Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (1)
Travel here is terrible. I am cramped in a
room full of filthy barbarians on an overcrowded boat on a stinking
river. Fortunately Miyara has a better place on the open deck,
where at least she is not exposed to the pestilence that surely
pervades the cattle hold.
It has been days and days
stuck in this hole. When will this terrible journey end?
At last the boat has
stopped, and the shouting and thumping indicates we're tying up at the
dock. Thank goodness this ordeal is over. Of all the
terrors of the western world, this is the worst I have seen in the two
years since we left Nippon.
I have resumed my task. While on board, Miyara
has taken several of the travellers for her retinue. While this
makes her easier to follow, it also means I must be more careful to
avoid being seen. The barbarians are often cunning, and might see
in strange ways.
Miyara's followers are a strange lot. Two are
tall men, one almost a giant, while there is also an elf, and some sort
of white fairy the like of which I have not seen before. I follow
them from the rooftops; as a wise man once said, "People never look up."
Night is darker in this fetid city. Barbarians
here move like animals in a cage, looking for their prey. This
city eats its young. Miyara was wise to take on followers.
But one of them, the youngest, ran off into the city. They
followed, but after a while all met up again back at the docks.
They discussed something with a street rat, who after an exchange of
coins led them deep into the maze of streets.
The rat was bait, of course. Miyara no doubt
had some reason to test his honesty, but he failed. He led them
into an ambush, where six thugs attacked them. It might be the
end of me, but I had to defend her. The thugs were weak and
easily dispatched; the remainder ran away. The betrayer lost his
head for his crime.
As for my crime, I still await punishment. I
must wait until Miyara decides my fate. She did compliment me on
my fighting, unorthodox as it was, so perhaps I have some reason to
hope. I was also able to assist with her wounds. I am to
remain with her until she decides; it is at least easier to be with her
than following her.
Entering the tavern was
undignified. In response to some shouted insult from within, the
giant broke down the door. As is common among the barbarians,
they argued for a while until settling on compensation.
Apparently lodging for the night was part of that deal, as we all went
upstairs to a dark room.
We were able to fashion a private room for Miyara;
the rest of us slept according to our station, the giant blocking
entrance through the door.
I awoke to find an intruder already headed for
escape through the window. The barbarians just threw things at
him, as do monkeys. I alone acted with purpose. Calling for
him to stop, I pursued him across the rooftops and the canal, where he
dropped into the street. That was his mistake, for I quickly
overtook him and tackled him to the ground. I told him that he
was to come back with me to face his fate.
At this point the denizens of the city came out of
their hovels to interfere. Three of them, who could have been
guard, drew their swords and shouted at me. I patiently explained
the situation, and gently pushed aside the sword that threatened
me. They had no education, and continuing to shout
unintelligibly, the three attacked me to the delight of the onlookers.
First I made sure that the thief was unconscious,
then I concentrated on the brawlers. I am ashamed to say that one
of them struck me with his sword. Still, after I bruised two of
them, all three ran away and the onlookers dispersed. I had to
kick the thief back down in the middle of the fight, but he was well
enough to carry back to the tavern.
I entered the tavern the way I left, and presented
the criminal to Miyara. I then went back to sleep, not wanting to
watch the barbarians looting the prisoner.