A Night at the Market

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A mystical street market that appears nightly in the Night Canton, populated by local merchants specializing in the magical, the mystical, and the uncanny.

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Verde

Verde just looks confused at the nocturnal question. "We're here because Aunt Erica is doing a show." She neatly leaps down from the post, landing lightly on her long toes. "Uncle Jex don't like us being on the ship alone. Not after Ashes chewed on the chair-thing." She adds helpfully.

"Um." She fusses at the hem of her dress as she tries to think of something else to say - a lot of this conversation is going straight over her head, but she does understand that the two older kids are sad and afraid, and maybe lost somehow? But not really, or not in a way that can be fixed, because otherwise the nice man would have helped.

"Um. Do you want to get food? I've got some money..."

Ashes

Having finally given up on constantly growling, Ashes straightens up as the four begin to descend, and settles for putting herself between Verde and Caden. The two fox-kids do get a cursory glance, but are otherwise all but ignored.

The suggestion of food is most definitely not ignored, as Ashes pricks her ears and nods enthusiastically, apparently forgetting about Caden briefly.

Cassandra and Alan descend from the pedestral rather carefully, not wanting to risk an injury that would give them additional trouble.

Cassandra

With some amazement, the fox-girl realizes that Ashes is not really interested in her or Alan, but merely in Mr. Bennett. Of course she is clueless about the reason of this. "Hi, Ashes", she greets the larger whatkin sister, slightly insecure, but pretty sure that nothing bad will happen.
Then she turns to Verde again. "Oh, of course, I almost forgot. So, your uncle is a captain?"
Assuming that apparently their talk about being stranded away from home was slightly disturbing for the green-eyed whatkid (and still unaware how young Verde really is, because she appears physically older to her), Cassie replies with careful enthusiasm: "Yes, thanks yor the kind offer. You're very nice. Things always look better when your stomach is not empty. And maybe we could meet your aunt or uncle."

Alan

Alan very quickly overcomes a brief impulse to run after seeing Ashes - partly because his sister is beneath him, partly because suddenly the grey-furred one doesn't appear as frightening as she did earlier. Looking questioningly towards Caden Bennett, he voices his approval for getting some food, too: "That's a good idea, thank you. We could have a good meal together and talk things over... It needn't be anything fancy", he adds, concerned about draining the generous kid's funds with hardly anything to offer in return.

Caden blinks slowly, as if only just now realizing he's the adult in this situation.  "Oh yes, well... Obviously I'll treat all of you.  No need to spend your allowance, Miss Verde."  It wouldn't be right for him to let a little kid pay, surely?  And maybe it will help that Ashes child calm down a little...  "There's always plenty to eat here.  Ah, none of you are vegetarians are you?"

"No, he just has a ship. Spaceship." Verde say blithely, then shrugs when Cassandra suggests meeting her aunt and uncle, looking slightly anxious. Even she's aware that Jex doesn't entirely get on with people... "Um. Maybe? They'll probably find us after Aunt Erica is done with her show."  She doesn't bother to elaborate on how.

Oh good, the nice man is taking the lead! "Nu-uh. Um. Ashes doen't like green stuff though."

"Not exactly", Alan replies to the helpful adult, "though we're not really accustomed to eating meat - it's considered a scarce resource back home, unless you care for rat or similar". Apparently, the fox-boy doesn't consider rat meat a delicacy, at least from his expression while making this statement. His sister silently nods in agreement.

"A spaceship!", Cassandra and Alan both let out in amazament. Back home, they would have expressed a bit of doubt. But this is not "back home", and considering what they have seen already, none of them harbors the slightest hint of disbelief.

Cassie hasn't missed Verde's slightly anxious expression. "Just if you're okay with it. Please, we don't want to cause you trouble. We'll just tag along while you're comfortable with our company, okay?"

 

He chuckles.  "You won't find any shortage of meat here, I promise you.  Though you might not always be able to identify just what sort of creature it came from."  He stops at a booth that smells strongly of roast meat and heavy spices, briefly studying the racks of food behind the vendor.  "Oh yes, these will do nicely.  I'm told they're delicious.  Four please."

