It was a cool morning. A slight breeze picked up, letting the leaves be carried before swaying back to where they were. Green leaves, yellow flower petals, white fuzzy particles and hair.
Jev's hair had gotten a little longer these past few days. Not really something that he cared about, but once it was getting into his eyes he needed to take action. He grabbed the knife that was on his belt, one that he normally carried when he was leaving the city. Grabbed a bit of his hair with his left hand and with his right pushed out and cut the hairs that were getting in his eyes. He did this for the rest of the hair on his head to keep those blond hairs at bay.
He sighed, placing the knife in its small scabbard and turned around.
"We're family right?"
Jev didn't really know what to say to Lera. Paroppe thought of her as family, not him. Even a friend was more of a stretch at this point.
When she was nothing more than a body that acted on instinct, then she was a part of what he considered family. He did very much pity her and didn't want to take advantage of her. Someone he should protect, just like the people he cared about.
Now he knew she was someone who could take care of themselves. Someone who was more powerful than anything. Yet, that turned into fear and hatred of the unknown. He knew that, but he still couldn't accept her, not completely.
Sure she offered the prospect of a real adventure and turned her down. Letting his sister and best friend go with her and in her care.
"Take care then."
Though one thing he needed to keep aware was that she could help him. It seemed to him that she listened to him. He never liked being a leader, but if he could control her, or get her to control herself, she could be helpful. He wasn't thinking this way with bad intentions, so it didn't really matter as long as she didn't try to hurt anyone he cared about. Jev chose to be respectful in the end.
Lera woke up, still thinking about her goodbyes. It wasn't that big of a deal, as she could stay in contact with them. For today she was just watching a lot of people leaving the city of Suul. She was walking amongst the crowds. There were people picking up trash left from the night before. Everyone was talking about what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go, but mostly about the night before and the Light Festival itself.
It was a celebration to the heroes that saved The Suulian Empire a long time ago. The food was great and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time. Lera found a bench and sat on it watching the world go by.
She sat there for a couple hours before moving off to the side, out of view, and going back to her void room. She walked into the lab room and the pods with her costumes. The one she was currently wearing was more for when she was going to be with Paroppe, otherwise the others would be fine for her. She swapped over to her taller, older, body.
Lera did wonder why it was easy for her to adjust to walking with her height.
Back in the main living room of the void room she sat down on the couch. What was there for her to do?
Looking at her tech pad, she looked through her messages. Out of everyone she knew that exchanged contact information with, Rozaa and Paroppe were the only one she constantly got messages from.
[Won't you come back? We can play some games.]
[Paroppe take some time off and go adventuring like you said you would.]
[I don't want to go alone. Jev and Ayanni are staying back.]
[It'll be fine. You said that you found a nice group of people a couple days ago.]
[Why don't you stop by for lunch before I leave?]
[We'll meet up later.]
Ayanni had asked Lera to limit her interactions with Paroppe. The Light Festival was a good example of Lera trying to stay away. For the day she was gone, but when she got back later at night, Paroppe was trying to keep Lera leaving again. It was getting bad, so she agreed.
[Lera, hope you're doing well. I got a new recipe that I sent you. What do you think about that?]
[It looked wonderful. That was a nice use of those nuts.]
Rozaa was a wonderful person. She shared the dishes she was making and sent along pictures of what she was currently knitting. Lera shared ideas and joked around with her. If she had to say, Rozaa was her first friend while everyone in Suul was family.
She had been looking at everything that was left in her void room these past few days since she left. It seems like she is always finding new things. There was a hallway that led to a bunch of rooms. One of them was a house on top of a hill. It was just a space within her void room, yet it had a sun, a sky, a valley. It was truly a wonderful sight.
Running her hands through the cushions on the chairs and couch she found a coin, wrapper and crumbs. The coin was an older version of the gold coin they used in Suul. At least the year and design showed it as such.
One of the rooms was just a small enclosed space that she had avoided. Just now she removed it because it hurt her to see it. There was a lot of blood in that room, that wasn't something she enjoyed seeing at all.
After her search she went for a walk. She climbed the hill that was outside of the eastern part of Suul. At the top she sat down under the tree watching the clouds. The sky was blue, then yellow, orange and red. The sun settled over the horizon and the stars popped out.
It was beautiful.
