Chapter Nine: Amadore's Capital
That night was near impossible, the heat was unbearable. Eventually I gave up and sat up, glancing out the tiny window, seeing the waves lap over the glass from time to time. The temptation to cool myself by onto deck and diving off the ship was more than tempting. But I knew that was dumb. The days on this boat have told me one very clear thing. The sea had a very big mind of its own. I knew we were going to reach Queli today. A small part of me wants to find the nearest offcial looking person and see if they can help me understand. But I knew by now no one knew what I was talking about. I think Gale knows a little, but she has yet to share it. A cold, wet nose drew me from my thoughts.
“Sorry, did I wake you?” I asked, beginning to stroke Hunter's fur. He let out a little mew, watching me intently. I continued to stroke him as I gazed out the window, watching the sky come to life with purples, oranges and yellows as the sun rose.
“If we go to the city, then all I'll see are aura's, I hope I don't get a headache...” I trailed off, worrying to myself. That was always my problem before, school was the worst. All that adolescent drama going round. My eyes would be sore and watering by the time lunch came round. That was when I would usually bail and skip classes. Annoyed my dad and teachers to no end. I laughed softly, school seemed like a whole world away now. In fact it probably was.
“I hope I figure out how to get home,” I whisper. Hunter pushes his head into my hand impatiently. I'd stopped stroking him and apparently he didn't like that.
“Attention-seeker,” I mutter as I resume the rhythmic action. I hear that derisive snort and I'm pretty sure the sound is unique to him alone. I ruffle his hair, messing up his fur and stand up to get sorted. I hear the annoyed meow and turn to see him sending glares in between righting his fur. A sight that easily lightens my mood.
“Silly furball,” I said over my shoulder, before grabbing my cloths - borrowed from Gale of course. My own were a complete loss, not to mention they made me stand out. I had a feeling I needed to try and blend into the crowds here. As I finish pulling on my shirt I turn to pick Hunter up, as always he's turned his back to me. How very...human. I knew that was a completely absurd thought, but it entered my head a lot.
“You been to Queli before, Hunter? I wonder what it's like,” I muse to myself as I leave my room and head up to the deck. Hunter doesn't struggle against my hold until I reach the top. Then he jumped out of my arms to climb onto the roping above as always.
“Cats and their high places,” I mutter in his direction, rolling my eyes. I hear the snort and quirk my lips to the side at him.
“Don't think I won't lock you in my room, arrogant little thing,” I said, levelling a finger at him. And I swear something close to a grin spreads over his little kitty face. I let out a half sigh before spotting Grayson at the top by the wheel, talking to another crew member. He looks very happy I note. I wonder if Gale is as equally content? The steps squeak as I walk up there to talk to him.
“How long now?” I asked. Grayson and Gale were the only two who knew I wasn't from this world. Or I guess there was always the chance of amnesia, but if so I had one hell of a vivid imagination. Oh, I guess hunter knew too, but I doubted he could spread the word around.
“A few hours now, won't be long til you can see it on the horizon. Sure enough after waiting long enough I could see the outlines of building and tall trees. The closer we got the more I could make out. The docks were impressive, made of a pale wood. Behind it emerged building made of pale sandstone with flat roofs. The paths were all cobblestone and curved round and round. The city itself was built around a large hill. The building at the top certainly towered over the others in both size and elegance. It was obvious the stone was cleaned and well-maintained and from here I could make out what looked like a tall wall surrounding it with gardens. At least I think they were gardens, all I could see was an array of colour up there.
“That's the palace,” Grayson said, seeing my line of vision. Something about those words sounded bitter and I wondered if whoever ruled this city was nice or not. I chose not to comment and instead waited for us to to land. It didn't take long for the boat to be tied in place and then I was back on land. I pulled my cloak on and Hunter hid in the hood of it. His warm fur a constant as I followed Gale and Grayson into the streets.
The houses had plain doors and windows, all of which hung open. I quickly put my cloak in my bag. The dessert heat of this place was impossible. Cloths lines hung all around with colourful fabrics drying. I didn't understand Grayson's earlier bitterness at all. Everywhere I looked people were happy. Children played silly games in the street. Mums then complained at them for getting dirty. It seemed...normal. We reached a market area and I couldn't withhold my fascination as I glanced at all the goods. Weird looking fruit was on one stand, another sold crafted piece made of sea glass. Everything here was handmade with intricate patterns woven into the woods of furniture and the cloths. Gale immediately pulled me forward when we reached those.
“You need more attire, I do not have much but I should be able to afford enough,” Gale said as she dragged me past hung up dresses. Some of them were amazing. Some were also extremely short which was a bit of surprise. I'd kind of assumed this world would share the standards held in the medieval world. But I guess the dress I wore before should've made it clear that wasn't the case.
“Your pretty enough without a dress, Necunoscut. You need more practical clothing if you plan to stick with me. I'm the travelling sort,” Gale said. It didn't bother me, I wasn't the type to wear dresses anyway. It didn't take long to find a simple shirt and pair of trousers.
“Now, I don't know about you, but I stink,” Gale said with a laugh. Yeah, the boat didn't have much in the way of sanitation. And seawater could only do so much. The bathhouse was crowded but I pushed aside my insecurities for the sake of getting clean. When I got out and dried I dressed into the new cloths, Gale had also bought me a belt, so I slipped the small dagger I'd gained from the inn lady through it. Much easier to access, something I think I needed in this world. Grayson was waiting for us when we emerged and we followed him to what looked like a hotel. Something about the looks he and Gale exchanged made me wary. Were they finally going to tell me everything they knew? Before I could wonder anymore I heard shouts from a nearby side-street.
Without thinking I took off. I heard Grayson and Gale shouting after me, but I didn't care. That had sounded like a child's voice. I followed the side street into a small opening, the surrounding area was empty except for a young boy with bright, spikey blood-red hair and two guards. They were cornering him, and quite rightly he was kicking up a fuss.
“Filthy demon, we'll kill you slowly. The sort of death you deserve,” One of the guards said, pulling out his sword and grinning a little too much as he closed in.
“Stop!” I yelled and both guards turned to look at me. Even the boy seemed a little surprised. But he took advantage of the moment and dived under one of the guards. Running and hiding behind me.
“Get away from him girl, he's a demon,” The second yelled, true concern in his tone. While the first one just looked damn right pissed.
“He's a kid idiots! Leave him alone!” I yelled, feeling my fists clench. They looked stunned and completely taken aback by my response. Then something on the first guards face changed.
“Look at her eyes, she's a demon too,” He said. The second one faltered.
“No, she can't be, she looks to-”
“Disguising oneself is easy. But you can never hide your eyes. Like they say, the windows into the soul,” The first interrupted the second. The first one advanced and me and the boy backed away in the same breath.
“Two in one, my lucky day,” The first guard grinned.
“Run!” The boy yelled, grabbing my hand and yanking me. Holy hell for a little kid he ran fast. I struggled to keep up and ran head first into Grayson.
“Get the hell off me!” He shouted, shoving us away bodily. Gale took in the child and let out a sigh.
“You need to stop interfering in demonic affairs, Necunoscut.” I didn't dignify that with a response, just glared. How anyone could think this kid was a demon was beyond me.