December 24, 2009
Residence Block F
I looked out the window with a satisfied sigh as I rubbed my eyes from my small table. Ah, breakfast. My favorite part of waking up on Christmas Eve. Nothing beats pouring out some warm heated milk into a bowl and munching some cereal. Grabbing my half-full box of Magical Rainbow Fluffy Cereal(tm), I immediately emptied the whole thing into my bowl, and respectively, my digestive system. Then, I got my coat and prepared for my trek around town.
It wasn't much, my little town. Used to be nameless for some time, then got changed to Rogue around the time when people started thinking about the fact that it had to be something. Talking to the old archivist Tom at the library, I'd learned that it was named that way because of the people in it, all recluses from the outside world, looking for a place to call home.
After staying at Rogue for a while, I landed a Mediator job, which was comfortable enough to live with, but not like the royals that lived at the upper class areas. Mediators are the only thing connecting the residents with the outside world, bringing in news from friends and family. After a bit of a scuffle back in the day, which I hardly have any recollection of, Rogue's head at the time decided he wanted to be extra paranoid that day and barred all contact with the outside. Over time, the people finally cracked and rebelled, and the Mediators were established.
I did my usual rounds of the day, with the news delivered. Some replied with smiles, some replied with smiles that hid grudges. It wasn't the best of jobs, as Mediating was reserved for the workaholic, or the insanely bored. After my rounds, I headed off to the town square, passing by Aim's Fishery for some dinner later. The Fishery was about the only place I could afford for actual food, as the only other place to avoid meat deficiency was Heat's Meat. Elite material, prime cuts that I wouldn't see in my lifetime, considering my paltry salary.
"Aim, get me some meat over here, I need my protein."
Looking up, the burly man grunted his approval. Heaving his large girth towards one of his equally monstrous freezers, he opened the door, stuffed a large bass into a plastic bag, and threw said bag at me at the speed of light. It promptly ended up in my face at the speed of light as well, which guaranteed its deliciousness. Naturally, I walked away nonchalantly out into the street with my fish in hand after payment. Outside, I met the Reaper hovering around in the snow, with Asator in tow.
"Hey, Grim. How goes?" I greeted.
"Ah, Fera. Great, great. It's Christmas Eve. I'm having some turkey with my boys tomorrow. You coming? Asator is, he hasn't got any work while I'm off."
"Oh, no thanks, Grim. I've got some stuff to deal with tomorrow. Nice of you to invite me, though, thanks."
"Ah well. Next time, then." And with that, he left me to wander some more, the assassin scowling and mumbling something about lack of blood.
Speeding up my steps, I arrived at my destination, the town square, which was buzzing with activity. Kids were running around happily around the big decorated old pine tree in the middle, people were talking excitedly about December 25th, the usual things. Looking around, I saw Shuryou wander around, hunched in search of something.
"Hey Shur, what're you looking for?"
"Wha- Oh, hey Fera. Nothing much. Just my manga's gone off flying somewhere. Those damned kids probably have it," he replied with a groan, walking towards the little boys and girls jumping around. He seemed a lot more respected around the boys for that reason, or perhaps just liked. Shuryou was well known to be a little... disliked around girls, though, especially the stricter ones. It's a wonder he actually has a wife, but nobody's seen her at all lately.
"Hey Fera." A greeting from behind, shoulder tapped. Surprised, I whirled around to see Shin munching on a piece of chocolate. He was wearing some of the stuff on his parka, too.
"Hey Shin. Snacking again? You know that-"
"Bah, I don't care of your rantings of diabetes and heart attacks and all that shit. As far as snacks go, I'm bulletproof," he interrupted.
I scowled at Shin's retort. "Whatever, just don't blame me if you get on a trip to DNR." The infirmary administrator, local nutcase who happened to stumble upon an MD.
"Blah, I don't care. DNR isn't that bad anyway."
"Twi just came back from the infirmary. I suppose you don't live under a rock enough to not know what happened to him," I retorted.
"..... Okay, point. But never mind. You wanna join me at the snack bar? I'm buying."
Reminding myself of my growing cavities, I contemplated on Shin's offer. A nice shake would go nicely for today. "Alright, alright. Just this once," I relented, my stomach agreeing with me for once, following him quickly to the Kupo Snack Bar, which was about the only diner/gorging facility there was in Rogue. The chimes jingled as I pushed the door in and looked inside. Nobody around, except for Harbin, who was brooding in the corner, and Corr, who seems to have bolted for the lavatory. Goroke greeted us heartily. "Shin, Fera, welcome, kupo! Anything for today? You know I'm not open for tomorrow, so it's your last chance for some good Moogle Bread~!"
