Lin Hai's Journal - 8
[editor's note: this is the final entry]
I thought being stabbed in the face would be the worst thing to happen to me today.
We set out on our journey to the Imperial City and were promptly accosted by bandits. I stepped up to protect the Princess and immediately got a face-full of steel for my troubles.
I should be glad I woke the next morning. It didn’t feel good at all, but it seems Princess Kamiko struck some kind of deal with the bandits while I was gone. I’m grateful for that, except it meant we did arrive and had to face the palace.
Following the demands of duty I escorted the Princess to the royal meeting room. The beauty and activity should have been breathtaking if I weren’t absorbed in the pain of my wounds. Uta got that surprisingly friendly, informal reception she seems to get whenever among officials who know her personally, and we were directed to the audience seating.
To sit in on a meeting of dragons was awesome, and shocking to see Uta suddenly in her true form after all these years of knowing her as a wolf, but the discussion itself was all very political and not at all comfortable for a fireworks merchant such as myself. However I did get the sense this had become a very harsh regime, and the people seemed to be chafing under the largely unopposed rule of the dragons of autumn and winter.
When the Princess jumped up to join the line of supplicants after the meeting I was unsurprised, but terrified, and followed after her. As our turn came she gave a great speech, making passionate plea for the well-being of those same people the dragons had been turning away, and even on behalf of the bandits who had attacked us and brought me to the edge of death.
I was afraid that for her boldness the Princess would be snatched up and devoured, or some worse fate, and the dragons seemed quite willing to do so until her deft words mollified them a little. If flight would have accomplished anything I might have snatched her up and ran.
Yet, having seen her dare so much, I put my foot forward and made a plea also, on behalf of the merchant who mistook me for someone of importance in Komae. I kept my word, though I felt sure I spoke my own doom to raise my voice where even Princess Kamiko, with her years of courtly training, was finding the paths treacherous.
To my relief the dragons eventually found the Princess’s words to their liking and agreed it was time to take more notice and care of the people in their charge. They even let us leave with our lives, though I’m sure at least one would have been happy not to.
With that I must put pen down and collapse. These wounds are far from fully healed.