"This is going to be our home away from home for a while then. The two bedrooms are over there, the closet is here, this is the living room, where I will be staying and the bathroom is over there. The kitchen should have been minimally stocked, so you are going to have to purchase what you need. That map app on your tech pads will help you search for what you need. Since you are both dressed, here are those tickets to Nerd-Con."
Lera handed them their tickets so they could enter the building. It was a bit of a walk away, but they needed to start here so they had a place to anchor them. Lera herself needed the same thing, although for a different reason. Everything was too familiar, too nostalgic, but she wasn't sure why.
"This place is… ok."
"Don't say that Paroppe, this is a different world. They just do things differently… though there are similar things around to. Look out this window! It's like we are at the castle, we're so high up."
Ayanni stared down at the street to see cars… at least the cars that the information mentioned. He knew of cars from Suul, but the cars here were 'sleek' or better yet, working.
Paroppe came over, with Lera, as they all stared out the window to see the world. In the distance they saw a patch of green, a park as the map was telling them, and the rest was grey and silver. Glass windows covered most buildings so that it was easy to see all the reflections around.
"There's so little wood." Ayanni was a bit sorrowful. He was part wood elf because of his great-grandfather.
"It is weird." Paroppe commented.
"This is so weird…" Lera said though that was because it was nostalgic.
"Let's get going. I want to see this Nerd-Con. That has to be an amazing place."
"I'm with you Paroppe."
Lera stayed silent watching… observing everything as this feeling was consuming her. She was happy that she wouldn't have to deal with anybody or anything.
"You just press this button here." Lera pointed to the panel next to the two metal doors. There were two buttons. One with an arrow up and the other arrow down. The other one was read, but that had a key lock… they weren't supposed to touch that one. Paroppe pressed the down arrow button.
"How does it work?" Ayanni asked.
"I don't know, but you can always ask someone else."
"You bet I will."
After he said that, Paroppe grabbed his hand. She tried grabbing Lera, but her hand just went through her. She didn't really understand why Lera wanted to be an observer only, but she could only do her best to help her out. Though Paroppe was a bit scared. They were high up and this thing was supposed to take them down.
The doors opened to reveal a few people standing in there. They made their way in and stood inside.
"What button do we press now?" Paroppe asked.
Lera just put her finger up to her lips, so Paroppe would be silent. She then pointed towards the button L. Paroppe noticed that it was already lit, like the one when she pressed the arrow down. She figured that it was the same concept.
"Sir, do you happen to know how this works?"
The others in the box kept quiet, but the man that Ayanni was talking to turned towards him a bit disgruntled.
"This…" Ayanni waved his hands around the box.
"I don't know how an elevator works. Leave me alone."
Ayanni felt Paroppe squeeze his hand harder. "I'm sorry about that." He said that towards the man.
All three of them felt the effects of the elevator going down and were freaked out by it. It made them feel light. Such a weird feeling and once that feeling slowed down and stopped, the doors opened and they were on the ground floor. They got out last and walked towards the street.
"He was… intense."
"You were bothering him Ayanni."
"There are a lot of ways for you to get your answers Ayanni. That internet app on the tech pad, going to school here, or some library. The information mentioned, that since you both are sixteen years old, people of your age are supposed to go to school here."
"I don't want to go back to school after graduating." Paroppe pouted. She was free right now. On another world, exploring around, there was no way she was going to be locked up at the school. "Unless, they have a fighting course…" She shook her head. "No, never mind. I don't want to be restricted."
"I can't be all that bad. We have the opportunity to learn anything we want while in this world. We should take advantage of that."
"That's for you Ayanni. I just want to explore around."
"Take your time, you two. There's no rush."
"Fine, where do we go now?"
"Didn't you read the information Lera sent us Paroppe? On the map app, there are directions that can lead us to Nerd-Con. I'm saying that right, right? Nerd-Con?"
"Yea, you're right." Lera replied to him.
"How far away is it?"
"Far… we are going to need to start now. Unless… Lera are we able to get one of those cars?"
"Not now. First you want to learn how to drive one, before you are getting a car. I remember… I remember! Well, they are difficult to drive, though I don't know how to drive one myself."
"Are you feeling ok Lera?"
"I'm fine. Everything I sense. See, hear, smell… all of it is so nostalgic. I want to leave you both to explore around, but I don't really want to do that. This feeling is so strong that I want to see and do everything to get my memory back, but it really isn't coming back. No pictures, just feelings and some facts. That's it. It makes me want to fall apart and do everything all at once. That's the best way I can explain it."
