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Square Two is a lot like Square One

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"What do you mean, I can't stuff my shirt?" The catgirl demanded, cheeks flushed red. She was half-shouting, half-crying in frustration. Opposite her, her boss stared her down, exasperated. 

"Kalli, this is a restaurant. We can't put the products in your clothes! Nobody wants to eat food that you're putting in your shirt!" This was a genuine argument, one that even the accused couldn't really deny. Hell, the fact that it was being brought up was, in its own way, ridiculous. Worse still, it was making a scene; everyone could see the manager lecturing a woman as she sheepishly pulled two rather large buns from her shirt. Instantly, her bust shrunk to nothingness, much to some folk's dismay. Kalli could hear their mutters, and her ears pressed against her head and color rushed to her cheeks. Being put on the spotlight was never fun, especially when it came to her breasts.

"W-well, that's fine! I'll just buy those ones and it'll be okay!" She stammered, though she already knew that wasn't the case. She already say him shaking his head at her.

"Forget it, Kallista. I can't hire a woman who has no idea how to behave in a restaurant. I want you out of my store."

"Do you mean like 'now' or at the end of my--" 

He didn't even speak up; he just pointed at the door tiredly. The bard fell silent, and trudged towards the exit, kicking at the floor as she went. Once she was out of the door, however, she breathed a little easier, and pulled one other out of her shirt. She was lucky this one hadn't been found. Kalli gnawed at her prize as her spirit quickly reacclimated to the world around her, and her wandering nature took hold again. Kalli was a bard by nature, after all. She wasn't very hard working by default, and losing a job was par for the course. She'd gotten food out of it, however, and that was all she was after, in the end. 

Her ears perked up as she rejoined the bustle of the streets, wandering aimlessly as she went. The bun was sweet and soft, but it was missing honey and mackerel, in her opinion. She strut about, checking the stands as she went and soaking in the sights. This side of Joran City was always fun to explore. The military city was boring, in that so many of the people were focused on developing weapons and machines, and in such a world, there just wasn't place for a bard or singer. War often did a good job silencing songbirds, after all. This side of the city, however, with its small, but active marketplace and quaint little businesses was more fun to explore. At least, for a bard it was.

She soon grew tired of being surrounded by taller folk, and climbed over one of the market stalls, using her new perch to survey the goings on around her. She'd been fired early today; that left a lot of time for her to loiter around, if she wanted.

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Earlier in the day, Thelan woke to a blinding sun. After returning from the Velhatien Desert, he'd sought the numbing comfort of alcohol and burned the last of his coin on a night of excess. The beer he'd so wantonly imbibed the night before still hung on his tongue and he dragged himself to a proper lean where he could rest his elbows on his knees. He was in an alleyway and the sun was halfway in the sky, only just now raining its terrible glory on the gap between buildings. He wasn't sure how he had gotten there, but he suspected it had something to do with business hours. How he must have looked, having lacked the motivation to take a razor to his face or care for his hair. It hung, matted and tangled, and he had facial hair coming in. Something he had been keeping from his face as a reminder that he did not wholly belong to the wild he was so fond of. 

Now, only an hour later in the day at most, he was mulling along with the rest of the dirty crowd in the market. Fortune had left his sword and dagger faithfully at his side and he was clutching his canteen, which held the precious water that couldn't seem to keep down his queasiness no matter how much he drank. Some more cleanly dressed folk gave him looks of disgust or otherwise avoided him, which made sense. Even though it was thousands of years ago in another world, he remembered having been raised to hold disdain for those who did not conform to all the rules he was taught. Since then, he had learned of the value in things outside of human society so well that he felt clumsy trying to fit in with the strangers around him. 

It was soon that he found what he was looking for, and he wavered to the flower stand, where sat an elderly lady, sewing as her type did and wearing a bonnet. She said, "Roses, carnations, flora, and the like. What's the occasion?" Without looking up from her weaving. 

