The Song of Sword and Magic - Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Wet Port
[Translator — Asuka]
[Proofreader — Karane]
The sun was sinking into the horizon. All sorts of animals were howling and hooting in the distance. Amidst the sounds of bells ringing on the ships and the shouting of the seamen, countless carriages passed through Niss and Rae as they headed for the port in front of them. Some licentious men whistled at them. While Niss lowered her head with a blushing face, Rae was unperturbed.
“The more you look embarrassed, the harder they’ll whistle at you,” Rae said with disdain as she moved forward.
“If Fern were here, they wouldn’t dare whistle at us.” Niss pouted her lips, her expression dejected.
“You have to learn to be independent without him. After all, he’s just a mercenary. Furthermore, we aren’t even sure whether he’s dead or alive,” Rae replied dispassionately.
“He’ll be fine. He’s a good swordsman, and…” Niss said anxiously. “He hasn’t gotten his money from me.”
“Only if he’s still alive to take it.” Rae’s lips curled up. “Moreover, not every mercenary accepts tasks because of money.”
“Really? How many mercenaries out there accept tasks without rewards?” Niss asked curiously.
“I’m not sure, but at least…” Rae turned to look at her. “Fern isn’t after the money.”
Niss didn’t know how to reply to her. Although she hoped what the latter said was true, she wasn’t sure if she should believe her. So, she decided to change the topic. “It’s really humid around here. I feel terrible. When we arrive at Wet Port, I have to take a shower immediately.”
“We’ll arrive soon.” Rae’s voice remained indifferent.
Wet Port, just like its name, was a very humid place. It was as though everything around here smelled musty. The warm air current coming from White River intertwined with the humidity in Black Swamp, causing Wet Port to be summery all year round. So, it was the only port in the Center-North of Wallis that never froze.
White River was the channel that connected the North and the South. As a hub, Wet Port not only had roads that led to Canreto and other cities in the Center-North, but it was also a place for seamen and travelers to take a rest. The seamen and travelers came from every part of Wallis, and they communicated with each other with various accents of the common language.
Niss and Rae finally found Rose Inn. On their way here, they were stared at by countless dissolute men, and some drunk men also tried to rub past them. Niss swore that she would never come to this place again.
Although the inn owner was a chubby middle-aged man, he could walk pretty fast. “How may I help you, beautiful ladies? I’m the inn owner here, Joseph.”
“We need to stay here for a few days to wait for a friend,” Rae demanded coldly.
“I’m sorry, ladies.” Joseph’s palms faced up. “As you can see, we have many customers here, so we don’t have any vacant rooms now.”
Rae looked calmly at him. “Why are there so many people here recently?”
With a helpless expression, Joseph explained, “It’s all because of what happened in Canreto. People who wish to go to Canreto have to pass by this place, but once they arrive here, they’ll realize that Canreto has been cordoned off. However, they don’t want to go back just yet, so they choose to stay here.”
“Damn it. It’s Canreto again…” Rae muttered under her breath.
“Do you know what happened in Canreto?” Joseph darted his gaze between Niss and Rae. “Those who don’t know what to do next are willing to spend money to buy some useful information. If you’re willing to cooperate with me—”
Rae interrupted him. “Sorry, we’re not interested.” Disdain was rising within her as she stared at his face. “Is there really no room at all?”
Before he could speak, Niss said, “Sir, our friend told us to wait for him here. Otherwise, we’d have gone to another inn.”
Joseph sported a long face because he was displeased by Rae’s rejection. Upon hearing what Niss said, he looked at her and asked, “Who is your friend?”
“Fern. Fern Woodrow.” Niss told him Fern’s name clearly.
“It’s that guy. Hmm…” Joseph frowned and gave it a thought. “Alright. It’s an unlucky day for me. I’ll just help him one more time.” Joseph turned to a waitress, who was cleaning the floor, and he said, “Come on. Bring them to the room that’s facing the South on the second floor.”
“But Sir, that room—”
Just when the girl wanted to say something, Joseph interrupted her. “It’s okay. Bring them to that room.” Joseph flashed a smile at Niss. “Tell your friend that he owes me one more favor.”
Although the room was small, it was neat and clean. Also, they could see the busy port by gazing out the window. “Are you close to Joseph?” the girl asked as she placed their luggages on the floor.
“Why are you asking this question?” Rae questioned, clearly alarmed.
“Oh, it’s because it’s the best room in our inn, so usually it’s not for any traveler to stay in.” The girl didn’t expect that Rae would react in this way.