"Just focus on me for now. Try to keep yourself together and if it gets too hard, let me know. I'll try to help you."
"Thank you Paroppe."
While Lera was explaining what she felt, Ayanni was watching a woman across the street. She raised her hand and a yellow car came over towards her, stopped, she got in and then it drove off. So he tried the same thing and by the time Paroppe had reassured Lera, there was a yellow car next to them.
"Where ya' heading?"
"Of course you are… Get in then."
Ayanni had already seen how other people opened up a car door. He got it open and gestured for Paroppe and Lera to get in.
"Oh uh… in there?"
"Yes, Paroppe. Please get in."
She ducked down and slid over to the street side door. Lera went in behind her and the Ayanni got in and closed the door.
"Buckle up back there!" The man turned around to look at them.
Lera pointed to where their shoulders were and emulated how to put on the seat buckle with her hands. There wasn't too much space for Lera, but it didn't matter as she was essentially a ghost. She fazed through a part of Ayanni and Paroppe, just the edges of their bodies. Paroppe had her rapier across her lap so it wouldn't get stuck or break.
"I'm sure he is going to ask you for money when you get there. Make sure you pay him before leaving."
The car ride was filled with wonder for Ayanni and Paroppe. Looking at the different vehicles, buildings and people walking around. There were so many lights that they passed that it was almost overloading the two people who were new to this world.
That was the same for Lera, but information and feelings were coming back to her. She had experience here, without it ever being her. That disconnect between knowing something and without having memories of the event in question… It was nerve wracking to say the least and that was because the feeling never stopped. Like feeling light headed all the time.
They got out of the yellow car at their destination. There were many people heading towards the same big building. In big letters, on many different banners, [Nerd-Con] was written there. There were many other banners showing a bunch of pictures of different things. One of them had a picture of the characters that Paroppe and Ayanni were.
All three of them stood in a daze. A few people came over to them.
"Can I take a picture with you?"
Paroppe and Ayanni just nodded, but held their hands together. A new world was cool, but ultimately unknown. The people came over around them and held up their phones facing the group. The two friends forced smiles with each other.
"Your cosplay as Miraintle and Bakaryi is just amazing. You have the same ears as Bakaryi and it looks so real too. How did you do it?"
"A friend helped us…" Ayanni answered, that seemed to satisfy the group around them.
Once they moved through the group towards the building, they realized that Lera wasn't by them.
"Lera!" Paroppe yelled.
"She sent a message that she was going to sit down. She's going to meet us inside."
"Why is Lera invisible… instead of like 'normal'?"
"I don't know, but I think she just doesn't want to talk to people. For her it must be exhausting to have something be nostalgic, but have no memories of it." Ayanni tried to explain to Paroppe why Lera might be invisible. He wasn't even sure if Lera did, but a part of her didn't want to do anything. She was only here with them in the first place because she doesn't want to be lonely, and well because she brought them to a new world. Ayanni believes that Lera and him are similar. After all they both want answers, for different reasons, though for Lera it is more personal. At least those were his thoughts.
"I think we just give that person our tickets."
"Sounds right. Did you know that car ride here cost us three silver?"
"That's how much it was?"
"Yea, if you look here on the tech pad it shows our currency and how much that relates to this world."
"I forgot about it. There's just so much to learn, to experience. Everything is happening too fast."
"Let's find a place to sit down once we get inside."
After handing off their ticket they followed people until they got to the main area. There were just so many people walking around that Paroppe wondered how everyone fit inside the building. They looked around for some place to sit and they spotted a place that was selling food. There were stools and small high tables for people to eat. They saw a few people drinking out of cups although much different cups.
Sitting down, Paroppe covered her face. It hadn't even been an hour, looking at her tech pad, and she was already tired.
"There's so much to take in." She let a deep breath out after she finished talking.
"Like Lera said, we just need to take our time." He looked out at the crowd. "I know she respected how I feel about being who I am, but was this the best way?"
"Lera messaged me, she said… Oh, it's the same message as the one you told me about."
"Want to try something to drink here?"
"Do we have the money to spend?"
"I still have the money that Lera gave us a while back. I have enough money to last a while. I'm sure a drink can't be too bad."
"Sure, I'm up for it. How do we do it though?"
"See they are reading that up there? They say what they want and pay the price that appears on that thing there."
