Things to Do While on the Pilgrimage

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Text to Speech:

There's someone knocking on the door.

“Guild master, Miss Nesha would like you meet you,” a male voice says.

“Let her in,” she answers.

The door opens and Nescha enters the room with a big grin on her face. She bows to greet Finn and Rory.

“There you are, Rowan, Aster!” she exclaims, “I see Aster has already been admitted to the guild.”

“For a completely different reason, though,” the guild master answer, “you didn't tell me he was such a great craftsperson… But speaking of which, Nescha told me you can make use of Minium.”

“Yes, I can use it,” I answer, “but about the details…”

“I just have to make sure, the Minium is properly take care off. The spirits have given us a warning, Minium is not to be used. They said, the easiest would be returning it to the place where it was mined.”

“Melora can keep a secret or two,” Rory states, “and Mittens will cease to be a secret when you get ennobled.”

“Then, I shall tell you about Mittens: it's the spirit inhabiting by flying home. To sustain the functions of the flying home, I can use Minium.”

How do you explain mass–energy equivalence? Let's try this…

“This might sound vague, but it's also hard so explain: it's like burning wood, but at a higher level — it is returned to the source of all creation. After that, nothing of the Minium is left. There is no need to worry about the poisonous effects of Minium.”

“I see,” Melora answers, “that's good enough of an explanation to me. Give me your card, I'll add the sign that allows you to sell Minium disposal services.”

Just a stamp on the card can do that? Wouldn't people just fake the stamp?

“It's just for short-term use,” she explains, “all transactions are recorded and crosschecked. Inconsistencies are investigated. After all, it is a serious crime to improperly dispose of Minium.”

“I see, that being said, I can't dispose of all your Minium. Like with eating, there's a point where you can't eat more. We'll have to consult with Mittens how much we can take.”

“If they are in bars like last time, the system has capacity for two dozen bars,” Mittens's voice answers, “given your current plans, another four dozen for to keep in stock would be a good idea.”

That definitely helps with energy supply, but what about maintenance?

“Was… was that the voice of the flying home?” Melora asks, “it's not here, so how…”

“Mittens has his methods,” I cut the explanation short. I don't want people to bother Mittens too much, I might give Rory or Finn a pair of audio endpoints, though. That way they can contact us, if something happens.

“Six dozen Minium bars, we can arrange that. I shall arrange some people to help with carrying.”

“We're going to leave in two days,” Nescha says, “originally, we wanted to meet at the town hall. But it would be better to move the meeting place.”

“I suggest you use the Star Gate,” Finn adds.

The Star Gate is a gate with a door that's used to enter and leave the city at night. Rory and Finn commonly use it to leave the city in incognito.

“Come to think of it, we forgot to tell the twins when we're leaving!” Rowan says.

“Don't worry,” Emily says, “I will contact them later.”

“And I will tell Nell about the changed meeting location,” Nescha adds, “you don't need to worry about it. I happened to meet him this morning, and my business in the capital is already taken care of.”

“Thank you for going through the trouble,” I answer.

“Since our business is concluded here, let's move on,” Rory states.

The guild master sees us off, and we make our way to the market. Instead of going to the stalls, we wait nearby while Howard buys the potatoes.

“This is something you need to get used to,” Rory explains, “after all, you will be part of the royal family soon. It's bad for appearances if you do significantly more work than your escorts. Even though it only goes for manual labour.”

“Appearances, so if we were alone, it wouldn't matter?” I ask.

Instead of answering, both Finn and Rory just smile. I take that as a yes.

As Howard returns to our group, we go back to the Dancing Pavilion to store the potatoes. After that, we return to the castle for more studying.

“Let's start with manners in small meetings. Manners at parties come later. To outsiders, you're in a higher position,” Finn explains, “others introduce themselves to you before you do. Don't be too polite. The way you have help yourself until now works, but it's still unrefined.”

“That sounds… not easy,” Rowan says, “what is too polite?”

“Aster, I understand you want to keep a low profile, but it's better if you don't act differently to hide your position. You don't have to announce and flaunt your status everywhere, but you shouldn't act like a person with a lower standing. This also strengthens your position if you really need to rely on your status.”

“I understand,” I answer. She is right, keeping a low profile is not an option anymore. And with the support of the Crown, there should be intrigues targeted at me.

“As you may have noticed, we didn't stand up to receive people,” Finn continues the explanation, “if you were standing, don't offer the other party to sit before you do. Do not bow to others. It might be normal courtesy for others, but you're a royal: you might inherit the throne some day.”

“That's a lot of small things…” I complain.

“You will get used to it…”

I hope I will. Sure, I can have Mittens automatically adjust my words for me, but I might end up tone-deaf if I overly rely on it.

“What about meeting other royals?” I ask.

“Then, you're of equal standing, so the guests introduce themselves first,” Rory answers, “but other than that, there's no difference. You still use the same language. And here, too, do not bow to others.”

“Why are you asking about meeting royals?” Rowan asks.

“Well, if I take that currency commission, I believe it's inevitable,” I answer.

“It's inevitable even if you don't,” Rory adds, “unless you're planning on travelling without your flying home for your pilgrimage.”

“I… I have to admit, I haven't put any thought into it. With Mittens's speed, the pilgrimage would be rather quick, we would be done in within weeks if not days.” I guess it usually takes around a year?”

“Yes, it typically takes around a year,” Finn answers, “but it's common for richer people that have the means to travel faster just to stay a bit at towns along the way to see the world. It's a perfect opportunity to build and improve new relations.”

“With the coin commission and the Minium disposal services, I don't think you'll be troubled for money,” Rory adds.

That could work, that'd be quite a boost for Rowan's merchant dreams.

“That's nice… but isn't this all getting too big?” Rowan asks.

“It's up to you,” I answer, “I'm sure there's space to expand the shop in Dewick. But having something to do while we're on the pilgrimage makes things a lot better.”

I'm a little worried about extra wear on the replicator, but the coin commission sounds like a single job, so it should be fine.

“Speaking of things to do, do you have a map?” I ask. 

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