San knew immediately, upon waking, that he was not in his own home.
The fact that he had come to think of it as 'home' bore examining, but at a later time. The more pressing issue was ascertaining where he was. He studied the ceiling, waiting for the familiar rush of adrenaline to chase away the last dregs of sleep.
One... two... three...
Distantly he could hear the quiet din of the city. Closer was the sound of someone moving downstairs. If it weren't for the direction of the light streaming into the room, he might almost have been fooled for a few moments longer, but even now, Watchful training died hard. And just as well too; even here, even now, it was always better to be careful.
"You're awake," said Roku. Incrementally, San relaxed at the sound of his voice. He glanced to one side. The cat was perched on a small bedside table, regarding him with unreadable green eyes.
All at once, San was hit with a sense of deja vu. Involuntarily his mind went back to the moment he had woken up on the ship, with Roku staring down at him. Roku had been more visibly amused then, but San wasn't sure whether the absence of that was better or worse.
At least Roku didn't seem alarmed. That was something. San sat up, allowing himself to rub the sleep from his eyes. If the news was urgent, Roku wouldn't waste any time. The cat liked to play his games when he could, but he understood risk and urgency just the same as the rest of them.
"Where am I?" said San.
"Ah, well. An inn room." Idly, Roku licked a paw. San repressed the urge to ask what day it was. The notion that the last few months had all been a dream flitted across his mind briefly, but he dismissed it as firmly as he could.
It was too vivid to be a dream, and... No, no, he wasn't going to think about it. "Why am I in an inn room?" he asked Roku, and to his credit his voice came out even.
Flicking an ear, Roku said, "Because we were evicted."
"Why were we evicted?"
"Oh, that part I don't know. I wasn't around to see it. But your journal might have something for you; Seveth seemed like he had a lot to write about last night."
Of course. Of course it was Seveth. But then, it would have to be, since San had no conscious recollection of being evicted at all. What was astonishing was that Seveth had managed, apparently, to accomplish all of this in the span of a single day. If it had been less aggravating, he might almost have been impressed at the other man's ability to get himself into mischief.
As it was, however, he merely felt a headache coming on. He hadn't even been awake for the span of a full fifteen minutes.
There was no sense in delaying the inevitable, however, and it wasn't in San's nature to procrastinate after so many years of never being given the choice. He rose from the bed and went to the cramped, tiny desk that the inn room afforded him. There, resting atop it, was the familiar journal, and as he flipped it open, he could see the messy scrawl of ink on a new entry.
So by the time you're reading this you'll probably be wondering why you're here. Well, you see... To make a long story short, as it turns out, our former neighbor has a really short temper! Not to worry, of course, as I am glad to announce we are no longer neighbors at all. Yes, we are now free to find a better situation than that dingy, cramped little space!
I figured, since this is such a big step for us, that you should have a say in where we ended up. Cooperative living, and all that! So I've set us up here for the moment, until we've found a place we can both agree on.
Feel free to get a head start without me!
There were, San noted, the remnants of several pages that had been hastily ripped out. A cursory glance around the desk didn't reveal any more loose paper, so San guessed that Seveth must have destroyed them or disposed of them elsewhere. He stared at the journal once more, willing the words to be anything else than what they were, but it was a futile endeavor.
It wasn't hard to read between the lines; Seveth wasn't being subtle. He was hoping that San would do the legwork in finding a new place for them to stay.
In some ways that made things easier. San took a deep breath, and tried to focus on the positives. He could have woken up to a permanent situation that Seveth had found for them instead, which would inevitably have brought more headaches than he had now. Of course San wished this wasn't happening, but at least now that he was awake, he could do some damage control.
"Rei is already out scouting for a new apartment, but she hasn't had much luck. No vacancies anywhere that we can afford," Roku said. That didn't surprise San to hear. Their apartment hadn't been spacious or new, and they hadn't gotten much richer since then. San would have a look around the residential districts and see if he could find someplace that wasn't advertising but would still take on tenants, though he wasn't hopeful about what they could find on such short notice.
"Where are my things?" said San. He realized upon asking that he didn't know how much Seveth had managed to bring with them. Seveth had to at least have taken the money, but...
Roku hopped off from the table and paced up to the bed. He slid under it, then re-emerged tugging the strap of a pack with his teeth. Wordlessly, San took it from him and opened it up. The sight of his own clothes greeted him. He took a careful catalogue of the contents: two shirts and two pairs of pants, some of their training equipment, a few of Rei's clothes and ribbons tucked away inside. One pair of boots, hastily stuffed into the bottom. Inside those, a small cache of money.
His books and some of his basic gear were gone, but nothing that he couldn't replace. This would suffice, at least until they managed to settle somewhere else.
"The rest of your money is here," said Roku, dropping a pouch of coin at his feet. San picked it up and counted it. If he took out the cost of room and board, he would have expected to have about this much, maybe a little more. Seveth hadn't been spending then, the day he had gotten them thrown out of their apartment, possibly out of guilt.
