Castor spent the next three hours walking up and down the docks asking various captains and sailors if they were going to the red continent or Pyropolis. They all gave similar answers, they do not go to Pyropolis, they do not trade in foreign lands, they do not take passenger, to fuck off, or they do not have room. The sun was now setting in the horizon and Castor could see the darkness rising in the east.
“Sorry son, we don’t go to the red continent, you will have better luck going to Stratus and asking there. This part of the country has no need to fancy foreign imports.”
“Thank you,” replied Castor and turned to leave. His feet were tired, his chest was heavy and he felt like he could fall asleep at any moment.
“Hey boy!” shouted the sailor as Castor was walking away, “I just remembered, I heard a ship from the red continent arrived at port this afternoon. But it is not a cargo or passenger ship. It is on the other side of the docks but you can ask them if they can take you.” The sailor pointed to the other end of the docks were the private ships usually were.
Castor shouted his thanks and galloped towards the other side of the docks. For the first time today he was feeling elated and optimistic. When he saw the ship from the distance and his heart began to beat. The smooth curved design of Pyropolis ships were different from the large bulky Saxon ships that dominated the port. The dark wood color and the red sails were meant to be daunting but made Castor feel nostalgic, yet when he got close enough to see the finer details his blood ran cold. The ship was very large, much larger than the ship Castor came in. He recognized it as one of the royal army’s razor ships, which was know for its speed. Castor recognized the eagle carving on the side of the ship, it was his father’s symbol, this was his father’s ship. His father must have sent more people to find him after he got away.
Without thinking Castor turned and ran away towards the directions of town, to the inn, to Anneli. In his panic he did not care to be polite or try to avoid passes-by on the busy streets. Tripping on one of the cobble stones Castor slammed into someone.
“Sorry,” said Castor on reflex.
The man was tall and strangely muscular. Something is not right. The man turned and he saw the fearsome face and glaring eyes of a Pyropolis solider. Not any solider but one of his father’s person guards. One of the solider that he had come with Castor to this country. One of solider that was sent to kill him the first time. Castor’s his mouth gaped and was paralyzed. The solider was equally shocked to see him as well. The solider looked as if the golden fleece had fallen from the sky and landed right in front of him.
The solider’s words triggered a flood of a red hot adrenaline through Castor’s body. Castor kicked the solider between the legs. He ran away immediately and did not see the solider collapse on the ground. Castor zigzagged through the crowds and all over town loose anyone following him. The sun was low in the horizon and the lamps were being lit when Castor arrived at the inn. The slamming door woke Anneli up. Castor collapsed against the bed in the suffocating little room. He took off his coat and climbed onto the bed. His lungs were on fire, his throat was dry, his muscles were aching and he could barely catch his breath.
“Castor, what’s wrong?”
Castor hugged Anneli. Anneli could hear Castor’s loud racing heart and feel his radiating heat. He was panting, sweating and in pain. Anneli did not say anything more, he hugged Castor and patiently waited for Castor calmed down.
Anneli felt as if time itself stood still as they lay in bed. Castor had hugged him before but never this tightly and never this long. Anneli felt a fluttering in his chest. The same fluttering he had ignored when they had first met but now it was overwhelming and all-consuming. Anneli had pretended not to know what this feeling was. He had repressed it and convinced himself that it was not real. The guilt and knowing that nothing good would ever come from this feeling made him want to cry.