Carpathia III: Episode 22 - Venus
Vayhama house, Unassumed Lands
It was difficult for Kaoru to tell how long he'd been living with the Vayhamas. The long days played havoc with his sense of time, and the only thing he could be sure of is that the time he'd been there could be measured in months.
Today, Kaoru found himself alone for the first time since the portal deposited him in the woods. Ixon was away tending to town business. Tarja took the truck to deliver meat to the next town. Reuli was with his friend, Wolfram, at his house. Quilyon was out hunting.
The house was a bit of a mess and, since everyone was usually busy with something, it rarely got cleaned. Now that Kaoru was mostly healed, he decided he could do something nice for the family that was taking care of him. He got a bucket and some soap and mixed the two. Then, he found a nice scrub brush. All was ready to give the floors a nice wash.
Except for one thing.
There would be no harm in having some music to accompany cleaning, he thought. He pulled out the old CD player that Ixon showed him before the festival and plugged it in on the counter. Then, he flipped through the CDs for something interesting. He still had the Madonna CD that Ixon gave him. Now he was looking through the others to see if there was anything interesting.
He recognized none of the bands at all.
With nothing to go on, he picked a CD with a picture of three sexy ladies on the front which was apparantly called "Bananarama." He put the CD in the player and started it up. The first song began and it was a catchy tune. Pleased with his choice, he picked up a broom and started sweeping.
It wasn't more than five minutes into sweeping that Kaoru was getting tremendously sweaty. In this heat, even minor exertion almost unbearable. Since nobody was around, he took off his shirt first. It wasn't long before he was sweeping the floor in nothing but his loose-fitting boxers.
After finishing sweeping, Kaoru turned up the volume on the CD player. He was very pleased with his choice of music and was now shamelessly dancing around the room as he cleaned. With the floor swept, he got on his hands and knees with the scrub brush. He dipped it in the water and started giving the hardwood a nice, deep clean. After awhile, the CD stopped and all around him was eerily silent. He got up and checked the player. He guessed the CD had reached the end and hit play once more. Again, the music started. This time, he jumped forward, looking for a song that he particularly liked. Finding it, he pressed the repeat button and went back to scrubbing.
With half the house scrubbed and many times listening to his favorite song on the CD, Kaoru had already learned most of the lyrics. He began to sing along as he scrubbed the floor rhythmically and danced as well as he could being on his hands and knees.
Kaoru: She's got it! Yeah, baby, she's got it!
The song looped again. Kaoru thought he'd listen one more time before turning the repeat off. This time, however, something was different. The music was loud and playing as it always had, but he could swear he could hear another voice he hadn't noticed before in the lyrics. Figuring he was imagining things, he continued to sing with gusto.
Kaoru: I'm your Venus! I'm your fire at your desire!
Again, suddenly, he thought he heard another voice in the background of the song. Again, he ignored it and went back to scrubbing and dancing.
Quilyon: HEY DICKHEAD!
Kaoru stumbled and nearly fell headfirst into the hardwood. He immediately flipped himself around and looked up to see Quilyon standing next to the CD player. She had to shout to be heard over the music.
Quilyon: How do you turn this off?!
Kaoru: Push the button with the little square on it!
Quilyon stared at the CD player for a moment before she finally found the button and pushed it. The music immediately ceased.
Quilyon: That's better.
Kaoru: I thought you wouldn't be back for a long time.
Quilyon scratched her nose and looked away.
Quilyon: That was the plan, but I shot a razorbear. It's a big one and I can't load it on the cart by myself. Can you help me?
Quilyon glaned at Kaoru and looked away again.
Kaoru: Um, sure. I can help you out.
Quilyons eyes darted towards Kaoru and then away again.
Quilyon: Good. Now go put your pants on. I can see Mr. Winky.
Kaoru's eyes widened and he looked down. Right away, he noticed that, yes, with his knee raised, Quilyon could indeed see right up his loose-fitting boxers. Immediately, he clamped his legs together and tried to cover himself with his hands.
Quilyon: I'll be waiting outside.
With a glance and a smirk, Quilyon walked out the front door. Kaoru, still quite red-faced, went to get his pants.
Unassumed Lands, The Forest
Kaoru followed Quilyon through the forest along a weedy trail that twisted through the trees. Until now, they walked in silence. After what happened in the house, Kaoru did not feel any inclination to speak.
