Carpathia III: Episode 39 - Integration

Unassumed Lands, Vayhama House

With the unending continuity of life on Yseri, Kaoru found it easy to slip into a routine and the longer it went on, the more he felt not only like a part of the family, but of the community as well. New Carpathia had its advantages as a large city teeming with glitzy lights and neverending attractions. It was, however, easy to get lost within its boundaries. In a city with so many, he found it difficult to feel important and valued. That he was so much younger than his sisters and his parents more focused on retirement only served to amplify this feeling. On Yseri, he was learning the value of a small community where everyone has a clear place and a role to play.

Kaoru's primary task, the one he took upon himself, was to farm the field. Since Tarja took him to the general store to buy seeds, he was quickly learning the intricacies of the land and that farming required far more knowledge than he ever imagined. The most interesting thing he discovered in his endeavors was how vegetation could grow and thrive on a planet with no rain. As he pulled the weeds in the garden, he discovered they produced deep roots that would tower five times his own height if pulled out whole. The tops of the roots secreted water that moisturized the soil and fed the plants again. It was an astonishing natural filtration system.

Kaoru wiped the sweat from his brow which poured in streams before his eyes. How he wished for a hose, but as it was, he had to carry bucket after bucket of water from the lake to pour on his newly planted seedlings. Having merely a bucket served its purpose well enough, normally, since the house bordered the lake itself. The fields, however, were vast and a short distance away. Kaoru often thought of how he might broach the topic of repairing the old irrigation boom. Perhaps, he thought, he'd do it before next planting.

As he wiped the sweat from his brow again and gazed up at the clear, orange sky, he heard a voice nearby.

Scratches: Long day?

Kaoru turned to see Scratches walking up the dusty road. He was pleased to see him as he was not able to visit him often.

Kaoru: Oh, hi! Yeah, it has been. I'm almost done though.

Scratches: I was just heading into town. I was wondering if you wanted to come.

Kaoru: Sure. I'm almost done if you don't mind waiting.

Scratches: I can help, if that makes things go faster. What are you doing?

Kaoru: Oh, it's a lot of fun. I take a bucket, fill it with water, and dump it on my seeds.

Scratches: At least it's productive. You got an extra bucket?

Kaoru: There's one in the barn. I only have half a row to go.

The rest of the work went quickly with Scratches helping and soon they walked down the road together towards town.

Ixon had already taken the truck for the day, so they had to walk. It was a long walk and they passed the time catching up. It was evening by the time they arrived and, once in town, they went to the inn, which contained the only bar in town. Kaoru always marveled at the motley collection of species that milled around and conversed easily with each other.

Since there were no tables, they found a pair of stools at the bar and ordered drinks there.

Kaoru: Scratches...

Scratches: Call me Zet.

Kaoru was taken aback at the sudden interruption.

Kaoru: Pardon?

Scratches: My name is actually Zet-isi-auf-ankh Arapaesis. That's a lot to say, so just Zet is fine.

Kaoru: Oh, well, then Zet... um... I forgot what I was going to say.

Kaoru, though flustered, was flattered. Ixon told him that even he didn't know Scratches's real name and he guessed that he didn't tell it to many people.

Zet: Anything between you and Quilyon yet?

Kaoru looked away. It was a difficult topic for him to think about since it was so much of a mess in his mind.

Kaoru: Nothing. I don't see her often, except at dinner. She's usually out hunting or hanging around with her komodo friend... I forgot his name... I think she likes him anyway. And I have no idea how I'd could even date a person and live with her parents.

Zet: That would be Kaut, and I'm pretty sure that they're just friends.

Kaoru: What makes you think that?

Zet paused and smirked, as though he were about to say something he shouldn't.

Zet: I've seen them tease each other and honestly, I think they're only half kidding. They like each other personally, but I do think they both find each other physically repulsive.

Kaoru lightened at the thought of this news. It didn't solve all his problems, but it was an answer to at least one of them.

Kaoru: I hope you're right. I should watch them more carefully. Not that I see them together much, but when I do... but that would just take more time and if I want to say something, I should do it sooner instead of later. There's still the issue of living with her parents, which might make things awkward. First thing though, I have to see her more often. Maybe I should ask her to teach me how to shoot.

Kaoru only had to think for a few short seconds to conclude that was a bad idea.

Kaoru: Oh right, that's a good idea. Then, if I make a move, she can just shoot me again...

Kaoru looked up from his ramblings at Zet. He seemed not to be paying the slightest attention to him but was instead looking at something across the bar.

Kaoru: Hey, are you even listening?

Zet turned with a start. For a moment, he appeared dazed, as though he had forgotten where he was.

Zet: Huh? What? Oh, sorry... I just... Well, there's a cute guy over there and... well, he's gorgeous.


Zet was in the middle of turning his head back to what he was looking at before when he heard something hit the bar. When he looked back, he saw Kaoru with his face down on the table.

Zet: What?

Kaoru: No, it's not you. I'm just wondering what it is about me that seems to attract gay people. My best friend is gay. Hell, all my friends are gay, except for this crazy-ass little whackjob scientist dude I know.

Zet gave Kaoru a sarcastic smirk.

Zet: Maybe your life story is being written by some pervert trying to make you crazy.

Kaoru: Ha! Well, if that's true, I hope he gets herpes!

Commissioned art in this episode from:

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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