Here We Go!
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"Here we are, Miss," the burly rancher named Cain bellowed from the front of the wooden carriage. "Need any help unloading them suitcases?"
"..No thank you," I politely stated, hefting the two medium-sized boxes out of the cart, and then dragging them out of the dusty road.
"Stop by the ranch some time!" he waved, riding noisily away with the prancing horses.
"Wake up, Finn," I poked the small fairy, knocking him off his spot on the box.
"YaAaAwWwNn.." He stretched. "OH! We made it!" He grinned, hopping off and buzzing around my head. "Can we go see the Goddess now?"
I ignored his question and looked at my "home", if you could call it that. A crappy piece of land next to some buildings that must have been hit with a hurricane. Maybe several hurricanes. "This is the "great place" you were talking about? Looks more like a hobo's home.."
"Oh, Akari," he waved off,"It's not that bad! Look we have a field...and a barn! And a coop! And even a little house with a little mailbox.." He smiled dumbly.
I glanced at him and pushed my things next to the small porch. The thing he called a house was the color of pale cream covered in splotchy white spots and topped with a battered red roof. It had several holes in it, exposing all its innards. There was only one window- pale, gray and lonely it was. At the porches' base was an unkept garden, nurturing plenty of weeds and thorns. How delightful... The lamp hanging next to the chunky, wooden and brown door flickered, like an SOS code, warning all to stay away. "I don't know if it's even safe here.." I gently nudged the creaky door open and cautiously walked in.
I was greeted by the strong smell of mold and mildew. Dust smothered the furniture, floor, wall, you name it...The air was musty, yet moist and weeds had taken residence in the wall gaps. I had quite a job ahead of me.. "I'm staying in a hotel." I sighed.
"It-it does need a little work..Nothing we can't do tonight though!" He pumped his fist.
I glared at the boy,"It's almost dark, and the power hasn't even been turned on. I'll work on it tomorrow," I finalized, closing the door.
"Fine." He pouted, putting his little gloved hands on his hips.
The closest- well, only - hotel was centered in town. Harmonica Town. What a name.. The Ocarina Inn was clustered between other brightly colored buildings and it was no different. I stepped into the inn and was greeted by a petite women with large brown eyes, short, business-like bronze hair and a small pouty mouth. "Welcome! Can I help you?"
"Yes. How much do you charge per night?"
"100 G." She sweetly stated.
Wow..Cheap. "Well, I'd like to stay here a night or two."
"That would be wonderful! My mother-in-law will show you to your room," she bowed with gratitude.
I nodded in return and rummaged through my rucksack. "Oh no," she chuckled,"You can pay me later, after you're all settled in and you choose to end your stay. No rush. I'm Colleen by the way." She smiled warmly and then briskly walked towards the inn's kitchen,"Yolanda?"
"Yeah?" A gruff woman's voice echoed. She went in to meet her and I waited for several minutes. A paled Colleen returned with an uncertain grimace,"Well, Yolonda is busy, so she's sending her apprentice to assist you..Just have him take your bags along..." She explained, setting behind the counter once again.
I dragged my luggage next to the grand staircase and waited patiently, admiring the decent craftsmanship that had went into the building. "Well, are you ready or not?" I turned to come face to face with an unhappy, orange-headed man with poisonous purple eyes and a deep set scowl. He scooped up my luggage and tapped impatiently on the hard, wooden floor with a thick sandal.
"Uh, yeah. But, you can just give me the room number. I don't need your help." I narrowed my eyes at the sight of him.
"I'd love to, but you see I work here. So, even though I don't want to and you don't want me to, I have to. Come on." He nudged me harshly and I scrunched up my expression in anger, but I let him lead me up the stairs. He carelessly dropped my bags with a clunk next to a door and glanced my way with disdain. "Anything else?"
"Hmmm...Leave me alone?"
He smirked,"Well, well..Do I bother you?"
"More than just bother me." I frowned.
He chuckled and sarcastically opened the door to my room with false chivalry,"Here you are, Miss."
I casually entered the room and inspected it. Nice. Clean. Homey. Not too shabby I had to admit. He carried my things in and sat them on the bed. "Breakfast is at 7 sharp, lunch at noon, dinner around 5. And no, it is not complimentary. I will be the chef, as always, and most likely the waiter, since our waitress is so lazy.. If you need anything, ask someone else, please. Jake or Colleen are always downstairs." He said clicking the door shut.
Well I could tell we were not going to get along. At all. And who the heck was Jake?
"Can we go see the Goddess now?" Finn popped out of no where.
