Around an hour later, Eumaeus opened the window. I was afraid of a number of things; dying, spiders, snakes, letting those around me down, etc but a big one was heights. Of course, I shouldve considered this earlier when I agreed to the plan but I didn . Now I had to climb out of a tower window. Eumaeus reassured us that nothing bad could possibly happen because they had done it plenty of times, and Penelope was brilliant at cushioning falls with magic. Part of me wanted to believe it but a larger part of me was all too aware of the exact bones I would break, depending on which way I fell.
I didn know if Ian knew this and I guessed it didn matter much. Its not like he could do anything to make it better. I thought about heroes that dealt with heights; those that could fly way up above the cities they were saving. My dad taught me this trick when I was younger. Think about someone else who has done it and remember they
e made out of the same stuff as you. Of course, I knew superheroes weren real but it was still a very comforting thought.
Ian went first, I climbed down after him. The walls were decently overgrown with honeysuckle, and while I doubted their durability, I tried to trust Penelope. Three of us, Eumaeus, Ian and I, managed to climb down the wall with ease.
”The boat is ready but we should visit my aunt first, ” Penelope told us as we followed behind Eumaeus, who led us out of the castle gardens.
We came to a high wall, impossible to climb by any standards. There were no vines or honeysuckle for us to grip, the surface was uneven but it was still too smooth for us to find any footholds.
I opened my mouth to say something when Eumaeus pushed aside the branches of a hedge to reveal a small hole in the wall. The soil at the bottom was dug out, creating a way out.
Eumaeus slipped through first, followed by Ian then me and lastly, Penelope.
”It should be easier from here, ” Eumaeus said, stretching their arms. ”There shouldn be any guards at this point, they don really patrol the town unless we have a distinguished guest. ”
We walked on through the town. It was very pretty, although it wasn very easy to see everything at nightfall.
Eumaeus reassured me that it was even more beautiful in the daytime, to which Penelope laughed and said, ”Maybe from your ivory tower. ”
They didn respond to that, just looked away. I took Ians hand and focused on the town around us. Half of it was what youd expect from a fairytale town- there were cobblestone streets, small houses piled on top of each other with thatched roofs. While some of the buildings were much more modern looking, like something youd find in a capital city in a western country. There were street lamps all around, illuminating the deserted storefronts. Some of the shops sold books, toys, food and regular items you might find anywhere. However, the more modern buildings seemed to sell magical items. Overhead, bright pink neon seemed to advertise wands and spell books.
It was the best place Id ever been. If I said that out loud, Ian would quip about how it was the only other place Id been outside of Ireland and occasional holidays in France.
As we walked, there was another neon sign, this one was green and presented a drink with an arrow to the door just below it. When we went past, a few drunken creatures stumbled out, giggling and laughing. There was three of them; the first had wings, the second had legs that weren quite human and the third had not two arms, but four.
Of course I stared, it was like my favourite books and films rolled into one, coming alive right in front of my eyes. All that was left was a wise old mentor to manipulate me.
Ian tugged my hand. ”You honestly couldn be even more obvious if you tried, ” he said, possibly annoyed.
”Sorry, its just… its kind of incredible, ” I responded in a whisper. ”Its like we get this one last night adventure before we finish school. ”
”Id rather be having an adventure in your garden, eating your dads cooking, ” Ian said. I could just about see the outline of his lips curving upwards.
”We have the rest of our lives to do that, ” I said. I still felt utterly awestruck by everything I had encountered so far and how could I not be?
Sometimes, I really didn understand Ian. I didn get why he wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. This could be one of our last chances before we get swamped with schoolwork and exams, before we have to decide on college. Possibly, this could be the last chance we have to be truly together, without worrying about deadlines, before we grow apart. I didn like to think about but the more I pushed it out of my mind, the more it insisted on staying and popping up in bright red exclamation marks. So, I tried to joke and talk, like we weren this huge, ticking, timebomb set to explode next September.
e right, ” he said, smiling at me like I was a little kid and he was about to deliver some horrible news. I would know, I have had some terrible news given to me as a kid.
I tried not to look at him. ”Well always be friends, right? ” I asked, even though I didn want to know the answer. I didn want to hear it if the answer was no and maybe it was selfish of me to ask but maybe that was just the kind of person I was turning out to be.
Ian gave me a funny look.
”Yeah, why wouldn we be?
” he asked in response, the way he was looking at me made me want to trust him. He wouldn lie to me, would he?
e not getting rid of me that easily. ”
”I don want to get rid of you, ” I said, involuntarily frowning. ”Don even say that. ”
”Are you alright? ” Ian asked, lowering his voice so that Eumaeus and Penelope ahead of us wouldn hear. ”You don seem okay. ”
I could lie, I could tell him that I was alright and that he was worrying for nothing.
”Im scared for college,
” I responded quietly.
”Im afraid that we
e going to grow apart and thisll be it. ”
Ian didn respond, maybe it was because I had been too honest, or he didn want to talk about college right now, or maybe it was because we had arrived at Penelopes aunts house.