Chapter 104:

Prior to Leaving

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Gwyn was the first to wake moring after the festival's last day. He groggily reached from a bed he had been provided in Mamie’s home and tried to grab his phone. The festival had been long, and everyone had partied hard on their way. On the first day, Gwyn had unknowingly consumed more of a unique blend of alcohol than he had done at any college party combined. Fortunately, the townsfolk realized what was going on and cut him off before too long, but the weird Aqueenian elixir had the rest of the festival to be a blur for the Nonpareil. His head was spinning, and he forgot where he was for a moment.

“Right, Resh,” he said when he couldn’t find the phone. He stretched out his arms and yawned as he sat up. It took him a few moments longer to realize that he was being watched from beyond the room’s door. She was peeking around the edge of the door frame.

“Morning, Bonfilia,” he said with a yawn.

Bonilla had woken before and was eagerly waiting to talk to Gwyn.

“Nonpa-el, Mommy says you all are leaving today; is that true?”

Gwyn rubbed the back of his head and sighed.

“Yes… you see, we are actually on a super important and secret mission,” he told the girl. Her large eyes grew wide with curiosity.

“Really!” she said in surprise. Gwyn nodded in response. He couldn’t be sure Bonfilia was the same, but he recalled when his younger sister was about the same age; she would cry when he or his parents left to go anywhere. He wanted to try to avoid that if at all possible.

“Oh, your up,” a voice with a lazy yawn came from the doorway behind Bonfilia. Odell had woken up and was dressed to leave with his Green Needaimus hanging on his shoulder. His yellow eyes were half shut, and his bony crown lacked a certain sheen. Though Gwyn did not know it, it was common for Hobusians to apply a wax polish to their crowns in the mornings, and Odell had gone several days without doing so. “I’m going to supervise the finishing touches on the Ali-442; just have everyone meet me there when they are ready,” the prince said before leaving Gwyn’s view. He had worked in part with the miners to, at first, fix but later upgrade their provided transport. With encouragement from Gwyn, they had also installed the bandit’s Gatling gun on a slide that could be raised out of the roof.

Bonfilia quickly forgot about Odell and turned back to Gwyn.

“Is Princess Fiona going with you?” she asked.

“Er, yes, we’re all leaving. Would you like to say goodbye?”

The small green Aqueenian nodded in response.

“Well, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind—” Gwyn began to speak, but Bonfilia ran to Fiona’s room as soon as she heard what she wanted, “wait! You should let her sleep longer!” Gwyn’s words came too late as the small child was already opening the door and waking the sleeping Princess down the hall.

“Princess Fiona, Princess Fiona!” Bonfilia said repeatedly.

Fiona groaned and pulled her bedsheets over her head.

“Five more minutes, Hermina,” she managed to say somewhat coherently.

Gwyn shook his head and looked over to Mem, who had curled up on a nightstand the night before. The Needaimus was still asleep or in a state that resembled it. He couldn’t be sure how the creatures functioned and if sleep was required.

Gwyn poked the blue Needaimus that somewhat resembled a wyvern, and Mem jumped up instantly.

“Wait, no, not the furnace… oh, good morning, partner! I had one crazy dream,” it explained.

“Do you dream?” Gwyn asked as Mem flapped its wings and perched itself on his shoulder.

“Wouldn’t you like to know, hehe,” the Needaimus replied. Gwyn rolled his brown eyes and walked out of the room. Fiona had been thoroughly awakened down the hall and was trying to entertain Bonfilia by answering all her pressing questions.

“What is it like in the castle? Do you get to eat cake every day? Do you have lots of servants? What are your siblings like?” Bonfilia carried on with questions with an unrelenting speed only capable of a child.

As the green Aqueenian child carried on, the others also began to wake up. Rheba took special care to maneuver outside the door that was much too short for her. She began to tiptoe to the stairs. Harlan exited from a room simultaneously, and each reached the top of the stairs at the same time.

“Shorties first,” Rheba said with a wave to gesture Harlan should go down the stairs. Her tone had a slight sting as she spoke to Harlan. The scaly yellow-green Zenotote had a displeased expression but began her descent down the steps. Hal quickly exited his room and slid in after Harlan.

Rheba turned to Gwyn and gestured for him as well.

“I can wait,” he told her. She shrugged and began a very slow and careful walk down. Her tall stature made it awkward for her to go downstairs meant for shorter beings. Ordinarily, she might forgo the steps and leap down instead, but the warrior thought it best not to do that in someone’s home.

Mamie was in the middle of preparing a large breakfast when Gwyn reached downstairs.

“Oh, it’s good to see that your awake!” she said as she moved what looked like a skillet from a stovetop. She put soft yellow food on the plate, which Gwyn assumed was eggs. “Come stay and eat!”

“Thank you for your kindness, but it is probably best that we head out quickly,” Rheba said.

Mamie shook her head.

“It’s not best to head out on an empty stomach,” Mamie said, “Or stomachs?” she added as she vaguely remembered hearing a rumor about how Bentulousians had multiple stomachs.

Gwyn shrugged.

“I don’t see an issue with eating something,” he said.

The others agreed, and soon, they were eating a plate of egg-like food and something that resembled beans. Fiona and Bonfilia came after and joined in. Gwyn quickly realized that the food only looked like eggs and beans in appearance and was something else entirely. The texture was chewier, and the taste had a slight bitterness that was incredibly overwhelming to Rheba and Harlan if expressions were any indication.

Fiona seemed unfazed by the meal, so Gwyn assumed it was some alien dish he was not acquainted with and ate without making a complaint. Still, Gwyn silently wished for the flavor from the similar-looking breakfast on earth; it had been a favorite of his father’s.

He quickly finished the breakfast along with the others on his team. Though they hadn’t noticed, Mamie had been eyeing her watch the whole morning. She did once more as they finished eating and nodded.

“Well, your vehakul should be waiting for you at the village entrance,” she tried to sound chipper as she spoke to them, but a part of her wanted the heroes of their town to stay a little longer. Mamie shook her head. “Shall we go?”