Chapter 38:

38: Soda Pop

I was Born the Unloved Twin

Yuna, hmmm. Bookmark here

Nope! Can't remember any famous person called Yuna in my previous memories. Either they never made it big by the time I died or they went off adventuring somewhere too far away. Or you know, death. Bookmark here

There's always death.Bookmark here

I don't think this young person's cause of death should be from fanged butterflies though.Bookmark here

The troops are only in these parts of the woods due to Grampa'ssearch for me. It's absolutely not my fault, I was thrown here literally, but I still feel a little guilty if someone just straight up died in front of me. Though given how lively, slurred and drunk like he is, I don't think immediate death is too much of a concern. Bookmark here

"Yuna how about a nap? Just a little rest."Bookmark here

"Don wanna ugh nap!! Wanna kissss asssss."Bookmark here

"Pffffft you heard him!"Bookmark here

"Will kissssk all yous asssess, gonna...*yawn* wach."Bookmark here

"I think the calming drought is finally working."Bookmark here

Despite some awkward protests it's been decided that we should at least start heading toward Gable's hidden home. Against my advice it has been compromised that we could set up camp nearby the area and later consult with Grampa, leader of this ragtag group, or Gable on what to do.Bookmark here

My vote, of course, lies with Gable.Bookmark here

The unanimous decision is, however, to let Yuna simply rest and to not disturb unless he's absolutely irreversibly dying or being crippled. That's....honestly rather cruel. Bookmark here

It's partly how silly the young teen looks, inebriated rather in pain. And I'm sure everyone here has been through worse, seen much worse situations. They're not exactly disregarding or ignoring Yuna's plight, rather they're having fun with it. In that way, you make fun of a sibling or your teammate on a sports team after they hilariously injure themselves. There's no ill will.Bookmark here

It still rubs me wrong, like a scar still a little too raw. Bookmark here

Maybe I'm just sensitive from my own personal history. Bookmark here

Being ignored, having no one care for your well being, being utterly abandoned and lonely even in a crowd of people, those sort of things hit too close to home for me. It throbs painfully in the way phantom limbs, scarred all over a stump, still feels and aches even when the limb is gone. Bookmark here

Maybe that's why I'm willing to quietly behave and sit inside the transport wagon right next to where the bitten teenager is laid out on a makeshift stretcher bed. He's not quite unconscious yet, the blurred mumbling reminding me too much of when my own friends had too much to drink. Bookmark here

You make sure they drink enough water and play along to their drunk ramblings as you take them home safe. Sometimes you even have to hold hair out of their faces when the're sick over the toilet or stop them from drunk texting their exes. Bookmark here

Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday I was doing such mundane things. Bookmark here

It's obviously not the same thing but I can't stop projecting. It's familiar and I don't want anyone to feel that same sort of loneliness I have, I wouldn't even wish it on my worst enemy. Bookmark here

Besides, there are much more satisfying means of revenge. Bookmark here

Ah, I wanted lead the way back. These troops will at least partly be mine in the future, might as well get them used to it right?Bookmark here

But it's too much to ask for to lead a toddler lead. Bookmark here

Instead, I just shout out the general direction when needed while I sit here in the middle of the protected train. Obviously everyone preferred this method, keep the baby and the wounded in the middle in the wagon. It's the safest spot and we don't slow down the pace of the rest of the party.Bookmark here

"Yo, can you drink a little more?"Bookmark here

I prod the slim teenager with a flask of water but he simply turns over like a cat, mumbling nonsense childishly. This really feels too much like taking care of my drunk underclassmen. I'm even more motivated now, staying hydrated is the most important thing in these cases you know.Bookmark here

"Tasted sssshitt."Bookmark here

Ah did he mean the healing potions his teammates forces down his throat? The previous Rosalia definitely tasted those before, 0/10, would avoid. The mild ones, though not pleasant, are bearable to my child's tongue but as you up the strength so do you increase the bitterness. Bookmark here

From the scale of a too healthy green smoothie to traditional Chinese brewed medicine levels of bitter.Bookmark here

Since we fed him mid-grade it should be some level in between that. Two whole bottles were downed since inebriated Yuna kept spitting it back out and spilling them. Bookmark here

A burst of spontaneity hits me, what about my soda pop potions? They're not very effective since I am a newbie at this but they'll keep someone properly hydrated. Besides I want a guinea pig other than myself. Market research isn't needed to be done.Bookmark here

The batches with a boiled kakle berry mush base should taste alright. I have confidence in my sweets making skills if not anything else.Bookmark here

"How about drinking this, you'll feel better if you do."Bookmark here

"Nuuuuuuu more nasty usg, ....why bbaby talking."Bookmark here

I see, hmm how do you reason with an average drunk person? Exactly, you cannot. In a way, it's best to treat them like small children. Bookmark here

Also, excuse you? Talking baby my butt, I'm the older one here anyways!Bookmark here

Popping out the cork, I take an overly exaggerated swig of the fizzy concoction.Bookmark here

Mmmm it really does taste like a light fruit soda! Maybe not as sweet as I'm used to but pretty damn good for something made by my hands. Bookmark here

Since I couldn't get the liquid to carbonate, I tried fermenting it like a kombucha tea. The use of naturally explosive kakle barries gives it more of that bubbly oompf that resembles a bottle of iconic champagne or soda. With Gable's help and tips, I was able to speed along the fermentation process. In return Gable was fascinated by the seemingly exotic process. Bookmark here

The traditional drink was actually something my parents taught me how to make but it became something of a trendy health drink in recent years before I arrived in this world. Bookmark here

