Acacia: The Next Adventure
Ir’vaqur caught up with the cart quite easily. Their journey back through the farms was uneventful and quiet. Yunoiya and Mizuki spoke in hushed voices but their laughs hinted at something sillier. Gossiping hens, Acacia mused and it was a delightful feeling. A calm peace filled the air. Hiain slept in the back of the cart, his snores droning in the background. Every now and then, Acacia would look at Baerister. Their eyes would meet and his lips would twitch into a small smile. Her heart would jolt and her eyes would jump to Ir’vaqur’s mane.
A fine mane, she told herself, pushing any other thoughts aside.
Along the way, farmers stopped their work long enough to give the healer a welcoming nod. A few were disgruntled and cold to see the healer return home. Acacia could only glare at them. There was no point in fighting homely fools into understanding.
The cottage came into view and the cart of supplies was still there untouched.
Yunoiya was the first out of the cart. Despite her age and imprisonment, she didn’t miss a step.
Acacia leapt down from the gelding and eyed Baerister questioningly. They both wondered what Yunoiya could possibly want at a burnt down hovel. Hirain scrambled against the side of the cart then managed to roll out into the dirt. He raced ahead as Acacia followed the healer through the gate.
“Once you live with a dragon, you live in constant fear of your house burning down.” Yunoiya kicked aside ashes and searched among the charred debris. “That’s why I put most of my valuables in a secure place.” She stood up in surprise and clapped her hands. “And here it is. Acacia, dear, would you help me?”
Acacia scurried forward and saw the leather trunk which must have been buried in the far back of the cottage’s debris. Carved into its surface was a spiral of words that coiled out of what looked like a lock. An incantation, she assumed.
Yunoiya waved a hand towards the burnt meadow nearby. “Set it over there, would you?”
She gathered the trunk into her arms and hauled it to the empty clearing. “What’s inside?”
“Grimoires mostly.” The old woman kneeled down and snapped her fingers. The lock clicked and the lid popped open. “I know I put it in here somewhere.” She tossed out leather bound books wrapped protectively in the skins of lizards or the tough hides of boars. When she found the book she needed, she rose up and patted it tenderly.
“A book,” Baerister grumbled. “We came here for a book?”
Hirain made an attempt to climb into the chest. Likely looking for food, humored Acacia as she gathered the dragon into her arms.
Yunoiya hummed in agreement then settled her attention on Acacia. “Take it.”
It was a simple book, bound in soft leather and secured neatly with a string of woven hide.
“Balozi Kaliid’s journal.”
Acacia jolted at the name. She looked up at the healer as if she might be joking but her expression was sincere. “My grandfather,” she muttered. “You knew him?” She gently set Hirain down at her feet then reached out with uncertainty.
“Indeed. He had a feeling someone would come looking for him. Perhaps, he knew you would make your way to me.” Yunoiya patted the book then Acacia’s hand. “Dob Island. That’s where he last went. You might consider going there.”
This was it, she thought. It was what she had unknowingly been looking for. Answers about her grandfather and clues about her family’s past.
“I would like to go with you, itellu.”
Acacia gave him a firm nod. “Thank you.”
“It is my honor. Besides, we need a new adventure to keep us busy.”
She snorted and she might have said something snarky but Hirain was clawing at her boots.
He was trying to stand on his hindlegs by using her as support.
“You want to come too?”
His jaws snapped.
“There’s not much food, you know, along the way...”
He huffed but he seemed determined.
“There you have it then.” Yunoiya chuckled sweetly, that grandmotherly sound. waved her hands about and her books jumped upright then marched towards the potioness’s cart.
Acacia tucked her grandfather’s book into her hunting vest. “What about you? Surely it isn’t safe to stay here.”
Hirain hobbled over towards her and a sound almost like words came from his mouth, “Kan. Kan tu.”
The old woman bent over and took the dragon’s face between her hands. “I’m too old to be chasing adventures. You’re too young not to.” Yunoiya gave him a final pat on the head.
“Hirain can talk?”
The old woman chuckled. “All dragons can talk. He’s just too young to say much.” She turned her attention to Baerister.. “Take care of Acacia. And take my old cart on the journey with you. All of those supplies were bought for you, anyway.”
Baerister grinned as he tried to choke back his laughter.
Acacia stepped closer to Ir’vaqur and patted his neck. “Shall we then?”
He bobbed his head a few times in excitement.