"I bought some clothes with me, but I would end up standing out like a sore thumb. The clothing and designs here are so foreign to me."
"We are foreign to them Paroppe."
"Ugh… What about you, Lera? Want to go with me to get clothes?"
"I'll come with."
"I'm coming with too, don't leave me out of this." Ayanni looked up from his tech pad so he wouldn't be left behind.
"Messaging that guy from last night?"
"Thrann and yes. He has been really helpful for the answers I need."
"Are you sure you've been 'regulating' your questions?"
"Actually I have." He said with a genuine smile.
"Good then, so we leaving?" Paroppe asked the group.
"Did you get a message from Jev last night?"
"I did, the times are wonky. Can you believe that it's night there right now?"
"Yea, that's super weird."
"Get a message from your parents?"
"I told them that I was fine and sent them a few pictures that we took."
"I can be when I want to be."
They arrived at their destination. They walked over this way, because it was near the park and they weren't that far away from their apartment.
It was a nice day and Paroppe was skipping along the sidewalk with Ayanni. She wanted to do it with Lera too, but she denied her by making her unable to grab her. Lera was still sad, but she didn't know what to do other than ask.
"How are you feeling Lera?"
"Alright. I think I figured out how to get rid of this feeling. The more memories I make, to link the knowledge I have with the new memories, I can eliminate this feeling."
"You're right." She watched the small smile appear on Lera's face.
"Ayanni, how could it take so long to find a hat."
"Okay, I wasn't as bad as you when trying on your clothes."
"I wanted to get Kear something too."
"I… Well I don't want to stand out. There are too many people… humans walking around. I mean, it's just so different. I don't care if they see my ears, but when I saw their reactions when I told them it was real, they were disgusted. I just want to avoid that in the future."
"So you do care."
"I guess I do… So I wanted to find something that felt right. I saw a couple people walking around with these hats on. I think they're more for winter, but everyone was wearing them."
Paroppe put her hand on his head.
"Yea, but it felt the nicest. I grabbed a few extra, just in case for winter. I got this one for you."
It had a bunch of adorable bears with big eyes holding a heart in front of its belly. The background was pink all over.
"Thank you Ayanni!"
She watched as Ayanni had a big smile on his face. She agreed that it was a lovely design, but maybe it was a bit too girly for her.
'Does it really matter when it's so cute?'
At least that was what she thought. They walked out and Ayanni was leading them over towards where Thrann worked. They learned that the days here were the same as where they lived so it was the weekend and Thrann was off school today.
That got Paroppe interested in what else was the same. She planned on looking at that later on her tech pad tonight. She was a little parched. She put her hand over her mouth and conjured a small ball of water in her mouth. She was aware of the dangers of showing off magic in a world that didn't have magic. The information that Lera had sent her had made it clear, if she didn't already understand it.
There was a part of her that felt that way when looking at Lera. She was the most powerful thing she knew about and she wanted to make sure she stayed her friend and not enemy. Though it wasn't like she had an ulterior motive or anything like that. She believed that Lera was her sister, even before she learned everything about her.
They walked into the store. She heard a small ding as she walked in. There were a bunch of shelves that had boxes covered in plastic. She learned what plastic was yesterday at the convention.
"Hello welcome to… Ayanni nice to see you and your sister here."
"No, she isn't my sister."
"Do I look like his sister?"
"I apologies… uh"
"Paroppe, I'm sorry about that."
"Let me show you around."
Paroppe watched him come around the counter to her left, right next to the door. She noticed that there was another person in the shop. He was wearing a similar hoodie that she was now wearing. At least in color.
"So you really haven't ever played a board game?"
"No… Oh, this one I played before." Ayanni picked up a boxed up game.
"A chess player?"
"I'm pretty good."
"Maybe one day we could have a game together."
Paroppe split off from Ayanni. She looked over towards Lera and whispered for her to follow her.
"Do you remember any of this Lera?"
Paroppe pointed out a few of the board games.
"Not really, but a shop like this is familiar. This here," She points to a clear box holding a bunch of dice, greater than six sides, "A twenty sided die is very familiar."
Paroppe picks it up and rolls it on the small ledge of the shelf. She got a seven.
"I wouldn't mind getting it."
"You don't have to use your money one it."
"I want to." There was a small grin on her face as she walked back over towards Ayanni.
"…got glitter in your hair."
"It's sparkly, I can see it."
"My hair is just like that."
"I thought that was your wig from last night."
"You were cosplaying as Bakaryi…"
"Well, this is my normal hair. I was born with it."
"That's cool, I've never seen that before. Do you want to meet up after I'm done with work? I got a tabletop roleplaying group, we meet here on Sunday nights for a game."
"I wouldn't mind that. What do you think, Paroppe?"
"I'd love to check it out. Thrann, I'm going to get this."
