Chapter 96:

Chapter 96 - Yamal

The Flight of The Draykes

I walked a few footsteps before I paused and then apologetically shooting a glance at Sia; I ran and called Ares, Damon, and Celine.

Quickly telling them of our intentions, the five of us walked as a group into the city.

Like our first glimpse at it - it was a small militaristic city. Rugged in appearance with cream-colored houses made up of bricks. Something that was starkly different from Draconis’s stone houses.

Looking around, we saw something which we hadn’t seen when we had entered the city.

A significant portion of the north side was covered by a trench that even now was being worked upon by men and women flecked with sweat as they shovelled dirt out into large mounds on the side facing the city.

Curious, we watched on for a while before we explored Yamal properly.

It was rather easy to explore… Given that it was laid out in neat quarters.

There were many people toward the west, which is where we had entered the city from, so we went there to have a gander.

We saw throngs of people walking to and from the small palisade gate that surrounded the city, which as we thought about it, was somewhat unbefitting a city the size of Yamal.

Thinking back to the trench, we, or rather I, connected the dots and realized it was part of the new wall that was being constructed.

As I shared this with my dear friends, I was met with incredulous glances and I felt my face burn as I connected yet more dots to realize that they had known it all along.

Coughing, I pointed at a particularly busy building and walking over; we saw it was a squat four story building with a sigil of a sword and spear crossed together with an arrow vertical in the middle.

It was the sign of the adventurer’s guild and we all regarded the various grim looking adventurers who walked inside with bloodstains on their clothes and carrying sacks which bulged out - filled, no doubt with the results of their hunt.

We lingered there for a while and as we left; I saw a boy that must have been Damon’s age, clad in a brown gambeson with chainmail over it and a sword belted to his waist.

He was following a medium-sized man who was built like a bear - wide across the shoulders with a narrow waist on which two daggers were belted, while a sword and a shield were slung across his back. The man flashed a friendly smile at me as he followed my gaze back to me and he waved as he steered the boy into the building and vanished.

Taken aback by the friendliness of the two, I stood for a moment while thoughtfully looking at the Adventurer’s guild before Sia pulled me to another building.

This one was very tall compared to the other buildings around it. It was 6 stories high, and the door stood there, taller than me by a factor of two, and flanked by intimidating looking guards.

Going in, we found ourselves in a veritable treasure house of arms, weapons, and anything you could think of.

Gasping, we stared around like country bumpkins as we took in the sheer variety of the equipment on display.

Picking up a sword, I found it was perfectly balanced, and it felt…. Right…. It felt right in my hands, as though it belonged there.

Then an attendant bustled over and taking a look at me and the sword in my hand. He pursed his lips before he selected another sword and handed it over to me.

If the previous sword felt right in my hands…. This sword felt as though it was made for me to wield.

Awed, I looked around to find Damon lovingly holding a longsword; Sia, who was staring dumbstruck at a pair of greaves; Ares, whose hands were itching towards mailed gloves, and Celine - who was staring at an ornate dagger.

Hastily grabbing them all and apologising to the attendant, I dragged them out before we could spend whatever money we had left on the equipment.

But not before the attendant's voice drifted after us saying, “Kind Gentlefolk, the total is only 47 gold and 17 silver.”

Choking as I palmed the one gold Proton that I had left, I met the rest of the group’s gazes as they too stared longingly back at the shop with hungry looks on their faces.

Coughing to catch their attention, I strode off with purpose to a less crowded quarter where I hoped we could find something that wasn’t as expensive as the shop from before.

On the way we passed several smaller shops like a tailors, a dilapidated blacksmith’s forge, and a run down building that I took note of as I saw the sign outside.

Then we found ourselves in front of the central plaza, beside which were two extensive fields.

One of them had people training vigorously on it, and asking a bystander, I found out that it was the training field that was open to all of Yamal.

The other, however, turned out to belong to the goal of our entire group.

The Page Academy.

It stretched sprawling, the width of a dozen streets and as many in length down the center of the city.

We gazed at the gate, which was a giant arch with the words 'Yamal Academy' engraved on it in fine writing.

The force of power that I could see etched into the words threw me off and reminded me vaguely of the feeling that the words in the prison had given me.

Staring at the words, I took a step forward toward the gate, only for a hand to appear in front of me as the gatekeeper looked at me with half-lidded eyes.

“Ah, sorry. Is it possible to enter the academy and take a look around?” I asked the gatekeeper.

Looking at me for a moment, the gatekeeper snorted as he asked in return, “How old are you?”

“7 and a half,” I replied.

“Come back in 2 or 3 years,” the gatekeeper impatiently said as he shooed me away.

“Wait, what about these three? They’re 11!” I cried out.

Here, Ares shot a look at Sia who looked down in silence as she glared back at him, both of which I didn't notice as I gazed at the gatekeeper.

Pausing, the gatekeeper narrowed his eyes at the three who stepped forward and said grudgingly, “They can pass. You two stay,” he said, as he jerked his head at me and Sia.

Heads hanging down, we watched as the three passed through the arch, shooting apologetic looks at Sia and me.

Looking at the sun which was blazing down upon us, I grabbed Sia and strolled back to the Hoard... thoughts that had been spinning continuously settling down on a plan of action.

Noticing the expression on my face, Sia asked, “What’s up? What are you thinking of?”

Smiling a half-smile, I replied, “Just thinking of the future.”

She smiled back as she said, “Yeah? Me too. Make sure whatever you choose helps you out, immortal boy.”

Snorting, I shot back, “You too, shield girl.”

We regarded each other for a moment before snorting out in laughter and continuing on our way.

To the future.