This what fortunate for Thelan, as the familiar action of concealing the growth of mushrooms in his palm became somehow uncouth in the haze of his drunkenness and he found himself going through the gestures seemingly as he forgot them. Finally, confused, he found the flowers he'd meant to produce fully grown in his hand and held them up. "Trying t'sell..." An awkward pause. "Glory of the Blossom. The Glory Bosom. Blossom." He stifled a laugh at the fact that he'd accidentally said bosom instead of blossom poorly.

The lady looked up through lids of irritation saying, "Young man, I don't deal or trade with the inebriated--oh my lord, are those actual Glory Blossoms?" The sight of the flowers were enough to take her from her chair and her sewing. The woman smelled and examined the golden-yellow pedals before looking into Thelan's face. "Where in the hells did you get these, and why do you want to sell them here?" She asked, posturing herself and flapping her hands in a dismissive motion.

The druid had a response ready. He was used to this kind of situation, but knowledge of his inhibited state of consciousness had him squeezing his eyes shut and pressing his hand over his forehead. He thought he would have felt better by now, but it seemed as if he was as drunk as the night before. The world spun as he opened his eyes to it once again and blinked it into focus. "Right. Ssssomewhere." He paused. It had been an effort just to say that word right, and he felt the desire to laugh about it boiling in him, which was difficult to put down. "Somewhere uninter-- unimport--fuck!" He slammed his fist on the table and startled the kindly old lady. Grasping her counter and propping himself on his arm, he extended the flowers to her. They were among a group of plants with impressive healing properties and were highly valued by hospitals and other healing institutions across the world. She could sell the bouquet off for hundreds of gold coins if she knew where to bring them, and as a florist she should. He usually asked for about a hundred, but felt he deserved less for his poor work and settled with. "Look... Sevinty-five. Seventy-five and they're yours ineedtogetridofthem." His final slur was resigned and murmured more than spoken as he let his head drop.

The woman was twisting the hem of her apron in her grip as she considered the situation. A drunken man offering a bouquet of precious flowers in a stone grip, draped in a cloak over a heavy winter coat despite the heat of the day, not sweating a single drop. His price was low for something so valuable and she could make quite a profit if it was real. 

She frowned and in a deciding gesture, let her apron fall back as it was and rummaged around in the stall, producing a spyglass through which she further examined the flowers, muttering to herself. "I can see them, so it's not faerie magic... No tell-tale gold shimmer... No anything." She dropped her hand and scrutinized the druid. "These are real Glory Blossoms!" Her shock was beginning to feel insulting, even to the man who was bringing his head up in hope. "And you said your price was seventy-five Hawks?" She asked to be sure.

"Yes." Thelan confirmed with an exaggerated nod.

"Fine!" She dug in her purse and proffered the coins, counting them out. She showed 50 Hawks and a sizable gem at which she pointed and said, "And that should be worth about twenty-five Hawks, don't you think?" 

"Yes." Thelan slurred and scraped it all into his palm and tucked it away as he murmured. "Good good good good good," Too many times. "Yes thanks." And turned away to wander through the crowds and find a place to sit. He wouldn't worry about selling the gem for coins. He'd known vendors to haggle and trade in more than just coin in Genesaris. It would do just as well as currency as any officially stamped coinage would, and that was enough. More importantly, it was time to rest and see if he could gather himself. Everything was too bright and swimming and it all felt like it was driving a thorn deeper into his head, not to mention how pure and staggering the pain in his arm was. It was throbbing in response to each beat of his heart, and proving quite miserable for the druid.

Edited by Wanderlost

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From Kalli's perch above the produce stand, Kalli had a pretty good view around the market. She could easily see over everyone, well enough to count heads if she liked as well as see whether or not anybody was selling anything good. From here, she could eat the roll in piece, and soak in the scenery.