"A D20? You play Knights \u0026 Kingdoms too?"
"Never played before, but I would love to learn." Paroppe was excited to try playing a game like that. Whatever it was, sounded super fun.
"Well you can see how it plays and if you both want to join, I can work you in for next week. It's always better to have more players."
After Paroppe paid for the die, the guy in the hoodie paid for the game he bought before walking out. It was just the four of them left in the building. Paroppe walked around looking at the games with Ayanni and Lera.
"This one says it's for three to six players. Want to give it a try?" Paroppe held a game out towards the other two.
"… try to get the most money as a thief? Sounds like fun, I would like to give it a go." Ayanni mumbled the first part as he read the description, but he was more than willing to try it out.
"Count me in too. Being in this shop has made me itching to play something." Lera did want to play a game and after seeing the D20, wiped a large chunk away of that feeling she had.
Lera wanted to teleport around to get to the places they had been faster, but that was against what she wanted. She wanted to see everything, to enjoy the mundane/ Skipping around like that was her being out of control and she wanted to clamp that line of thought down.
"Can we play this here?"
"You can, but that's a three player game you know."
"I know, we…" Paroppe looked at Lera and back towards Thrann. "I meant in the future. We have a friend and right now she is too shy to show her face."
All three of them looked at Thrann. They had never said her name out loud and Lera was still invisible.
"How do you know about…"
"Ayanni mentioned that name last night."
They remembered when Ayanni introduced himself and Paroppe, he mentioned Lera.
Ayanni felt bad, but Lera let him know that it was ok.
"It's fine. Once I can…"
"I didn't mean anything by it, I was just curious. I won't mention it again."
Lera was interrupted by Thrann, but it wasn't like he could even see or hear her.
"Don't worry about it Thrann. Our friend is just shy. We don't like to talk about her until she's ready to come out of hiding."
Ayanni and Paroppe turned towards Lera and smiled. Once it was lunch time they went out to eat and talk. Message their families with a few pictures from the group. Since they were waiting for the time that Thrann had told them to meet him back at the shop, they went to the library. They took a taxi, as they learned what they were called, and went towards the library.
Lera walked with Ayanni through the library looking at the different books. Paroppe said she was going to look on the internet about a few things in the meantime. Ayanni found a book on physics, while Lera went towards the fiction section. She was looking for a small book she could read before they left to meet up with Thrann. She found a few books on medieval fantasy. She smiled, but passed them for something else.
Ayanni spent most of his time at the library looking at the titles of each book he came across. If it sounded interesting, he would open it up, look through the pages and if he found something interesting, take a picture of it with his tech pad. That was all he did while he was at the library for that night.
The problem he was facing was that he didn't really know what to look for. There was so much that he wanted to know about, everything, but he didn't know where to even start. It was just a small attempt in his search for information in a new world.
He had taken a few notes though along the way of things he wanted to know more about. Ayanni was making progress, but there were some fundamentals, mentioned in the books, that he wasn't completely able to understand. Maybe he could ask Thrann or look it up on the internet.
Both ideas weren't ideal.
If he asked Thrann for help… Well, he didn't want to appear as a country bumpkin. He had gotten a five year education at The Heroes Academy, including all the books he had studied in his home. He prided himself on his knowledge, but… then again he thought it might not be the worst idea.
Then there was the internet. He found out quickly, like the library, he didn't know where to start. After all this world, plus a week with the tech pad, he didn't have that much time to look everything over. Sure the apps, he knew what to do and how to use them, but the internet was vast. One more thing he didn't like about the internet was that it lacked a certain 'physical' element to it. Parchment, paper, books, people. There was something there that he could associate the information he had in his mind. It was easier to understand and learn that way.
Saying no to school, here on this world, was probably too hasty.
By this time, he, Paroppe and Lera had made their way back to the shop where Thrann works.
"Welcome back, you two!"
As the gang of travelers entered the shop, they heard Thrann welcome them. They watched the blue haired boy stand up from his chair and walk over to them. The group noticed there was a elder guy behind the counter reading a book while leaning his back against the wall. The old guy didn't make eye contact with them, just nodded in their direction and a grunt, while they moved closer to Thrann.
Ayanni and Paroppe both said in different ways. They were both happy to be there and looking over at Lera, she was too. For her it was nostalgia and for them it would be a new experience at least from the tidbits that they had gathered from Thrann.
"Let me introduce everyone." Thrann took over to point at the three boys sitting at the table that was to the right, across the store and in front of the check out counter where the old guy would have a full view of them. That didn't matter all that much, he was busy reading.
"This is Carxs." He gestured with his hand a boy, similar age and height, as he stood up. He had brown hair and dark blue eyes like Paroppe.
"This is Ophebo," he spoke softly in the next part, but the whole store was able to hear him, "he's a little shy." Ophebo had dark skin, but a bit more muscle than the rest. He had a similar height to Paroppe, and his eyes were sky blue.
