“That pin,” Bayani said, pointing to his brooch, “is it unique to you?”
“It is a symbol of my people,” he replied. “It’s the crest of my tribe. Although, I might add, nobody else but me would come this far from home. I believe you were to be told to know me by it.”
The group looked to one another and nodded.
“It’s an interesting symbol,” Cerys told him. “Is it supposed to be lightning?”
He glanced at her with a thoughtful look, but did not give a direct answer. “You shall find out soon enough. Still, I am more curious about why your guide did not wait with you and ensure that we met properly.”
“He did not want to be seen crossing the border, Himeko explained, apparently no longer interested in hashing words and speaking on directly.
The man furrowed his brow. “That sound ridiculous. Who would act such in such a way?”
“You mean you don’t know who brought us to the village near the border?” Cerys asked him.
“The details I was able to get about this excursion that I am on are very limited,” he explained. “From the way you talk, it sounds like you don’t mean the border town that we are in now.”
Cerise gave her friend a surprised look before telling him. “James took us as far as the last village in Carawick before the border. We stayed there last night, and then walked here this morning.”
The man’s eyes widened in disbelief. “James brought you himself?” He forced himself to keep his voice hushed despite how surprised he was to hear the name.
“Well… yes,” Cerys confirmed.
“ln that case, It’s just as well, the man replied, although he still seemed amazed that James had been the one leading them. “He is safer if he stays and his own barony. I had hoped, though, that he would not bring you all that way himself, but send another guide, one who could bring you a cross the border, so that you did not have a chance of getting lost.”
“Then we could make sure that we got to the right guide,” Bayani added.