Naston the Port City (Part 3)Mature

"I know you've never seen a ship before," she said with a little amusement, "But I assure you they aren't as impressive as they seem." From how she said it, Monstroth got an idea that she had traveled by ship often. Well, many outsiders had been awed by the wall surrounding Faerein's Capitol City, so it wasn't odd that she saw them as ordinary.

Monstroth maneuvered his hat to a more comfortable position. "I've just never pictured them as this big." 

"Well, I felt the same way when I first visited Faerein. Those walls were larger than my mother could have explained." Monstroth briefly wondered if what his father had once said about all women possessing Mind Mystics was true. "Of course, I never stayed long enough to grow used to them."

Monstroth nodded. He felt like it would take a long time to get used to those massive structures called ships. Would he be alright riding one? Maybe he would experience ocean sickness. According to the stories, all people who sailed for the first time did. 

"Have you traveled on a ship, lady Naetia?" Monstroth asked just before they turned down a street. It was dark, but at the far end he saw a large shop. The delicious smell of food came just a moment later. 

"Yes, but only when work requires me to."

"You have to travel to sell hats?" Monstroth briefly pictured the small woman selling hats in other cities. Was there other places that would pay more? 

Naetia, of course, laughed that thought from Monstroth's mind. "I do other work than sell hats," she explained. "But, let's not talk about work right now." She smiled and slowed down a little, forcing Monstroth to slow as well, lest he drag her along. "How do you like Naston so far?"

How to put it into words... "It's very odd for me, yet very interesting." Naetia seemed to give him a questioning look. "Well, I've never been to another city, let alone one that was on the shore of the ocean, so I am very surprised by what I've seen."

"There's the odd part," Naetia said idly, glancing ahead. It did get dark in this alleyway. "What makes it interesting?" 

She obviously knew, but Monstroth decided to indulge her. "The way it is set up as well as the history behind it. I never knew there was a civil war, nor did I know about Burnrei's trophies he brought back. I also did not realize that Flame was more common here. In Faerein it is not so common."

Naetia nodded. "Thing's are definitely different here." As if to prove a point, she raised her hand and a fire burst into life. "When mother found out I had Flame, she was surprised. My father, though, was expecting it. It is Mineral that is uncommon here. In fact, there's a moving company that makes tons of orbs just because Mineral is so uncommon."

Monstroth grunted in surprise, something he had copied from his father. "Movers are common in Faerein..."

Naetia smiled. "Yeah, just shows you how different things are in the world. Never know what you will learn."

They had reached the middle of the alleyway finally, but it seemed... void of light. Almost like they had been placed into the darkest place possible. Monstroth looked up and realized the sky had gotten darker. Well, that explained a lot. 

"So, lady Naetia, how good is this restaurant we are going to?" Monstroth asked his companion. 

He didn't get a reply, however. Naetia was gone. 

"I didn't realize the former prince of Faerein would be so gullible, sister." 

Monstroth turned sharply. There was two figures in the darkness behind him. Thanks to years playing with Rhazin in the night, Monstroth was relatively good at seeing in the dark. He made out one figure to be Naetia. The other was a man that was about the same height, yet had a larger build. Like a mover almost. 

"What is this, Naetia?" Monstroth asked, a sinking feeling taking over his stomach. Sands, she hadn't brought him into this alley for a malicious purpose, had she? 

"Sorry, princeling," the man said, "But she wasn't on your side from the beginning." In the darkness, he turned back to Naetia. "Now, you sure he can only use Plasma and Mineral? That brat of a general's son could use Air and Alcheic, not just Flame like we had thought."

Zane? Were these the ones who had attacked Seikren's sons? 

"No, brother," Naetia said, "I trust my resources." 

The figure nodded and moved toward Monstroth. On impulse, he reached around and tried to find some rocks, sand, anything. Then he had a sinking realization. The buildings around him were made of wood. Even the ground was paved together to prevent a Mineral user from prying it up. Sands! Had he really walked into a trap?

"Don't fight now, or I'll make you join that kid."

Monstroth stepped back, making the ground scrap against his steel boots. "He survived," he told the man approaching him. Wait. Steel. 

"I don't care, it's not like I haven't killed others." A flame lit up in the man's hand, showing a dark-skinned face and tattoos lining his face. Dark hair hid what Monstroth couldn't see. 

"I won't let you take me," Monstroth said with false bravery. He was nearly shaking with fear. But, he could do this. It was just one man, right? Just don't think about Naetia being there. He slid off his steel boots and put them to either side. 

Then Monstroth accessed his Mineral Mystic. 

The End

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