More running today. That is what we are doing, really, running away from the academy. We took the road back toward the first little village early this morning to further confuse any possible trackers, but then cut into the forest again to go deeper into it than before. We have stopped for lunch now, with some rolls and cheese our hostess sent with us when we left.
I do not like this, and not just because of the discomfort and hardship. I do not like lying to strangers, moreover strangers that are kind to us. And I do not like that we are running. It feels cowardly, not at all noble. I almost feel as though we should return to Reliance, but Mr. Miller made a good point, I suppose, when I told him so. "Belleclaire or any of his crew would not be able to take either of us against our will. It is against the law!" I said, sure of my convictions. I would not board the Royal Erebos but with a gun at my back, and surely the law would be called if that were the case.
"JUST BECAUSE IT IS AGAINST THE LAW," Mr. Miller wrote in a clear patch of ground, "DOES NOT MEAN THEY WOULD NOT DO IT."
I had not thought of it that way, though of course he is right. They are a mercenary crew, and as Mr. Miller spent three years with them, he would know how they operate, what laws they do and do not obey, and at what times they do one or the other. I cannot bear the thought of another battle, though I hardly think professors and young students could or would put up much of a fight at all against seasoned airship pirates. I would hate for anyone else to be hurt or, heavens forbid, killed because of me. Sometimes I think it may be too late; they could have tortured Professor Eberhart for information about me, they could have burned the school looking for me, or torn apart the town.
But then Mr. Miller allays my fears, dismissing them (though kindly) as too dramatic. Belleclaire and his crew do not want to draw attention to themselves, he says. They want, ideally, to get me back and deliver me as they promised to Mr. Bergstrom, that is all. And, although he will not say it, I know they want retribution from Mr. Miller for deserting them and helping me. I cannot think too long on that, however, or I become very upset. I do not even wish to write of it.
We must go, now. I can tell Mr. Miller is interested in my diary, as he watches me intently whenever I write, but I know I can trust him and needn't worry about my privacy. Anyway, I have my diary always tucked into the inner pocket of my coat.
We are heading north, away from the academy but also away from Franklin Bay and Mr. Bergstrom. Right now, this is all the more of a plan we have: to get away. But I think we really must have some destination in mind, or at the very least, find some way to contact Professor Eberhart and either ask for assistance, or a letter recommending us to some friend that can provide us safe shelter for a time. This near-mindless fleeing is not becoming of a lady or a gentleman (though I hardly feel like a lady now, covered in dirt and frozen to the core.)
However, it is time to rest, soon. I have once again managed to produce fire on some dry tinder: fallen needles from trees, and a handful of chips of bark, which I helped to gather along with Mr. Miller, though he did the most of the actual wood-gathering (which was quite difficult without the use of a proper axe--he took fallen branches and broke them with his hands or by stepping on them, and some he could tear off of dead trees). I have insisted on sitting up and keeping watch at least part of the night, and have made him swear to wake me when he grows too tired to sit up and feed the fire. I do hope he shall wake me, but if he does drop off, the fire will go out, and we will both wake from cold. I hope he is sensible about this. As I said, I hardly feel like a lady, and this is neither the time nor the place for excessive chivalry. We both must do what we can to support one another.
No amount of pleading or threatening, however, managed to make him agree to let me take the first watch while he rested, so I am preparing to lie down as near the fire as I dare, my coat and gloves still on, my head resting on new bag as a pillow. Sleep will come swiftly, I am sure, brought on by consuming lots of fresh air, and doing lots of walking. Perhaps if I am tired when Mr. Miller wakes me (as I am almost sure I will be), I shall write more here to keep alert.