Two moons over, p.21
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       Two Moons Over, p.21

           Levi Shipley
 
night the city was dark, and few lights were lit. He could remember seeing cities aglow with artificial lights at night. Always bustling and always noisy. But that had been back . . . where had that been?

  The furious red sun crested over the horizon and brought life to the sleeping city. Cecil could see people coming out of their hotels and houses after dawn and going about their business. Some stretched and yawned when the sunlight hit them on the other side of the door, reminding Cecil of a feeling he had a hard time remembering. It wouldn’t be long now before people came to this overlook to see the sunrise, and he didn’t care to stay and watch it with them.

  He took the steps this time that brought him down on a street he’d been the night before. He made his way from there to where he’d seen closed stores. If he was going to buy clothes, he might as well do it now. The stores were worlds apart from their nighttime counterparts. Darkness and abandonment were replaced by light and movement, which amazed Cecil. So governed by the light were these people, and he supposed he would be too.

  Nine

  Manns was the store he walked into, a popular low priced clothing chain on Destursha. Cecil just hoped that they had clothes that fit him properly. Shirts weren’t so hard for him to come by, as dogmen and aemon were his size. It was the pants that could be a challenge. Both aemon and dogmen had tails to be dealt with when wearing pants, and if you didn’t have one to fill the hole in the back of your pants, people could see your underwear. Of course novians had no such tails, but if he were to try and wear novian sized jeans, he’d hardly cover his knees. And of course there were elves, who had the exact same kind of clothes Cecil needed but were always too slim for him to put on.

  He found a few pairs of shirts without much trouble, and had no more resistance with the two sub clothings. He ended up asking an employee if they had any oversized elven jeans or perhaps some ogre wear that wasn’t so ridiculously large. They had none and decided that he might be able to get by a bit longer without fresh jeans.

  Now that he had luggage of a sort, it would be best if he could find a hotel to keep his wear out of the elements. Cecil had accounted for hotel costs before he left even though he knew he didn’t need to stay in one. He carried with him now about four and a half thousand troths, which would be horrendously stupid for people who were vulnerable to being stabbed or shot. And at this point he wanted to blow the money somehow. He had too much of it and never any reason to spend it. He thought of how terrible he must be to have all this cash to spend and bemoan it. Maybe, he thought, if he didn’t spend it by the time he returned to Redora, he would give it all away.

  There was an inexpensive (comparatively) hotel five blocks uptown from the station. He hated the idea of staying in a place so posh, but it was the cheapest he’d seen since entering town and doubted he’d find any more reasonable.

  He walked through the main entrance which was a large rotating glass door. He’d always thought these doors were artful but inefficient, but he had to wonder when he’d seen one of these before. The lobby was adorned with oak furniture and seats that looked comfortable enough to swallow whoever sat in them. The sitting area was to the left and separated by a doorless threshold. To the right was a gift shop with a novian man sitting at a register in wait of customers. The lighting was soft, and every bulb had a shade. He wondered if this was to hide dirt or to create atmosphere and also thought that reading here would be difficult for the reservationist.

  Ten

  There was a solitary clerk sitting at a peninsula with a stairwell to one side and an elevator to the other. She was an elf taller than Cecil and about half as wide. She gave him a smile, and he expected to see signs of emaciation pop forth when she did, but of course this was just elven build. Her name tag suggested that her name was Reya: Daytime Manager. He knew this second half was not her name but her title, but he laughed on the inside despite himself.

  “And how can I be of service, sir?” Her voice was serious and lower than it should be. Perhaps she was coming down with a cold.

  “I need a room for the next six days, five nights.” He’d looked away and at the chairs in the next room.

  “Just for you?” She asked and followed up, “And what kind of bedding arrangements? We have some of the very best suites in all of Mirwa.”

  Cecil’s attention was brought back and he stumbled at first to reply. Thankfully she didn’t press him to answer but instead continued to stare at her monitor, which showed her what was available. “Anything,” He began, “as long as it’s inhabitable.” Cecil wanted to add an “even if it isn’t” at the end but thought better of it not to.

  “Economy rate, hmm?” She grinned but never took her eyes off the computer screen, “We’ve got a room just above us, number thirteen, that’s available. Is that alright with you?”

  He couldn’t know if it was fine for him or not, as he’d never been to that room or any room in the hotel but acknowledged the courtesy. “Yes, that’s fine for me.”

  She clicked and typed at the keyboard then looked up at him for the first time since he approached, “That’ll be one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven troths and twelve coppers.”

  He paused for a moment. Cecil knew the price would be astronomical, but it slapped his face just the same. He didn’t speak as he reached into his back left pocket and pulled out his wallet, an old leather trifold, and began counting out troths by the hundred until he counted nineteen. He handed them to the elf who just looked at him and then at the money for a moment before taking it. He wondered just what the cost would be if he’d asked for a suite and decided he didn’t want to know.

  She looked back up at him after counting the money herself and said, “Since you are paying with cash, I’ll need a security deposit of two fifty. It will be given back upon departure if no damages or problematic disturbances are made by your person.”

  He reached for his wallet again and drew two more hundreds. If he did his math well enough, he should be covered now and get back twelve troths and some coppers. She took the money and began to click away again. When she finished, she opened up a drawer under her desk and grabbed a keycard for Cecil. She handed it to him and then gave him twelve troths and eighty eight coppers.

  She explained to him how to get to his room and did so by moving her arm upward and then twisting it to show a turn. Cecil always thought these kind of arm motions were amusing because while they were nonsensical, almost anyone could understand what they meant. He used the stairs to get there.

  Eleven

  He settled himself in the room, which was still beyond his needs with its enormous television and queen sized bed. There were paintings on the walls of different places in Mirwa, some of which he recognized while others he’d yet to see. He found his right hand coming up to his forehead as a reaction to this decadence. But here he was, and it would work.

  He looked at his keycard and at the black strip on the back which allowed him to enter his room. He marveled at just how clean the card itself was, almost as if it had just been printed up that day. It was a green card with the hotel insignia on the front and the number of his room. The symbol the hotel used was two crescent moons coming together in a way that made a ring. At the center of the ring were the initials L.B., which stood for the hotel’s name Luna’s Band. Luna was an old myth about a witch that had power over the hearts of Artemis and Orion, and she was married to the essence of black crystal itself and was a part it. Silly as the myth was, it did make for good marketing for the hotel, and Cecil thought the use of twin moons to make a ring was clever.

  Now he would need to decide what to do for the remainder of his stay.

 
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