"Hey! Get down from there!" Somebody bumped the roof of the stand she was perched on. Kalli ignored it, gnawing on her bun as she watched a cart roll by. The cart was pretty big, all things considered, and had no fewer than four guards on it. They were tough-looking, too. Kalli supposed they must have been mercenaries, then. She toyed with the idea of mercenary work for a few minutes; solid pay, see the world and swing a sword. Only Kalli could barely fend for herself against...well, just about anything. She still had a notably blue stain on one of her socks from an earlier encounter with a blue slime. She wondered if slime babies were a thing briefly, but surrendered that way of thinking when the owner of the stand bumped the roof again. 

"Hey! I know you can hear me!" She could, but she didn't care all that much. She watched a few passerby drop a fair amount of change in exchange for some random goodies. Nothing too fantastic, but plenty of fun items for sale here and there. Just south of her seat, she watched a bard with a poofy hat buy a new flute, trading in his old one and a photograph, presumably of himself. Kalli wasn't that good just yet, though she was certainly learning the gift of the velvet tongue. Most male clients were pleased with that effort, at the very least. She could always start playing again, she acknowledged, feeling her ocarina through her pocket just to be safe. She hadn't played for a crowd in a long, long time, and truth be told she was starting to miss it a bit. The ocarina really wasn't an impressive instrument, however. She would never wow the masses with a teeny, glass-blown flute. So she put that aside for now, too, and finished her roll as the man under her got increasingly annoyed. He jabbed at her with a broom this time, which actually garnered a response. As he poked her rear, Kalli flinched, dropping her roll on the roof, where it rolled down the canvas and onto the floor next to the stand. With an almighty sigh, she leapt down from her perch in annoyance and shot him a dirty look before bending over in half to pick up her roll. The storeowner was not only rude but also crass, as evidenced by how he took another jab as her panties, poking underneath her short skirt to prod at her derriere. With a yelp, Kalli abandoned her roll and went elsewhere, dejected.

Once again, she found herself roaming the marketplace alone and unsure. Around her, the taller crowds and bustling people were alive with sound; she could hear them calling out prices and prizes all around her, and she picked up a couple on instinct.

"This rare geisteel dagger is a family heirloom..."

"Forty Hawks, Honey, and I'll help you forget all about..."

16 hours ago, Wanderlost said:

"These are real Glory Blossoms!" Her shock was beginning to feel insulting, even to the man who was bringing his head up in hope. "And you said your price was seventy-five Hawks?" She asked to be sure.

Kalli paused in place, curious. She'd never heard about Glory Blossoms before, much less seen any. From the sound of the woman's excitement, they had to be some kind of rare flower...possibly. Kalli found her way through the masses towards the sound of her voice, ears twitching as she arrived in time to see the glorious flowers, and the wealthy young man who'd walked away from the stand, drunk as a doorstop. They really were pretty flowers, Kalli could see that, and they were easily identified. Perhaps the man got lucky and stumbled onto them, but if they were a rarity, it wouldn't make sense to sell them for such a low cost. Curiosity got the better of her, and the catgirl found herself following the man who'd sold the flowers.

Once she'd fallen in line behind him, Kalli quickly took notice of a few things, from the way he walked to the way he smelled; the poor guy was drunk, she supposed, which made that engagement all the more interesting. If he'd been able to sell them so cheaply, while that drunk...just who was this guy? The bard figured that the best way to approach him was to try an impersonal approach. She slid up next to him with a gentle sashay before inviting herself under his arm. She gave a low meow of appreciation before speaking up to him in a low voice. "It's kind of rare to see a day drinker wandering outside in the marketplace. Were you looking for some company, big guy?" She had a special croon she used just for this sort of situation; part of being a bard was being able to sing your way into anyone's pants. She figured she was good enough at that.