"A last but not least, Urenol!" Thrann started fake cheering and clapping. It was unnecessary and weird. Everyone looked at him, he coughed to calm himself down. Urenol was thin, like a reed. Taller than the rest, standing above Ayanni. He had dark green eyes.
"And guys, this is Ayanni and his friend Paroppe." Thrann pulled over two chairs next to the table. "Please sit and we'll get started."
Around each side of the rectangular table, on one end Carxs sat and opposite from him was Thrann. Next to the right wall of the building, Ophebo and Urenol sat opposite Ayanni and Paroppe, who had their backs to the old man.
"How are you guys doing tonight?" Ayanni asked the group.
"I'm doing good." Urenol said.
"Not too bad. I just don't want to go to school tomorrow." Carxs pouted.
Ophebo stayed quiet, but he made eye contact with Ayanni before nodding.
"Thrann said that you two never played Knights \u0026 Kingdoms, is that true?" Urenol asked the two.
Ayanni and Paroppe nodded. Paroppe did take a look at Lera who was walking around the table looking at the papers in front of the guys.
"Thrann mentioned that you create a character and you role play as them." Paroppe was still trying to understand it all.
"That's right. It'll make more sense once we start playing." Thrann encouraged her.
"I'm playing as a wizard. I can cast some spells, while my teammates protect me." Carxs gestured to Urenol and Ophebo at the mention of teammates. "My character is called…"
The rest of the group introduced themselves and by that time Thrann had set everything he needed up.
He talked about how the group of adventurers, after slaying the necromancer in the countryside, made their way back to the main bustling city. They did some shopping and as they were heading back to the inn, exhausted, a group of bandits surrounded them.
"Give us everything you have!" Yelled a tall and muscular bandit. He only wore pants and a sash with a great sword on his back. Thrann explained that to the group.
At the mention of the bandits, Paroppe and Lera both stiffened up. Paroppe had a much stronger reaction than Lera and started trembling. Everyone noticed, but didn't mention it out of compassion. The group of boys didn't understand her reaction, but out of respect for Paroppe. Ayanni did and held her hand. At first she pulled away, but then snatched her hand back. Ayanni and Paroppe both watched as Lera left walked through the door outside.
The boys continued the game. It comforted Paroppe that they didn't ask her about it.
Both her and Ayanni, did enjoy the game regardless. It was a story, a world, unfolding in front of them. Thrann, as the Game Master, was telling a compelling story. He made a few mistakes here and there, but that didn't really detract from the game at all. The four boys were friends with each other and that made the entire story all that much better.
"I wish Jev was here." Paroppe whispered to Ayanni.
"Me too. Do you want me to go check on Lera?"
"I'll go check up on her."
Paroppe stood up and walked outside for a moment.
"Ayanni is everything alright?" Thrann asked with a look of concern. The whole table had stopped and everyone looked his way with worry.
"It's fine, Paroppe just went to get some fresh air."
"How are you feeling Lera?" Paroppe leaned against the wall, looking at Lera who was sitting on the ground.
"I'm fine, but I should be asking you the same."
"It was just sudden, but I'm good."
"You always ask me how I'm feeling, but I feel bad for not even thinking about either of you."
"We're good, just adjusting to this place. Just like you."
"I guess you're right."
"That game looks really fun. Thrann offered to let us play, are you sure you're not interested in letting the others see you, so you can join?"
"Don't get me wrong, I want to play. I want to be out there with you guys, but I have to hold myself back. I knew that if I stayed in that void room alone, I wouldn't be getting better. Being able to walk around with you guys is enough for me right now."
"I know you want to control yourself, but why don't you heal yourself?"
"What do you mean? I'm not hurt." Lera looked at her arms.
"Your memories… I mean your memories from the past."
"I thought about that before, but my problem was when do I stop. Say I heal up, remember my past, but it's still too tough to handle and I end up like I was when I met you. Do I heal myself again? Say I do, then do I get rid of all my problems with just a minor thought? When does it end? I want to avoid that and if I can prevent myself from using my powers, unless necessary, like to get you guy back and protect you, then I feel better about myself. At least that's what I think."
"Protect us huh? You won't mind if I protect you then?" Paroppe leaned down, holding out her hand to Lera.
Lera just smiled, grabbed her hand and walked back in the store.
After they finished watching the game. Everyone said their goodbyes. Thrann told Ayanni and Paroppe that if they wanted to join the game, he could help them make their character tomorrow after school. Both of them agreed and walked out.
"He lives next door to us, why don't we walk home with him?" Ayanni asked.
"Because I don't want to get lost or go alone to the pharmacy." Paroppe said.
"What do you need there?"
Since Paroppe didn't explain, Ayanni thought through what she could need to go there for.
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