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Chapter 24: Azala’s Path: Roid and Onward

    After a long, hard day’s journey in the carriage from Adan to Roid, Azala and his companions had found a reputable inn in the city. Mia and Azala had no need for comforts of an expensive inn, but considering Lien and Bella’s delicate tastes, they had opted for a good, safe inn. Mia and Azala did not stay long, though. Leaving Midau, Bella, and Lien to their own devices, Mia urged Azala to take a walk with her through the city. He had been mulling over his situation throughout the whole trip, and as his friend, she felt it was her duty to offer him support and guidance.

    As they stepped out, Mia didn’t bother wearing her hood. Usually she was cautious in Roid to hide her ears, but with a common elf with her, she hoped that people would assume she was full-blooded common elf as well, just one with a good tan. “So... how’s the decision making coming there, buddy?” she asked.

    The common elf had started to put his concerns to the side. After all, there was nothing really that could be done about it. Azala was charging ahead, and didn’t even know where he was suppose to be charging to exactly. He was old enough to let things sit in the back burner for the time being, especially when there was nothing else to do about them. As Mia spoke to him, he gave a sidelong glance, feigning innocence. “Hmm, on whether or not to try to seduce you? Not sure yet, but if I start getting you drunk you’ll probably have your answer.”

    Judging by Azala’s behaviour he had reverted to his usual carefree nature—though she knew better than to think he was completely unfazed by the issues facing him. The elven mercenary gave him a light bump with her shoulder. “Pssh, we both know it doesn’t take alcohol to get me in bed with you anymore,” Mia replied. “Been there, done that.”

    As they walked down the Roidian street, Mia gave a sigh of boredom. “So, besides me, what do you wanna do to take your mind off the troubles of a hormonally imbalanced pregnant ex-girlfriend hunting you down?”

    Azala gave a little bit of a smirk at the comment, which became a drawn out sigh when she against mentioned Seri. That was a big mess to say the least, he hadn’t ever thought of that possibility when he had left. “Well, that all depends on what she has planned I suppose. I probably couldn’t get in a word in if she was just hunting me down to blast me with some elemental lord spirit.”

    Crossing his arms, he gave a thought about it. He was trying to find her to now, but he didn’t know what exactly he would say. After all, what was there beyond ‘Sorry I made you pregnant’. “Unfortunately I can’t say what I’ll do or say. At least not without knowing exactly what she’s going to say to me anyway.”

    It seemed that her attempt to distract him had failed, but this still gave her an opportunity to help him deal with these concerns. “Well, I can’t really say, I never dealt with Seri when she was excessively emotional. She was always so cool and aloof, typical high elf...though with a touch of curiosity,” Mia mused. She had plenty of time to think on the situation during the ride to Roid, however, and though she couldn’t say for sure, she thought she had a good idea of what was bothering with Seri.

    The elven mercenary sighed, changing the tone of the discussion to something more serious. “I can’t say for sure, being neither Seri, or ever pregnant, but I suppose that she might not want to hurt you or get revenge. I think what she might be looking for is validation and support. If she cares about you, she probably just wants you to be there to go through this with her. I suppose being pregnant, especially in a society when the last pregnancy was almost two hundred years ago, is something frightening for her.” Mia shrugged. “I personally think that she just wants you to be there to support her.”

    Glancing up toward Azala hesitantly, she knew she had to learn more about their relationship to understand Seri better. “ exactly did you leave her?” she asked.

    “The funny thing about immortality... is that I don’t want it,” Azala said flatly. That’s one of the major reasons he had left in the first place. “You’ve been to the Forest of No Return, so you know that the place isn’t exactly bustling with activity. I didn’t want immortality in the first place, but Seri seemed to be fond of hers. So when I asked if she wanted to go, it put a bit of an impasse on our relationship. But its not like we left on bitter terms, so I suppose the whole physical harm thing probably isn’t going to happen.”

    Mia chuckled. “I know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t want to spend the rest of eternity cooped up there,” she replied. “I just wanted to know if the split was amicable or not, so yeah, I suppose she won’t be too angry about you leaving. I’ll stick with her being scared. Lien suggested that she tried to contact you, and when you didn’t respond, she got desperate and left to find you. Probably not the best idea for a pregnant high elf, but I don’t suppose pregnant women are especially rational. Not that I would know.” Giving Azala an apprehensive glance, she punched his arm lightly in an attempt to lighten the mood with one of his usual jokes with her. “Ever.”

    “Yes, it was fine. She was happy being in the forest, and I wasn’t. She was disappointed, but she seemed to understand.” Frowning at the scared thought, he gave a light nod at it. He supposed that that was a big deal in itself, if a baby was only born once every few hundred years, the magnitude of it would definitely be greater than anywhere else. “How warped would the the child who is born to you be?”

    Mia laughed, then affectionately wrapped her arm around his, linking their arms as they walked. “Let’s hope the world never knows,” she replied.

* * *

    After spending a night in Roid, the group parted ways. Midau, having resolved at least some of his issues with Lien, happily moved on with Bella toward Moss where he planned to look for his daughter. Azala, Mia, and Lien, however, would be continuing northwards, toward the desert, on foot. While they could have possibly afforded another carriage ride, Lien knew that Seri was somewhere on the road between Blade and Roid, and she didn’t want to risk passing Seri along the way.

    As Lien took the lead at a steady, determined pace, Mia had to jog a bit to catch up to the high elf’s pace. “So, what’s the plan?” the mercenary asked.

    Lien didn’t slow and focused straight ahead. “Seri may be anywhere in between here and the desert cities. I assume she may be reaching or entering the mountains now,” the high elf explained. “We should ask for information of her passage in any cities or towns we encounter along the road.”

    “Alright then...” Mia replied. Just how many towns were between here and Blade anyway? Far too many, she thought pessimistically.


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