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The sensation of a supple and lithe form crawling under his arm tingled, and didn't quite register right to the druid at first. Thus his confused frown. "No." He was curt, taking his arm for himself and using it to guide the girl away from his torso, which caused him to stumble. "I'm not. That's not." He said, pressing the butt of his palm to his forehead after regaining his balance. Everything hurt. No amount of drunkenness seemed enough to stave off the pain shooting through his arm or gripping his ribs. In fact, it made him somehow more aware of it. Perhaps due to it dulling his other senses, and it had a headache to add to the equation as well. "Look." Thelan huffed, then forgot what he was going to say.

But he found time to take in his surroundings somewhere in there, and noted that they had left the bustle of the marketplace for a slightly less busy street, mostly filled with those traveling to and from the market. The air here smelled more like dusty stone than the sweet sweat of many bodies. He found himself momentarily fascinated with a colorful array of clothes arranged around a rider's saddle. Then, he frowned at the cat lady, surprised that she was still there. He had expected her to leave somewhere between his daze and his denial, and the reason for her persistence would not be revealed by contemplation in that moment; not drunk as he was. 

"Water." He said in the wake of an epiphany of sorts. Across the many different worlds he'd been to, different people had different ideas on how to sober a person up. Cold water seemed somewhat consistent throughout, and was something he found himself amenable to as one connected to more natural elements. So he turned away, hoping the girl would follow and prove useful in directing him to a river, yet aware that it could be seen as a benefit were she to walk a different way, and also notably inebriated. 

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Kalli watched in near slow-motion as her target reacted to her sudden appearance and...frowned? The world crumbled, the market disassociated and the universe collapsed as she felt, as if from very far away, as her drunken moneybags brushed her off with a very, very heartfelt "I'm not. That's not." Kalli stood, dumbfounded for a second. Had her bard talents really been useless against him? She watched him try and stagger away before righting herself again and looking him over. Well, fine. If he wasn't going to make this easy on her, she'd just try the long con. She stayed close by as he staggered, glanced around, and finally recognized she was there again. She struck a little bit of a pose for him, hands at her sides, on her tippy toes for just a second as she gave him a welcome smile, and then he spoke to her again.

23 hours ago, Wanderlost said:

"Water." He said in the wake of an epiphany of sorts.

He started walking away after that, leaving Kalli to her confusion for the second time in the span of a minute. She frowned, puzzling over his words...or word, rather. 

"Water...water...Oh! I gotcha!" She caught up with him quickly and pulled in his hand. "Hey, hey! I have a flask on my in my rucksack, just let me grab it for you!" She reached for her...apron? Her apron...her skirt! Kalli struck herself with the palm of her hand as she realized that in her eagerness to flee the diner, she'd forgotten to change. Her bag, her belongings, even her sword were left behind at the restaurant, and she'd just wandered off with a hot bun and a miniskirt to her name. Really, Kalli was glad for a moment that she didn't have to take contraceptives. She'd be pregnant a lot, at this rate.

Realizing that she didn't have any water to give him, Kalli was faced with a dilemma. However, instead of balking too quickly, she gave him a reassuring smile and grabbed his hand, slowly wrapping herself in his grip again. "Come on, come on! We'll go get my water and my things, and maybe you'll start feeling better! Maybe you'll even feel like telling me your name in a little bit!" She enthused over him as she dragged him back through the market, dodging the crowds as she made her way for her old workplace once more. A cart rumbled past again, loaded with mercenaries, and Kalli felt the heat rise to her cheeks as a passerby grabbed at her bottom. She never got a good look at them, either; perhaps they'd left shortly after seeing she was (forcibly) on another man's arm. They escaped the heat and sound of the crowds again, and Kalli slowly managed to coax her potential host into the building. Inside, she left him by the front as she slunk towards the kitchen doors. 

"Just wait here, okay? I'm gonna get my clothes back, and we'll get you some water. I promise."

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He followed not out of trust or desire, but because the girl had taken his other arm. His left arm, and as soon as her fingers, gentle as they might have been, wrapped around his it shot pain all the way up his arm. Putting herself comfortably against him with that arm over her left Thelan in a very uncomfortable position, and in a combined stupor of pain and alcohol-induced dizziness, he followed. He didn't realize that he wsa even going along with the girl's whims until they were already back in the suffocating environment of the market. People's bodies were too hot and they were too loud. It hurt his head.

