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Book 1 - Chapter 5: I wish you a safe trip.
Early morning on the next day. When the dew on the leaves had not fallen to the ground and the air was still a little cold, the people of the convoy woke up one after another. They packed up the tools of the camp, stuffed the luggage back into the carriage, and fed the dried forage to the horses, preparing for today's departure.
Not long after the convoy started their routine, Roseanna, who was in the cabin, woke up. Yesterday she talked with Juliana for a long time until the sky was full of stars, only after Olga urged her that she let Juliana leave. Juliana is a funny, lively and cheerful girl, and on occasions can say something that was interesting, or unexpectedly thought-provoking. She herself said, "This is the wisdom left by grandma." Just one night, the two girls became friends and they got along very well.
Roseanna modestly washed her face with the help of the maids. When she left the log cabin, she saw Juliana walking to this side, seemingly just came back from the forest outside. Juliana was also followed by her hairless dog, Ward. Roseanna thought that this dog was as interesting as his owner. She had never seen this dog barks at a stranger, as if everyone were acquaintances of his little master. Does he know that it is impossible to protect his own master like this? But looking at the dog's eyes turning around smartly and brightly, he was obviously not a stupid dog - and that lazy look, it seemed like he was indifferent toward everything.
"Lady Roseanna, you're ready to leave?" Juliana saw the movements on the side of the convoy, then the two maids and Olga holding various bags, she immediately understood what was happening.
Paddington came over from the convoy and shouted to them from not very far away: "We should depart. If we don't leave now, we may have to rest on the edge of the forest tonight and won't be able to catch up to the next town."
"My lady, let's go." Olga said to Roseanna. Seeing Roseanna's reluctant expression, he knew for certain what the young lady was thinking - she didn't want to say goodbye to her newly met new friend. And he knew it wasn't just that - this poor girl just wanted to stop here and didn't have to be farther away from home. This mood will strengthen with longer time and increasing distance. Even if the land where she was raised wasn't a happy place for her.
What Olga had to do was to help his young lady continue to stray further from King's Fortress, across the mountains, across the sea, to the land where it would be too far away to miss her hometown.
Roseanna nodded, she understood the meaning of Olga's intention. No matter how reluctant she was, she still had to leave.
Olga walked to Juliana and gave her a bundle of silver coins. The amount was a bit much, enough to live in the inn's most expensive room for a few days instead of a small cabin in the forest. "Alchemy girl, thank you for your help. Thank you for making the lady's mood better."
Olga paid a tribute to Juliana and took the maids to the convoy first. He didn't want his young lady to have any resentment against him. Obviously she could have some time to say goodbye.
Roseanna walked to Juliana. "I should go." Her words were very concise, as if saying more than one word would make her feel worse, and she was afraid of saying something needlessly and make this parting harder.
Juliana took out something from her waist pocket and placed it in Roseanna's hand. "Lady Roseanna, please accept this."
What Juliana gave her was a small cloth bag that is rough and not very beautiful, but it is clean and st.u.r.dy. It is also very tightly packed, just like a carefully pressed piece of dough. Something seems to be stuffed inside the slightly thin cloth, so that Roseanna can smell a fresh fragrance.
"Some dried flowers and gra.s.s seeds, as well as wild spices in the forest." Juliana said, "I know, this is not something that can enter lady Roseanna's eyes, but it can effectively drive away insects, so I think it should be useful on your journey. If there is no aroma anymore, just throw it away. "
"No, I will cherish it." Roseanna clasped the gift that Juliana gave her. "Thank you, Juliana."
At this time, Olga's voice came over. "The carriage is ready, my lady, it's time to leave."
Juliana also heard Olga's voice. "Then it's time to say farewell, lady Roseanna." She patted her hands, probably trying to brush off the dust on them, but her hands were already very clean, in fact there was no need to do so. "Can I shake hand with you?" She was very careful and seemed to want to make a formal farewell with Juliana.
"Of course." Roseanna reached out and held Juliana's hand. She felt the touch of Roseanna's hand, a bit rough, but very warm. It was totally different from her delicate white hand which had never done a heavy job.
The two held their hands together and were speechless for the time being. Then Roseanna said: "Farewell, Juliana."
"Farewell, lady Roseanna." Juliana smiled and said goodbye to Rosanna. "I am very happy to know a friend like you. I always thought that the n.o.bles were all high and mighty. I couldn't think of such a kind person like lady Roseanna. I hope that one day, we can meet again."
Roseanna also smiled, holding Juliana's hands, "Me too. If we can meet again, it would be really great."
"I wish you a safe trip, lady Roseanna."
"I wish you a peaceful life, Juliana."