Would that he could have such thoughts before he did something stupid.
San shook his head, and decided there was no sense in delaying the inevitable. He changed out of Seveth's sleeping clothes and into his own things, then headed downstairs. A few coins bought him the cheapest possible breakfast, and then he was off to the residential streets to try his luck.
Roku slipped out too, though he didn't bother accompanying San on his search for new lodgings. San didn't mind; he hadn't expected Roku to stay.
This wasn't the kind of thing that interested him, and he had likely stuck around just to fill San in on the situation. He appreciated it, as far as that went. Better to hear it from Roku than have to put it all together himself in a disoriented daze, even if he was getting tired of this happening.
He was walking down Miisaa Avenue and trying to find other buildings that looked like they might be in his price range when a movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He stopped, but only for a moment. He knew at once who it was, even before the little slip of a shadow resolved itself into the familiar form.
"Rei," he said, smiling.
Rei didn't smile back, but that wasn't unusual for her. She was shaking her head. "Not this street," she said. "The other building owners... heard about what happened yesterday."
The smile disappeared from San's features at her words. "What happened?" he said. Roku hadn't explained that much, and Seveth hadn't either, for that matter. San didn't doubt that it was Seveth's fault somehow, but that wasn't the same as knowing the specifics.
Rei's expressions were usually subtle, but now she looked almost pained. "He tried to take Ichaival inside," she said. "A neighbor reported him."
San's frown deepened, and then he sighed. She didn't need to say anything more. The building had what San thought was a fairly generous pet policy, but something the size of Seveth's dragon... Not only would it not have fit in the little studio apartment, the attempt must have created enough of a disturbance to attract unwanted attention. And since they'd breached the terms of their lease, the landlord was fully within their rights to evict them. It must have happened on the spot, as soon as they'd laid eyes on Ichaival.
What was done was done, and whatever San's feelings about it, the only thing he could do now was be mindful of the consequences and move on. Letting himself dwell on it was only asking to sour his mood further, and that wouldn't be of any help in finding them a new place to stay.
He nodded to Rei in thanks for her information. She had saved him some time, and very likely a few unpleasant conversations. He offered her a hand, but she shook her head. He inclined his own head, and in answer to his unspoken question, she fell in to flutter alongside him. Yes, she would join him; no she didn't want to be carried. Lately she had been flying out in the open more and more, and although there was still a part of San that felt uneasy with this development, he didn't stop her from doing so.
He didn't stop her from doing anything if he could help it, and so far nothing untoward had happened. He also reminded himself sometimes that Rei was much more capable now than she had been when they must have captured her, years and years ago. Things were different back in Ningjing, where even the knowledge that something like Rei existed had to be hidden; but here, where they were well known, there was no real reason for her to be always staying out of sight.
Together they meandered their way out of Miisaa, and down one of the other streets. San opted to try Calsten first. In truth, Miisaa had been their most likely bet; it was the most youthful and the most densely populated of the residential districts, and most of the cheaper buildings were situated there. Avant Vall, by comparison, was mostly mansions and huge rambling farm properties.
Calsten also had more large properties than not, but being the host of a number of small businesses gave San some hope that he might be able to find some apartments here. One of his part time jobs was in Calsten, and most of his coworkers were not much more well off than he was.
But as they made their way through the area, it became clear that what apartments there were had few vacancies, and the ones that had them were all out of their price range. He didn't even need to go inside and speak with the front desk; it was clear at a glance that these buildings were beyond their means.
From there, the only real place to check was Centu Street. There were fewer mansions here, but the majority of the area was taken up by sprawling menageries instead. There was the zoo he'd interviewed at, and... was that a nature preserve?
It was almost strange seeing the smaller houses situated between zoos and aviaries, as if the residents were little birds making their tiny mud nests in the eaves of buildings. Eventually they found one old building in a state of worse disrepair than the one they had been evicted from, and San walked in. A smallish, furred person -- San couldn't tell at a glance whether they were a man, a woman, or something else -- eyed him up and down. "Visiting?" they said, digging a finger into their long tufted ear.
"Ah-- no, I'm here about the vacancy," said San, slipping into the now familiar guise of Linyü. At least, this was his version of Linyü; as he understood it, Seveth didn't try very hard to be anyone other than who he was by nature, so the result was a moodier, less consistent individual than what San would have hoped for.
But the alternative would have been to play at being Seveth, and while San had some training in deception and mimicry, he didn't trust himself to emulate a man that he had never himself met in person, whose character was so fundamentally different from his own. And at this point it would be too strange to start trying.
The furred... person at the desk wrinkled their nose. "You got references?" they said.
"Not... on me, but if you give me a few days, I can speak to my employers. Or, or if I give you their contact information...? One of them is just up the road from--"
"Pass," they said dismissively, waving a bony hand.
Linyü blinked, looking dumbfounded, before his expression folded into one of dismay. "Is there anything else I can do? You could take a deposit," he suggested hopefully, but the furred individual only rolled their eyes.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6