September 30, 2020 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

MeaZea and WooFZee have been to a lot of places. They’ve done a lot of things. And yet, there’s still something about stepping into the gift shop that seems new and wild. It’s nothing special. One more cavern where the air is warm and damp from the hot springs. The shelves are lined with stuffed toys, key chains, and post cards.

It looks like it’s genuinely a tourist attraction…only everyone that is milling around is a fire elemental, and lives here.

“This is weird,” says MeaZea.

WooFZee nods. They walk up to the counter.

The fire elemental behind it says, “well howdy hey! I’m Emberly! How can I help you today?”

“I have a question,” says MeaZea. “Why are all these people here?”

Emberly’s smile goes tight. “Well, to see the wonderful hot springs, of course!”

“I mean, here, in the gift shop,” clarifies MeaZea. She supposes that she could be sneaky, like Ragon has been…but that hasn’t worked very well for the elk-centaur so far.

WooFZee’s ears twitch. He asks, “if all these people live here, why do they have to pay to come through? Some of them didn’t even get in the – “

Emberly shushes him. She looks to the left, and then she looks to the right. The fire elemental leans forward, dropping her voice down low. It crackles and snaps, like fire. “Don’t be so loud!”

MeaZea says, “I’ll be even louder if you don’t tell me!”

“Fine, fine! Just! Buy something and I’ll meet you outside after my shift,” says Emberly.

MeaZea puts a stuffed animal on the counter. She slides hr gold across and says, “if you don’t show up, I’ll just come back inside.”

“I’ll show up,” promises Emberly.

Twenty minutes later, Emberly does, indeed, go to join MeaZea and WooFZee. The duo are still lingering near the entrance to the hot springs.

Emberly says, “not here. You can come back to my house.”

She leads the way through town, and into one of the strange fire made buildings. There, she says, “I can’t believe it took this long. Some of us have been placing bets, you know.”

MeaZea asks, “some of who?”

“I mean, us. The normal ones. The people who aren’t part of the Council,” says Emberly.

Dryly, WooFZee asks, “let me guess. The Council decided it would be best to move here.”

Emberly says, “most of us didn’t have a say in the matter. They decided to move out here, and they have the Fire Ruby, so we had to go too.”

MeaZea says, “why don’t you start at the beginning.”

Emberly takes a deep breath, nods, and starts telling her story.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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