But that was not where she had intended to go, and she brought him to a place where upon she insisted he wait, and in a desperate attempt to get her to settle down, he consented. She had too much energy for him, especially when he was in an impaired state, and it was relieving when the girl left him leaning against the wall; until it felt uncomfortable to lean as such. Then he had to walk as much with his hands on the wall as his feet on the ground, and took a stool for himself. 

In the mean time, waiting for the girl to figure out the course of her belongings, he held his swimming head in his hands and listened to a nearby conversation.

"Yes, get your things and don't come back this time. Good." The guy seemed angry, but far be it from Thelan to decipher the context. "Sir?" He asked in a rather loud voice. "Sir?" Whoever's attention he was trying to get, he wasn't turning out very successful. Strange, since he seemed to hold a rather nice establishment as far as societies went. "Yes, sorry just our tap? Great." The man was silent, and Thelan heard the sound of a glass filling, which urged him to swallow. He really was thirsty. "There you go. Enjoy." And more silence until footsteps approached him and that same, loud, "Sir?" Originated from right next to the druid.

He recoiled, squinting at the man. "Hmm? Yes, what?"

"Sir, I'm going to need you to buy something or leave."

Thelan took his time considering this, looking past the man and wondering if the girl would come back soon. If she were to take longer, maybe he could be free of her, but alas, there she was. She pushed open the door to the back and he raised his eyebrows. He hadn't actually looked at her, but now she was right in front of him, and she was tiny! Really a cute thing, though the cat ears were strange on a humanoid, if not terribly dissimilar to certain elven ears. She almost looked like a doll, really, but not the creepy kind that wanted to kill you.

"It's time to leave sir." The man repeated, receiving a slow nod from Thelan.

"Yes it is. You're right." He slurred, slipped off the stool, and teetered his way out of the building, his head reeling as he stepped into the light of the sun. The cat girl was soon after, and he indulged an urge to pat her head. She was tall, despite her supple proportions, coming to a height relative to him that he had found normal in most men. Strangely, his next action was to beckon her with a finger. In truth, it was an effort to silently request the water she had spoken of. He still wanted to dunk his head in a river, but that desire seemed distant now. If the woman wanted his company so bad, perhaps there was a reason she was in need of it, and far be it from him to leave her to her own means, right? Or was that right? If he had had an excuse to do so, he might otherwise have already left town. Should he be here? Should he be in town? Should he be following her? It didn't matter. Didn't matter because he was. That was what was happening.

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As Kalli made her way for the doors, she kinda hoped the store owner wasn't back there. Perhaps he was working with a customer, or maybe he was trying to help load supplies or maybe he died. Hopefully. As she nosed through the doors, she tried to walk upright and proud, as if she were still working there. Kalli found that if you looked as though you belonged somewhere, people were less likely to notice that you didn't. She brushed past a waitress on her way back out of the kitchen and hurried along, making a beeline for where she'd left her things.

She passed by the ovens, past where the baker was working--and caught another whiff of those delicious buns from prior. She stopped in her tracks as her stomach protested loudly. The last bun she'd had was good, but these ones were ready to eat. They were sprinkled with icing sugar, or honey or something. The catgirl didn't get very far before she was waylaid by the smell, transfixed on the sight of at least a baker's dozen sweet buns resting on a tray. She licked her lips slowly, suddenly nervous. She couldn't be standing here, she had to get her clothes together and get out of here. She averted her gaze and made for her rucksack, and tucked into the bathroom to quickly change.

When she came back out, uniform tucked under her arm, the baker had moved his location, though nobody had paid attention to her yet. Kalli tried to exeunt quickly, but was again halted by that sticky-sweet smell. She set her bag down, and wandered back over, uniform in her hand. She lingered by the table again, eyeing those buns. She gingerly put her work uniform into her bag, and reached for the buns, hunger overcoming reason. 

