Harle jumped up and stretched her body, feeling her stiff muscles finally relaxing. "Ah, zis iz parfait! Moi feelz très fine. Let uz leave."
Kidd nodded and stood up. She took her backpack and quickly put the already weak fire out. "Yeah, right, let's go…leader."
Both giggled and continued their search for an exit of this forest, which they hadn’t been able to find the previous day due to Kidd’s inability to orientate and a general lack of sunlight. But surprisingly enough, under the leadership of Harle not even five hours passed until they found out.
"Bloody hell! How could ya…just like that?", Kidd asked unbelievingly while Harle met her question with a mysterious smile. She soon sat down on the grass beneath her feet and enjoyed the wonderful view over the plains. She was a little tired, but knowing that they had finally left the forest behind them, she was positive to endure the rest of the way as well. It would be easier from now on, walking through the grass instead of battling their way through the, at times, thick forest.
Kidd was still amazed, her head turning into all directions.
"Let'z rest here for a while, oui?", Harle suggested and patted the spot beside her. Kidd simply nodded and sat down beside her, still wondering how Harle actually did that. But then again, it didn’t really matter how she did it. The only thing that mattered was that they had gotten closer to Termina. Once there, Kidd would feel a lot safer, she knew. With the help of the devas, she was sure even the dragons would go down soon enough. With an inward frown she noticed that she was getting scared easily as of late. She wondered what the Radical Dreamers would think of her, like this.
The gentle breeze pulled softly at Harle's bells, causing them to toll playfully. That sound underlined the beauty and relaxedness of the scenery, which Kidd found she greatly enjoyed. It was good to not do anything for a change. The sun was shining upon their heads and now she felt that she understood what Harle had said the day before. It was nice not to be enemies anymore, to enjoy simply themselves and not to be alone anymore. It was strange and she had no idea what to make of it, but it felt too nice to simply dismiss it. She had given Harle another chance, and the way it was now, it didn’t seem to have been such a bad idea, even though it might have been a choice partly made from loneliness.
Kidd secretly wished that this moment would never go away. How could she think of the wrath of the dragons when she was lying at the best place she could think of, together with Harle? She hated the thought of standing up again and continuing.
"Ya know, you’re amazin’! Without ya, I would’ve been bloody lost there forever. We're quite the team, huh?", she asked brightly, not looking at Harle. She didn’t see Harle’s face lighting up at these words.
"Ah oui, I t'ink zat too. It should have been like zat all ze time, non?" Kidd nodded slightly and looked over to Harle.
"Yeah, we should have met earlier, under different circumstances…but now it's over and we started all over again. This time, we'll fight to...geth…er…" Kidd said but fell asleep before finishing. Harle noticed and stood up carefully, trying not to wake Kidd with the sound of her bells.
She looked down at Kidd and was a little shocked when she saw all the scratches and cuts covering her hands. She decided to ask her where they came from when she woke up. Which would probably take a while, Harle could see that Kidd was tired, though she didn’t know why.
Harle took her eyes off Kidd and looked over the plains instead. She saw a hill with a few rocks not even one mile away. It was close to the sea, so she decided to go there for to watch the ocean. It had been quite a while since the last time she had done that. She hardly ever used her time for such things though she didn’t know why. But now, while Kidd slept soundly on the grass beside her, she didn't have anything better to do.
It had gotten quite warm, so she took off her hat and placed it beside Kidd. Her long dark- brown hair reached down to her shoulders. It was a little curly, which was fine with Harle, for she liked playing wit her hair occasionally, even if she rarely had the chance to, wearing her jester’s hat most of the time. With her hat now left with Kidd, she went to the hill at the sea she had seen before.
It didn’t take her long to reach it, but when she did she noticed it was much bigger than it had looked like from afar. There were a lot of stones and rocks there which could make it hard to go up, but heights, climbing and jumping had never been much of a difficulty for Harle. She managed to reach the top almost effortlessly, but as she experienced the view from the top, she knew that even great efforts would have been worth the climb.
The view up there was similar to the view from Cape Howl, but in many ways was also better. Despite being not as high up as Cape Howl, the view was just as beautiful and captivating, but had a less threatening air to it because there was no dangerous cliff. Harle enjoyed it greatly.
