The morning rose and after a quick breakfast, of the same soup as the supper, the group of three set out, crossing the border to the Danelaw. The early autumn morning was cold and humid after the night rain.
Blaze had taken the lead and was leading the group along a small and overgrown path in the woods. With a branch in his hand that he used as a wander-staff he easily proceeded along the path while Alice, who was unused to walk in such terrain and worrying about her dress had a hard time to keep up.
“Mr. Blaze, why do we walk along this small and narrow wood path and not the main road? It would be easier to travel along the main road, right?” Alice asked and lost her balance, falling backwards. Aoi stopped her fall by catching her by placing his palm on her back. Alice regained her ground and continued. “This is going to take ages to come to the coast and I am tired”
“We walk the wooden paths because they are the safest way of travel. It so too easy for the Danes to discover and attack us on the main road” Blaze said without stopping. “So please keep up a while longer. We can take a rest soon”
Alice stopped to rest. “Now that I think about it, you never told us why you are familiar with the Danelaw” Alice said and took of her shoe so she could rub her red heel.
“Well I have traveled to Mersea many times before the Danes came ten years ago and by living by the border I have heard stories from people coming across the border.” Blaze stopped as he noticed that Alice had stooped. “Don’t you have any better shoes than those?”
“No, this is the only pair I have that is fit to walk longer distances with. Why?” Alice asked surprised.
“High heels can never be a good pair of shoes for this kind of journey by foot.” He took of the backpack of his back. After some searching in the backpack he pulled forth a pair of brown boots. “Here you can use this. It is my extra pair”
Alice received the boots and looked at them with a look of disgust. “Are you saying that I am supposed to wear this pair of old and sweaty boots?” She said while holding them as far away from her as she could. “They are even too big for me”
“Well it is your choice if you want to have wound son you heels for the rest of this journey or if you chose those boots” Blaze had put on the backpack again.
Alice looked at the boots and looked behind her at Aoi’s feats. “Aoi don’t have any boots so why do I need a pair?” Alice said in an attempt to escape wearing the boots.
“Well I don’t have any more boots and it seems like he is fine with the sandals that he wear. So you need to decide between wound, barefooted which may be even worse or safe and sound in this pair of old and sweaty boots”
“Alright then I will wear them but someone needs to tie the shoelaces” Alice said with an irritated voice and put her feet into the boots.
Blaze squatted down in front of Alice and with all might he pulled the shoelaces so the shoes grew as small as possible and tied them. “Now then should we continue?” he said while standing up and continued to walk along the path.
Clumsily Alice followed in the pair of far too large boots.
The early evening fell together with a light rain. They found shelter under a cliff there they had decided to camp for the night. Blaze was frying some bacon and eggs in a fry pan over the campfire with Alice observing. Aoi was sitting against the cliff wall with the left leg lying on the ground and the other bent together so the knee is pointing upwards with the right arm’s elbow resting on it and the chin resting on the hand.
Alice looked at Aoi and his distance expression “I wonder what Mr. Aoi is thinking about” she turned back her look to the fry pan.
“Why don’t you ask him?” Blaze turned around the eggs.
“I don’t think he can speak our language.”
“But he seemed to understand me perfectly then I asked him for his name yesterday”
“That is the mysterious part. He seems to understand English but can’t speak it. I wonder where he came from” Alice said and gave Aoi another look.
“I have never seen that kind of clothes before so maybe he came from the far east. The legendary world of the east so to say” He divided the eggs and bacon onto three wooden plates. Handed over one to Alice and went over to give Aoi one.
“’The legendary world of the east’?” Alice asked wondering as Blaze came back and sat down again.
“Yeah they say that far to the east a world there people we never have seen inhabits. Cultures, foods, weapons or whatever you can imagine is different there. Many have tried to find that world but not a single man have successful crossed the border.” Blaze paused to eat bacon “As far as I have heard there isn’t any land in sight beyond the border, only a vast sea.” He ate a bit of his egg.
“If no one has been able to go to the ‘the legendary world of the east’ then how do people know it exist?” Alice asked confused.
“They don’t. But there are said that people have crossed the border from the east, entering our western world and if that is true then it is possible that Aoi comes from that world”
“If he really is from the far east, then why is he here in England, that is so far away from the far east.” Alice asked.
“Well does that even matter? The background isn’t important; it is the bond between people who is the real important.” Blaze said and finished the last of his food.
“Yeah I guess you are true but I am still curious” Alice said and looked at Aoi who had noticed her this time, smiled to her and went back to look towards the sky.
“I will sleep now. You should sleep to. We are taking of early tomorrow again.” Blaze said, warped himself in an old blanket with a red square pattern with black edges and lay down on the bare ground to sleep.
“Am I supposed to sleep outside on the bare ground?” Alice asked surprised and a little hysterical.
“Yes. Just take the other blanket and sleep. I even spared you the pillow so be quiet and sleep” Blaze said a bit irritated.
Alice clumsily warped herself in the blanket that had the same color and pattern as the one Blaze used. Placed the pillow on the ground and lay down. She hesitated but she grew some courage. “Good night Aoi” her eyes meet with Aoi’s”
“oyasuminasai” Aoi answered and smiled.
Oyasuminasai is japanese for good night