Glasskull, Lumeus, Moccasin, Palacia, Rick
Once Rick was comfortably sitting in the driver’s seat of the Range Rover digitized by Crimson, he accepted Palacia’s offering of grenwurm. The great thing about grenwurm was that one didn’t have to smoke it, Rick enjoyed chewing on it in an effort to keep his mind focused on one thing. Palacia held open a small, wooden box that was carved with intricate designs, picking a small, purple dried flower of grenwurn to masticate on while he waited for everyone else to hop into the car. Rick didn’t like waiting, and being the gracious host that he was, turned to look at the members of the trip slowly trickle out of the dentist office Crimson was cloaking as. Rick honked the horn twice quickly, getting anxious looks from Benjie and Kiri who considered such actions as rude.
“Shotgun!” MOQ sprinted towards the Rover, her exosuit transforming into a bright pink parka. She took on the appearance of a teenage girl, her antennae splitting into thousands of perfect blonde strands and her third eye disappearing into her forehead.
In MOQ’s fervent rush to sit in what she called Shotgun, Palacia clicked his tongue and made his way into the back of the vehicle, sitting in the middle.
Lumeus, who Rick was wary about anytime he was close to the strange being, climbed in after MOQ, asking if they could go to the Cardiff Central Market.
“Uh…I don’t see why not…not that I’m looking for a reason to say no…uh, yeah, let me input it into the GPS,” As Rick looked up the directions to Cardiff Central Market, Trek passed by the window in an impossibly thin Hawaiian shirt, his face, and most of his skin, a light shade of pale blue.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” was all Trek offered, Rick gave him a thumbs up and turned on the radio. MOQ snickered, pulling out a roll of plasmic bubblegum, claiming a juicy piece for herself, before passing it around to the others.
Lester left the ship along with the others, trying to remember if he’d heard anything about Earth. He was certain there was no mention of it in the Library, otherwise he’d have remembered. ‘I haven’t seen snow in a long time’ he thought, watching the petals fall to the ground. Suddenly, he shuddered. ‘I haven’t felt this cold in a long time, either’ he thought as he murmured Horacio’s Warming Wave. Almost immediately he felt the Wave surrounding his body, shielding him from the cold. He approached the rovers and looked at them curiously. “That’s what people use here for transport, huh? Interesting design…” he said, not forwarding the thought to anyone in particular. After a bit of thought, he went into the car Rick, Lumeus, MOQ, and Palacia were already in. After all, one familiar face was better than none, even if that face belonged to a being Lester still had a lot of trouble understanding. As he sat down, his flying tome rested on his knees. “Have any of you been here before?” he asked, trying to start a conversation.
Lumeus nodded. “Yes. I was here over 100 years ago, before this planet’s Great War. Back then this city was one of the world’s most successful exporters of coal. Good for the economy, bad for the environment. Everything was choked in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and mercury. The city was very dirty. And toxic.”
Lumeus gazed out the window. “It looks a lot better now.”
Rick was getting impatient just waiting around so he turned on the car, hoping it would put a little pep in the latecomers step.
“I’m from Earth, though not this one, mine was very...mundane, I guess, we definitely didn’t have any dragons in mines,” Rick said sarcastically, he still didn’t believe there was a dragon hiding out in Wales, of all places.
“Personally, I think Earth is pretty interesting. Everything here is so… primitive. It’s like traveling 2000 years into the past.” MOQ offered, smacking her gum contentedly.
A small smile played on Lumeus’ lips at the word “primitive”.
“Primitive?” Rick asked as he fiddled with the heating controls, “Isn’t your planet like, rows and rows of honeycomb towers, MOQ?”
Rick unwrapped the piece of gum MOQ had given him and popped it into his mouth, creating a giant glob of plasmic gum and grenwurm.
“Juicy,” Rick said, turning to MOQ and giving her a big smile with the giant glob spread across his teeth.
Palacia had been chewing his grenwurm for some time now, embracing the drug’s furthering effects with each chew with growing delight. Impressive stuff, truly it was lucky that he and Rick had met the “pilot” Kirble. His mind flitted between arbitrary thoughts before the methodic snowfall entranced his mind. The constant voiceless chatter from within his vessel quieted down, either they were also enthralled by the snowfall or the grenwurm was impressive indeed. Though he’d caught a bit of the conversation, enough to know they were heading to a market of sorts. Although their identity had slipped his mind, completely.