After a while her thoughts started to drift off, swirling all around this strange situation she had recently found herself in. She had told Kidd she would probably move to Marbule once this was over, but actually, she didn't like Marbule at all. Despite considering herself as a one, she could find no relations between her and other demi-humans. They weren’t like her at all. They were strange, following their own odd little ways which were so different from humans’. She didn’t want to be one of them. She wanted to be human, completely. Marbule had always seemed to her like a village for outsiders, for those different from humans. But Harle wanted to be like them, to live like a human, together with other humans. She wanted that little spark of normality in her screwed life.
But actually, she didn't know what she wanted at all. She wanted to see the world, meet a lot of nice people, have fun and especially not to be alone anymore. She wanted everything at once, knew it was too much to ask for, but still couldn’t help but yearn for it. She wanted it so badly. And she wanted one more thing: having Kidd by her side. She didn't exactly know why, but for some reason unknown to her, she felt safe when Kidd was around. It was a strange feeling, altogether too similar to one she had felt before. She didn’t want to give it the same name yet.
When Harle looked up into the bright sky, she noticed that it was already noon. She had spent quite some time watching the ocean, but didn’t regret it. She decided to go back to Kidd, guessing she was already awake by now.
On her way down from the hill she discovered a few bushes with thick red berries she had never seen before. She picked one, hesitantly putting it into her mouth while preparing for a sour and poisonous taste. But as a light sweetness spread over her tongue, accompanied by a slight bitterness, she found they were really tasty. She picked a few more and thought and regretted the fact that she had left her hat with Kidd.
She gathered as many as possible with her hands and began her way back. She tried to be careful with the berries, walking slowly in order to keep them from falling to the ground. However, her look was so fixed on the berries that she didn't see the stone in front of her and stumbled over it. She couldn’t regain her balance and fell face first to the ground, which was already covered with berries by that time. Standing up again, Harle could feel the sticky wetness all over her face, but still counted herself lucky because she hadn’t fallen onto her delicate shoulder.
She looked at the mashed berries on the ground, having half a mind to just let it go and go over to Kidd, but ultimately deciding otherwise. She wasn’t too keen on Kidd seeing her with a dirty face like this, and also, she had an idea that Kidd was at least as hungry as herself.
She went back to the shore and cleaned her face, smiling as she regarded her new ‘face-paint’. Still, she cleaned it thoroughly until not even the slightest trace of the berries was left on her face, then went to collect berries yet again until her hands were as full as they could be. But the berries kept spilling whenever she started to walk, and she hated to risk stumbling again.
But then a really good idea struck Harle. She placed the collected berries onto the ground in front of her, and then used one of her GravityBall elements to lift them safely. Harle smiled proudly at her own ingenuity. With that same bright smile she headed back to Kidd, hoping to see a smile of her as well. The sun was shining directly on her head now, and Harle enjoyed the warmth. She found it rather strange herself that she appreciated the daylight so much when she had someone around her, but hated it when she was alone.
Kidd woke up before Harle reached her, her eyes unable to resist the strong sunlight that shone directly onto them. She felt much better now after that little nap and told herself that she would have to try to sleep, the next night. There was no use in wasting so much time just because she needed sleep. She looked around casually, expecting to find Harle still beside her. But she didn’t, which made her wonder just how long she had been asleep. She decided not to worry too much over it, which she didn’t, until she spotted Harle’s hat which lay on the grass beside her as if tossed away…or lost. The thought made Kidd worry more than she wanted, but she couldn’t shrug off the bad feeling she had. She quickly stood up to gain a better sight over the plains, but still couldn’t see her. It couldn’t be, could it? She would have noticed if one of the dragon’s had taken her…right?
“Harle? Harle! Where are you? Harle!”, she shouted as loud as she could, the feeling of dread growing with each shout, until she could hardly bear it anymore. Maybe she had just left her. But why would she do that? Hadn’t Harle said it was good that they were travelling together? Was that all a lie?
“Damn! No!”, Kidd yelled, kicking the ground in front of her before inhaling deeply for her last shout. “Harle!”
