20th of Corantine, 1669 AV
Francisco continues to stare at the large saddlebags, frustrated by the limited space.
How can this be a proper expedition if I don’t even have room for a basic library and instruments?
Trying to once again stuff his copy of Tacitus into the bag, the young scholar finally notices the Governor standing in the doorway. He hastily drops the book and gives the young woman a bow.
“Governor Sandoval. My apologies, I didn’t realize you were there.”
The young woman steps through the portal and closes the door. “You are almost ready to leave.”
Francisco looks down at the mess laid out on the table. “It’s for the best. We beat him this time, but Hargrove will be back. The consequences may be less harsh if Alex, Keman and Isabela are not here.”
Maria nods absently as she moves around the table to stand before the young man. Francisco involuntarily flinches as the young woman steps within slapping range.
“I didn’t have a chance to say thank you for bring Salma back safely.”
Francisco shrugs, “It was the least that I could do, given….”
The scholar stops in shock as the young woman rises up on her toes and kisses his cheek.
“Thank you. Be safe on your trip.”