“What an odd bunch we are, a collective of immortals, mortals, some of us may even be coined as gods. Yet here we are going to a market in bloody Wales, whilst hunting for a supposed dragon in a mine. Strange, no?” He paused, suddenly aware he’d entered into the midst of a conversation, “My kind are awfully arrogant about our superiority to other sentient creatures, it’s a refreshing change of peace for so many powerful beings to be open to potentially simplistic endeavors. Though ‘simplicity’ is of course objective.” He let out what could be observed as a nervous laugh, though he wouldn’t strike a person as being the nervous type.
“I don’t even know what a dragon is. I’m just here for the sights, to be honest.” MOQ cocked her head to the side, brushing a few holographic hairs behind her ear. “Lumeus. What exactly do they sell at the market anyways?”
Lumeus’ eyes darted back and forth for a second as he counted. “There are over seventy vendors that sell goods ranging from-“
“You know what? I want it to be a surprise. Don’t tell me anything
.” MOQ flashed the storyteller a devilish grin, before turning to Rick, who was rolling his eyes behind his aviators. “What?”
Upon receiving no response, MOQ feigned sadness, before leaning into him, hand laid carelessly on the stick, a childish glint in her eyes. “How’d they let you run this thing anyways? You can barely manage your own ship. They must really
Rick, entirely focused on trying to spot MOQ’s third eye in her teenage form, was taken aback by her sudden questioning of his character. That this happened in front of Lumeus, a creature he couldn’t even begin to understand, was enough to make Rick start the car and smash down on the gas….only to have the car jerk forward violently as the tires slipped on the snow.
“Fuck...eh, I mean, these manual cars, grew up driving automatic, hehe,” Rick took his foot off the gas and tried again, his cheeks turning a slight shade of crimson.
“Hey, hey, I was just joking! I’m sorry. I’m sorry
“What?! I’m not bothered, MOQ, haha, these are all adults going on a road trip, it would be pathetic if I had to keep an eye on them,” In an attempt to protect his ego, Rick reached for the radio and turned it on, Louie Louie by the Kingsmen played through the speaker system.
Palacia, startled by the sudden jump of the car, frowned. “Okay, children.” He looked at MOQ. “Settle down and let the man drive.”
“I was just about to, trust me.” MOQ sighed, before rolling her eyes. She hated being talked down to. By the second chorus of the road trip song, she had made up her mind to give him the old one-two. In a flash of light, MOQ fazed out of her disguise and put on her regular insect-like visage, staring Palacia down with three lightless eyes. “By the way, I am a century older than you. But if it makes you feel better, you can keep on chewing your space weed and telling me to shut up, but as far as I’m concerned, I am old enough to ignore you.”
Rick laughed out loud, glad the spotlight had been taken off him and placed on Palacia.
“At what age do you have to listen to him?” Lumeus wondered aloud.
At that Kiri let out what was the cat equivalent of laughter, clearly quite pleased with the ongoing conversation. “Yes, yes do tell Palacia, at what age does one have to be to listen to you?” She mewed at the Soulmancer.
“Depends, how old are you, neko?”
“Certainly old enough to ignore you.”
“Well. Jump in line then,” Palacia leaned back further into his seat and popped another grenwurm bud into his mouth.
Lester listened into the conversation at first, but then got absorbed into the view outside the window. It’s been a long time since he’d last left the Library, long enough even for something as mundane as snowfall look fascinating. “Beautiful” he whispered, observing the snowflakes surrounding the car.
“Benjie, take the wheel,” Rick let go of the wheel as Benjie quickly grabbed it with his little paws, trying his best to keep the car on the road as Rick picked a piece of Grenwurm stuck between his teeth. "Alright, it’s early and all I had back on the Ark was a couple drinks, you guys wanna stop to get something to eat? Does anyone know if the local food is any good? From what I remember British food isn’t particularly...interesting.” Rick blew a giant bubble of gum before it popped and covered his mouth in the bright pink substance.
Rick gently moved Benjie’s paws from the wheel and took over, loudly singing along to the Kingsmen’s Louie Louie.
“I vote eat!” Benjie barked out excitedly, shooting his paws up in victory.
“Me too! I want to taste these chips and fish I’ve heard so much about!” Kiri said with wide eyes as she licked her chops.
Rick kept looking at his side mirror, wondering where the hell the other car was, but quickly lost interest when the Cardiff central market came into view and all the glorious food stalls gave him a ‘come hither’ look. He quickly swerved into the parking lot, cutting off a school bus bringing children from a local mute school who could be heard crying out in a strange ‘whaaaa’ sound as the bus braked hard to avoid collision with the Range Rover.
“We are here!” Rick unlocked his door and kicked it open, rushing to get outside and buy some food.