The two released their hands. Roseanna walked to the direction of the convoy, while Juliana stayed in her place. When she walked to Olga's side, she turned back and saw Juliana was looking at them. Noticing the other's glare, Juliana waved her hand and used her gesture to say goodbye to Roseanna.
"Let's go, my lady," Olga said.
Roseanna also waved her hand to Juliana, turned around and stopped looking at her. "Let's go."
Olga looked at the lost expression on Roseanna's face. After serving Roseanna for several years, Olga understood her mood. She had no friends with the same age. The only women around her were the maids who were ten years older than her and can't have much conversation. Now she finally met a girl who is friendly, thoughtful and all smiling like the flowers Juliana. It wasn't surprising to see Roseanna treated her as a friend that quick. But one was a commoner alchemist living in the forest, and the other was a n.o.ble girl who would be married to the West. This friendship came quickly, and went quickly. As for meeting again, it was probably just a wish that cannot come true.
Olga took Roseanna to the carriage and let her sit securely inside. "My lady, I am a few decades older than you and I have been to many places. I used to travel all around Yelan continent, to the north of the Dark Sea, to the Great Beast Plain of the North, and to the Desert sea of the easternmost part of Yelan continent... I have known many people and said farewell to many people, most of them are people whom I have no chance to meet again after saying farewell."
Roseanna didn't speak and quietly listen to Olga.
Olga continued: "The encounter may be just a matter of moments. Many times it cannot last forever. But the friendship and memories brought about by the encounter can be saved for a lifetime."
After listening to Olga's words, Roseanna's had a smile on her face. It seemed that her mood had clear. "Thank you, Olga."
"My honor, lady Roseanna." Olga said. There was still something he didn't say. When he traveled around the world, the most common encounter was not friends, but the people who were without good intentions.
Friendship can last forever as heaven and earth, and hatred is equally memorable like the carving in one's heart.
Olga brought his horse and turned it over to follow Roseanna's carriage. "You will meet more friends in the future, lady Roseanna - you will have more friendship, even love, in a rich and free country."
"And a marriage contractor whom I have never met before and do not know that if he's young or old, beautiful or ugly?"
Roseanna's words made Olga a little embarra.s.sed. He didn't know how to reply and could only cover them with a few coughs. "I think at least he's definitely a good person."
"I too hope so." said Rose. Then she let the maid put down the curtain, and returned to be the unmarried n.o.ble maiden who had etiquette's restraint and couldn't show her face.
The team slowly moved forward, with the sound of the hooves, the sound of the rolling wheels, and the loud voices of the mercenaries. These sounds are mixed with the flying dust, all roll forward on the long road.
Juliana sent the team to leave until she could only see the smoke. "I wish you luck, Lady Roseanna."
Ward, who had always seemed to have no spirit, raised his head and looked in the direction of the road. His dark eyes didn't fall on the road but stop at the bushes on the side.
"A small tail." Juliana suddenly popped up such a sentence, not knowing whom she was speaking to. She returned to the garden in front of the log cabin to check if the flowers and plants she had carefully cultivated had mites.
Ward's eyes didn't turn, his head didn't move, just like a sculpture. He continued to stare at the bushes.
The bushes shivered, as if it had come alive — probably because it couldn't stand the eyes of a hairless dog that didn't move at all — the tiny leaves fell to the ground, and a person climbed out from there.
That was the villager boy, Julius. Obviously, Paddington's warning only scared him for a while, and didn't really hurt the courage, enthusiasm and recklessness of this boy. If Paddington was still here and saw that Julius was getting out of the bushes on the side of the road, he would be very surprised, then angry: no matter whether it was the knights, the mercenaries, or himself, it seemed that they hadn't found the boy who was just right next to their noses. If this was an a.s.sa.s.sin, then they were serious derelict of their duty while being incompetence.
Ward lowered his head again and stopped looking at Julius. Juliana squatted next to some flowers and greeted Julius, who was crawling on the ground and at the same line of sight as her. "Good morning."
Julius didn't return with the same greeting. He stood up and brushed off the dust on his body. "It's strange. I have never seen you in the forest. I have been here on this road many times, although it is very remote and rarely people will choose this road, since most of them or the caravans will choose to approach the road to the east of the sea... but I have never seen it, or heard any villager said about some cabin nearby. "He looked at Juliana with suspicious eyes." The village chief said that there are witches in the forest who eat children and hide their homes with witchcraft... Don't tell me it's you."
"I am an alchemist," Juliana said. "If I were a witch, I would have thrown you into the pot to cook." She looked at Julius. "But with a skinny boy like you, even a witch won't like it. I think getting some grilled wolf's ribs to eat is better than eating you."