A heavy hand on her shoulder and a harsh word pulled her away from the bun rack as she reached for another. She spun around, and was face to face with the store owner, to her immediate dismay.

"What are you doing?" He demanded before she quickly pointed towards her rucksack. He put two and two together and waved her off, annoyed. "Yes, get your things and don't  come back this time. Good." Kalli nodded obedience and strode over to her bag, stuffing her uniform into it. As she slipped the barmaid's costume into the bag, she grinned widely into the sack before slinging it over her shoulder and making for the door hastily, knocking down a waitress on her way out. Behind her, the sound of glasses splintering into bits erupted in the kitchen behind her, and she picked up the pace in the lobby, making for the doors.

She caught up with her mysterious would-be companion as soon as she got outside and hugged his side, guiding him quickly away from the building and steering him to the right of it, until they were out of sight. Somewhere in the market, the owner's angry shouts were lost in the din. 

Kalli sighed in relief before pulling her rucksack open and fishing out her canteen. It was sticky with something sweet and warm, and Kalli pulled out a pair of delicious-looking sweet buns at the same time. They were a little fuzzy, given that she'd wrapped them in her uniform, but they were still appetizing. The catgirl took a bite out of one with a proud smile, while her companion chugged down her water. "You're a good luck charm, you know! I got all the way out of that kitchen without tripping, or getting felt up. That's a first!"

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With a sigh, the drunken man let his right arm drop in a motion that threatened the loose grip his fingers had on Kalli's canteen. He had stabilized himself with his back on a nearby wall, and his golden eyes were following the clouds drifting overhead. Going down, the water had been sweet and purifying, settling his stomach and making everything okay, but that relief had been temporary. Now that it was in his stomach, he felt queasy again, the impairing drunkenness still a heavy burden over his consciousness.

"Luck carried me for a thousand years." He slurred, then stopped to swallow. "Now issdropped me." He looked down from the sky that fascinated him, closing his eyes and looking a way for a moment, equal parts disgusted and disappointed seeing city surrounding them before looking back at the catgirl. He burped. "D'y'wanna know a secret?" He asked, handing back the empty canteen. He didn't need a response though. He was going to talk anyway. "Usetabe Ihad all the luck. Real forchun." He sighed and settled his head back against the wall. "Wouldn't age and all itcost was pain. Chased my mother across worlds atatime. Now I have th'pain..." He said, having scanned the area for directly unwanted eyes before lifting his sleeve enough to show Kalli the briers growing out of his arm, even up to his hand, around which the flesh was scabbed over and showed some signs of puss and other undesirable traits. However, he didn't give her long to see before tucking his sleeve back over his hand. "And uhh, heh. No gain. Heh. There wasa world wherethey said 'no pain, no gain,' and lifted heavy metal weights in their off time." He frowned. "Lotsa guns there."

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Hearing him tirade, gnawing on her sweet roll, Kalli's ears eventually drooped, her tail following suit. She set the roll down in her bag again, sighing unhappily.

"...talk about spoiling the mood, huh?" She walked on over to him and gave her canteen a shake. Empty. She reached into her bag for another, but found she had nothing else to offer. She tucked the canteen away before she could forget about it, and rummaged around for something to offer him, only to come up empty. With a sigh, she shrugged uselessly at him. 

"Well, if you're still thirsty, we should try to get some more water. I hear that caravaneers get supplies pretty quickly. We could try our hand at transporting cargo...if we had some cargo to transport, that is."

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Thelan folded his sleeved hands over his face and spoke despite muffling himself. "A lake. A river. No more city." He said before pushing away from the wall and letting his hands drop, blinking at Kalli. He seemed as he had been before, having a rough time of it before he bent over and vomited on the ground, which was all the less a pretty sight with the painful groaning added to it, and he stayed there with a hand on his knee and an arm over his stomach for a few minutes before sighing and wiping away the bile and similar substances. "Fuck."

