A Long Way Home: Chapter 6

A Long Way Home: Chapter 6

A Chapter by Izabellla

Suzan finds out that the world is stranger than she thought. After a mysterious warrior comes to her rescue, she is pulled into a dangerous circumstance that will change both of their lives forever.


Chapter 6

The march was remorselessly slow; the Wanderer marked his every step, probably minding the knife still on his neck. The stairwell smelled of piss, alcohol and old socks; yellowed plaster was coming off the walls. Our steps echoed through the area as we climbed up the stairs to the top floor. Finally, we stopped before a wooden door that's paint was flaking off. The man reached into his pocket.

"Don't try anything funny," I warned him under my breath, pressing the blade to his skin.

The Wanderer slowly pulled out some keys and dangled them in front of my face, as if saying, "It's only the keys; I have no gun." Nonetheless, I preferred to be safe than sorry.

At last we managed to enter the apartment. It looked remarkably similar to the antique shop: it was just as dusty and cluttered. If it wasn't for the kitchen I noticed on the right, stuffed with dirty dishes, and some articles of clothing scattered around, I would have thought that no one lived there.

"Could you kindly take away the knife? It would make our conversation more convenient," the man's tone seemed bored, as if armed assault was an everyday occurrence for him. I hesitated. "I won't be able to run away now," his voice was dripping with sarcasm.

"But you can pull out a gun."

"I don't keep guns at home. I've got one only in the antique shop, in case of robbery."

I snorted at the thought of somebody even considering robbing his lumber-room. Nevertheless, I let him go, jumping to a safe distance at once and holding my knife on standby.

The man rubbed his neck, wincing, but didn't seem very affected. He walked to an armchair in the corner and, after bluntly throwing some yellowed tomes off, sat there like a king. If my calligraphy teacher had been there to see how this guy treated books, he would surely have given him a lesson. And drove it into his head with a stick to make sure he remembered it right.

Suddenly, some pieces of puzzle jumped into the right places in my head and I was able to tell who exactly this man reminded me of.

"Do you happen to know Master Lintas?"

The Wanderer jumped as if burned, nearly making me drop the knife in surprise.

"Who are you? How do you know me?" I heard panic in his voice.

"I don't know you. But I know Master Lintas and you really remind me of him."

He was tense, scowling at me, assessing. In that moment he looked even more like my old teacher. "He's my brother," he finally said.

For a moment I just stood there, surprised, assimilating the new information. Then I burst out laughing. "What a small world! Or should I say 'worlds'?"

So he was a brother of the Master of Calligraphy! It was a really peculiar gift from the gods. Now I could relax and hide the knife back in my boot. This man was nearly family to me, so threatening him no longer seemed the right thing to do.

"I didn't know Master Lintas had a brother," I told him in a friendly way, sitting on one of the many piles of books covering the floor.

The Wanderer seemed confused by my behavior and still unsure, though frankly his behavior didn't surprise me; one moment I was putting a knife to his neck and another I was striking a sociable conversation.

"He didn't boast about it."

"He used to tell us about the Wanderers all the time, one would have thought he should at least mention that his brother is one of them!" I smiled to reassure him, because he was apparently still afraid of me attacking him.

"Who are you?"

"My name's Unikko. I was attending the Academy. Your brother was my calligraphy teacher."

"Oh," was the only response he could manage. He seemed just as surprised as I was, but not in a positive way.

I longed to talk with him about the Capital, the Academy, the good old times, his journey; but this time I could not let my thoughts wander away from what was really important, from what I came here for. Right now, Lightningale was my top priority.

"So, are you going to help me? I need some medicines."

He looked askance at me. "Can't you do them on your own? You went through the Wanderer training after all. They still teach the basics of medicine, right?"

"I… didn't go through the training."

"You didn't…?" His attentive stare made him look like a bird of prey. It lasted a while until finally he smiled; at least that's what I thought he did. "In that case, let me welcome you among the refugees. I don't know if I'll be able to help you, but I'll certainly try. After all, we're on the same boat and you're my brother's former student…"

"Wait a minute! You're not a Wanderer?"

"Surprised? If you ran away yourself, you should know how our world looks like now. It's not the best place to lead peaceful live, let me tell you! All the dragons…" He winced. "So what kind of creature is your friend? And what illness does he have? I know alchemy a bit, so I may be able to prepare some medicine for you…"

I faltered. Even just the way he said the word 'dragons' told me all about his attitude towards them. I couldn't risk telling him what Lightningale was; maybe we were, as he'd put it, 'on the same boat', but he could still decide to cause me more trouble than good.

"He… isn't human."

"I already know that. But what is he? A gryphon? A cat?"

"He sneezes, coughs and has runny nose. I think it's a common flu, but the local drugs won't work," I changed the subject.

"If you don't tell me what kind of creature he is, I won't be able to help you. I can just take a shot in the dark, but I won't be sure the drugs will work…"

"Then make many of them. Different ones. Something has to work."

I saw that he still wanted to argue, but he backed off upon seeing my determination. He sighed heavily, rubbing his neck like an old man, tired with life. "I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you."

I stood up, ready to go, but was stopped by his words: "But I'll need some ingredients. Come here tomorrow, I'll make a list for you."

I nodded and left the apartment, fighting the urge to continue the conversation. Talking with this man could still turn out to be dangerous, especially with my tendency to talk first and think later. I had to avoid danger at any cost.

© 2012 Izabellla

Author's Note

English is not my native language, so if you notice any mistakes, please, let me know. :)

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Added on June 2, 2012
Last Updated on June 8, 2012
Tags: fantasy, dragon, warrior, girl, world, danger



Warsaw, Poland

I'm materialistic, selfish feminist with homicidal tendencies, who live with Horacy's life philosophy (stoical-epicurean philosophy). I have music addiction and pink-repugnance. And you wouldn't want .. more..

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A Story by Izabellla