AN: Sorry about the delay, hellish few days.
Life V: Everything in its Right Place - D
'The whole thing? He carved that sign with his teeth?' I looked back at
the rodent. I could see him through the window, his back was to me. He
was arranging all of his vegetables, more I hadn’t seen, into different
baskets for easy grabbing.
“How long did it take?” I asked.
“A while, few weeks. Every night before bed I’d use my front teeth, it’s
how I chipped righty. I was so worried it was gonna look so crap, but I
kept on om-nom-gnawing on it and I think it came out all right.” I laughed.
“Sir, it doesn’t just look alright, it looks fantastic.” I said. “I mean,
it’s so detailed. I can’t believe you carved it without looking at it” I
frowned, “If you thought it was going to be terrible, why’d you keep
going?” The beaver shrugged.
“I wanted it, so I gotta carve it. Yeah it’s hard work but that never
killed no one, just stick with it and you’ll love it.”
“Stick with it is something I’ve never been good at.” I said. Ale pulled
out a strop and began to run his longer tooth against it. “Most of-of uh
are you busy?” Ale paused and shook his head.
“One tooth longer than the other means a dead beaver. Go on, listening
“Alright…” I raised a brow, “Where was I? Oh right, most of the time if
something was hard, I quit.”
“Most of the time?”
“Sometimes I didn’t have any choice.” I said. “I had to learn military
command and how to understand tax ledgers. I never wanted that.”
“Why not?” Ale asked. “Being a military commander guy is the best guy to
be in battle.”
“Because it was hard,” I said, “And I didn’t want to. And I was miserable
“Well there’s the problem.” The beaver said. “You didn’t have fun and you
were gonna be unhappy and stayed unhappy. You gotta find the positive in
“What’s the positive in studying ledgers and collecting people’s taxes.”
The beaver laughed.
“Well it’s...collecting taxes?” Oh right, little thing I had forgotten to
“Uh I kind of, sort of am nobility.” I said. “My name is James and I am the
future Lord of the city of Isenport in the Sathmore empire. I mean, I could
be right? Or was I?” Ale blinked. “I ended up trapped in Metamor.”
“Dang that’s a big change.” He whistled, “You changed more than most I
reckon. You ok with it?” My tail curled around my leg. “Never mind, none
my business. So what you do for work in Metamor?” I shrugged. “Shrugging
pay well?” That got a laugh.
“Uh, I don’t have a job.” I said. “Haven’t really looked.” The beaver
“Well, what you wanna do?” Another shrug. “You gotta stop doing that or
you gonna shrug your arms right off.”
“I guess.” I said. “But I really don’t know. I know I need to find
something because I am running out of money.” The beaver nodded. Slap!
“What was that?”
“Flattening stuff.” He said, still running his tooth over that strop.
SLAP! “I gotta big flat tail, gotta use it. Tween us, I hated being a fat
rat at first. Then I got to tail slap things, that was so cool.”
Slap-slap! “What you learned to do?”
“Well let’s see.” I sat down in one of the chairs, sitting on my tail.
But rather than admit I was in pain I dug my nails into the table. James
don’t be a fool, it hurts. You wouldn’t expect a falcon to perch in a
painful mews. I slid my tail out and into the gap in the chair.
“I’ve learned military tactics, but no one here knows me and I’m not fit to
command a parade.” I said. “I’ve learned one on one combat, but the only
weapon I wasn’t horrific with was a glaive.”
“I bet they need a guy with a pointy stick.”
“Yeah but I don’t want to be a soldier.” I said. “I learned how to oversee
tax collection and how to collect taxes and funnel them into your own
pockets. That’s probably not a skill most people would ask for.”
“I know a few.” He said. Now he was washing potatoes in a bowl while he
talked. The whole time I realized he had never quit working.
“I know how to intimidate people and keep them scared of you.” I sighed. “I
know how to be a Lord. I was trained in being a Lord. And now I’m not, I’m
just another guy.”
“Yeah, wonderful ain’t it?” Ok now I was confused. “You whole life you been
told you gonna lead a city. Now you can do whatever you want!”
“But the one thing I’ve been prepared for I can’t do.” I said.
“So learn a new skill err two. Yeah it’ll be hard but you can do it!” I
shook my head.
“Trying new things or learning new anything isn’t what I want. I don’t
want...I mean, I want to go back to the way things were.”
“You mean when you were unhappy and collecting taxes and shit?” That
stopped me cold. The beaver gave me a sympathetic smile with his now
smaller tooth. “You scared cuz you not just finding a job, you finding a
whole new life.” I nodded.
“I miss my city. I don’t know anyone here. I mean, what do I do? I’m so
used to having everyone know me at a glance.” I laughed. “I used to go
into the city with a chest full of jewels and ribbons you know? And now
I’m a stranger.” The future chef put his strop away.
“I ain’t gonna lie, it’s gonna be hard.” Ale said. “You done hard things
before I bet.” I shook my head. “Really? Never done one thing that took
a lot of work without arm twisting?” I smirked.
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