The next day, we returned to the exchange market only to collect our resources that we had bartered for the previous day.
The main problem of the exchange market?
We were students and typically, students didn’t really have much with them.
What was worse was that we were students in Yamal Academy, where we really didn’t have anything to our name.
As such, our exchanges were mainly what we could produce on our own.
Seeing the list of resources that the year 2 class had, we were pretty sure that their camp was next to a hill with a water source.
How did we know that?
By the stones that Urbano was happily patting as he rattled off a string of incomprehensible words.
And by the raw materials that Celine had sent us… most of which were bones from aquatic animals.
The hides too were from the same source, but it didn’t matter to us.
Our plan was set, and only time would tell if we were correct or not.
Speaking of the plan, we interrupted Urbano, who looked at us displeased until Sia pointed to the construction resources and whispered a few words.
Words which had Urbano shoot up like a spring as he excitedly questioned Sia and as Sia nodded, he began dancing a happy little jig while mumbling to himself.
Watching on, I smiled as Urbano lost himself in calculations before I gestured to Sia to follow me.
Walking toward the other side of the camp toward the trail, I paused and as she caught up, I said, “I think Sir Liam is going to come tomorrow and also, our maidens are going to have to leave…”
Wincing, Sia nodded, and then she asked hesitantly, “Still no news about Marrok?”
Shaking my head sadly, I said, “None.”
“Do you want to search for him?” she asked as she touched my arm briefly.
“I want to… but we can’t get out of this place…” I said in frustration.
Silently, Sia stood there as she gazed at me with a pained expression.
Forcing a smile, I said, “He’ll be alright. I hope he’s alright…”
Moving forward and hugging me, Sia said, “he will be. For now, I need you to focus.”
Nodding, I closed my eyes as I took in a deep breath before letting it out and gazing at Sia.
Looking back at me, she asked, “Proton for your thoughts?”
Chuckling, I said, “I’m thinking on how to earn Protons.”
Laughing along, Sia said, “Not satisfied with the fleecing?”
Snorting, I said, “If we were truly fleecing those balakashes, I would have been the happiest. But it is how it is.”
Nodding, Sia said softly, “It is how it is.”
Breaking the hug, she grabbed my hand and pulled me along as she said, “It’s time to tell the rest of the Maidens the plan.”
“Mmhm,” I said, as I imagined the reactions we would get.
“Wait,” I said as I pulled her back.
“What?” she asked as she looked at me.
“Let’s not do it now. Wait till Sir Liam comes, just to, you know… make sure.”
Assenting, Sia said, “That would be wiser, yes.”
Then, looking at me appraisingly, she said, “Why is it that I feel that you’re becoming more intelligent, eh? Immortal boy?”
Blinking innocently at her, I said, “I was always intelligent,” and then posing dramatically, I continued, “It’s just nobody ever understood me!”
Snorting, Sia walked away, leaving me still in the dramatic pose, which I quickly came out of as I hurried to catch up to her.
Walking beside her, I asked, “Feast today?”
Turning to me and then staring at the mountain of food that my assistants were busy salting, she said, “Definitely feasting today.”
Grinning, I looked at the sky before saying, “If we’re right, you do know that we’ll be separated, yeah?”
Placing her arm around my waist, she looked up at the sky with me as she said simply, “I know.”
“Mhmm.” I murmured as I circled my arm around her waist too.
“Faust… I wanted to ask you something,” Sia said quietly.
“Mmh?” I said as I gazed down at her.
Still looking at the sky, she asked, “Why did you let me be the Chief Maiden?”
Quietly, I said, “Because you are the Chief Maiden.”
“That’s not what I asked,” she said as she turned her head to meet my eyes.
Serenely looking at her, I said, “Because you’re a better leader than I am.”
Shaking her head, she said, “That’s not true. You were the one who told me about the survival part, which allowed us to fight off the hounds. You were the one who cheered up the Maidens after the battle. You were the one who came up with the timelines. You were the one who did all that. As for me?” trailing off, she looked back at the sky.
Looking at the sky too, I spoke softly. “Sia… You forget who it was that sensed the danger along with me. You forget who was the one who gave me the hint which allowed me to connect the dots. As for the cheering up part? Do you know what I said to them?”
“What?” she asked in a small voice.
“I said that the only one allowed to be sad is the Chief Maiden. Because she carries all our hopes, fears, and emotions on her thin shoulders. As for us? We’re just meant to be happy all the time.”
Turning her head swiftly, she looked at me as she said, “You did not say that, you liar!”
Laughing, I said, “Ask the Maidens. They’ll tell you the same thing.”
Doubtfully, she looked at me before she said, “I’ll ask them alright. And if it’s not, then… then!”
“Then what?” I teased.
“Then you’re toast, immortal boy!” she said fiercely.
Laughing, I pulled her closer to me, and I said, “May lightning strike me if my words are false.”
Just then, the sky rumbled, and rain began falling.
Glaring at me, Sia raised her eyebrows as I hastily said, “Coincidence, It’s a coincidence.”
Harrumphing, she turned back to looking at the sky as the rain fell down even more fiercely as the sky darkened.
Joining her in gazing at the sky, we peacefully stood there, underneath the rain, as we became drenched.
But neither of us made any effort to move.
That is, until we heard a loud sound behind us, and turning, we saw the crumpled figure of a boy that was very familiar.
And then we flashed toward him in an instant as my needles were summoned, and I ran a professional eye over the boy.
The boy who had been missing for the past three days.