“Fare?” You scratch your head confused. “I thought I was going to be a guard?”
Gina laughs, “You are a bit too small to be a guard. Maybe when you grow up a bit.”
“Oh,” you say disappointed. Suddenly you have an idea. Your Yu-Shan clothes make you stand out and your shoes aren’t really durable enough for tramping around Creation.
“I’ll be right back. Don’t leave without me!” You rush back into town and find the nearest tailor shop. You run in, slightly out of breath.
“How much would you give me for these Clothes and Shoes.” You say as you start stripping down.
“Whoa, boy!” the store clerk says. “Let me see that shirt.” He looks over the fine embroidery and cloth. “Nice. Pure Silk?”
“Hmmm…. It’s a bit gaudy… “ He looks down at your muddy pants and shoes, which you are still wearing “and dirty.”
You don’t have time for this. “I’m in a hurry. Do you want them or not?“
The clerk sighs. “I’ll give you store credit…”
“I need jade.” You think for a moment. “I’ll take some jade and store credit.”
“Agreed.” Clerk looks at your book bag, which you dropped on the floor in your haste to disrobe. “You selling the bag too?”
“I wouldn’t sell the bag, if were you, child,” a tall, dark man walks out of one of the dressing rooms. You can still see the folds and wrinkles in his fine clothes. He walks towards one of the mirrors and begins trying on one of the cloaks. He discards the first dull grey one he tried on and picks up a brightly colored one. He pulls his dreadlocks out from under the cloak and check himself out in the mirror. “A man carries his life in his bag. You shouldn’t be so willing to replace it.”
You pick up the bag and throw it over your shoulder. “I’m keeping the bag.” You didn’t really want to clean out your book bag anyways.
After the clerk helps you pick out some clothes and shoes, you head to the dressing room to put them on. You can hear the tall man talking quietly to the clerk, but cannot make out what they are saying. When you are finished, the tall man is gone. The clerk, looking a bit puzzled at a small bag of jade, says. “Here’s your money. Oh and don’t forget this.” He holds one of the cloaks in his hand. “It’s going to be cold out. “
You race back to the caravan. “There you are! I had to harness the horses by myself.” Gina is working on hooking up last of the horses to one of the wagons.
“I got your fare,” you say, handing Gina the bag of jade.
“Oh!” She takes the bag. “Where did you get this?”
“I sold my clothes. I don’t need them anymore anyways,” you explain.
Gina looks conflicted and gives you back the bag of jade. “Keep your money, kid. You are going to need it.”
“But you said I needed to pay my fare!”
“Gods! I said you can work off your fare. You didn’t need to sell off your clothes, Wakoto. “ Gina looks distressed by the whole situation.
“I can still help you with the horses,” you offer. “Or guard the caravan.”
Gina rolls her eyes. “You aren’t going to give that up, aren’t you?”
“Hey! If we are going to make that campsite before dark, we need to get going!” Edita yells. You see the tall man from the tailor shop next to her. You are suspicious of his appearance at the caravan. Gina jumps up to the front of one of the wagons and holds her hand down to help you up. “Time to get this show on the road.” You look at her hand and consider staying in town.
“Why are we leaving so late in the day?” you ask. You decide to put the tall man out of your mind. It’s probably just coincidence.
“One of the other caravans was attacked a few days ago. So we decided to hire a few extra guards. Unfortunately, this took longer than we thought. So we didn’t budget staying in an inn for an extra day, so we are heading to a campsite a few hours outside of Vanchow and camping there for the night.”
You think about this. “Why can’t you just wait until the Dragonbloods have caught the bandits? Wouldn’t it be safer?”
“We can’t afford to wait. If we don’t get these goods to their destination, we don’t get paid. We don’t get paid, we don’t eat. This is why Edita didn’t want you on the trip. She didn’t want to be responsible for you.”
“So, why did you speak up for me?” you ask.
“My are you full of questions.” Gina thinks for a moment and says. “Because, after our parents died, Edita and I were out on the streets for a bit before our Aunt found us. The streets are no place for a kid.” She glances at you. “And we can always use an extra guard.”
You ignore her jab as Gina’s Aunt reminds you about Nanny. By this time, you are usually home from class and she must be worried about you. You’ll have to buy her Morning Glories again. With a shock, you realize that you might ever get a chance to. You might not ever be able to return to Yu-Shan and never see her again.
“I’m feeling kind of tired,” You tell Gina and crawl into the back of the Wagon. It is filled with various crates and barrels, but you find a space for yourself to sit down. You curl up around your book bag and think about the events of the past day. What did you do that made Akachi so mad that he would drag you though the Wyld? Maybe you misheard him? You remember the owl helping you get away. Obviously something bad is going on. You remember Edita’s words about things not being so bad at home. Maybe you should have stayed and talked to Akachi.
Tears fall on your book bag as you silently cry yourself to sleep.
The smell of food wakes you. You sit up and hear laughter coming from outside the wagon. You scramble to get out from under cloak you were sleeping under. You pick it up and notice it is the cloak that the tall man bought at the tailor’s shop. How had it gotten here? How long have we been stopped?
You peak out of the wagon. Everyone is around a campfire, eating dinner. Even the tall man from the tailor shop is there.
“Ah! I told you the smell of food will wake him up!” Gina spoons some stew into a bowl for you. You are starving. You jump down off the wagon and grab the bowl. “Thank you!” you say as you shovel food in your mouth. The tall man stares at your poor table manners. You slow down your pace and try to eat like a normal person.
As you eat, you try not to stare at the tall man, sitting next to Edita. Why is he here? You wonder if he is following you. The tall man pauses in his eating and whispers something into Edita’s ear. She blushes and laughs. He smiles as he resumes eating.
- Ask Gina if she can show you how to ride one of the horses. You have never ridden a REAL horse before.
- Show off your Martial Arts Skills. There is still a chance to show the sisters that you have the stuff to be a guard.
- Sneak away and leave the caravan. You can’t be sure this guy isn’t from Yu-Shan.
OOC: Dialogue takes up a lot of space. And Gold Star for semicasual and their idea of selling clothes for money.