. So you must not do that. But how could you know, eh?”
Of course, they couldn’t.
“You should remember it well, if you ever mean to become an adventurer, Norfe.”
“Uh, I don’t…yes.”
Maki just let it go. The Gazer could not keep up with the trains speed, and so it had just gone off somewhere.
“There are ways to handle them if you know that they are there. But the first thing to remember, is to not look them in the eye.”
Chiharu nodded. But how could you not look at something that was staring at you?
Nyran then gave Maki and Chiharu some dried fruits to cheer them up. Chiharu nibbled the fruit, but could do little to hide how rattled she was. Nyran saw her and was reminded of ‘a small critter.’ One that you wanted to feed many times. Was there a sign somewhere that said ‘don’t feed them too much’?
Maki and Chiharu were oblivious to the rude thoughts in his head, as they continued their ride to the merpeople island. While Nyran continued to feed them pieces of dried fruit, Kaider went to talk to the conductor.
“He said that they would recruit adventurers on the next train going in the opposite direction. Hopefully, one of them is an archer. Bah, this one wasn’t suited for us anyway. We should just continue on to the dwarf lands.”
The train was now going upwards. The lights started to become brighter, and when they were finally out of the tunnel, a vast sea spread out when you looked out of the window.
It wasn’t like looking at the sea from the faraway castle, or even seeing it from the port. The sea took up the entire view from the window. If you looked back, you could see the human continent in the distance, and in the front, was the tall mountains of the dwarven continent. They were now in the merpeople island in the center.
The train came to a quiet stop. While it was a station, they only needed to step out of the car to be on the ground. There were several stores lined up here as if waiting just for them. They sold drinks and food. And at a short distance away, near the shore, were the merpeople.
“See, there they are. They sell accessories made of scales and coral and clam trinkets. You should go take a look if you have the coin to spare. But the train will leave in an hour, so be sure to come back with plenty of time left.”
They promised Kaider that they would. It had somehow been decided that they would sit together again.
“Chiha-, uh, Chouze. I’m going to check that store over there. So you go and see the merpeople’s store first.”
Maki then went running off to the food stalls. Her sharp eyes scanned the different stores before targeting something.
“Mister, I’ll take one of those.”
She pointed at a bottle. It was a type of light red hamanasu wine. There was nothing in the sea that was sweet enough to make wine with. And so the merpeople used the berries that grew near the coast to make wine. A certain clerk near the port had told Maki that this was a beautiful drink that warms your body, and was very popular among women. It was what the merpeople island was most famous for.
“Oh, my. How old are you, boy? I very much doubt that you are of drinking age.”
“I may be small, but I’m almost 14. But, it’s not me who is going to drink it. Look over there. Those guys asked me to buy it for them.”
Maki pointed at Kaider and Nyran.
“They’re looking after my sister while I go and buy stuff for them.”
“Hmm, you should be taller at fourteen.”
“My father started to grow pretty late as well. I’m going to be huge very soon.”
“Is that so. Well, alright. You just need one?”
“I’ll take two.”
“Here you go.”
Maki accepted the two bottles and put them in her bag. Now, off to the merpeople store. Huh? Kaider and Nyran were gone.
“Why are there so many?”
The old man said. He was looking at the merpeople store. Maki looked too and saw that there was a crowd of merpeople behind the store that Chiharu was standing at. Had something happened?
Maki dashed towards her.