[What kind of job are you looking for?]
[There's a restaurant nearby hiring for a dishwasher, but that might be too far for you.]
[I'll check it out. Could you send me the location?]
[You're back in Hapho?]
[I will be.]
[Where are you staying?]
Should Lera tell her about her void room?
[Just somewhere safe. I'll visit you once I have a chance.]
Just as I asked, Rozaa sent the location to Lera's tech pad. The next moment, from the hill outside Suul to an alleyway in Hapho, Lera walked to her destination. It was a big place, strong smells permeated the air. Honestly Lera really wanted to try their food, but first getting a job was more important.
"How many in your party?"
There was a young man, early teens, standing in front of her. There was a small countertop just in front of the entrance. The white walls had a bunch of paintings with different people holding instruments, mementos of various accessories, and lights spread between them giving off a low lit interior.
"Are you hiring?" Lera knew that was true from Rozaa and from the giant sign out front. She just asked that because she was nervous.
"Oh, let me get the manager." The young boy said as he went to Lera's left past an archway and into the back area where the food was made. It was open and there were no doors, so Lera could see three people working there. She saw one roaming in the back of that area and two out in front making different foods.
"Hello, I'm Rymber, a manager. You're here about the position?"
A few days later Lera got the call. She got the job as a dishwasher. Even though she pushed for a cooking position, those positions were already filled. Then a few days after that she started her first job.
"Just line them up like this and try to remove any leftovers. Once it is inside, close it and it will take care of the rest. Pull them off to the side to cool, put the next ones in and so on. Make sure not to have anything on your hands." Rymber was explaining the process that day.
"What about gloves then?" Lera had seen one of the cooks wearing gloves, so she thought it would make sense. After all it wasn't like these people could clean the dishes with magic.
"Those are mostly for injuries to the hands. We wear them if we have cuts so we can protect the food."
"Wouldn't it be better for everyone to wear gloves?"
"This place is still small and new. We don't have the funding for disposable gloves in high quantities. As long as you wash your hands, following these rules here, it will be fine." Rymber pointed to a little instructional plastic slate on the wall above the sink.
"Watch me for a bit. If you have any questions just ask."
The dishwashing area had a giant machine up against the wall. The dishes would get cleaned from spraying water or scrapping anything off and then she would put the rest in there to get sanitized. The clean dishes were removed and put on a shelf where the cooking staff or the waiters could come and take what they needed.
At break, Lera was just in the room to the left of the dishwashing area. It was a small alcove with a cash repository and where she could sign in to get paid. There were people working today and Lera made sure to introduce herself as they did the same to her.
"If you have any more questions you can ask the others and once the next person arrives for their shift, I'll come over to check up on you."
Rymber seemed like a reasonable man. Taking him at face value, as long as Lera did her job, there wouldn't be any problems. He looked to be in his mid-forties with greying brown hair. Maybe it was his exterior that made her think that.
For the rest of the day people came by the dishwashing area and talked to her. Introducing herself to them when they did the same and answering their questions. She did feel anxious talking to others, but she spent more time with Rozaa. That helped her handle those around her.
Once Rymber came over to relieve her of her duties, she took off her apron, and left for the night. It was late and there were a lot of people walking into the restaurant.
"Busy night." Lera turned to the voice. It was Byyuan. He was fifteen years old and in high school. He had sharp eyes, the way they looked, and mid-length flaming red hair. She nodded to his comment. He wasn't looking at her. "Oh, didn't see you there Lera."
He had told her that he started working here a month ago, so she was now the newest one here.
"How are you enjoying your first day?"
"It wasn't too difficult, but finding things is going to take time."
"I was like that too, take your time and you'll get used to it eventually." Byyuan sighed. "I could use a drink."
"Aren't the drinks in there free?"
"Huh? Oh, yea they are. Thanks for reminding me."
Lera left after that. Honestly she wasn't too sure what he meant, but for now she wanted to look at the night sky. The one thing she hated about this world was that it was difficult to see the stars. They were dim, too dim. Ayanni had mentioned that it was due to gas and ozone stuff. She walked for a while, ducked into an alley where now one could see her and went back to her void room. She had the same bag and tech pad as the others, so she could take money from her past self and use that to buy anything she wanted, but earning her own money, like Paroppe was much more important to her.
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