I jumped at the surprise and sighed, rubbing my temples,"No...For the tenth time. We'll go when the house is..safe. And I've got to get some sort of work put into the farm. Then we'll go see "the Goddess". If she exists..." I muttered.
"Akari," he frowned, teary-eyed," You need to believe..just a little bit!"
"You haven't exactly told me any truths so far.." I pointed out.
He thought for a moment,"Well, you'll see." He dropped, and bounced on the fluffy bed. "So, what did you and Cain talk about on the way~!" He sang.
"Awww~! You like him, don't you Akari~!" He blushed.
"No, Finn. He's married, has kids and isn't my type anyway."
"Psshhh. That doesn't matter! Love conquers all!" He giggled.
"Finn.." I sighed studying the small creature. I'd first met it last year, not knowing what the heck he was. I still didn't know.. To me, I saw part elf and part fairy, but he even denies that ancestry... Anyway, we developed some sort of friendship over the year; he had became in a way my younger brother, one that I never had nor wanted... Last month, he insisted we save up and move out here. His "Master" called to him. I don't think we'll ever really understand each other... "How about you? Any fairy girls around?"
He paused,"I don't know if there really is anymore like me." His transparent wings drooped,"That's why we have to see the Goddess. She's the only thing I remember."
"Ah..I see. What if she's not there? Then what?"
"I don't know. Be a little more optimistic, Akari. You'd be a much happier person." He smiled sadly up at me.
That's just not me. Maybe when I was a child, I was different, but I can't remember much. Now I was neither optimistic nor innocent. Cynical, yes. Cold, yes. Unhappy? Yeah, but who isn't, really.
Several hours had passed, and the sun had set long ago, but the moon took it's place quickly with it's starry friends, glowing through my window. I had finished putting together a list of the materials I'd need, my expenses and a work schedule for the next week. I liked to try and be organized, but Finn and I both knew it wouldn't last.
A faint knock sounded at the door and I looked over my shoulder. I couldn't ask Finn to answer it; it seems I'm one of few who can actually see him, or so he says. That could be funny though... Ah, I'll get it.. I hefted myself up and groaned. I'm getting so tired. I opened the door and yawned, straightening my pajama top. No one was in the hall, but at my feet sat a silver dish. I picked it up and shut the door.
I sat the strange plate on the desk and looked at it. Attached to the side was a yellow Post-It note: "Enjoy! Love, the chef". Free food...not a good sign. "Hey, Finn," I called. "Food!"
He hurriedly flew in and seated himself for a late night snack. "Oh! Yummy!" He sniffed and grabbed the fork, shoving in piles of the unknown substance.
After a few swallows he slowed and turned a sickly green color. "That didn't taste like cherry pie.." He rushed to the bathroom and, I guess, got rid of his stomach's contents. Always have to test things first... "Akari..." A weak sounding Finn called.
Yes," I said walking to the restroom.
"What was wrong with that food.."
"I don't know...Sorry, Finn. I'll find out."
"Excuse me, do you know where Chase is?" I asked the gray-haired man sitting at the front desk.
"I believe he is cleaning the kitchen. Is there a problem?" He stood, dusting off his green vest and flashing his teal eyes.
"No, I just have a question. For him.." I answered over my shoulder.
"If you need anything else-" I heard the man, until I reached the kitchen's main room. They must take me for an idiot or something.. I'm fine on my own.
Standing over the sink, washing one too many dishes, was the guy I had been looking for," Chase?"
He looked up and gruffly spoke,"What?"
"Did you send food up?"
"Do you happen to know who did?"
I sighed angrily,"Do you know anything?"
"N-. Hey, will you leave me alone? Can't you see I'm busy!" He motioned for me to leave.
"What? Do I get on your nerves?" I smirked.
He cut his eyes at me and sighed," Did the food taste awful?"
"Worse than awful. It was like eating sushi covered in sauerkraut."
"Uh-huh.." He rose his eyebrows."Then, it was probably Maya."
Another person to meet...Ughh.. "Who's that?"
"The innkeeper's daughter. She's ditzy and lazy. Someday she'll weigh more than an elephant.. But, she's the waitress I mentioned before. She can't cook." He looked pointedly at me," At. All."
"Okay, thanks. I guess."
"Yep. You could've just asked Jake though. He's right out there," he pointed.
"He creeps me out," I shrugged, lingering by the exit's entrance.
"Well, at least I don't creep you out."
"You just annoy me."
"How are you feeling?" I asked the drooling and pale Finn.
"Well, I'll settle it tomorrow, okay?"
I flicked the light off and yawned once more. Hopefully, breakfast wouldn't make me as sick as that... I had too much to do. Maybe coming here was a bad idea after all..
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