Finally, Quilyon broke the silence.
Quilyon: Um, I know it's been a long time, but I just wanted to apologize again for shooting you.
Kaoru raised his eyebrows. Of all the things to break the silence, that was what he least expected.
Kaoru: This is going to sound strange, but I'm kinda glad that you did. If you hadn't, I wouldn't have wound up with you and your family. You've all been so kind. I just hope I can find a way to repay you.
Quilyon: Just keep doing what you do. That's good enough. Mom, Dad, and Reuli definitely like you very much. To be honest, I've been avoiding you. I thought you wanted to yell at me or something.
Kaoru: You know, being shot was probably the least strange thing that happened to me then. I didn't even consider being mad at you.
Quilyon didn't respond and continued following the trail. Kaoru, feeling a little more comfortable, walked a little faster until he was next to Quilyon.
Quilyon: Did you enjoy the Blue Star festival?
Kaoru: It was fun! Tarja's singing is really amazing!
Quilyon: Mom is a great singer. I don't care for that style though. I like the sort of music on that Madonna CD better.
Kaoru's eyes widened in delight.
Kaoru: You like her too! I'd love it if your mom sang that! Just tell me one thing.
Quilyon: What's that?
Kaoru: In all this time, you never learned how to work a CD player?
Quilyon held her hand up to her mouth and laughed.
Quilyon: I haven't listened to that thing since I was a little girl! I forgot we even had it.
Quilyon pointed ahead.
Quilyon: There it is.
Kaoru looked in the direction Quilyon was pointing. He could see a two-wheeled cart with handles on the front. It was a very simple device, with little more than a pair of wheels and an axel supporting a flat, wooden bed. He did not see any sort of bear, however.
Quilyon: The bear is on the other side of the cart.
As they approached, Kaoru could see the bear coming into view. As they got closer, Kaoru could clearly see the bullet wound directly in the center of its forehead. His first thought was that, on the day Quilyon shot him, she must have been having an off day, or else he wouldn't be standing there right now.
Kaoru: Wow, that's big.
Kaoru judged the bear to be somewhere around 400 pounds. There was a rope tied around its upper torso and the long end rose up and over a tree branch high in the air. The end dangled just above the ground.
Kaoru: I don't see how we're going to move that.
Quilyion: We're going to pull the rope to drag the bear onto the cart. I've got rocks against the wheels so that it won't move. I can't do it by myself. The bear is too big. Everything is set up. We can start when you're ready.
Kaoru wasn't sure how this was supposed to work, but he figured Quilyon knew what she was doing.
Kaoru: Just tell me what to do.
Quilyon: Simple. We're going to grab the rope and pull as hard as we can to slide the bear onto the cart.
Kaoru: Let's do it, then.
Both approached the rope. Quilyon grabbed the rope as high as she could and Kaoru did the same, with his hands slightly lower than hers.
Quilyon: Okay, on three, pull as hard as you can. One... Two... THREE!
Kaoru yanked on the rope as hard as he could. The bear scooted towards the cart a few inches.
Again, Kaoru pulled on the rope with Quilyon. Again, the bear moved a few more inches, this time, sliding onto the cart.
It took many more yanks on the rope to get the bear fully onto the cart, with Quilyon shouting "PULL!" more and more like a drill sargeant each time. Kaoru was relieved when the bear was loaded. When they were finished, Kaoru flexed his fingers, working out the cramps.
Quilyon: I see you don't work with your hands very much.
Kaoru: Not like that. I like making things and building things. I was hoping to study engineering, but I ended up here.
Quilyon: You should talk to Kaut. He's good at fixing things.
Kaoru absentmindedly scratched his nose.
Quilyon: Anyway, we have to get this bear back to the house and into the cooler downstairs before it starts to smell. Grab a handle.
Kaoru wasn't sure, at first, what handle she was talking about until she walked over and grabbed one of the handles on the cart. Kaoru immediately followed suit and took the other handle. Together, they lifted. It was easier than he expected. With the bear in the center of the cart, over the axel, it was only a matter of keeping it balanced.
Together, they pulled the cart through the forest, winding around the trees, dodging roots that were sticking up out of the ground. They chatted about various topics, but the subject of Kaut didn't come up again. For that, Kaoru was grateful. He wasn't sure what the relationship was between Kaut and Quilyon and he wasn't sure he wanted to know just yet.
All city pictures from SimCity 4