Chapter 33

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This time, for a change, Leithan journeyed back to New Rimar using a path to the east side of the Initri River. Also, Teshin being by his side, time seemed to fly past unnoticed.

Instead of sharing stories of their past, Leithan taught him Rengleam words. He found it to be fun and rewarding, especially since Teshin had an amazing memory. Leithan wondered if that was simply a Yoxai aptitude, since they didn't have a written language.

When they made their way into the East Side, along Riverside Street, the sun hung in the western sky. However, the clouds had thickened and the air turned stormy. The rising wind was refreshing, but the obscurity made it difficult to tell how late it was.

Once in the city proper, Leithan interrupted his lesson because Teshin wasn't paying attention anymore.

Instead, Teshin looked everywhere, fascinated by the sights – stone or timber buildings, people running errands and holding their children's hands, steamboats below, stone bridge ahead. His most endearing moment, for Leithan, happened after they'd crossed King's Road. The tram came forth from the bridge and ran its course behind them, and Leithan had to stop and go back to get Teshin, who had paused on the sidewalk to stare.

Leithan gently touched his arm. "You coming?"

"Yeah, yeah . . . That was just . . ." Teshin seemed at a loss for words. "How does it work?"

"Steam engine," Leithan said as he took him through the ironwork archways and flagstone alleys of the Fashion District.

A few shoppers stared at Teshin as they passed him, but then they went their way, probably assuming he was a Cieltz young man with very bizarre fashion sense.

As they walked, Leithan explained about coal, water, and heat energy, but he soon gave up because there were no Yoxai words for cylinder or piston and it was just pointless.

"Let's take your education step by step, shall we?" Leithan suggested.

"But I want to know everything now!" Teshin joked, seizing Leithan's shoulders for emphasis.

Leithan shrugged him off, but he was smiling.

"Take it easy. We're going into my favorite store, okay? Be nice to the owner, she's my friend. Also, she makes me good deals."

"I'm always nice," Teshin said cheekily.

Ella's store was called the Neverland, because it was her last name and also, it sounded cool. She was the forty-year-old sister of Leithan's fencing instructor Saul, and Leithan had been her loyal customer for about four years. Ella Neverland had the best clothes, and the best attitude to match.

"We're closed!" she growled without glancing up from the shirt she was folding, as Leithan knocked on the glass door.

Well, she had the best attitude most of the time. When you didn't do something that annoyed her, like knock at her door when it had the 'Closed' sign slung across it.

Still, Leithan stubbornly knocked again. This was a bit of an emergency, and he was hoping Ella could help.

There was always the possibility of going to his room at the Golden Temple to fetch some clothes for Teshin – they were roughly the same size. But Leith didn't relish the thought of going back there right now.

He needed strength and positive vibes before his lecture, and he'd rather not relive the events of last night so soon.

When Ella finally looked up and saw him, her irritated frown melted and instead a grin brightened her round-cheeked face. She was a tall woman, buxom and vivacious, ample curves in a stylish bodice and skirt ensemble. Her dark brown curls, the same color as her skin, were chopped just below the chin.

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