Chapter 126:

A Base of Operations

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The team drove around the city for about an hour before finally making their way to the so-called ‘Party Street.’ Though, it should have taken only five minutes in a properly laid out and traffic-free city. Odell slowly navigated their vehakul to a brightly colored and blinking inn that looked more like a casino than a place to rest their heads.

“We will get a room, and Harlan will take the Ali to put in long-term parking,” Rheba said as she carefully stretched her long leg out of the cramped Ali.

“Wait, can’t we–” Odell was interrupted as he was pulled by the Bentulousian warrior away from the Ali-442. Harlan got into the vehakul and nodded to the others. “Wait, Harlan!” Odell cried out as the Ali floated away.

The Hobusian prince crossed his long arms and puffed his already puffy cheeks to show his disappointment with the others as they entered the inn. They paid him no mind as they got into the building and checked out three rooms. Harlan returned in no time at all, and the whole group sat in one of their rooms.

The inside of the inn was just as bright as the outside. The bedding and furniture were covered in a neon yellow fabric, and the walls were painted an electric blue. Shiny chrome wall art hung around the room, and lime green trimming divided the pink carpet from the walls.

“So, what’s the plan?” Gwyn asked while trying not to stare too much at any of the bright room décor.

“Let’s go right up to the mayor’s office!” Fiona happily declared. The others shook their heads.

“We will not get an audience with the mayor so easily,” Rheba said.

“Should he prove to be an adversary, we will not want an audience with him,” Hal added.

“Where even is the mayor’s office?” Gwyn asked.

“Probably in central Nun; we are in Nunno currently,” Harlan whispered to him.

“I thought we were in Nun,” the Nonpareil replied.

It took the group staring at him for a while before they picked up why he was confused. Odell was the first to realize. He made an ‘ah-ha’ expression and smacked a fist on a palm.

“Nun as a city is almost as large as some nations. As such, it is divided into several districts,” the Hobusian prince began to explain. “Nun Central is in the middle of the city. The other sections of the town are named with the four directions. On a map: Nunvo is at the top, Nunan is on the right, and Nunno is on the bottom. The last section to the left, Nundy, is currently being built.”

Gwyn nodded to show that he understood. He began to relate the directions with his earth equivalents in his mind.

“As it is our first time in the city, I would think we ought to take time and explore today,” Rheba said.

“Oh, like a vacation?” Fiona asked.

“But, I’ve already been here…” Odell added.

The Bentulousian warrior shook her head.

“The day is already well underway. We ought to take some time to become acclimated to this strange city's sights before we try to investigate within it. If we stay in Nunno, it may also contribute to our investigation.”

Hal nodded in agreement with Rheba.

“Do we split up?” Odell asked.

“We might want to, but not individually. Maybe two groups of three, but how should we divide the team?” Rheba thought out loud.

“Maybe we draw straws?” Gwyn suggested. The others stared at him blankly.

“Uh, I hold a bundle of sticks that all look the same, but what is hidden is different. We each grab one, and that is how we split up.” The others continued to look at the odd human blankly.

Gwyn gave up on his explanation. He quickly bonded with Mem and made a series of several sticks with the hotel's chrome wall art. Three of the sticks were made with an orb and the end, and three more were made without. He showed the group and then held the sticks, so only the identical ends were visible.

Odell caught on quickly and selected his choice. He pulled one with a sphere. Rheba was next and drew a stick that did not have a sphere. The others made their choices, leaving Gwyn with one leftover.

The groups formed consisted of Hal, Odell, and Fiona in one and Rheba, Harlan, and Gwyn in the other. The Zenotote scientist and Bentulousian warrior glared at each other with fiery eyes as they realized they were stuck in a group together. Gwyn sighed as he awkwardly stood between them.

Hal, meanwhile, stood with crossed arms and a frown as Fiona and Odell engaged in a chat on either side of him.

“Hey, Odell, I once heard theirs a nice restaurant somewhere in this part of town.”

“There are a lot of nice restaurants, and this is a big city; you’ll have to be more specific.”

“They serve Aqueenian dishes with a Hobusian flair, or so my father said after visiting once,” Fiona clarified.

“Ah, I know the place! My uncle took me when we visited,” Odell said with a smile

“We came for business, not eating,” Hal grumbled to the two of them.

The two groups departed their room and headed out into the city. Later, the hotel staff would find the damaged wall art and add a hefty fee to the final bill.