Julius touched his stomach, then his head. "It's true I have no meat, I'm not worth it." After saying this, there was a strange noise in his stomach.
"You wait here for a bit." Juliana said to Julius, then returned to the cabin and soon came out. When she came out, she held some dried meat and bread wrapped in large leaves. "I couldn't finish these, and since they are going to spoil I will give them to you."
Juliana's kindness made Julius couldn't respond for a while, although he had doubts in his heart, he still took them. He came over in the middle of the night. Secretly followed the convoy, he didn't eat anything and was really starved. And moreover, as this supposed witch girl said, she wouldn't eat children with little or no meat.
Maybe she wanted to feed him fat then butcher him? Thinking of this possibility, Julius was shivering. But the foods had already been taken into his hands, he had no intention to return them. And he wasn't prepared to stay here, he had to continue to follow the convoy and think about whether there is a way to please Sir Knight to teach him a move or two. Also if he follows the convoy, even if this very suspicious "witch" wants to eat him, there is no chance for her. Besides, he forgot how long he had not eaten meat. He could already smell the salty fragrance of the dried meat, and the 'insects' in his stomach continued to cry out loud.
Julius, after some small calculations, put the food that Juliana handed him in his arms. "Thank you." He at least knew some politeness and understood the need to thank others - moreover, he was indeed quite courageous and dared to take food from the hands of the person he himself just suspected to be a witch.
"You are from the village on the edge of the forest right? Why are you following the convoy?" Juliana asked. But before Julius could answer, she continued to say, "I know, you must be following the young lady. This isn't a story worthy of being told. A beautiful maiden must be paired with a heroic knight, not a commoner child from a village."
Julius was blushing, not because he was shy, but because he was angry. "I came over to learn how to fight!" he shouted.
"Learn how to fight?" Juliana looked like she just heard something very strange yet very interesting. "Why? Is it to defend against wild beasts or to eliminate robbers? Or is it to be a soldier under the Crescent banner, to fight for wealth as a conqueror?"
Julius shook his head. "These goals are too small and too narrow." Saying this, he didn't seem like he was joking around. He raised his head and puffed out his chest, thinking that it would make him look like a great man. "I want to hunt the wild beasts, to make the dragons in the valley tremble because of me, to annihilate the robbers and let all the bards sing about my deeds; even more, I want to be the general who commanded armies of thousands, to make my enemies tremble, to let the people of this world respect and admire me... I want to be a HERO!"
An underage child who was malnourished and skinny, in front of another child, talked arrogantly about dreams that are far from being accessible... or it was just him sleep talking. Julius often said this in the village and was ridiculed and degraded by the children of the same age or by the villagers.
Now, in front of him, Juliana didn't reveal a ridicule expression or any intention to make fun of his naive ignorant delusions. She only had an interested expression while looking at Julius, who was still puffing out his chest.
After saying this, Julius remembered that this wasn't the time for him to have some chit chat. "I should go, or it will be difficult to catch up with the convoy." He turned and plunged into the forest. Before leaving, he shouted 'thank you' to Juliana and then disappeared completely.
"He's really an impolite boy." Juliana said, still maintained a smiley face and a collected appearance that seemed impossible to fl.u.s.ter. Ward was on her side, his nose snorted, which looked like the way he used to say 'agree' with his master.
Juliana squatted on the edge of the garden, holding a small shovel in her hand and fertilizing the plant. She was being busy in front of the log cabin, and from time to time she went back and ford to the log cabin to find something, until the time was noon.
Roseanna left, Julius left, and four more people came. Four mercenaries with low quality leather armor, short axe, long sword and mace. Their expression made them looked like they didn't have good intention, with dirty glares moved up and down on Juliana's body. "Hey little girl, you have anything good here?" The mercenaries' leader asked with an ugly smile on his face and unpleasant sound from his clenching teeth.
Juliana stood up, her hand still held a pulled up plant, her smile was still as bright as a flower.
"My lords, how may I be of service to you? Do you want medicine herbs, or some foods and drinks to fill your stomach...? Or maybe, you are actually kind enough to bring me new fertilizers?"
Juliana's words made the mercenaries taken aback, they didn't understand why she would suddenly mention the fertilizer. And Juliana's reaction wasn't panicking at all, as if she didn't know what would happen next. They were only taken aback a little and then laughed. "Sorry sorry, just now we left the all the things that can be used as fertilizer when we came." The mercenaries slowly approached and surrounded Juliana, like they were hunting a bunny.
"It doesn't matter, there are still a lot of things on your body that can be used as fertilizers, you just don't know about them."
Juliana smiled and said.
End of chapter 5