“We’re your boss’s friends. Alright. We can do the rest.” Rae told her to leave.
However, the girl asked hesitantly, “Do you really not need me anymore?”
Not knowing her intention, Rae just stared at her.
Just then, Niss stuffed a silver coin in the girl’s hands. “We’ll look for you when we need your help. Now, we have to take a rest.”
Looking at the silver coin in her hands, the girl turned to leave in satisfaction.
“Did you learn it from Fern as well?” Rae questioned contemptuously.
“Yeah. I don’t think it’s a bad practice.” Niss started unloading her luggage. “We should hurry up and go downstairs to eat some food. We haven’t eaten anything warm for days.”
“Okay.” Rae spoke no further and started unloading her luggage as well.
It was dinner time, so the tavern inside the inn was filled with people. Almost every table was occupied, and only a few tables in the corner were empty. The underbred seamen drank beer as they molested the passing waitresses from time to time. The whole place was a mess. The appearance of two magicians caused a commotion in the place. While some people looked at them with malicious grins, more people whistled at them and asked them to sit with them.
Niss and Rae moved past the crowd and reached for an empty table in the corner. When they passed by a table, a seaman extended his hand to block their way. “Ladies, why don’t you sit with us?” At the same time, another seaman stood behind them to hem them in.
It was the first time Niss fell into such a situation, so she was rather flustered. On the other hand, Rae remained calm as she said dispassionately, “I suggest that you should get lost while my mood is still okay.”
The seaman guffawed. “Well well, I like how feisty you are. You’ll keep me company tonight.” Then, he winked at the standing seaman. “The other girl is yours.” Following that, he tried to drape his strong arm around Rae’s shoulder, but before he could even touch her, a glint of ruthlessness flashed across Rae’s eyes. In an instant, the seaman’s expression turned hideous as though he just came across a devil. After that, he fell to the ground as he covered his head with his hands and shuddered. At the same time, he was gurgling in a strange voice.
The standing seaman was stunned upon seeing that, and he stammered, “W-What have you done to him?”
Rae turned around and said, “I’ll count to three. You’d better run now. One…”
Without thinking, the seaman whirled around and ran for his life. Despite not knowing why he was so frightened, he was still running out of the inn at full speed.
“Two, three.” Rae counted to three quickly. After that, the seaman collapsed to the ground and started gurgling as well. Saliva was streaming out of his mouth, and his body started convulsing on its own.
Their companions were flabbergasted. Without uttering a word, they leaped off their chairs and sprinted out of the inn.
The others fell silent and dared not even look at Niss and Rae. At that instant, the tavern was utterly quiet.
As if nothing had happened, Rae took a seat by the table. Niss was clearly stunned by what just happened. After taking a seat, she asked “Was that dark magic?”
“Yeah. You know dark magic? They don’t teach you that in the Magician’s Tower.” Rae replied as she beckoned to a waitress.
“I know a little about this, but not much.” Niss gazed at Rae’s fingers with alertness. “It’s no wonder you said you’re a magician, but you’re not wearing a magician’s ring.”
“You should have noticed it earlier. I don’t blame Fern for not knowing this because he doesn’t understand our rules. But Niss, you should have realized it.” Rae touched her fingers.
“I…” Niss was lost for words. “Why did you learn dark magic?”
“It’s a long story. You’ll find out about it in the future.” Rae put on a helpless expression. “Now, you just need to know that I won’t harm my companions.”
Niss bit her lip. What happened on the previous day made her feel worn out, and she felt terrible in this humid environment as her clothes were soaked in sweat. Now, she just wanted to eat something warm and go for a shower. At that instant, she chose to trust Rae.
“How I wish Fern were here.” The exhaustion she felt from her body and mind made her hope for a reliable man by her side.
Rae heaved a sigh and said with a bitter smile, “Even I’m starting to miss him now.”
It was only until then did Niss realize that the pale lady before her eyes was just a young girl who was slightly older than she was. However, throughout the journey, Rae was never pessimistic or reliant on anyone. In a calm and collected manner, she led Niss to Wet Port. Niss had to admit that Rae was so much more brilliant than she was, but at this moment, Rae, as a young girl, had unwittingly expressed the pressure she felt.
Whatever the case is, Niss felt lucky to have come across Rae. However, when she thought about the situation Fern was in and what was ahead of her, a sorrowful feeling washed over her as her eyes welled up with tears.
Rae understood what her worries were and consoled her by saying, “He’ll be alright. Let us pray for him.”
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