43: Choice

55 12 3


Traffic was backed right up by the exit for the corin mine off-ramp. The decision was made to view it in passing without attempting to make it through the gridlock. From my window, a part of the mine was visible, and even that was at least three times the size of Tor-Kenner's mansion. The mining complex itself was enclosed in what appeared to be a large dome not unlike the same one that covered the pool at the dahii.

After the momentary slowdown at the corin mine exit, we accelerated to an incredible speed, arriving within an hour at mainland Incus. The mainland was beautiful and also technologically advanced—it was an eclectic mix of new and old. Scattered around rustic-looking stone buildings were some very modern-looking skyscrapers—giants that looked out of place with their glass and brushed metal construction. The roads were well-paved, and the tubes were made accessible throughout the city.

I noticed immediately that Old Incus had more trees and shrubbery, while New Incus was devoid of the lush and well-manicured greenery. Old Incus was greener, but not by much. There was no purposeless, wild foliage growth here.

"The translator's shop shouldn't be far from here," Ilta said as we walked. "Tell me of your scars, Ellis Ann."

"Well, they sort of look like tattoo scars," I said.

"Tribal markings," Elossai added.

"You have tribal... tattoos?" The corner of Ilta's bottom lip curved down disapprovingly when she tried out the new word.

"Two of them. The one on my neck is written in Sye. It reads: all paths lead you to our destiny. Elossai thinks the one on my back is written in a western Ankin language," I said.

"I see."

We turned into a remote alleyway and came to a stop in front of a slightly broken-down, modest looking storefront.

"This should be it," Ilta said.

The mingled scent of old books and mildew hit me as soon as I stepped inside. There were open boxes filled with books, and books scattered on the ground. The reception desk was at the back of the store near a swinging gate that led to another room. They reminded me of those saloon doors that a cowboy would barrage through in an old western film. No one tended the front desk, but the illumination of the lamp made the layer of collected dust quite noticeable.

On the walls were paintings of landscapes with price tags attached. One painting in particular drew me in. It was a painting of a snowy town in a valley surrounded by mountains.

"Hello boy, may we speak to the shopkeeper?" Ilta said.

I hadn't noticed the boy sitting next to a small pile of books until Ilta addressed him. The boy looked surprised to see us in the store. He was probably so intent on reading that he hadn't heard us enter.

"Boy?" Ilta asked again.

He dropped his book on the ground, dashed to the back of the room and sat behind the reception desk. "Sorry, the shopkeeper is busy. Is there anything I can help you with?" The boy snatched a pair of large spectacles from under the desk and put them on. "We have all sorts of books here that may be of interest to you."

I looked over at the empty wooden shelves and then back at him. He probably meant the books that weren't stocked yet.

"We aren't looking for books. We are seeking a translator," said Ilta.

The boy pushed the spectacles further back on the bridge of his nose then folded his hands neatly on the desk in front of him. "Are you sure? We have many wonderful books. Would you like me to recommend some?"

Lost Identity: Eloria Series Book 1 | ✓Where stories live. Discover now