He straightened painfully, looked at the cat girl as he wavered, and stumbled off again. He had to leave town. And he was. He was heading toward the gate, and he would find a river. That was what was important. More so than his friend who left him. More so than his useless amnesiac mother, and it was relieving to think that there were things that could be more important than the goals that had driven him his whole life.

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Kalli flinched away as he propped himself up against the wall, groaning and heaving as he puked his guts out. She backpedaled quickly to avoid any splashback, bringing her arms up in defense as she looked away in disgust. Her horror didn't last terribly long, however, and she quickly lowered her guard, walking back over and fishing her former uniform out of the bag, tossing it at him as they left Joran City. Though she hadn't been much use to him yet, the catgirl was still confident that sticking close to him was a good call; she gave him an encouraging smile before offering a benign shrug.

"Well, there's got to be a river not far from here, right? We find water, we get you washed up, maybe drown you a little bit, and you'll be in good form again. Then we can go stumble across something cool, and preferably worth some money!"

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The man, staggering with a head still swimming, chuckled, still astonished by Kalli's interest, and her dedication and persistence coaxed some small bit of trust from him. Enough that he drew rasps from his throat enough to say, "That uh... Sounds good. I could use a drowning. Pr'bly better in water th'n liquor, nn?" He digressed into coughing. There may have been a laugh in there, but if so, he gave up on that over the labor and pain in his heaving chest. 

Later, they did indeed find a river outside of town. He found himself quickly on his knees with his arms in the water, soaking the thick sleeves of his coat all the way through as he kept his head beneath the surface for an unusually long amount of time, breathing through the effects of an unspoken dweomer. It felt so nice and refreshing just to have his head and arm, which were both throbbing, surrounded in such a cold, cleansing current.

When he came up for natural air, he was gasping. He relaxed back on his legs and breathed in long breaths before speaking to his apparent companion. "Y'were talking about somethin'." He walked back on his hands and laid himself down on the somewhat muddy shore, letting his head slump in the girl's direction. "Sure."

Edited by Wanderlost

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Kalli was thrilled when she heard Thelan chuckle at her suggestion. Her ears pricked up at the sound, the catgirl lifted off of her heels only slightly as she tried to get a bit taller, as if to raise her body to be patted. Even her tail curled into a merry 'o' shape of delight as she stepped close, clinging to his shoulder even as he doubled over, coughing violently. As he was back on his feet, though, she was there, giving him a genuine smile of encouragement as she helped him move along. Near the gates, the sounds of the town died away quickly, and Kalli felt her spirits rise as the sounds faded. Quickly, the world became a quiet, ambient place of natural noises and sounds, prompting Kalli to hum a gentle tune. The tune didn't mean anything, really, but it filled the space, along with the sound of birds flitting by, wind scraping through the trees and, somewhere, water. 

Kalli was the one who led them to the water eventually. Her grip on Thelan, like an awestruck fangirl or fawning knave, made her act almost as a crutch for the hobbled man she'd clung to. Thus, she'd used her honed hearing to lead them towards the sound of water, mostly by following the road until it lead them to a quaint little cobblestone bridge. She'd gingerly worked her way down to the banks, where Thelan eventually broke free from her and dropped to his knees, drinking his fill from the river. Kalli could only watch, half-amused, as he sloshed around in the water, burying his face in the cool, gentle flow as he drank and drank. He was under for a long time, too; Kalli began to fear that he really was trying to drown himself at one point, though he quickly resurfaced, extinguishing that fear. He gasped and spluttered, but when he finally stopped heaving, he slumped over in her direction and fixed her with a ragged stare.

On 12/20/2017 at 2:20 PM, Wanderlost said:

When he came up for natural air, he was gasping. He relaxed back on his legs and breathed in long breaths before speaking to his apparent companion. "Y'were talking about somethin'." He walked back on his hands and laid himself down on the somewhat muddy shore, letting his head slump in the girl's direction. "Sure."