He turns to present the assembled children with four long skewers, each holding a line of fire-roasted vegetables and meat.  Some are quite identifiable, like the red bell peppers and big chunks of onion.  Others, like the juicy and succulent meat, or those blue cube things, are not so easily identified.  "It's from something called a Slyzoth, though I have no idea what exactly that is.  It sounds like a mammal, though."

He might just let Verde take the one for Ashes.  Less likely to get a finger bitten off that way.

The twins both take the offered food with visible delight. It smells good and appealing to them.

Alan briefly contemplates, before taking the first bite, if he should make a remark about how he used to hunt Slyzoths with his father back home, just to pull Caden's leg, but decides against it, knowing that this kind of joke usually equals asking for more trouble. "Mmm, blue cheese... or is that a vegetable?"

"As long as that's not a sapient creature, I think I'm fine with it", Cassandra replies to Caden, equally oblivious about Slyzoths. She carefully tries a piece. "Delicious. Thank you!"

Food served on a spit is pretty convenient for the kits anyway, but the remarkably graceful way in which they use their muzzles to remove the individual pieces of grilled food without getting dirty clearly shows that they're from a rather civilized place, if that wasn't obvious before.

"It's really good", Alan mumbles between two bites, "that we're not adults, right, sister?" Cassie nods, and, after finishing her serving, explains to the others with a slight smirk: "It's just because back home, most adults consider it imappropriate to eat any meat that is not prey from their own hunting. A cultural thing, I guess." She shrugs, as if she doesn't care much herself, or doesn't understand it yet.

"Oh, that's kind of terrible.  I'd never get to eat any meat at all in your world."  He smiles.  "Not that I usually put too much stock in what's culturally acceptable, mind.  For what it's worth though, I think slyzoths are raised on a ranch, not hunted.  It would be somewhat strange if you had to kill a cow everytime you wanted a hamburger."

He doesn't have any of the food himself, just hands it out and wipes his hands clean.  He doesn't have any idea what the blue stuff is, either, and he's afraid to ask.

"Don't worry", Alan replies to Caden, "it's not as if we would force the customs of our kind on anybody. And it's not as if we would make good hunters either..."

His sister swallows the last bite and adds: "Yes, because sharpening our claws is kind of a hassle, and we don't want to accidentially offend anybody in doing so."

Having finished their meals, the twins both happen to look at their friendly provider of food: "You're not hungry?", Cassie asks concernedly, and her brother adds, hesitantly: "Maybe... you should take more care of your health?" That's of course also due to the fact that he remembers how cold Caden's hands felt.

"There are a few worlds you could go to hunt without any fear.  Though the tours for them can be somewhat expensive."

He shakes his head a bit.  "No, indeed I'm not hungry.  I have very limitted appetites these days."  He blinks at Alan, then smiles after a very brief hesitation.  "No need to worry for me, I'm more robust than I might look."  He adjusts the bag over his shoulder.  "I'm far more concerned about you two, honestly.  What are we going to do with you when the Market closes in the morning?"

Alan nods, with a slightly amused expression. "Thanks, but it's not important, I guess. Not if food is available by other means. I'd never hunt for fun, would you, sister?" Cassandra just quietly shakes her head.

After Caden's reassuring statement about his robustness, both of the kits feel no immediate need to further inquire about their generous host's health. However, as his statement amount the market's closure sinks in, two jaws drop simultaneously.
"The market closes...", Alan begins slowly, as if he just had to realize what this means, and his sister continues, equally concerned, but less drawn out: "...in the morning. Drat! What now?"

The twins look at each other, surprised by the obvious.

"We need to find a place to stay", the fox-boy begins, "and we need to leave a message if they come looking for us."
"But", Cassie interjects agitatedly, "we haven't seen much of this place yet. We shouldn't waste this opportunity and have a look around. Where's your sense of adventure, bro? Don't you feel curious to explore, just a little bit?"

Her brother shrugs helplessly, a bit torn between concern and agreement, and looks back to Mr. Bennett for advice. It's not that he doesn't like adventures. But he knows instinctively that adventures are only fun if you live to tell the tale, preferably at home.

Commissioned artwork by Lucheek

Artwork by Austin "Lucheek" Vanderwilt - http://lucheek.com

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