Part 20:

A Nice, Boring Day

The side of the road was significantly warmer than it had been just a few days ago, the sun seemingly finally doing its job. It was in turn significantly more comfortable for Kajulan to sit on it in a melancholic manner. She was deep in thought, reflecting back on the events of the day, or more accurately the events of the last hour or so. She supposed it had been irresponsible to break into that ship. And she guessed she had kind of dragged Tekole along, even if he did technically choose to follow her. And she also figured she should probably just stop moping around and go talk to him. After all, she knew where he lived.

It was only a short trip from the pier to Tekole’s apartment, although it was still a longer trip than Kajulan had implied to him earlier, which also made her feel guilty. The clouds had returned as she arrived, apparently unwilling to let the Sun continue its work. She knocked, and Tekole opened the door.

“Hi Kajulan,” he said.

“Hi,” Kajulan replied back. “I just want to say I’m sorry about the stuff with the pirates. It was really stupid, especially considering all the other risks we’ve taken the past few days. And it’s not fair of me to risk your life just because I like risking mine. And it’s even more pointless to do so for a handful of grain. Which didn’t turn out to be grain but that’s beside the point. I mean, I don’t know what I was even going to do with the grain. You can’t just eat it straight out of the crate. Unless it turned out to be rice. But I guess you’d still probably need to cook it . . .”

Kajulan began to trail off, and Tekole put a hand up. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’m not angry.”

Kajulan smiled, and took on a relieved posture. “Oh. Alright then. It was just that, with the way you walked off afterwards, I thought you were mad at me.”

Tekole shook his head. “No, I wasn’t mad. I was just disappointed.” Kajulan, and her smile, sank. “I mean, I just thought, with all the crazy stuff these past few days, that we were going to take advantage of the situation and have a nice, boring day.”

Kajulan looked away. She had personally found yesterday mind-numbingly boring, but she guessed it wouldn’t be so to someone who wasn’t used to this kind of stuff. And by this kind of stuff she meant crime generically, because she certainly wasn’t used to acquiescing one’s protection racket to rival gangs. Which is what it seemed like Jethin’s gang primarily did. She looked back at Tekole and crossed her arms. “Well, I’m still sorry about it. I just get antsy, is all. Don’t like the idea of not earning my living, being reliant on someone I hate. But that’s a dumb reason to risk my life. Or ours, I guess.”

“I actually wasn’t afraid of getting killed back there,” Tekole replied.

Kajulan raised an eyebrow. “Really?” she asked. “You weren’t?

Tekole shook his head. “No. I was afraid we’d get pressganged into another weird mob.”

Kajulan looked away again, her crossed arms tightening into a concerned gripping of her sides. “Oh. That’s a much worse thought, actually.”

Tekole nodded. “Yeah.”

Kajulan continued to awkwardly look around before continuing. “Well, I’m glad we’re good. But I guess I better get going before it gets too late. Aren’t too many places left to stay in this city. Feels like an Inn closes everyday. Although I could always just stay somewhere abandoned. Some of those places stay surprisingly cozy.”

Kajulan turned to leave, only for Tekole to call her back. “Kajulan,” he said. “You don’t need to keep jumping from place to place.”

Kajulan came back over. “I know,” she replied. “But I really don’t want to spend more time in Jethin’s pit of despair than I absolutely have to.”

Tekole thought for a moment. “Well, you could stay here.”

Kajulan was taken aback. “Really? I mean, I wouldn’t want to impose.” She looked over Tekole’s shoulder, into the room behind him. “I mean, you only have one bed.”

“That’s alright,” replied Tekole, shrugging. “You can sleep on the floor.”

Kajulan nodded. “Alright. That could work. It sounds nice, actually. Thank you.”

Tekole stepped aside, letting her in. The room was pretty similar to how it was when Kajulan had first peeked in, still dark and still sparsely decorated, but the statue of the Carver now sat on the stool beside his bed, and a sheathed sword lied at its foot, the same blade they had taken from that mercenary fellow.

Tekole began to take sheets from his bed. “It’s getting warmer,” he said. “So you can use these.” Tekole threw them to the floor, and Kajulan got to work, variously balling up and padding out the discarded bedding, until it had created a satisfactory cot. It made her feel like a goblin creating its nest.

“I feel like a goblin creating my nest!” Kajulan said excitedly.

“You look like a goblin,” replied Tekole. Kajulan smiled at him, before laying down on the ground. She put her hands behind her head and looked up at the ceiling.

“This is nice,” she said. She looked over at Tekole, who had sat on his bed, and pointed at him. “You know what?” she said. “Tomorrow, we won’t do anything stupid. How does that sound?” Tekole gave her an awkward little thumbs up, and Kajulan laid her head back down. “Good.”