I wonder if that will sell here as well?Bookmark here

I have no need to fake the pleasure and satisfied sigh while drinking, though I do play it up more. It's an advertisement after all.Bookmark here

"Ah so yummy! The bubbles pop in my mouth and it's sooooo sweet. So good, I'm not sharing any of this at all."Bookmark here

"Wat was that? Gimme that shit right now."Bookmark here

"Nope, don't wanna share!"Bookmark here

"Grrr hand it over"Bookmark here

"Oh no. You took it. Boo hoo. Oh no. Please do not drink it all. Noooooo."Bookmark here

Reverse psychology works every time on kids and drunkards. Works a surprisingly high number of times of average people as well. It's clumsy but Yuna takes the bait and downs it all, more out of spite than anything. Bookmark here

The fact that he doesn't spit anything back out is a good sigh. Bookmark here

*Burp*Bookmark here

He blinks confusedly at the bottle, then back to say a few inches left of me, then back to the bottle in a daze. It's kind of cute actually.Bookmark here

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"Not bad."Bookmark here

And then he's down for nap time. Just fell over and plopped asleep, bottle rolling out his hands like Snow White's apple. Neither drowsiness nor instant sleep was one the the effects of my soda potions, so I hope it's the drunk bug at fault.Bookmark here

At least the rating I got was passable.Bookmark here

"Was it really tasty?"Bookmark here

At the voice I look down from the side of the cart and see two familiar boys, obviously the youngest of the group, casually speed walking next to my ride. Were they there the whole time? I really have to do something about my lack of perception. I'm too defenseless and easy to sneak up on.Bookmark here

But hey new guinea pig taste tasters! Maybe they won't pass out on me, I need this verified. Besides what target demographic, besides teens, could be better than kids?Bookmark here

"Mmm! Do you guys want to try one?"Bookmark here

"Could we? I'll try some!"Bookmark here

"Heck yes!"Bookmark here

Lukas makes the running jump up to the wagon first, followed by Amar. As they seat themselves in front of me I can see clearly that both boys look exactly the same as when I last saw them, a little dusty and more than a little hyper with energy. Their round faces showed excitement at the novel treat.Bookmark here

Two inter dimensional bag fresh kakle berry sodas coming right up. Shame it's not cold though.Bookmark here

Popping the cork makes a satisfying loud pop and cackle sound. It's nothing really, nowhere near as loud or surprisingly as the wild stuff that goes on around this world, it's just no one expects it to come from a plain bottle. Bookmark here

Amar takes a curious sniff and appreciative sips while Lukas suddenly drank nearly half of his in 2 gulps. Both of them said it's tasty though so that's a win for me!Bookmark here

"How is it bubbly though?"Bookmark here

"Seeeecret."Bookmark here

"Who cares, could I have another one?"Bookmark here

"Of course Lukas,. I'm still new at making these so tell me if there's any effects."Bookmark here

"I didn't notice anything, they just taste good."Bookmark here

Thank you very much test subjects.Bookmark here

Somehow the ride went a lot faster with the added company. We're different ages, ohysically and mentally, and haven't seen each other in a few weeks but the ice was broken over the soda pops. At this age there's no such thing as an awkward silence, bless. The conversation jumps all over the place and Lukas chatters more then a singing bird but it's fine, it's lively and fun. They're strange 5 year olds but hey who am I to talk. Bookmark here

We still checked to make sure the sleeping Yuna was breathing, he's mostly fine, I think. Bookmark here

I didn't even noticed we arrived until some of the adults checked up on me to reconfirm directions. A few more magically inclined people reported feeling disoriented or 'off'. The gate wasn't too far off, it was actually in viewing distance, but of course the wards must be up and they can't see it.Bookmark here

We actually may have been going around in a circle already. Whoops.Bookmark here

How nice of Gable to leave it undisguised for me though. Bookmark here

When we approached I make to get off the wagon. My legs are so short though that I had to accept the offered assistance from the boys. As nice as it is to be pampered, I want to be taller and more independent more quickly. Bookmark here

...Okay I mostly just want to be taller already!Bookmark here

"So it's just somewhere around here right?"Bookmark here

Asked a gentle-looking brunette, the one that has previously guided Lilyanne through her first sword lessons. Can't remember his name though, oh well.Bookmark here

"Yep, it right over there. I'll go tell them we're back."Bookmark here

"NO!"Bookmark here

And so we're making camp with the drunk sleeping Yuna and I in the middle. Weird, a little rude but mainly just very weird.Bookmark here

Even if those two are still fighting it's a little excessive for everyone to suddenly grab me up and away from entering the property. I was just going to open the gate and maybe knock. It's no big deal, besides Gable probably already knows we're here with his seeing portal.Bookmark here

"Even more reason you don't need to go in Rosalia!"Bookmark here

"You're absolutely right, they definitely know with Gable's magic. And since they know they'll definitely come out to meet us. Just as soon as they're ready."Bookmark here

".....Don't...just don't."Bookmark here

Everyone's warnings are so vague and weird. Ah, it's really annoying, I just don't know why I'm so bothered by it. Am I missing an inside joke here?Bookmark here

Well, I guess since Yuna isn't straight out dying or getting worse it's fine. Sleeping like a drunk baby. Maybe I'll try sneaking in later when everyone's distracted? Ha, now that will really be a challenge.Bookmark here

In the meantime though....Bookmark here

"Ok but...does anyone else want to try 'soda pop'?"Bookmark here

----------------------Bookmark here

Author: It's hard introducing new characters. Look I already injured another one. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.