"Oui, Kidd?", Harle asked calmly and Kidd turned around abruptly. There she was and Kidd almost got a shock by seeing her so suddenly. She stumbled backwards and sat down. Harle smiled a wonderful smile, still holding the berries with the Gravity Ball. "Voilà! Très nice, non?"
"Is it…ya?" Kidd could hardly speak. She was confused, the immense relief mixed with too many unnecessary doubts making her dizzy.
"Oui, of course. Who did you expect, mon ami?" Harle placed the berries on the ground beside her and walked to Kidd, extending her hand to help her stand up. But instead Kidd suddenly jumped up, ran to Harle and hugged her tightly before she knew what she was doing.
"Never ever do that again, ya hear me?", she said, trying to sound angry even though her voice spoke volumes of the relief she felt. However, as soon as she noticed how tight her grip on the smaller girl was, she let go of her quickly.
Harle was completely surprised by Kidd, for a minute thinking the girl opposite her had gone crazy. "What did moi do?", she asked, honestly not knowing what was going on.
Kidd shook her head and tried to smile. "Silly. I thought the bloody dragons got ya! Or ya left or somethin’…I woke up and ya were gone, only the bloody hat was left. I couldn't see ya and…where did ya go anyway?", Kidd asked, still looking slightly alarmed.
"Ah…moi collected some berriez over zere. Moi t'ought you may be hungry. It'z not far away, mon ami. Maybe I show you un peu later?", Harle said and couldn’t help but smile warmly at Kidd’s worries. So she did care, after all.
Kidd sat down, rubbing her face. "Yeah, maybe." Harle walked up behind her and laid her arms around Kidd's neck.
"Were you zat worried about moi?", she asked with an unusually sultry voice and Kidd nodded with red cheeks. "’course I was. The dragons could have killed ya while I was asleep!"
Harle smiled, satisfied with the answer Kidd had given her. "Merci beaucoup, mon ami."
Somehow, Kidd enjoyed it, sitting there with Harle's arms around her neck, although she felt quite embarrassed. She had never had a friend like this. She had never had anyone who truly cared about her like this. Someone she could talk to, someone who made her worry but also made her worries go away. Of course she had loved her buddies at Radical Dreamers, but this was different. Kidd knew it was wrong for to trust Harle so much, to forgive her so easily. She knew she was betraying someone. But right now, she wanted trust, wanted to be comforted by someone real and alive. She had missed this for so long.
"Ya know…I like yer new look. I've never seen yer hair before. Why do ya hide such beautiful hair?", she said, calling Harle’s hair beautiful without even thinking about it. She couldn’t remember the last time she had used this word so openly, so honestly.
Harle thought about Kidd’s question for a while, despite blushing at her unexpected compliment. "Je ne sais pas. Moi haz worn zat jester'z drezz az long az moi can remember. What iz a jester's dress wit'out a jester's hat? Do you really like mon hair, mon ami?", she asked, taking of strand of her hair into her hand to regard it. She saw nothing special about it.
Kidd nodded eagerly, however, her movement reminding Harle that she still had her arm around her neck. She wasn’t about to let go, yet.
"Yeah, it looks great. But about yer dress...guess we hafta find a new one for ya in Termina.", Kidd suggested, finding another thing to look forward to. She really tried her best to think optimistically despite everything.
"Oui, hopefully. But if you like mon hair moi will leave ze hat off.", Harle smiled, already having decided that she wasn’t going to wear it anymore. She wanted Kidd to see her hair. She wanted to see it herself, she didn’t want to hide it anymore.
"Yeah, but what about yer paint?", Kidd asked, blindly touching Harle’s face above her, as though there was still paint on it. Harle dug in the pockets of her trousers, but couldn't find anything useful. "Moi haz to buy zat, too."
Kidd then grabbed a few berries and ate them. "You're absolutely perfect, Harle! These berries are bloody good, for berries. What would I do without ya?" Kidd was genuinely surprised by the affable taste of the red fruits. She had expected them to be terribly sour, but they just about melted on her tongue, leaving only sweetness.
"Non, non, moi iz not parfaitement at all. Au contraire, moi haz done so many mistakes. Mais moi iz glad you said zat. Merci beaucoup.", Harle said gratefully before releasing Kidd from her grasp to eat some of the berries as well. The mountain of berries quickly decreased in height until it was reduced to a mere fifth.