Kalli brightened as he spoke to her, and hurried down to the streamside to talk with him. 

"Yeah! I noticed the big bunch've flowers you gave that old woman back in the market. The...gold lillies? I dunno...but you didn't look like you cared about them too much, and I figure that means you gotta know where to find more, right? We could go grab a bunch've 'em and take them into town and sell them for an absolute mess of money!" Kalli pumped her hands for emphasis, obviously excited. "So, we use your knowhow and track some more flowers down, sell 'em off with my natural allure and knack for talking to total strangers, and we can walk away with some money in our pockets. What do you think?|

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A slow blink under the creases of a frown marked the confusion in the drunken druid's face. "I already have money in my pockets." He stated simply.

Money was only ever a means to an end to the man. Coin bought the few things one needed when they visited a town. He would sell rare plants to those who valued them and buy his things and go, and be done with the trappings of the gathering of humanoids without looking back. He understood greed and a desire for excessive possessions as one such trapping--or rather, a trap engineered by its creators. But he looked toward animals for his example of pure living.

"If y'need s'me I c'n share." He dug into his coin purse and offered an open hand to the cat girl, filled with all the coin he had made from his sell. He couldn't recall the purpose for acquiring it, and after reviewing his needs--gear and food--found that he lacked nothing he could not acquire otherwise, and then felt no need to hold on to that money. After she took it, or he shrugged and let them roll off of his palm into the dirt if she did not, he pushed himself to his feet and brushed his hands off with a sigh. Then he paused with curiosity about him. He grew mushrooms, visibly, from his open palm as he mumbled. "Fin'in'em innature is m'ch harder th'n rerecreatin-- recretionating-- growing th'm again." He made a fist and rubbed the crushed mushrooms with his fingers, opening his palm as he channeled magic through the Mercurial Mycelium interwoven with his very anatomy.

To his will and magic, so grew a daisy, with roots spreading through the bits of mushroom as it might have through soil, feeding on the energy channeled into it and wrapping around his hand as the single flower stemmed upward and bloomed in its yellow, mundane glory. Thelan moved his frown at the action to Kalli's response. Then he plucked it with his other hand and held it out to her, though not without the thorns that framed the end of his sleeve.

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When he offered the handful of money, Kalli grabbed it almost without hesitation. She was no stranger to charity, after all, and to a struggling bard, all money was good money. She quickly pocketed his coins, stuffing them into her sac before turning her attention back to him. So, he apparently wasn't interested in teaming up with her in search of striking it big. That was fine, she could understand his disinterest in her idea. He reached towards her, maybe to shake her hand, and the catgirl quickly reached forward to grab it, only to shrink back in shock as mushrooms sprouted from his hand. She cried out in surprise, and maybe a little terror, but it died quickly as he spoke over her shrill screams.

On 1/2/2018 at 2:39 AM, Wanderlost said:

"Fin'in'em innature is m'ch harder th'n rerecreatin-- recretionating-- growing th'm again."

He crushed the mushrooms easily, and Kalli watched, entranced as a daisy sprouted from the crumbled bits of 'shroomage in the palm of his hand. She'd heard of natural magic, she'd encountered (and subsequently been harassed) by all manner of fey before, and she'd even seen priests will flowers and trees back to life. But she'd had yet to see anybody, human or otherwise, grow plants out of their body like that. Well, maybe a few fey out there could do the same, but they'd never shown such an ability to her. She stared on in awe, and completely missed it when he offered her the daisy. When she registered it, however, she yelped in surprise and accepted it quickly, too quickly, and she stared at it in awe.

"This is...a flower." Kalli noted dumbly. Color slowly crept into her face, a brilliant crimson as she grew embarrassed, not just at herself, but at the gesture. It was surreal, and it was romantic...somehow. She clutched it closely before looking at him, and asking probably the most important question.

"How did you do that?"

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