Jonathan ironed out some traveling details with Bas, then went back to Marcus’ shop. Oceton got a few stares from outsiders that were still trickling through the streets. It wasn’t normal for a bird to be that large and red.
The sign had already been flipped to closed.
Marcus opened the door. His eyes immediately landed on the new addition. “You bought a sword?”
Marcus closed the door behind his neighbor. “Mind letting me see it?”
Jonathan unsheathed the blade, but didn’t hand it over.
Marcus squinted at the sword through his thick spectacles. “Colorful. Where’d you buy it?”
“Norel Strong made it for me,” Jonathan simply said. He didn’t need to explain it was anti-magic, the swordsmith’s name would make that evident.
“. . . You, as a person, keep getting more strange.”
Jonathan tilted his head, a sort of challenging expression on his face. “You grow magical undying flowers that no one really questions because they think it’s some sort of green thumb knack,” he dryly replied.
“And you know better?”
“I know better,” Jonathan agreed. He sheathed his sword and went to go hitch the horses back to the cart for their journey back.
Once Jonathan was back home that evening, he wrote a letter to Aderes and Liam, respectively.
Because he wouldn’t be back home when Oceton returned, Jonathan directed the bird to go to Celtie. It was a bit hard to convey the meaning of this, and so the man pulled out a map of the continent and pointed at the order he wanted Oceton to fly to those different places.
Jonathan felt only mildly ridiculous. In any other circumstance, talking to a bird like this would be considered crazy. However, sentient magical creatures were known as sentient for a reason and he had done this before.
He had wondered about something a bit strange; in this world, humans could also be classified as sentient magical creatures.
After sending Oceton off, he packed some, then wrote a reminder to send a letter through the normal post tomorrow. Jonathan wanted to request that one pirate ship with the Stock Alliance; he just hoped they were still sailing the Carta River.
Two days later, Jonathan set off for Malamut. He went through a valley instead of the usual mountain pass; it wasn’t too much of a detour and he really didn’t want to be near that disastrous place.
Jonathan found sleeping outside perfectly fine, except for the days it rained. Bad weather was really the only thing that drove him inside.
He was back on the road again. It felt nice. There was just one problem. “I’m alone again.”
Jonathan smiled and patted the mare’s side. “I meant humans, but yes, you’re here with me.” Besides, it was a bit pessimistic to think of it as him being alone. He knew people. He had friends, royalty, mercenaries, farmers, and a famous smith. He had . . . random children that pestered him and came over for lunch. Jonathan thought that, overall, he had done a good job of getting to know others. It was definitely a better record than the one he had in his last world. No one had even betrayed him yet.
They reached the north-east side of Malamut in about two weeks after setting off from home. Jonathan had no one to slow down for and knew the shortcuts through some roads of the country because of Rando.
The town he waited for Bas in was marshy. Each step he took, mud squelched and reeds broke under his boots.
Lembroke had several rivers, one of these—called Carta—ran all the way through Celtie and Malamut to the sea. An offshoot of Carta had led to the formation of this freshwater marsh.
Bas showed up with appropriately normal clothing. Only his stallion stood out due to being a palomino; the golden coat and white mane was rather striking against a marshy, backwater town.
“Decent job preparing and on time,” Jonathan noted. He was slowly drinking his way through a cold, local beer. It had a low alcohol content; he had checked on before buying any of course. It would have been a terrible idea to travel while drunk, and rather irresponsible to do if there was a kid depending on him.
“Decent,” Bas grumbled. He wasn’t having a good day. The bugs were bothering him constantly, almost as if they had a personal vendetta.
“You made sure to get some sort of jewelry and polish, right?” Jonathan double checked. He had enough money to buy supplies for them
“Yes. I got a large brooch with some sort of large gem in it.”
“Good. There’s our ride.”
They watched as a large ship broke through the floating plants and algae of the marsh, headed towards the town’s dock. The sail was a brand new, stark white with a yellow and black insignia. Along the bow was painted the words Golden Raider.
“It looks like a torn quilt,” Bas pointed out. He called it patchwork, and he wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t hard for him, or anyone, to see how many repairs had been made on the wooden hull.
“You’re not wrong,” Jonathan agreed, “But don’t say anything unless you want the captain to personally throw you overboard.”
“You’re joking, right?” Bas watched as the stitched up sails were taken down and the anchor was thrown into the muddy water.
“I’m not.” Jonathan still remembered rather clearly when a mercenary had almost been thrown off. He clapped a hand on Bas’ shoulder and started pushing the boy towards the dock.
A woman stood on the dock, the captain of the ship; Lucretius was sending some of her crew to restock what they could while they were here. The crown on her head was just as polished as three years ago. “Let’s see, your name was Jonathan. I’m guessing you’re the one who requested us. Got thrown out of Rando’s mercenary band?”
“I was never part of it.” Jonathan smiled, a bit coldly. “Thanks for picking us up.”
“Heh. Yeah, I don’t believe it.” Lucretius held out her hand. There was a large grin on her face. Her distrust when doing business would never fade. “Half up front.”
Jonathan took a small purse and lobbed it over. He wasn’t going to hand it over directly and let himself be encircled by a crowd of pirates.
Lucretius caught the purse, checked the gold coins briefly, and waved them onto the ship. Then, she went back to organizing and stocking the hull.
Jonathan went up the narrow gangplank first, carefully leading Biscuit. He had Bas hold Biscuit’s reins, then led the prince’s stallion onto the ship. If he laughed quietly at how excited Bas was—the need to explore the ship evident in how the teenager was constantly turning to look around him—then no one really needed to know.
“What was that?” Bas questioned as he turned around, hearing the noise.
Jonathan is finally getting dragged out of Alita. Good for him. 😀 Seriously, this is like my only mc in this series that’s stupidly hard to get him to do things. Jonathan is very resistant to plots. He dodges so many because he has 0 curiosity.