“Enough, enough, I can't eat one bloody berry more!”, Kidd said, holding up her hands in defeat. “We should really go now, too. There's still a long way ahead of us. Don't think we'll make it in one day." Kidd stood up and took her backpack, shouldering it energetically. She was ready.
"Oui, of course, let'z go. Mais what about ze berriez? We should take them wit' uz, juzt in case." Kidd turned her back to Harle, indicating she should put the berries into her backpack. Harle did so and after opening it, her look fell on a small cloth-wrapped item which was half-buried beneath all kinds of other items she recognized. She took it out and held it in front of her.
"What iz zat, mon ami? May I see?" She asked, but started to unroll the cloth without waiting for an answer from Kidd. As she regarded the small figurine of wood, Harle was struck speechless. It looked beautiful, and Harle didn’t need a second look to know it was meant to be herself. Even though she thought the figurine looked prettier than her. But then, she hadn’t seen a mirror for quite some time. Suddenly Harle remembered the cuts on Kidd's hands she had wondered about earlier.
"Moi didn't know you were so…skilled. It'z très nice, mon ami.", Harle praised the carver, but Kidd turned around suddenly and snatched the figurine from Harle’s hands. Harle hadn’t expected this and was a little frightened of Kidd's next reaction, half expecting her to slap her for her impudence. She shouldn’t have simply taken it.
"Don't touch it!", Kidd shouted as she quickly wrapped the cloth around it again. She knew she sounded harsh but she couldn’t help it. How was she going to explain this?
She pushed Harle aside and put the berries into the backpack by herself. Harle just stood there and watched, not knowing what to do. Had she done anything wrong? Obviously.
Kidd walked away from Harle, without even looking at her. She couldn’t think of any words to actually explain that figurine. She didn’t know why she had done it, herself. Silence was the only answer she could offer.
Harle followed her, also silent. None of them dared to speak the next two whole hours, they just walked straight into the direction of Termina. Harle was sure Kidd was mad at her. Why shouldn’t she? After all, Harle had been the one to simply take it out of the backpack without even waiting for permission. She was so stupid.
But after all, she was the one who spoke first. "Moi iz sorry. I guess moi wazn't meant to see it, oui?" Her voice was lighter than she actually felt. Kidd didn't answer right away, and the seconds which passed in between Harle’s question and her answer seemed like an hour.
"Stop that. You’re always excusin’ yerself. Let's forget this.", she said with a hint of anger in her voice. Harle didn’t know it wasn’t aimed at her. She simply nodded and came closer to Kidd, looking at her with a worried look. Kidd had to smile unwillingly when she saw the expression on her face. After seeing this, Harle smiled as well and everything seemed well again. At least for now. As long as she didn’t raise any questions.
By dusk they could already see Termina, but knew it was still far away. "Zere it iz, mon ami. We'll be zere demain." Harle pointed on the small silhouette far away to try to cheer Kidd up, because she had seemed unusually thoughtful and almost sad for the last few hours. But Harle herself wasn't in a good mood, she felt that something bad was about to happen. She refused to think about the possibilities. She knew that if she thought too much about those things, it would show, and she didn’t want to bother Kidd with it, since she seemed to have her own share of worries right now, so she kept her mouth shut.
They had come to a stop and Kidd took out her two blankets, giving one of them to Harle.
Both lay down and didn't say a word until Kidd took out two Heal elements, throwing one of them to Harle. The jester caught it easily.
"I think that's enough to cure yer shoulder, and my foot, too. We're lucky these dragons waited 'til now.”, Kidd cast it, forgetting about the fact of her drained stamina as the pain in her foot finally lessened, leaving only a slight tingle. Harle lit a little fire, she couldn’t stand darkness right now. Mostly because the dragons could be around, but also because darkness seemed to invite unwanted feelings. Things she didn’t want to think of right now.
"Ya wanna eat those berries?", Kidd asked and showed her the few last ones she had salvaged from her backpack. They weren't in a good shape, however.
"Non, merci. You can have zem.", Harle gratefully declined.
