“Sorry, there are no ships going to Pyropolis. We only sell tickets to passenger ships and no passenger ship goes straight from here to Pyropolis, Cumulus just isn’t that commercial.”
“There must be something? What about cargo ships or a shiping vessel?”
“Shipping vessels only stay within our own territories. If you want to go on a cargo ship you will need to personally ask the the captain of the ship and even then they will be reluctant.”
“Ah.. that’s too bad. Are there any alternatives?”
“There are private vessels but those yatchs are too small for a journey to the red continent. It will be possible to for you to buy a ticket from here to the main port in Stratus and then go to pyropolis but it will be very expensive and take three weeks.”
Castor felt heavy and a knot formed in his stomach.
“How much will it cost?”
“Well from here to Stratus it will be three crowns and from Stratus to Pyropolis it will be atleast twenty ot twenty five crown per person.”
Castor felt his purse which was now much lighter than it was when he first started. He had never fathomed that it would be so expensive. He tried to convert the cost into his own currency and the price seemed even more exorbitant. Castor considered how much money he had left, he could easily go if it was just him but with Anneli it would leave only two gold coins and a few coppers to sustains them for three weeks.
“I can’t afford that, thank you for everything,” said Castor and left the ticket office. Castor for the first time in a long time felt that the future was bleak. The anxiety made him feel fuzzy in the head and nauseous. He had waited for an hour in the ticketing office which was nothing more than a poorly contructed wood hut with a desk. He had patiently waited his turn but all he had to show for his effort was dissapointment and worry.
Anneli was sitting outside the office holding the plant in his hands, long since finished eating his pastry. Seeing Castor exit the office Anneli jumped to his feet.
“How did it go? When are we going?”
Castor sighed, “we are not going yet, I did not get a ticket.”
Castor did not want to reply to Anneli. Castor instead listened to the gulls and the lapping of the sea waves just beyond the walls. He inhaled the oh too familiar salty air. Castor felt slightly nostalgic about home for the first time since he left. Even if his family did not want him to return he liked to think the sea, the sands and palm trees would not share that same opinion.
“Castor,” said Anneli softly, unsure of why he was being ignored.
“Shall we go to the beach Anneli?” asked Castor and patted him on the head.