Chapter 024
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Sunlight is beaming through the window of the inn room. There are occasional sounds from the outside as signs of activity can be heard in the streets below. Aurora is already wide awake inside her drawer, dressed in her black bodysuit as she brushes her hair. Markus is slow to wake up, but he forces himself out of bed when he sees the bright light. Eclair is buried under her makeshift bed while sleeping soundly.

Markus walks over to the window to see how Montillo looks in the daylight. Peering outside, he sees a town full of life. Horses and carriages occupy the streets while all manner of pedestrians travel the sidewalks. The shops are open as customers move in and out for their errands.

Looking further beyond the streets below the room, Markus scans the entire town. Most of the buildings are one or two levels, with scattered three and four stories too. Using his experience traveling western America, he estimates the town size at about five thousand people. The amount of buildings certainly remind him of Salida and maybe Taos from back home.

There's a tug on Markus' shirt which draws his attention away from the window. Looking back, he sees Aurora was the one who did it. Without armor, the black bodysuit accentuates her athletic curves very well. Markus forces his eyes to stare at her face in an effort to not be rude. He then sees her tap her head while pointing to him.

“Alright, go ahead.” Markus replies with a nod.

It was now becoming a ritual between the two, as the right arm of Aurora glows with magical bands of the translation magic. She touches the forehead of Markus and causes the magic bands to react.

The pain causes Markus to back himself into the wall to steady himself. He groans as he says “Goddamnit, I'm never going to get used to that.”

“Better learn the language then big guy.” Aurora says with a wry smile before flying back to her drawer.

Eclair meanwhile has woken up as a reaction to the noise outside and the conversation within the room. She peaks over the side of her drawer, and sees how everyone else is doing. The sunlight is too bright for her, but with a yawn, she begins to make herself ready for the day too.

Once ready to move again, Markus walks over to his bed and resets it. When finished, he walks to the corner where his belongings are and grabs the backpack. He tosses it on the bed and begins opening all the zippers, unloading everything from inside. Aurora and Eclair have now stopped getting ready to watch Markus.

In his mind, Markus is making a list of everything he owns. The two books, money pouch, and journal from the dead man are put aside. The ornate dagger and golden locket are separated too. Now he begins listing off the remaining objects from the backpack.

“Flashlight, 2 pound Tannerite container, one MRE, emergency poncho, magnesium fire starter, survival fishing kit, gas mask filter, compass, multi-tool, wool beanie, pocket knife, first aid bag, para-cord bundle, two hand flares, and small ammo box.” Markus says as he grabs each item and organizes them on the bed.

The ammo box is then opened, and Markus dumps the contents onto the bed. He shuffles the items and says “Two fifty-round pistol boxes and four twenty-round rifle boxes.”

Markus walks over to the remaining items in the corner by the dresser. He grabs all the items that were once in his pant pockets and brings them to the bed. Once more he begins listing off objects “Wallet, smartphone, keys, digital camera, sharpie, another pocket knife, bandage roll, watch, some coins, and a bunch of receipts.”

Eclair and Aurora meanwhile have their hands on their chins as they lean over their drawers watching Markus count off various items. Some objects they recognize, and others are a complete mystery to them. Aurora, being well-traveled, points to some items and explains them to Eclair when she has questions about them.

Once more, Markus walks back to the corner where his remaining items lay. With a finger pointing, he says “AMD-65, hammer, combat vest, gas mask, hunting knife, jacket, gloves, and boots.” He then kneels down to the combat vest and starts touching pockets while saying “Angle flashlight, magazines, map of the four corners, and extra bandages.”

Markus then stands up and points to the pistol on the nightstand saying “Lastly, the clothes I'm wearing and my Steyr.” Walking to the bed again, he leans back with his hands behind his head. Deep in thought, Markus thinks about everything before saying “Fuck. Half this shit is useless for my situation. We really did grab whatever we could fit inside.”

“Done?” Eclair asks. Perhaps because she was distracted by Markus, she never completely finished fixing her hair. The curly blonde once again has frizzy strands everywhere. “Maybe you can grab us food from downstairs. Or make us the MRE thingy.”

“No, bad idea with the MRE since the trash would need to be hidden. But what do you mean food is downstairs.” Markus replies to Eclair.

“Last night I saw a sign saying breakfast is served here for guest.” Says Eclair as she lazily hangs over the side of the drawer. “I could definitely use some food.”

Markus didn't see any such sign, but admittedly was distracted while talking to Phil. Without many options, he decides to grab his boots and jacket. Putting everything on, he then walks over to the nightstand toward his pistol. Markus tucks the weapon in between his back and pants before hiding it under clothing.

“Alright, I'll check it out.” Markus says as he walks out of the room.

Walking down to the main lobby, Markus casually tries to avoid bringing attention to himself. At the back wall, food has been laid out on several tables. Muffins, bread, juice, fruits, and various snacks can all be seen.

Phil is manning the counter by the front door. He waves to Markus, and he waves back at the man. Only one other guest is sitting in a couch chair by the fireplace. Moving to the food tables, Markus grabs a plate and begins assembling a meal for the entire group. When finished he turns around to head up back the stairs with a plate of food.

As he begins the walk back, Markus looks over to the young woman by the fireplace. She is one of the beastial people, with rabbit features to distinguish her. Her tan rabbit ears are long, with a button nose holding glasses for her eyes. She sits cross-legged as she quietly reads a book, wearing a long dark blue dress. Briefly, Markus wonders if she would have a cotton tail to match all the other rabbit features.

Heading up the stairs, Markus is careful to balance the food on the place. Then, out of nowhere, a smile cracks on his face. He says to himself “A continental breakfast... this whole world is insanity. They copied continental breakfasts.”

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