Kidd smiled and took out a little silver plate. She placed the berries on it and used a stone to mash them, making red paint of it. Harle watched her, but didn't know what Kidd was going to do with the paint. It dawned on her however as Kidd took her figurine out and began to paint certain parts of it with the newly-made natural paint. She did it slowly, meticulously painting as though it was something of great value. She didn’t seem to be bothered by Harle watching her closely. Harle noticed how unbelievably calm and satisfied Kidd looked while working on the figurine.
"What are you going to do when it iz finished, mon ami?", Harle asked after a while, unable to stop her growing curiosity. But as she saw Kidd grinned devilishly, she almost instantly regretted having ever asked.
"Whaddaya think? It's a voodoo puppet!", Kidd replied threateningly, her hand moving as if to stick needles into the figurine. Harle shook her head and stared at Kidd, unable to move. Had she really trusted Kidd too much? Was Kidd really such a person, after all? Was she really that hated?
"Non.", she said as firmly as she could, but couldn’t suppress the trembling of her body. Kidd was grinning even wider now. Harle looked scared.
"Aww, just kiddin', don't get too scared, girl.", Kidd said and laughed, but didn’t quite manage to relieve Harle completely, for she still stared at her.
"Aww, nuts. Ya don't like my jokes, right?", Kidd asked and tried a gentle smile, which caused Harle to finally breathe again normally.
"Ya disappoint me, Harle. Thought ya were such a tough lady, and now...nah, forget it. Shouldn't make jokes these times.”, Kidd said sheepishly what Harle guessed was meant as an excuse. “About the statue, I dunno what I'll do when it's finished. I'll probably put it on a table in the house I'll be havin’ when this is over ta remind me of all this. For now, I've no use for it, cuz you’re here now." Kidd was surprised she talked so much.
"Pleaze, never do zat again.", Harle said. She felt kind of stupid, doubting Kidd so much. But for a moment, she had really thought…
Kidd just giggled. "Listen, Harle, I said we’re cool, right? Guess ya could trust me a bit more."
After a while, Kidd finished painting the figurine. Most parts were painted red by now, but she needed blue and white to finish it completely. She had little options to make these colours by herself, so she stopped for the time being. Pushing her backpack aside, she lay down, looking up at the stars.
"What was the start of all this? What did we do that the bloody dragons want to kill us? How do we deserve all this?”, she mumbled thoughtfully, feeling cheated by fate. If such a thing even existed anymore.
Harle played with her hair absent-mindedly, thinking. "Je ne sais pas, mon ami. Mais moi won't complain anymore. Moi seez zis az an opportunité. Moi should have died some time ago, but moi still livez. Ze life moi livez now iz mon première chance to be libertine. Once ze dragonz are away moi will finally able to live like...a human."
Kidd was stunned by this statement of Harle and she realized that she was just complaining all the time. She always saw herself as a victim of all evil, but she hadn’t had such a terrible life at all. Since the incident with the orphanage, nothing had happened which she hadn’t been able to bear or get over. And even now, she had the feeling that everything was going to turn out just fine. Just like Harle, she should try to see the good things, no matter how hard it might seem.
"Yeah, you're probably right. We kick the dragon's arses and live like we've always wanted.", Kidd said boldly, hoping that her words would turn out to be true.
Harle hoped so, too. "Uhm, Kidd? What moi wanted to ask you since moi woke up a few dayz ago...why did you save mon vie? Why did you kill ze dragon instead of letting ze dragon kill moi? Pourquoi?" Harle sounded entirely serious while asking this, and Kidd thought hard to be able to give her an equally serious answer. She knew a simple ‘I just felt like it.’ Wouldn’t do, anymore. And also, she wanted to be honest to her, because she expected the same honesty in return.
"Well, it's kinda hard ta explain that, but I’ll try. At first, I was kinda...sorry for ya. Yer whole life, ya had ta follow the dragon's orders. They created ya, but that didn't make ya their child. They abused yer life ta make ya a tool for 'em, a spy, leadin' Serge ta destroy Fate. That's no life, is it? Ya never had a real father or a mother or anyone else ya could talk ta. Ya had no choice but ta follow the dragons, cuz ya didn't know how it felt havin' someone who cares 'bout ya.”, she explained, staring at the stars thoughtfully, as though they would make the next part any easier for her.
