A Willing Abjurer Chapter 32: A Day Trip to Alita’s Capital

Because several of the teenagers needed to go back to the capital, they all woke up early and made a trip there the next morning. Chester, who was still spending time with his parents, was invited along the way, and decided to join them. He had said he would talk with them soon, and soon turned out to be the next day.

It was L’ua’s first time seeing the city and he had several questions about Alita’s customs. Bas and Cornelia found it surprisingly easy to sneak the dragon some traditional goat milk candy when the others weren’t looking. They were noticed by Chester, who saw the weird expressions L’ua was making, but he didn’t snitch on them.

Jonathan hung towards the back of the group, making sure to keep everyone in his sight. Now that he was less stressed about ensuring Ciley wouldn’t come back, he thought it might have been a bad idea for Bas to let all of them know about L’ua being a dragon. The more people who know about something, the more likely there would be a leak. On the other hand, it didn’t necessarily matter whether or not some people found out there was a dragon wandering around humans. Dragons always had an innate elemental contract and were avoided by everyone with few exceptions, such as the competition by King Legen of Malamut. Mages tended to be stronger the longer they had a contract, and dragons started from birth. They also lived long and had the same amount of intelligence as humans, elves, or other sentient magical creatures. To think about the situation in another way: L’ua was the strongest fighter out of the children, and in a fair fight he could beat a majority of human elemental mages despite not being an adult. The idea of a protective dragon being in vicinity was a major deterrent to anyone who wanted to to cause trouble.

He thought then, about what sort of tricks must have been employed by Bas’ siblings in order to kill any sort of dragon or take their things. Talented thieves would be anyone who stole from a hoard and got away with it; some of them possessed the skills and some of them hired skilled thieves. To be fair, delegation was a talent of its own for leaders. As for those royal children who had brought back actual heads, the only one with a proper adult kill had been Miseri Legen, renowned for her poison. It was clear which method she had chosen.

Tam was looking through various blades that an old merchant had put out on a carpet. There was a great assortment of knives, but only a few swords on display. Eventually, she just bought one dagger and kept walking.

“What sort of sword are you planning to use?” Jonathan asked. He had his hand near his side, in case someone from the crowd tried to steal his sword or purse.

“When I’m seventeen, I’m supposed to start learning how to use a longsword.”

Jonathan hummed. “We’d have to see how the weight and length work out for you, but I have one you could use,” he offered. “It’d be better quality than the ones the knights are supplied with.”

Tam paused and bowed slightly towards the man. “That would be greatly appreciated.” A small smile curved its way onto her face, and stayed.

Jonathan looked around, checking where everyone else was.

Cornelia, L’ua, and Bas had congregated around a candy seller once again. Chester and Aderes seemed to have gone to a small crafts stall for some reason.

Jonathan walked over to Kern, as he and the bookseller seemed to be struggling with something. “What’s going on?”

Kern was gnawing on his bottom lip. He wasn’t usually very expressive with his hands, but he apparently was when frustrated. “I . . . we can’t understand each other. I don’t think they know how to speak Canid.”

“I was trying to explain what that book is about. Boy doesn’t understand me, man doesn’t understand me,” the seller grumbled. She was a short woman with high cheekbones. Her clothes were colorful, and a large yellow shawl was over her shoulder.

Jonathan checked over a book in the pile, recognizing that it was Dwarvic. He flipped through the first few pages.

“What, are you trying to learn or are you just confused?” The seller questioned. She crossed her arms and glanced at Oceton with suppressed awe.

“I don’t need to learn,” Jonathan replied. “How much for this one, and the one Kern is holding?”

The seller gaped for a minute. She coughed and then warned, “I only take Hrean coin.”

“How much?” Jonathan repeated.

Kern looked back and forth between Jonathan and the seller. As far as he could tell, it was either Elvish or Dwarvic they had started speaking.

“Five silvers for each.”

“Deal.” Jonathan pulled out the money and put it on the table, then put their books into his bag.

The seller looked at the money and sighed. “I will only take eight.” Accepting less money almost seemed to hurt, but there were rules in her community, and she was bound despite being three quarters human. “It’s rare to find someone who speaks around here. What’s your name?”

Jonathan took the money back without hesitation. If someone wanted to sell for less, it was none of his problem. “Jonathan Deere.”

“Helvit Maugr. Now, if you aren’t going to buy anything else, then move on.”

“What are you two up to?” Cornelia asked, leaning to the side to see what they had been buying. “Books? Boring,” she said in disgust.

“Good to meet you,” Jonathan said, in an attempt at politeness before he left the stall. He didn’t really like the seller’s bitter attitude.

Kern frowned. “They’re not.”

“They kind of are . . .” Cornelia mumbled as she followed after the older apprentice, who went to keep an eye on Bas and L’ua.

Jonathan saw where the younger ones had congregated once again, but wasn’t sure where his friends had moved to before something was thrust into his hands. “What?” He asked, holding it up.

Chester laughed.

“Matching bracelets,” Aderes informed. “Chester insisted.” She was keeping an eye on the candy stall.

“How is your time with your parents going?” Jonathan asked. He inspected the small knit band of red, green, and blue before tying it to his sword. The man would keep it, but he wasn’t going to wear it on his wrist.

“They’re a bit curious about how things are different for me.”

“Like?” Aderes prompted.

Chester shrugged. “Mainly all that I’ve been able to tell—that’s different from before—is better strength, worse eyesight. Not the worst trade off considering how bad my dad’s is.”

Once there were complaints about stopping for food, Jonathan bought everyone some street food. He would mourn the loss of coins if he was truly a normal lumberjack, but he had some valuables saved and other ways of making money. Phoenix feathers—shed when Oceton molted each Summer—were near priceless in many markets.

“You’re a very kind brother,” the street chef complimented. She seemed endeared by how Jonathan had listened to the orders and handed out the food to each person.

Chester smiled. He would never pass up this chance to tease Jonathan or Aderes, as they were so rare. “Oh yes, he’s a great brother. Our family is very proud of him.”

“I’m not a . . . ” Jonathan sighed, and didn’t finish his protest, ears tinged red. He just paid for the food and started walking away, ignoring how he was followed by a gaggle of children, two friends, and two sentient magical creatures.


I wanted a little bit of a break for the characters before the end of this novel.

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About Ren

Writer of An Unwilling Prince. Longtime reader, fanfic writer, artist, and animator. Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/thesilverhunt3r Tumblr: https://anunwillingprince.tumblr.com/

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