Chapter Eighty-Eight: Setting out for the Capital
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I panicked a little as I quickly tried to think what to do. For some reason I felt it was best if Lillia didn’t find Celine. Chances were, she would try to kill her there and then. I suppose that is what she deserved, but I had the feeling she could prove useful. At the very least, she knew things that I wanted to find out. I wanted to know this information before I decided to share it with Lillia and the others. I climbed off Celine and released my grip of her. She didn’t move from the spot, just laid there looking at me.

“Theo, are you coming?” Lillia called from outside once again.

“Looks like you are wanted.” Celine commented.

“I know.” I answered her quietly.

What to do…

“I’ll be right there.” I called back to Lillia.

Celine didn’t seem to be trying to escape or anything. She still hadn’t moved from the spot. Something about that technique had seemed to put her under my control, but I had no idea how long it would last. Perhaps it was a permanent change, but I had no way of telling. She didn’t seem to be able to feed properly and was growing weaker over time. If I let her be for now and the effect wore off, chances were she would attack me again. Despite that I felt like I would have a good chance of fending her off. It didn’t seem like she was likely to attack anyone else. I wanted more time to decide what to do with her in the long run, so I made a decision I hoped I wouldn’t regret.

“You need to disappear, now.” I told Celine.

“But…”

“Yeah, I’m not trusting you. I’m just banking on you not being able to feed and still wanting to hunt me down.”

“No, I wouldn’t leave you master… It’s not that, it’s just… I need to feed, please.”

She wanted my sexual energy and now of all times.

“You’ll just have to wait. If you don’t hide now, you’ll be killed. Understand?”

“Yes master.”

Celine vanished almost instantly. I was going to have to do something about her calling me master as well. I didn’t have time to think now, so I quickly changed into my gear and went to answer the door to Lillia.

“What took you so long?” She asked peering into my room.

“Oh, I just overslept, and it took a while to wake up properly.”

“Hmm… I could have sworn you were talking to someone in here.” She said after thoroughly looking around.

“No, just me trying to wake up.”

“I can see that. Anyway, come on we’re going to be late.”

I grabbed my bag that I’d stuffed the rest of my gear in along with the smart clothes that Serin had bought me and headed downstairs with Lillia. There was no time to stop in the guild hall for breakfast, because the carriage was coming any minute now. Lillia led me straight through and outside to where the others were already waiting.

“What took you so long?” Serin asked when we joined her and Altria outside.

“He was still asleep when I called for him! I had to wait while he got out of bed and dressed.” Explained Lillia.

“I thought we told you to rest?” Asked Serin.

“You did, and I did go to bed early. I don’t know what happened, sorry.”

“Well, you’re here now and just in time.”

It really was just in time as well, because the carriage rolled up as we were talking. I suppose it would have waited for us, but it wouldn’t have been good if we ended up being late to the capital. I really wanted to observe the summoners ritual and I would have been annoyed if we ended up missing it.

Seeing our ride had arrived the four of us headed down to the square and climbed aboard. Once we were all safely inside the driver set off. It was only after we started moving that I realised just how hungry I was. I’d skipped dinner the night before and not eaten this morning. Just thinking about it made my stomach groan. Worrying about how long I might have to go without food, I leant my head against the side of the carriage and sighed.

“Are you okay Theo? You look a little out of it.” Asked Serin.

“I’m fine, I’m just a little hungry is all.”

“Right, I suppose you didn’t have time for breakfast.”

“I didn’t, but it is my fault for not getting up on time.”

“It’s a good thing I stopped off at the market on my way to the guild then.” Serin quickly shuffled around in her bag before producing a roll. “Here take this.”

“Thanks!”

“It’s not much, but it should tide you over.”

I was just happy to have anything to eat before lunch at all. I quickly ate down the roll and almost immediately felt better. By the time I had finished eating we had already passed the city gates and were rolling down the countryside road.

“How long will it take us to reach the capital?” I asked.

“About three days if all goes well.” Replied Lillia.

“We’re still fairly far away then.”

“Yes, Dunshelm is nowhere near as far out as Lintz, but it isn’t close to the capital by any means.”

“I see. How safe is the road there?”

“Fairly. There are dangerous spots on the way, but the closer we get to the capital the safer things become. We’ll still need to set a watch each night though, if we stop on the road that is.”

I knew there would be coach stops at the towns and villages on the way there, but by the sounds of things we would be spending at least one night under the stars. I suppose it all depended on when we needed to stop for the night. I guess transporting a group of adventurers the driver would be less concerned than normal about stopping outside of a town.

 The carriage rolled on through the day, only stopping once at one of the small villages on the route to change the horses. Despite being one of the main routes through the kingdom, we didn’t pass many towns or settlements. Well, we did, but many of them had fallen to ruin. I hadn’t noticed it on our quest, but the years that the realm had been at war had really taken its toll. Seeing it like this it somehow struck me. I don’t know why, I already knew this was the case, but seeing the effects like this seemed to hit home more than the fact that there were few men left outside of the nobility.

As night started to fall, we rolled into a small town. It seemed that tonight at least, we wouldn’t be sleeping out in the wilds. The driver stopped outside at the front of a nice looking inn and helped us out of the carriage with our gear. After everyone was off, she climbed back on the driver’s seat and took the carriage and the horses around the back of the inn. While she did the rest of us headed inside.

The innkeeper greeted us at the reception desk. It was at the side of a small bar area, there were a few other people sat inside having a quiet drink.

“Good evening. Are you looking for rooms?” She asked.

“Yes, four singles if you have them?” Replied Lillia.

“We have plenty spare at the moment, the road has been quiet lately.”

“Great.”

“One second, I’ll fetch the keys.”

The inn keeper stepped inside a small room behind the bar for a moment before returning with a handful of keys.

“Here you go. Room numbers are on them.”

“Thanks.”

“Will you be eating tonight?”

“Yes please.”

“Great, we start serving at seven.”

“Thanks. We’ll just check out the rooms and drop of our things, then we’ll be back down.”

“Right, we’ll see you for dinner then.”

Lillia took the keys from the inn keeper and handed them over to us in no particular order, then we all headed upstairs to drop off our things. It was about half six when we arrived, so we only had a little time before we needed to come back for dinner.

The inn was an old building. It was quite large and looked to have about three floors from the outside. As it happened all our rooms were on the first floor. We all separated as we went to drop off our things in our own rooms and arranged to meet back downstairs once we were done. I stepped into my room and chucked my bag into the corner, before sitting down on the bed. It seemed comfortable enough. The room wasn’t fancy or anything, but it was much nicer than sleeping at the roadside would have been.

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