“You are bringing me back, aren’t you?” I storm at Sa, furious at sar.
“You need to train,” Sa says patiently as if I am a toddler.
I am sixteen, am I? I try to remember my birthday. Without the day-reader, I do not know. And do not care.
Kechil chooses the moment to whinny.
The jagged landscape of a city rises up, the ridged back of a sea dragon.
I realize that the season has changed when we walk into the City. The wind feels colder, the air crisp. Indeed, time has passed me by so quickly that I look around me with fresh eyes. How long have I been gone? Six months? Nine? I feel as if I have been gone for years.
Mother and Pa talk a lot about the City. It was where they first met and it was where Mother attended a school for magic-users like her. As we guide Kechil through the broad streets, I can see the stately school buildings, all white to denote that they are place of learning. Heart coos and stretches her hands out at the rows of vegetable sellers. This must be the famed Lambs Quarter.
Spice powders lovingly shaped into conical mounds, rows after rows of fresh and dried herbs, and the sound of the crowd thronging Lamb Quarters. Women in thick shawls walking about, carrying their produce. Couples, triads and groups laughing and chatting. The eateries are selling autumnal soups – I inhale the aroma of spiced tomato and pumpkin as well as the oh-so-familiar seafood soups I have grown up eating and loved every minute of it.
“This is where my parents met,” I say. “My Pa is a cook.”
“You are lucky,” Sa replies back, keeping sar eyes on the street ahead, trying to navigate the crowds. Sar voice is tinged with … envy?
I glance at the enigmatic person beside me. Heart distracts me and I cuddle her to my chest.
A soft rumbling whine pulls my attention skywards. It is always the case: I hear them before I see the silver shapes cutting through the sky.