Seven

“I’m never drinking again,” Yun groaned, attempting to block out the sunlight shining in through the window. The bright morning lights and the constant motion of the train made a thoroughly unpleasant headache even worse. 

“Miss Yun, I told you to drink some more water,” Adelaide said, already up and polishing her armor. 

“Guh. I’m definitely not in my school years anymore. This sucks.” Yun reached over the side of her bed, moving in a way that could only be described as just barely short of falling. She grabbed a bottle and rattled it around, fishing out a small capsule and swallowing it down with some help from her waterskin. 

“Field-grade painkillers,” Adelaide noted.

“They’re not exactly meant to be used like this. Not that that stops people.” It would take a minute or two to kick in, before she could finally start thinking again. She let the weight of her head push her face deeper and deeper into the pillow, waiting for the relief to come. 

“I didn’t take you to be such a drinker, Miss Yun.” 

“I’m not, usually.” 

“I’m not sure if I believe that.” Adelaide smiled teasingly. 

“Where are we now?” 

Adelaide looked out the window, watching the scenery blur past, vast stretches of farmland, bookended by forests, cradled by mountains. Though the train moved quickly, the environment stretched out large enough to paint a clear picture. 

“I believe we’re currently passing through the Gallusian countryside.”

“Just a couple more days on the train, then. We should clear the Northern Ward by tonight.” 

“I’ve always wanted to visit the Northern Ward. I hear lots of dragons get raised there.” 

“Hahaha… They sure do.” Yun’s eyes glazed over, her eyes staring at something far in the distance, straight through one of the train car walls into infinity. 

“Miss Yun? Hello?” Adelaide waved her hand in front of Yun’s face. “Did you have a bad experience or something?”

“Dragons hate me.”

“I’m sure it’s not that ba-“

“Dragons HATE me.”

Adelaide looked out the window. “Don’t most dragontamers come from the Northern Ward?”

“Yep.” 

“I’d love to meet one.”

“I’m sure you’ll get the chance.” 

Adelaide walked through the halls of the train humming, drying her hair with a towel wrapped around her neck. It was awfully convenient that the train had a shower system, sparse though it may be. She was excited for the northern countries, though; they were home to supposedly the most beautiful hot springs in the world. She wanted to take Yun there, though it was possible she had already been. 

Adelaide opened the door to her room, immediately seeing Yun holding a hand of cards, another hand placed gingerly in front of the orb. Both seemed to be concentrating very hard. After a tense moment, Yun starting putting down card after card, reciting a complicated string of nonsense that Adelaide couldn’t even remotely begin to parse. 

“CURSES. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT IS LEGAL.”

“Read the effect on that one.” She held one up.

“WHAT? HOW COULD THEY HAVE EVEN PRINTED THAT.”

“Times have changed, cryptwalker.” The smugness in her grin was palpable.

Adelaide walked over and picked up the opened box, reading the title ‘HOLLOW MYTHRIL.’ 

“I’m sorry, Miss Yun, Mx. Sykora, are you playing… a card game made for children?”

“Hey hey hey. HOLLOW MYTH is an incredible tool for the study of the arcane!” Yun protested. 

Adelaide picked up a card with a drawing of a skeleton wielding a scythe on it, some numbers and irredeemably complicated sentences scrawled on the bottom. “Right.” 

“I TOO LOVED HOLLOW MYTH AS A YOUTH. AH HOW IT BRINGS ME BACK.” 

“I’ll teach you the new set sometime,” Yun said, cleaning up the cards. 

The lights went out on the train. A heavy clunk, like the sound of a stiff switch being forcefully flipped accompanied each car going out. 

“That’s odd. Lights out shouldn’t be for another hour.” Yun snapped, flooding the room with light, spilling out into the hallway. She picked up her staff and went to investigate outside.

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