Wordcount: 397 words
Back to the Beginning!
When they got back into Riverside only one of the caravans was still camped outside the city and they were heading away from Fenrith Lei. Down to one choice the group started looking for horses. Since the town catered mainly to the traveling merchants there were few horses to be had, which they found was actually a blessing. Those few horses they did manage to find were terrified of Gray. Not just uneasy, but ears flat back, teeth bared, and making noises like fury incarnate. Apparently the love went both ways because after the first two bad reactions Gray refused to go near any of the other prospects. He did, however, spend a good amount of time figuring out just how close he had to get to set the horses off in revenge.
Wendy and Riley pretended not to know him.
But the lack of horses and the lack of a caravan ended them back up in the inn Wendy and Riley had started from, looking for some way to get to Fenrith Lei. This time instead of stablework Wendy bartered for kitchen duty. Riley didn’t seem to mind, building rather elaborate soap bubble sculptures and washing dishes in-between lengthy epics where a young girl named Sunbeam and a horse named Midnight fought bubble monsters and saved the bubble world from Evil. Wendy wondered if that meant somewhere there was a gate to bubble country, but that just made her head hurt so she concentrated on her cooking.
Gray refused to work in the kitchen, claiming that his sense of smell made it impossible for him to work safely in such olfactory chaos. His hate-hate relationship with the horses precluded any work in the stables, and thus he found himself by process of elimination trapped into splitting firewood out back. Thankfully most of his cursing was muffled by distance and ambient kitchen noise.
This time they got to bunk down in an empty room instead of the stables, since with the caravans gone the inn had plenty of extra room. The head cook had picked Wendy’s brains for recipes she managed to barter three nights worth of room and board for the variety of new foods she had to offer. Sadly many of her favorites required ingredients that weren’t available, but she was able to give the head cook the general concepts and he went from there.