“You’re in a good mood.”
I was arranging my luggage in our assigned cabin when Klaus spoke to me from behind. I only realized I’d been humming when he pointed it out. Yeah, it would’ve looked pretty darn chipper.
“Because something good happened,” I answered without any embarrassment.
“Hmmm…” His voice dropped a level.
I put the items in my hand down and looked over my shoulder. Klaus leaned against the wall, a frown on his face. Moodiness fell off him in waves as he grumbled to himself. He was saying something like, Next time for sure I’ll make him fall to his knees. I had no idea what he was going on about, but it gave me goosebumps so I hoped he wouldn’t come into contact with me.
“By the way, brother, how many times have I reminded you to mind your tone?”
“Will you not permit me the freedom of our room?” he asked, at a loss for words. His brows lowered like a scolded child. It seemed like making him speak to me casually was quite stressful for him. “It is my duty, but be that as it may, what sort of heavenly tribulation is this, that I must speak rudely to one I love and respect? I feel as if my loyalty to you is being tested,” he said with heartfelt emotions.
“It’s all in your head,” I dismissed. Even if he begged so seriously, it was nothing but trouble. However, despite being pushed away, he wasn’t deterred.
“Please… I beseech you,” he begged, brows knit sadly.
The silence stretched on for several seconds, but the first to throw in the towel was me.
“Well… If you can promise me you won’t reveal yourself outside.”
It can’t be helped, I thought.
Even though it was small, in the privacy of the room there won’t be other passengers around. The thin walls were a concern, but the room next to ours was the cargo hold. As long as he paid attention to the switch between inside and out, there shouldn’t be a problem.
If I were to be honest, there was a part of me that wanted him to get to a level where he could speak with me unreservedly, but if I caused him too much stress and he exploded, that would be a problem too.
“I thank you!”
He lit up with smiles, and when he smiled without any guile like a child, I couldn’t bring myself to treat him with my usual coldness. I smiled resignedly and sighed once before returning to sorting my belongings, careful with every item I took out.
“Oh, that’s right.”
I stopped and handed a piece of paper that had been rolled up to Klaus.
“What is this?” he asked as he accepted it. All I said was, “From Flamme.” He was quick, so that was all I needed to tell him for his expression to turn serious. He began to read it silently. It was a letter from Georg, the latest report to arrive before our departure.
Georg and Michael had continued to look for a steady stream of information from port town and mountain villages, and they had acquired important info.
There seemed to be a village with a certain family living in the mountain ranges to the southwest of Flamme. The lived deep in the mountains, growing herbs and and making high quality medicine. Their name was “Kur.”
“A clan of medicine experts. It’s a very promising lead,” he said as he read the letter.
There was a high possibility that this clan called Kur had the information for the medicine I’ve been searching for.
Georg felt the same and had narrowed the object of his investigation down to their clan. However, he seemed to be have difficulties ever since then.
The Kur clan had almost no involvement with the outside world.
They made periodic trips down the mountain in order to sell medicine, but it seemed like they concealed their faces and spoke at a bare minimum. They were recognized for their medicinal knowledge and high quality medicine, but apparently, even the rich merchants and nobles who had come forward desiring to form a contract with them had been given the cold shoulder.
The closed off Kur clan hated intervention from strangers, therefore there was barely anyone who knew the location of their village.
“Until we catch up with them, it would have been nice if they had made some progress, but… it sounds like they are having a hard time.” Klaus furrowed his brows.
I nodded. “Well, either way, there’s nothing we can do from a ship. Let’s focus on what’s in front of us right now.” I stood up. I was done sorting.
“I want to see the deck and below. I want to know what is where, and of course, I wish to know the positions of the sailors as well.”
“As you wish.”
My hands were on the door knob. I stopped and looked over my shoulder.
“Get yourself together, brother.”
Switch into your role, I sent the message with my eyes.
With a blink, my loyal knight had transformed into my kind older brother.
“Okay. Let’s go,” he urged me on gently.
I opened the door and walked out.
“It’s quite clean, isn’t it?” Klaus said as we were on the way to the deck.
In general, the areas we can freely traverse ended with the circumference of the ship, but as he said, the inside of the ship was cleanly maintained. It wouldn’t be polite to say it wasn’t what I expected, but I had honestly imagined more of a mess.
“Even though it’s not new, it looks like they’re taking good care of it.”
Every step I heard the firm clack of my soles on the floor. The floorboards were seasoned, but still gleamed due to careful polishing.
There was much in front of the galley, but I didn’t notice any traceable dirt or odor. My impression of this ship with its scrupulous cleaning was great.
The cargo were piled up in a mannerly order, and fixed so neatly it didn’t seem like they’d ever collapse.
The passages were narrow, but nowhere was it obstructed by luggage or any number of tools. Even in an emergency, as long as the embarking passengers did not become confused, escape shouldn’t be delayed.
“The sailors are also friendly and kind. It’s a wonderful ship.”
Nothing less than what I expect from a ship recommended by Master Julius, I thought to myself as I went up the stairs. I had just stepped onto the deck when an angry voice leapt at me.
Eyes rounded, I looked around but found no one looking in my direction. It didn’t seem like that voice had been aimed at me.
I followed the gazes of the sailors and passengers on deck and finally landed on a certain group.
“Hurry and bring me a cold one!”
It was the pretty girl the sailors had called a “goddess.” She made no effort to hide her irritation as she shouted her orders. She sat on a deck chair under the shade of a parasol cast by a male servant, glaring at a young woman who looked like a maid.
“B-but Miss Flora, th-there is no ice house on this sh-ship. W-what should I do…?
“Don’t ask me, figure it out yourself!”
The pretty girl—Miss Flora—yelled at the maid.
“Y-yes.” The maid nodded, looking ready to cry. She turned on her heels and ran.
“What a useless girl. Nothing more than a halfwit,” Miss Flora said maliciously as she fanned herself with a gaudy fan made of lace, while her male servant soothed her ruffles.
This scene had shocked me so much as I watched, I couldn’t control myself.
“Ridiculous… What part of her screams goddess?” Klaus didn’t even hide the disgust in his voice. The second half of his statement was said in a low voice, and only I could hear standing next to him. I probably should have told him not to say something so rude, or to be careful with his words, but a small part of me find myself in agreement.
“Make it quick!” demanded the girl with the same name of the goddess of Spring and flowers.