posted Apr.23.17 at 03:00 pm

They passed throught a breezeway that spanned the narrow road. Set into the wall on one side was a quiet fountain; sitting atop it, with the water rolling around its feet, was a statue of some long-limbed, long-faced creature that crouched with its hands covering its face. Liya looked up at it as they passed. It was carved from seemingly the same brown stone that the breezeway was, and time and moss had worn away some of its detail.

"Mhm," Yoshi nodded, in answer to her question, "I heard that the traditionalists have been harassing more people downtown. I just want to avoid them."

"Who?" Liya asked, as they left the breezeway.

"Er, some native Aetherians who really don't like offworlders," Yoshi explained, and added in a mutter, "or anyone who looks like one."

Liya frowned. "What, like, do they get violent?"

"They're starting to," Yoshi admitted. "No one does anything about them. They're 'protecting Aetherian tradition.'"

"Hm." Liya cast a suspicious look back the way they had come, and nearly walked into Yoshi, who had stopped.

"Oh, ethat," he said plainly. "The bar's closed."

The bar, seen now in the daylight, was a little white-plaster building pressed right up against the brown stone breezeway. It had a small green tin awning, and petal-like patterns were hand-painted around the three arches that covered the empty porch. It looked slightly run-down and derelict now, with the dead vines growing from cracks in the porch and its dark and empty windows, but what Yoshi was looking at was a small sign that was suspended on cords in the center arch, written in Aetherian.

"I should've known," Yoshi said, "no one wants to go where slavers have been."

Liya glanced to the side. Past the bar ran the reed fence that would encircle the courtyard behind it. It was only a few inches taller than Yoshi.

"We could just jump the fence," she pointed out, and headed for it. Yoshi followed.

"O-oh, I don't--"

"It'll just take a second," Liya told him. "No one'll see."

Yoshi looked around anxiously as Liya started to haul herself up on the fence. Seeing this, she said irritably, "stop worrying."

Without much trouble she then swung herself over the top of the fence--and then something caught as she disappeared over the other side, and tore loudly.