“They always have liked having an adventurer around,” he said.
“They really seem to like you,” she replied.
“I do get a lot of attention whenever I come back home, ” he told her with a wink.
Nashtra finished greeting all of the children, and then sent them back to their mothers and fathers. Then he turned to the party. “We will be taking the wagon to the northern villages. We do not often yoke our horses, but since we will be unable to ride, the elder and I agreed that this would be the best way to get there.”
Cerys looked at Nashtra, not sure whether to be sorry that she was not better prepared to walk the entire way, that the horses had had to be attached to something so heavy– or relieved that they did not have to walk the entire way. He gave her a slight nod, and then turned around to see Himeko petting one of the horses.
“She really does like the animals, does she not?” he asked, turning back to Cerys.
“She rides back home, too,” she told him. “Himeko would probably take care of her own horse if she didn’t live in the city.”
“I suppose she is very happy here, then.”
Cerys thought for a moment, and then sighed. “That is hard to say. She’s always been very practical. I’ll bet she’s probably more concerned about making her parents worry than she is about her own happiness.”
Nashtra gave her a thoughtful look. “I am curious as to what you mean by that, Cerys, but we must be on our way. Perhaps we can talk once we are further along the road.”
“Of course,” Cerys replied.
She watched as Nashtra placed their travel bags in the back of the wagon, and also as he went over to Himeko to speak with her. She was still watching him when a hand grabbed her shoulder.
“What are you staring at?”
Cerys jumped when the voice spoke, and only barely managed to keep her scream down to a surprised yelp. She turned her head and glared at her brother.
“I told you to never do that again, Peter!”
“But if I stopped, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun,” he replied with a wily half-grin. Then he lowered his voice. “Are you seriously staring at him?”