Chapter 17:

The Centre: Travel Speedrun

Heartless


All seven peeked at the bags full of mostly fruits, some vegetables, and few bird meat. “Is this enough?” Seril asked. “I think so,” Deneb replied. They were planning to go to the closest village, and Deneb knows the way. But according to him, it will take them about 2 to 4 months of traveling. He also didn’t want to eat the meat of people he was trying to protect from woodland creatures and merchants, so the fruit stack is the problem. They have never stacked fruits for months, so they don’t know exactly when they’d expire.

Three weeks after traveling: they were back to the river they always depended on. They’ve been following it, camping beside it, changing place by time. Noon time, Seril was cooking food, while the girls wash the clothes. Deneb was hunting meat, and jack was sleeping. Pablo had his feet soaked, and was staring at the clear blue skies. “Still… how do we know if we somehow went back to the human world?” he muttered, wondering. He didn’t know that Xadulo was sitting right behind him until he tilted his head for a bit and a reflection of her hair hit his eye.

“Ah,” he was shocked, but remained still, unlike how he usually gets startled. “How long have you been there?”, “I don’t think we would be off to the human world any time now,” Xadulo said. “After going to the Wander World by will, you will never drift carelessly again.” Seril called for lunch and woke up Jack. But Xadulo and Pablo were still talking. However, they were far enough for their talk to be not understood well. “Hey! Ya two, it’s lunch! The food’s gon’ be cold!” Kyshanne shouted as she waved to them. Only then, the two joined.

“What the heck were you two talking back there?”, “…nothing, really,” but Pablo’s tone was different and gloomy that was concerning for a ‘nothing’. He finished his meal quickly and climbed a tree to sleep on. Everyone was concerned of what happened. Deneb decided to talk to him, but Xadulo called him before he could go to Pablo. “It’s an emergency”, she said. She also asked for everyone to give the lad time for himself.

The two hid behind a thick bush, exchanging whispers, watching the trap they set if someone’ll get caught. “So? What’s happening?” Deneb whispered. “What do you know about Merchants?” Xadulo whispered back, and he reacted quickly. “…I get it now,” Xadulo said. “Those assholes…! They always ambush and steal our food and items!” 

Despite the rage, he was still whispering. “There were times they came almost every night!”, “Are there many here in this world?” Deneb calmed himself down. “…yeah. There’s a lot of them. Sometimes, they kidnap children and sell them in the ‘Centre’,” that caught Xadulo’s interest. At the same time, a boar took bait in the trap. With the cry of the boar that broke the silence, Xadulo seriously asked, “Where’s this ‘Centre’?”

After two and a half months, they finally found the village they were aiming to. They didn’t want to summon much attention, so Xadulo hid, as the rest do the trading instead of killing. It was way faster by that, and they wouldn’t need to bother leaving without being suspicioned. After just two days, they were able to leave the village.

Xadulo changed their plans quickly and rashly. “Isn’t this too quick?” Kyshanne asked. “I want to go to the Centre now”, “Yeah, sure, but do we have to steal a horse and a cart?” Jack asked. “Yes, Jackie. It would save us a lot of time,” everyone was wondering why they have to. “How long will this take?” Xadulo asked Deneb, who was riding the horse. “If by horse, it’s about a month or less,” after the first village they found, there are lots of villages in sight right after. It seems that the Farhood hills’ village was an isolated village.

“This is still gonna take too long…” Xadulo said, rather annoyed. “Carnelia,” Carnelia appeared on the cart. She sat down and held onto the floor of the cart. Then suddenly, the surroundings turned really dark. But not long after, the colors of the surroundings turned back. Except, it wasn’t the environment from earlier. They were in a very different place. “What just happened?” Pablo asked. “Carnelia teleported us here through hell,” Xadulo explained.

Deneb couldn’t believe his eyes. “This is the Centre!” he shouted in glee. Their heads were turning left and right, rapidly observing. “This village is big,” Seril complimented. “It’s a city. This is a wide range civilization, so it was popular here in the province. After a few decades, it became the trading department,” Deneb explained. Xadulo couldn’t wait and started running. “Let’s go!” she shouted, having total fun.

Elukard
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