Carpathia III: Episode 59 - Sneaking Around

Unassumed Lands, Vayhama House

Kaoru spent several days after the basement abattoir tour avoiding everybody as much as he could. He hid in his room every morning and listened, waiting for the family to finish their morning rituals and go about their business. He wasn't always entirely successful. Sometimes, Ixon, Reuli, Quilyon, or, most frighteningly, Tarja, saw him. When that happened, he would slink away as quickly and quietly as possible.

When he finally made it out of the house, Kaoru would spend all day working in the field, tending his vegetables, occasionally taking refuge in the shed for a rest. He ate there. He napped there. And, when the house grew quiet late in the day, he slinked back inside, hoping that nobody would see him.

Kaoru wasn't sure how long he could bear to stay with the Vayhamas. He still felt gratitude that they took him in, but things had changed. He spent his long days in the field thinking about what he would do next. Perhaps, he thought, he would move in with Zet, who lived alone in a house that was built for a family. Kaoru wondered how he might broach the topic of moving in.

Kaoru wiped the sweat from his brow as he hauled another sloshing bucket full of water between the rows of vegetables. He knew, from what the seed seller told him, that the roots grew quickly to the water table below and didn't need much watering, but he carried on anyway, if only for something to do. He hoped he wasn't ruining them.

Quilyon: I'm so sorry, Kaoru.

Kaoru nearly dropped his bucket as he was pouring water on his vegetables. He looked up to see Quilyon, looking towards the ground, avoiding eye contact.

Kaoru: Oh, Quilyon. I... um... I thought you'd be off hunting by now.

Kaoru put down his bucket as Quilyon continued to stare at the ground.

Quilyon: I wanted to come and talk to you first.

Kaoru looked for a dry patch of dirt and sat down.

Kaoru: You have nothing to apologize for. I'm the one who barged into your home and messed everything up.

Finally, Quilyon looked at Kaoru with her eyebrows raised.

Quilyon: No, it's not like that! I mean, I'm the one who shot you, after all. But still, you're family now. I know Dad and Reuli like you and they're worried. I like you too. I don't know what got into Mom. I'm not a little girl anymore!

Kaoru glanced around, trying to find words for his thoughts. He found his head such a jumble that all he could do was sit where he was, opening and closing his mouth.

Quilyon: What did Mom say to you? I asked her and she won't tell me.

Kaoru: Well, she didn't kick me out, even though I thought she might. All she did was take me downstairs and show me how the animals you hunt are prepared for sale.

Quilyon: That's it?

Kaoru: It was a very graphic description.

Quilyon turned her head slightly and started chewing on her thumbnail. She gave off a deep, quiet growl.

Quilyon: Hrmmm... What is Mom up to...

What seemed like an eternity of uncomfortable silence passed between the two of them. Kaoru wanted to say more, but he still couldn't find the words. He didn't know how to describe what he experienced in the basement that evening.

Quilyon: Why don't you come with me hunting today? Maybe we can figure a way to work this out.

Right away, Kaoru's mind flashed back to the basement and images of the heavy cleaver and the curved skinning blade passed through his mind. He felt that Quilyon was worth fighting for, but at what cost? He didn't want to mess up her life for his own selfish aims.

Kaoru: I don't think that would be a good idea. Maybe in a few days. I have some things to think about first.

Quilyon sighed in exasperation and curled her lip.

Quilyon: You do that. And while you're sulking, I'm getting to the bottom of this.

To Kaoru's astonishment, Quilyon suddenly grabbed his shirt and pulled him in close.

Quilyon: For now, we are going to go into town, have a little fun, and forget about this for awhile, okay?

Kaoru stared at Quilyon in dumbfounded silence, with several thoughts racing through his mind at once. Suddenly, and inexplicably, he blurted out the most mundane thought that passed through his brain.

Kaoru: But... my vegetables...

Quilyon: They can wait. I think you've drowned them quite enough.

Refusal wasn't an option, not that Kaoru wanted to anyway. It was, however, a long walk to town and he wasn't sure how she intended to get there.

Kaoru: It's an awfully long walk, isn't it?

Quilyon: We'll take the truck.

Kaoru peered over Quilyon's shoulder. Sure enough, the truck was parked beside the house. So engrossed in his work, he hadn't noticed it.

Kaoru: Oh, Ixon didn't take the truck today. I wonder why.

Quilyon: One of the village council members picked him up this morning. Emergency meeting, he said. I don't know what it was, but Ghestalt was supposed to do something and he's disappeared again.

Kaoru: Oh, right. That guy. I hear a lot about him, but I almost never see him.

Quilyon: The less, the better. I don't like the way he looks at me or Mom. Anyway, let's go.

Without waiting for an answer, Quilyon grabbed Kaoru's hand and briskly strode through the field to the truck. Kaoru stumbled a little at first, but made no protest. A day of distraction with Quilyon sounded like a welcome respite to him.

Commissioned art in this episode from:

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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