I flinched at the thought of Goroke's culinary monsterpiece. "Hah, no way you're getting me to eat THAT, Mog." I turned to Pocket, the drinks man, instead. "Hey Pocky! Whip me and Shin up a couple of shakes, would ya?" The Whiscash twitched his whiskers, and they blurred in and out of sight as he prepared two heaping glasses of milk. "... Cash." I took the glass in my hand and began to sip. Looking towards my left, I saw that Shin had already finished his and was wiping off the cream from his face.
"I gotta go. Here, Mog," Shin said as he took out his card. His eyes twinkling, Goroke quickly took the card, swiping and returning it in one smooth move. "Laters, people." And with that, the ace snacker left the bar, leaving me to sip my shake in peace. Until...
BLAM. "FOODDRINKFEEDBURGERFRIESMEATSTEVENOOOOOOW" was what I vaguely heard during the cascade of glass shattering in my face. I ducked to take cover from the pieces under the table, cowering for what seemed like an eternity. Afterwards, I peeked out, and the mayhem seemed like it was over. Scratch that, it looked like it never happened. I looked over the counter, and Goroke was taking my glass and polishing it to a shine.
"W-what happened?" I asked, still kind of half-afraid, my eyes darting around.
The moogle simply replied, not looking up from his reflection in the glass, "Steve, kupo."
I breathed a sigh of relief. "Does he do that every time he comes here?"
"You get used to it, kupo," Goroke said somewhat monotonously, still polishing off the glass.
I lurked around a bit more, not sure what to do. It wasn't until the ice from the fish in my bag started dripping onto my pants that I snapped from my reverie. "Later, Mog." I said before leaving the bar. The sun was coming down, and it looked to me like it was about time to head for home. Then, as I walked along to the apartment, I suddenly remembered that I had yet to report to the sentry tower for tomorrow's round of Mediation news. Kicking myself mentally, I trundled over.
Rogue was continually patrolled by several Knights that only let certain people pass through the gates, among them Mediators and people on special business. Entering into the mighty Knights' sentry tower, I spotted a fellow Mediator, come from his daily report. He lifted his hand in greeting, and I reciprocated.
"Sup, Fera," he greeted.
"Hey, Zan. Not much, I'm just going in to report."
"Mmm, good. You coming to the party tomorrow?"
"I think so." Uncertainty, as I was planning to simply doze away the day when people mostly didn't care much about their Mediation.
"Right, see you there. Be sure to bring something, and make sure it's not something ghey." His favorite word.
"Uh, sure. Whatever."
Seeing Zan off, I reported in to the head Paladin. As I came in, he was sitting at his table, writing endless reports about everything. His fingers must be titans, I thought as he looked up from his pen.
"Fera. Going out for today?"
"Yeah, just wanted to check in on you."
"I'm fine right here."
"Man, Greco. You should really take a break sometime, it's Christmas, for God's sake!"
"Silly Fera. I was just about to leave," the Paladin replied, writing a few more words on the parchment and standing up to leave. He walked up to the door, passing me. Then, he stopped, turned around and said, "Y'know, Fera, why not just pass on the Mediation tomorrow. You should take a break once in a while, too. Take it easy."
I immediately brightened at the proposition. "Sure, why not."
Woo, free day.
Thus, I left the tower in high spirits, finally heading for home. As I walked by the streets of Rogue, I saw a small figure stand by the sidewalk, shivering without a coat. It was getting a bit hard to see through the snow, but when I looked harder, it turned out to be Chardes, the local artist trying to warm herself up by a tiny fire. She looked kind of out of place in the snowy scene. Then, I saw someone approach her, a tall and stocky man dressed in thick sunshine yellow-colored winter clothing.
"Hey Char. Why are you out in the cold, hmm?" the man asked.
"Landlord threw me out. Twi threw another brick in my window," she replied as if it was the most normal thing in the world, not looking up from her makeshift fire. I felt kind of sympathetic for the girl. Wasn't her fault.
"Hey, why don't you just go to ol' Bomber's place? He's got a nice warm fire you can rest at. You can help him with the fireworks he's preparing for tonight, if you'd like. I would invite you to my place, but I'll be shivering tonight, too, so uh."
Chardes looked up, then her sad-looking face turned to that of gratitude or something, I didn't quite see through the snow. "Th-thanks. I'll- I'll go now." she said, trotting off in the opposite direction.
Then, the man patted the girl on her shoulder, and trodded off. I couldn't mistake it for anyone other than Lux, as nobody else owned anything bright yellow in this town. I sighed to myself and kept on going, eventually reaching the apartment. After walking up the stairs to my shabby little apartment, sea bass in hand, I turned the key.
Thus forth, a freshly fired clay brick swiftly landed on my forehead. Giggling laughter filled my ears as I passed out.