“There might be a problem.”
“What might the problem be?”
Castor did not reply immediately. He looked into the distance and then looked at Anneli. How far away was Pyropolis? How far away was the red continent? Did he even want to go home?
Anneli looked at Castor’s hand that was still holding his. “What’s wrong? Are we not able to go to the desert.”
Castor sighed looking at Anneli’s disappointed expression. “Let’s go back,” said Castor and lead Anneli back to the beach.
“What is wrong Castor?”
Castor let go of Anneli’s hand and picked up his shoes in one hand and the rose plant in the other. “Come on Anneli climb up.” Castor indicated the ladder leading to the docks with a nod of the head.
“Are you upset with me Castor?”
“I’m not, but we need to talk about something.”
Anneli climbed the ladder. Castor winced as he stretched to give Anneli the plant, a sharp pain along his body. Castor climbed the ladder after, slowly and carefully trying not to fall and trying to hold onto his shoes. He sat on the docks and let he feet dangle over the edge.
As he wiped the sand of his feet he spoke in an apathetic tone, “when I went to the ticketing office, they said there are no passenger ships from here to Pyropolis. We can ask if we can stowaway on a cargo ship to Pyropolis but that seems unlikely as well. We can go to main port first and then to Pyropolis but that will cost all the money I have now to buy the ticket for that and even then it might not still be enough.”
“Alright,” said Anneli.
“Alright? How is that alright?” snapped Castor.
“It will be fine. We will never know if we do not ask. We can try asking the cargo ships and if not we can figure it out on the way.”
Castor glared at Anneli, his insides were bubbling like a kettle close to boiling. Yet he retained himself. Anneli was right, it was too soon to give up.
“Okay,” replied Castor softly. He wore his shoes and stood up, “let’s go find a room.”
“What about the tickets?”
Castor chuckled, “we need somewhere to sleep tonight. We can think about the tickets tomorrow.”
Anneli and Castor got a small room in a shabby looking inn. The room barely fit a small bed and a small side table with a bowl and pitcher of water meant to be a make-shift sink.
“Should I sleep on the floor?” asked Anneli, staring at the bed that was half-a-foot between each wall. The bed could fit only Castor at best.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” replied Castor. “You can sleep on the bed.”
“I lived in the forest until just recently- I can sleep outside if I have to.”
“You will get arrested if you sleep on the streets you know. There is a communal bath downstairs, let’s go tonight when I get back.”
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going back to the docks and ask if there are any cargo ships that will let us stow-away on their ship.”
Anneli pouted and frowned at Castor. “Alright,” he mumbled and sat on the bed waiting for him to leave.
“I’ll be back soon,” said Castor and closed the door behind him.
Anneli watched the closed door for awhile as if simply wishing for it will bring Castor back faster. He quickly became bored. Anneli took off his cape, carefully folded it and placed it on the table. He climbed on the bed and opened the single small window on the wall. It only opened part way. The air felt heavy and suffocating but Anneli tried to ignore this feeling. Lying in the bed he noticed that the sheets were thinner and rougher than those in the last few inns.
“I’ve become spoiled,” whispered Anneli to himself with a smile and closed his eyes.