"What are those cards they are using?"
"Good questions, but other people had given them the paper-like money that I had given the guy in the yellow car."
"This Berry Refresher tastes amazing. Though maybe it's a little too sweet."
"The tea I got is cold. I'd rather have water."
"Let me try it."
He passes his drink to Paroppe. She takes a drink and raises an eyebrow, then shows a big smile.
"It's good, but I like the Berry Refresher better."
"Can I try it?"
"Seriously, of course you can."
Ayanni takes a drink of it and finds that it did taste like a few different berries mixed together, but there was something else.
"What is… It doesn't taste like a berry, what is that?"
"It said that it was 'coconut milk', so that must be what you're tasting."
"You're right this does taste better." He takes another gulp of it with a smile on his face.
"Go get your own! Seriously Ayanni."
"I'm just joking. Want to head back out there?"
"Alright, let's do that."
Ayanni notices a message sent by Lera on his tech pad.
[Sorry about that guys. It was a little too much for me. I'm heading in. I'll be by the entrance. Meet you there?]
[We'll be right there.]
Ayanni messaged Lera back and informed Paroppe of their next destination.
"How have you two been doing?"
"Amazing. You have to try this Berry Refresher Lera!"
She hands Lera the drink and she takes it in her hands. Thankfully she didn't faze through it, or that would have disappointed Paroppe.
"You don't like it?"
Lera shook her head.
"Not to interrupt, but won't it look like that cup is floating?"
"I forgot… I'm sorry."
"It's not a big deal Lera. There's so many people and even if they noticed, what could they do?" Paroppe tried to help.
"I guess… I mean I could… No, I won't use my powers. I will live with the consequences… Anyway where do you two want to go next?"
"Why not go that way?" Ayanni pointed further in the building.
The girls nodded and followed along.
"I can't believe so many people keep asking to take pictures of us."
"Paroppe we did dress up as characters that are popular. I've seen at least five groups that have similar designs to what we are wearing."
"What is an anime?"
"Some 'video' that people watch. From what they said, the characters we are dressed as are from an anime called Sparkling Gate. I'm Bakaryi and you're Miraintle, although I don't know exactly what their significance is… we should watch the videos and find out."
"I agree with Ayanni. I would love to watch Sparkling Gate. Sounds like fun." Lera chimed in.
Paroppe walked over to someone to ask them where they might watch Sparkling Gate.
"Do you know where we could watch Sparkling Gate?"
"If you're looking to buy the series, a few stalls that way you will find the booth selling copies and merch from Sparkling Gate."
Once at the booth they bought all thirteen seasons worth of Sparkling Gate. It took them a while to understand what seasons were and why they needed to buy the little rectangles. They held DVDs, but they also had codes they could use to put in an app and watch it. Sure they had no use for the physical copies, but when they had a use for them…
"Ayanni, I'm feeling tired. How about you?"
"Me too, I've had enough for today. We should head back. What about you Lera?"
"Let's go then."
As they were heading into their apartment, someone came out of the room next to them.
"Are you the new neighbors?"
"Yes." Ayanni answered the man talking to them.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Thrann. I live right there. If you have any questions you can ask me."
"I'm Ayanni and this is Paroppe. Lera is… We are going to head inside now. Nice to meet you too!"
Paroppe was leaning against Ayanni, but she introduced herself sleepily.
"You both went to Nerd-Con then?"
"I wish I could have gone this year, but I didn't have enough money. Work has been crazy lately though with Nerd-Con and all the visitors coming to the city."
"Where do you work?"
"A small toy shop down over by the park. You two should stop by when you get time."
"Yea, we will."
"Oh do you two go to school nearby?"
"No, we just got here. Probably won't be doing that."
"Here let me give you my phone number and we can message each other later, if you have questions about the building here or if you want to stop by the place I work."
He got Thrann's number and exchanged 'his number'. Thrann left down the hall towards the elevators. He led Paroppe inside. Even if Lera could walk through the door, he still held the door open for her. Lera thanked him and he set out to make dinner for the group… though Lera said she didn't want any.
He and Paroppe ate dinner and they both went to their beds for the night exhausted. It had been a long day and with everything they saw, it was more than enough to send them both to sleep instantly.
Lera was feeling terrible still, but better than the start. Everything, people, technology, senses… The same feeling over and over again. It took a lot out of her, so she had fallen asleep the moment she hit the couch.
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