In Verse Proportion; Chapter 53, Slade 185

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 53:  Slade 185
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 212

While Shella slept, Slade went back out onto the lawns and practiced his forms again. This time he noticed a few observers, but he was accustomed to that from other worlds. When he had put in a good half hour, he went back inside, got some hot water from the porter, and gave himself a quick sponge bath rinse-off before heading to breakfast.

Shella was rising when he returned.

“Let me get you some fresh hot water from the porter,” he said.

“Mm,” she answered.

“I think you may have missed breakfast, but if you like I can sit with you over seed cakes and beverage.”

She paused a moment, then shook her head. Obviously she was not yet awake enough for conversation. He found a rag and sat on the back of the couch to polish his sword and dagger.

They were both silent for several minutes, and then she asked, “Drink?”

“I’ve got water and a jug of their wine. I don’t know what kind of fruit they use, but, well, you’ve had it.”

She nodded. “Water.”

He poured her a cup of water from the pitcher. The spigot was downstairs.

“I thought today we might take a walk around campus. It’s not like we can get lost. We’ll be moving in to our new home, hopefully within a few weeks, and it might be nice to get a look at the neighborhood before then.”

No response.

“Of course, it was just something to do. If you’ve a different idea--well, I’m just a bit bored.”

She nodded, or at least he thought she did.

Twenty minutes later she was up and dressed, and ducking through the doors they headed downstairs and outside.

Slade wasn’t sure what there was to see, but he picked a direction that didn’t go anywhere he knew--not the cafeteria, not the engineering department, not their new home. It seemed to take them through student housing. There was another open grassy space, but this one was decorated with a large fountain, like the fountains he had seen in pictures of European cities. Crowds of birds were washing in them. Slade had had cold water baths, but it was not his preference. Then it struck him that the whole scene looked like a giant bird bath. He chuckled.

“What?” Shella asked.

“Oh--in gardens back home, some people put small, I don’t know how to describe them. They’re usually like bowls on stands with something in the center, a decorative statuette or something, and a rim around the edge. They fill them with water, or maybe it just rains into them, and birds come and perch around the edges to get the water. I don’t know whether they drink it or wash with it, or both, but this just reminded me of that, and it struck me as funny.”

"What a funny thing to do. Aren’t they afraid the birds will eat the crops?”

“They put them in flower gardens, mostly, I think. Maybe they think the birds will make the gardens prettier between their colors and their singing.”

“They are certainly colorful,” Shella said, and they walked on.

They reached the edge of campus, or at least, it appeared to be so. It was a wide avenue with significant traffic--mostly carts drawn by large avian beasts, with a few steam engine trucks. Slade didn’t understand the squawks and whistles of the animal handlers, but it seemed pretty obvious that they were unhappy with the larger, noisier steam trucks. There were some shops across the street.

“Want to do some window shopping?” he asked.

“Do we need to buy windows?” she responded. He chuckled.

“No, it’s an expression. It means looking at what shops have for sale when you don’t intend to buy anything. We don’t actually have any money, although I suppose if we liked something we could get the college to buy it for us.”

“Like what?”

“Good question, really. Obviously they won’t have any clothes that fit us--we’re both too big, and our body shape is rather different from theirs. We don’t need jewelry; what we own is better than anything I would be comfortable asking the college to buy, and we don’t often wear it, other than the chains we received from the Caliph. We don’t need school supplies. We’ll want to furnish our new home, but not before it’s built, and I expect that everything we can get over the counter is going to be small. But maybe we can get a sense of what kinds of materials they have--what do they have that’s like cloth, how far have they come in their pottery, what do they use for cookware and tableware and stuff. But there’s no rush, and it’s probably almost lunch time, or will be by the time we can double back and reach the cafeteria.”

He watched the indecision on her face.

“We can come back?” she asked.

“Absolutely. Let’s go get you some food.”

And they turned away from the road and headed back toward the apartment, Slade not sure where the cafeteria was from where they were but knowing he could get there from their nest.

Next chapter:  Chapter 54:  Kondor 190
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #440:  Changing Worlds.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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