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[X] We'll find a compromise and then we can proceed together, hand in hand.
"That's pretty nice of you to say, Suwako, but do you think she even remembers you?" Shizuha strikes a glare at me.
"Kanako has been best friends with me until she left!" I snap back.
"Until she left." Shizuha looks away. "What about now? What makes you so sure? Maybe her motives overshadow your very existence."
"If I stopped existing to her," I look down for a moment, "then she wouldn't be able to challenge me on my ideals. That's why I know she remembers me."
"Hmm." Shizuha kicks at the sand. "I'll take your word for it, just know that I'm skeptical about your friend."
"I'm fine with that," I beat my fist on my chest lightly, "because as long I believe in her, she'll take one look at me and call my name."
"It's really boring seeing sand and cacti and tumbleweeds." Shizuha swings another light kick at the drab scenery she walks through.
"You'll see some green soon enough, the town you're taking me to has those in patches, don't they?"
"It does, I'm just going blind from looking at yellow forever."
I look over and wrap my arm over Shizuha's neck. "Tell me something interesting then to distract yourself from the dreariness you hate so much then, hahaha!"
"Heh," Shizuha cracks a small smile, then returns to her normal boring expression, "actually, there's something I do want your opinion on."
I lift my arm off of Shizuha. "I assume it has to do with your writing?"
"Yes, it's a specific theme to be exact."
I clap my hands together. "I'm all ears, what's up?"
"There's this glamourous genre of literature that I've heard of, it was called the western or something like that." Shizuha clears her throat. "In a desert like this, a chiseled jaw man in a cowboy outfit walks into a lawless town and restores order by challenging the leading bad guy to a duel and killing him with one shot from his unwavering gun."
"Saving the town with a gun like this?" I remove it from its holster and examine it for a moment. "That's a pretty stupid story if you ask me."
"What's stupid about it?"
I then put the gun away and move my hands about while laughing. "The villain wouldn't follow rules, they'd shoot the hero the second he looks away!"
Shizuha pouts. "It's supposed to be dramatic!"
"I prefer a more realistic outlook." I smirk. "It's awful to read a story where the characters act like they're following a script. I'd like them to at least try to be smart, you know. The plot isn't exciting if it's as straight as 'hero defeats villain, good triumphs over evil and everyone's happy', that's shallow story telling!"
"It's based on fiction, it's supposed to give you a sense of fantasy and whimsy."
"That's nice, but I would like it if their characters' intelligence wasn't as fictional. The bad guys wouldn't suddenly stop being smart because the good guys walked into town, they'd still do the same thing they were doing before they arrived on the scene."
"You don't get it at all, Suwako." Shizuha sighs with her head down.
"I do get it! Dumb people in stories are just puppets, completely flat and shallow!" In my tirade, I glance ahead and see the specks of green sparsely sprinkled in the town in front of us. I point at it quickly. "Is that the town, Shizuha?"
"Huh?" She looks up and sees it as well. "Yes, that's the town."
Upon further examination of the town with the boats nearby, something irritates me. "It's a port?"
"I didn't think that would be an important detail unless we had to board a boat."
"It gets on my nerves. It's hard to describe why, it just does." I cross my arms and sigh.
The town with its Western style roofed houses indeed was stained with greenery in places, although it is still sandy as everywhere around it. As I've mentioned, there's boats floating in the Sandsea next to its port. Every time I look at the Sandsea, it sends chills up my spine. Am I afraid of seasickness or something else altogether?
Apparently during the desertification, most valleys and low altitude areas were consequently filled with sand creating a very fluid water/sand mixture everyone now calls the Sandsea. Despite having water in it, the sand usually smolders any living thing that falls into it or gets washed with it to death before the water saves them. Nowadays, boats are designed to be able to cut through the Sandsea without a problem, but I'm hoping we don't have to get on one to catch Kanako.
I approach a local, a nice looking fellow with black hair in a breezy dark brown cloak. His eyes were fairly bloodshot though, I guess he had a bad day today. Still wanted to try. I pull out the photo and show it to him. "Hey, have you seen a lady with purple hair like this?"
"She looks familiar." He leans forward and blinks several times with twitchy eyes, then stands straight and points to a building. "I think she headed into the bar."
"Thanks for the info!" I wave goodbye to him as both of us head off to the bar. The last glimpse I had was of him staring at Shizuha's butt. I should have punched him in the face for that, but I had something way more important to deal with.
The bar's wooden side doors swing open with Shizuha and I walking inside. The bartender, a grizzly bearded chap with a leather hat, stands behind the counter cleaning a large mug. Sitting at one of the stools was indeed the person that the local mentioned to me.
Shizuha expresses concern in her voice. "That's... not Kanako."
"That's the same thought I had." I sigh.
"Since we're here, we should get a drink." Shizuha wraps her arm over my neck and motions me forward. "You should ask just to make sure anyway."
Shizuha sits down to the left of me and takes off her backpack. "Bartender, may I please have a glass of red wine?"
"Why, certainly m'am." He puts down a stemmed glass in front of Shizuha and pours into her glass a bold dark blend.
"Thank you very much!" Another small smile from Shizuha. "You're very polite."
"It makes business better. No need to be rough." The bartender strokes his beard.
"A glass of beer, thanks." I tell him.
He grabs a mug, taps out a nice fill with a frothy top, and hands it to me. "Here you go."
Shizuha nudges me in the gut with her elbow. "Are you going to talk to the lady?"
I take a short swig of my beer and then look at Shizuha. "Alright, I'll go ask her." I look to my right and see the woman focused on her beer.
She has lavender hair and blue eyes. She wears a blue vest with a white long sleeve blouse, blue pants with a white apron, a white hat that has a triangle point that swings up and a white scarf that hangs out behind her. She's plenty taller than me, reminds me of Kanako yet I can't imagine her being Kanako at all. I don't even think her hair turning lighter would be an excuse.
[ ] "Are you Kanako by any chance?"
[ ] Ask her name first, don't assume she's Kanako, geez.
[ ] She's definitely Kanako, give her a violent hug.
[ ] Leave her be with her beer. She should be able to enjoy her cold one.