“I realized that because of this it’s been so easy for ya ta kill Lucca...there was no way ya could have understood our feelings for her. I loved her a lot, ya know. She was like my big sister, always carin' for me, teachin' me new stuff. If anyone ever asks me what my last name is, I will say it's Ashtear and not Zeal." Kidd stopped for a moment, trying hard not to cry, even though the tears seemed to come all too easily. After a few seconds the feeling was gone, and she continued.
"Anyway, Serge finally gave ya that feelin' of someone who cares and ya realized how stupid it was ta follow the dragons. It was the first right decision ya made in yer whole life, decidin' ta distance yerself from 'em. And what happened then? They came back just a few days ago ta kill ya. I couldn’t just let that happen ta ya, could I?” Kidd made a fist without realizing it, and Harle saw just how angry she was.
“But the second reason was...well, we've got so many things in common, don’t we? Both of us neither have a father, nor a mother. We’ve both been created ta fulfil a certain mission in life, ya as a puppet, and I as a clone. Bloody life hasn’t exactly been fair on us. And now, our first chance ta live...if the dragon had killed ya, it would have felt that my life was hopeless as well. I just think...we have ta help each other ta survive."
By now Kidd was so far away with her thoughts that she didn't even notice Harle had been crying all the time. When she finally turned her head to Harle and saw the glittering tears running down her pale cheeks, she immediately got up and ran the short distance over to her.
"What is it, Harle?", she asked worriedly, but Harle didn't answer. Her lips were trembling, but she didn’t get a single word out. She just sat there, crying uncontrollably. Kidd didn't waste a second thought and walked over to her to sit beside her, laying her left arm around Harle's shoulders, trying to comfort her if just by a bit.
"It'z true...every single word iz true. Moi waz alone...and moi wanted everyone eidder to be alone or to die...moi iz so sorry. Ze role az monsieur Lynx's harlequin...moi hated it and moi wanted everyone to feel zat. Oui, moi killed Lucca...Lynx just watched me doing zis. Me déteste...me...” Harle's voice failed her at the end, drowning under all the tears. She cried onto Kidd's shoulders as though she had never shed a single tear in her whole life. As though she had never allowed herself to cry before.
As a jester, underneath all the thick paint on her face, she had always been able to hide her feelings without effort. She had always been able to sound happy and optimistic. But now, she couldn't control it anymore, the tears wouldn’t stop at her command, and her voice refused to steady. It seemed like every sin she had ever committed fell down onto her right in that moment. It hurt her to realize this, to see what damage she had caused.
After nearly ten minutes, the tears finally subsided. "It's okay, Harle. Ya know, I’ve been exactly the same, when I came ta Lucca's orphanage. Every child there was so happy, but I was new odd one, and the others didn’t exactly like me. They said I was rude, and looked strange. Took me a long time ta integrate, but Lucca always helped me. For me it’s been Lucca, for ya it might’ve been Serge. But we're different now, aren’t we? Let's forget about the past.", Kidd told her with a gentle voice, rubbing her shoulder softly. When she looked to Harle, her eyes were already closed.
"It’s been a hard day. Sleep well...mate.", Kidd whispered. She didn't move, for fear it would wake Harle, which was the last thing she wanted to happen. So she remained in that position and soon fell asleep as well.
Harle's sleep didn't last too long however, and after about three hours she woke up again. Upon noticing she had been sleeping on Kidd's shoulder, she tried to stand up as carefully as possible. It was cold and the fire was already out, so she placed a blanket over Kidd. Harle didn't want to sleep again, she knew Kidd had watched over her the whole previous night, and now it was her turn.
The first hour she spent playing solitary with her card deck, but that became boring all too soon. So, as a substitute for that, she killed time with throwing cards at various targets like plants and stones. She even could slice a bellflower into two from a distance of forty metres, which made Harle kind of proud of herself. She threw all of her cards, only three of them missing their target. When Harle realized she had thrown all her cards, she felt quite uncomfortable all of a sudden. Now she could be an easy target herself, and just the thought of that made her shudder.
She quickly stood up and retrieved all of her cards, then placed them beside her. When she looked at Kidd, who sat there with her head on her arms and a gentle smile on her face, Harle had to think about their conversation a few hours earlier. Finally, they had talked about everything. Now nothing stood between them anymore. At least she hoped so.
