Chapter 21:

Exploring the City of Quenth 2

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Quenth was the Aqueenian capital city, built next to what was known as the flooded chasm. It was a massive section where the continent was split apart in the shape of a 'V.' The city had been established at the chasm's tip. Many aqueducts were laid out in swirling patterns starting from the dock and circling all around the city. The city itself was built on top of the complex waterways, and many decorative bridges were dotted around it. An essential feature of the aqueducts was that water only flowed in from the flooded chasm. That way, anyone unfortunate enough, or stupid enough, to fall in would not be swept out into the channel. They also functioned to direct sea life in one location to optimize the process of fishing.

It was on a less than average morning when a lone Aqueenian fisherman got a heavier than average catch on his line.

"It's a big one, help me out!" he called out, and his fellow fishers gathered around and helped him pull.

Out from the water came a Hobusian and Netzian. They landed on the dock and began coughing.

"Darn pollution in the water," one fisher spat, and the group dispersed to cast out new lines.

Gwyn and Odell managed to recover from their swim and laid on their backs. Odell began to laugh, and Gwyn couldn't help but join in.

"You're crazy; what did you say your name was?" Gwyn asked.

"Odell, a Hobusian, I'm here since the Aqueenians are hosting the conference this year."

"I don't know what you're talking about, but good to meet you, Odell," Gwyn said while sitting up. He looked around, expecting to see one of their pursuers. "How come that floating girl couldn't chase after us?"

"She doesn't like to get too close to water; it's the one thing she can't phase through," Odell answered while also sitting up. The Hobusian began to push himself off the ground, and Gwyn followed suit.

"So, what do we do now?" Gwyn asked while looking around.

"You can start by getting off our dock! I don't care how many beasts you've wounded! You're scaring away everything!" the fisherman that pulled them up began to yell. He shook his fishing pole at the duo, particularly at Gwyn. They obliged and began to walk off the dock and into the city.

"So, what parts of the city have you not seen yet?" Odell asked.

"I have hardly seen any of the city," Gwyn replied as he wiped some water off his forehead.

"You haven't seen anything!" What were they doing?" Odell practically yelled while they exited the dock area and entered one of the city's main roads. Crowds of Aqueenians were walking to and fro up and down the streets. Some turned to see who was shouting but only sighed and continued their way when they saw the Hobusian and Netzian.

"They were trying to kill me," Gwyn said in a much quieter voice compared to Odell.

Odell laughed.

"That makes sense. Well, not to worry, I know this city in and out!" he said proudly while putting his hands on his hips. Gwyn made no comment but couldn't help but notice that Odell only was up to his chest in height. As far as he could tell, the Aqueenians were about the same height as a human. He wondered if the Hobusians were all short or if it was just Odell. At this moment, he wished he had paid more attention to how high Cecilia was while she chased them. He closed his eyes, crossed his arms, and nodded. The next time he met another Hobusian, he would have to pay more attention.

Odell tapped on Gwyn's shoulder while his eyes were still closed.

I know you're lost in thought, but I think he wants your attention. Mem chimed in.

"Oh, yeah, let's go see some sights!" Gwyn addressed Odell.

"Right! We are, in fact, a short walk away from some good stuff!" Odell spun around and began to lead the way. Gwyn stopped and looked at his right hand that Mem covered. He watched as he closed and opened his fist, then he shook his head.

"What are you doing? You're falling behind," Odell shouted. Gwyn sprinted forward and matched Odell's pace.

The first sight was a small marketplace in the city. While most of Quenth was filled with towering, swirling skyscraper buildings, this portion in the middle of the city was filled with a ground-level market consisting of tents and hastily set up booths. The ground was left as dirt with shiny gravel pathways to direct traffic.

The duo ended up not buying anything, as neither carried any money with them.

Gwyn and Odell walked through and looked at some of the sights. Aqueenian salespeople were selling all manners of ware, many of which that were entirely foreign to Gwyn. There were some items he did recognize, however. Swords, axes, flintlock-looking rifles were recognizable enough to him. He was also able to identify what looked like cookware and cutlery.

"Well, that's all there is to see here. Honestly, I just wanted to cut through to get to the next place," Odell explained as they continued their walk to exit the market.

"Is there something you wanted to see?" Gwyn asked.

"Naturally! This time of the year, there is a vehakul show! Lots of custom jobs and other exciting builds!"

"What's a vehakul?" Gwyn asked, but he received no answer as Odell continued leading the way.