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10. Macaria

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Chapter 10. Macaria

Today a most entertaining thing occurred. As we were traveling, Kelson, Kenji, and I overheard a very heated Minya argument—my first. Kenji informed me that it happens rather frequently, and so we ignored it. However, moments later it became impossible to ignore when a Minya was hurled through the air and hit me smack-dab on the side of the face. It was difficult not to laugh as this little Minya indignantly shook his fist toward the forest from whence he’d come, then latched onto my collar, refusing to leave. He calls himself September.

I was not surprised when he almost immediately decided he preferred everyone else to me, and I’ve given him to Kenji for safe keeping. Perhaps permanently.

Minyas.

I’m afraid I’ll never like them.

***

Jacob was excited to go into the city, even if it was in shambles. Akeno taped new leaves on his shoes, and they sent Early off to report that Jacob would be coming as soon as they found a place where Akeno could hide. Early quickly returned with the message that Brojan and Akeno’s parents were eagerly awaiting Jacob’s return.

“But why would it be better to hide in the city?” Jacob asked. “I mean, wouldn’t we want to stay away from people, just in case the Lorkon or the wolves come around?”

Early flitted to him. “Brojan said it would be better to hide in a deserted house in the city. He feels it would be safer.”

They headed down the mountainside. Jacob didn’t notice that the two black wolves were watching them from bushes near the path until September pointed it out.

“Why do they do that?” Jacob said. “It’s really creepy.”

“Yes, it is.” Akeno glared at the wolves.

They made a wide circle around the animals and got back on the trail. Jacob kept one eye on the predators as they walked, but they didn’t do anything—just watched the entire time. He decided to ignore them.

After a few minutes, Jacob and Akeno reached the road that led into town and turned to follow it. A faded wooden sign with Macaria etched in it showed an arrow pointing ahead. The Minyas floated above them, and Jacob’s spirits rose a notch. They were going to see people!

The city was small, and at one point might have been considered quaint. Everything was white. The buildings, the walks—even the dirt had a white appearance to it. It looked as though the whole town had been bleached by the sun, and it made the city beautiful, even with the war-ravaged look. The road was dusty, and each step Akeno and Jacob took caused a little cloud to billow up around their feet. The street was deserted, and the sun was bright as they walked down the center of the road, almost as if they were about to have a face-off with someone at the opposite end of the street. Jacob smiled, feeling like he was in his favorite James Garner western.

He watched for buildings he’d recognize as a store or maybe a hotel. Most of the windows were boarded up, and nothing looked likely. The buildings ranged in size from one story to two and sometimes three stories high, with the remains of the castle being the tallest. The road led toward the castle, which seemed to be situated on the shores of the lake.

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