Schala, princess of the magical kingdom of Zeal. Harle could still hardly believe Kidd was only a clone of her, sent into the far future. What could have become of her? Serge had saved her from Lavos, but what had come afterwards? Had she simply gone back in time, to where she belonged? Harle didn't know what made her think about that just now, but this whole issue with dimensions for every possibility was just too hard to understand.
Harle dismissed these thoughts then, thinking too much tended to give her a headache. She guessed it was probably around five o'clock by now, almost time to think about breakfast. They had walked close to the coast all the time, so she decided to use this opportunity to go fishing. The coast was only about two miles away, so she needed less than half an hour to get there.
Now faced with the wide ocean, she had to think of a way to get the fish out of the water, for she didn't use to carry fishing lines with her. To fix this problem she started out with looking for a wooden stick, which wasn't too hard to find. The line was a bit more difficult, but she simply took three threads ripped from her already battered clothes and wove them together, leaving one thick thread, strong enough to endure the weight of a fish. Finding bait was even more difficult, but Harle knew fish wouldn't bite without bait luring them. This problem took her ten minutes, before she simply took one of her little bells of her hat which she had wisely taken with her this time around, and bound it on the end of the line, which itself was bound to the wooden stick.
"Excellente! You are quite ze genius, Harle.", she praised herself and laughed. But she wasn't going to be too proud of it until she actually caught a fish with it. After all, simple looks didn’t give any indication of the actual usefulness.
But the bait worked just as intended. Harle could see it shimmering beneath the surface of the water, but actually pulling out the fish proved much more difficult, as Harle soon learned.
Every time a fish bit and she consequently pulled at the line, the fish was gone. She finally got the idea to wait a little longer after the fish bit, and really, it worked. She waited until a fish pulled the bell with it, and then slowly pulled the a little closer to her, inch by inch. Then she yanked the line out of the water as quickly as she could, and the fish flew out of the water. Harle repeated this and soon had two fish to carry back to Kidd.
When she came back, the sun was already shining brightly, but Kidd was still asleep. Harle prepared everything and soon the smell of roasted fish made Kidd wake up.
"Bon matin, mon ami!" Harle beamed at her, but Kidd needed a few seconds to remember where she was.
"Morning.", she finally said, rubbing her eyes lazily. However, upon spotting the fish on the fire her expression became one of impression.
"Wait a minute...ya went fishin'? The sea is two miles away...and how the hell did ya catch these without a fishin' line?" She couldn’t believe Harle to catch them with her bare hands.
Harle just smiled and gave her one of the fish, which was put on a stick. "Zat'z un secret!", she said, putting her index finger over her lips. Kidd looked at her for a few seconds more, but then just shrugged and began to eat the fish. "If ya say so, whatever."
Harle ate her fish as well, savouring the quite pleasant taste which exceeded her previously grim expectations by far. "What a grand day zere iz ahead of uz! Only un peu longer and we reach Termina finalement." Kidd nodded then quickly ate the fish and fetched her backpack. "Yeah, let's get movin'. I can't wait ta get ta Termina." Kidd turned to Harle, indicating she wanted to leave as soon as possible.
"Are ya...okay, Harle? ", Kidd asked hesitantly, while they were walking towards the mountain pass, which lay ahead of them. Harle seemed worried despite her eager words earlier.
"Oui, no problème. Moi feelz much better." Kidd hoped Harle was telling the truth.
The mountain pass was quite steep and about three hundred metres above sea level at its top. But luckily they didn’t have to go that high up.
A few monsters attacked the two every once in a while, but it was nothing they couldn't deal with easily. About noon it started raining heavily, soaking them both to the bones. The wind picked up as well, and they soon found themselves within an unexpected storm. The rain whipped right into their faces. They tried to shield their faces with their arms, which made it difficult to see, however.
Eventually they descended the path at its end, both of them panting. "My arse, what a bloody bad weather!" Kidd shouted, which was the only way to communicate at the moment. The storm was even worse on the plains between the mountains and Termina. Both had to fight against the wind as it tried to keep them from walking forward. Running was impossible now, they could only put one foot slowly before the other.
It took them three hours for the last two miles to Termina.